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jasonmovieguy

Roomette by Family Room- Too Noisy?

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I think a previous poster hit the nail right on the head. If it is a noisy family then it is going to be noisy.

It's like deja vu...

 

I think you really hit the nail on the head. Yes, the family room can be noisy with hyperactive children and inconsiderate adults, but so can any other room.

In any case I think that most people, families or otherwise, often don't realize how thin and hollow the walls are and how little they block even normal levels of sound. I certainly didn't realize it myself until I heard people in the next room on my first sleeper trip. If someone is being too loud you can usually explain the situation and they'll at least try to keep it down. If that doesn't work you can ask to move to another room. I also advise bringing a pair of quality multi-ridge reusable earplugs (not the single use foam type).

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It's true, a noisy family will be noisy. I had a terrible experience next-door to the family room. The family in that room was traveling with grandparents in a roomette also on the lower level. They kept their room doors open, they talked back and forth, there was constant traffic of kids and parents moving between the two rooms, and there was playing in the hallway. I asked the conductor if I could switch roomettes and move upstairs and he obliged, fortunately for me.

 

Based on my experience, I will never book a roomette on the lower level. YMMV.

 

Btw, the same thing can happen on the upper level. I understand that. But "family" room does suggest the presence of kids........

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It's true, a noisy family will be noisy. I had a terrible experience next-door to the family room. The family in that room was traveling with grandparents in a roomette also on the lower level. They kept their room doors open, they talked back and forth, there was constant traffic of kids and parents moving between the two rooms, and there was playing in the hallway. I asked the conductor if I could switch roomettes and move upstairs and he obliged, fortunately for me.

 

Based on my experience, I will never book a roomette on the lower level. YMMV.

 

Btw, the same thing can happen on the upper level. I understand that. But "family" room does suggest the presence of kids........

 

Yes, it can... because a family can book a "double" bedroom (suite), and be just as noisy!

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It was also interesting to note that when delivered, somebody 'forgot the lessons of the past' and 'invented' a new door latch mechanism for the Viewliners. BIG MISTAKE! People were getting locked out of their own room when going to meals or the shower! It took them maybe 2-3 years to retrofit them to the tried-and-true-for-the-past-70-years-or-more 'standard' Pullman door latch mechanism. It'll be interesting to see what 'nifty, new style' door latches the Viewliner IIs come through with!

So how did the original Viewliner door latch work?

 

 

When new, the latches on Viewliner sleepers used a hinged, horizontal knife-shaped 'blade' with a notch almost at the end that would engage a horizontal 'cross bar' in the door jamb. It may have been sprung to press it downward, or maybe just gravity. On both sides of the door were 4" long vertical indentations for ones' fingers to slide sideways a vertical bar (maybe 1/4" thick by 3/4" wide by 4-5" tall) that would force the horizontal 'blade' to be lifted up, disengaging it from the horizontal 'bar'. On the inside of the room there was also a 'lock' switch on the handle mechanism. I don't recall if it was a small finger-sized 'lever' or a small vertical slide switch that was pressed downward to lock the door by preventing the horizontal blade from being lifted. I'm thinking it was simply an upside-down L shaped piece of metal that would slide down to 'block' the horizontal blade from upward movement.

 

In theory, it should work well. It was easy to figure out...so easy, an unattended toddler could easily lock the door from the inside. I have little doubt that happened frighteningly often. As the mechanisms 'wore in', the internal resistance of the vertical L locking piece would drop into 'lock' position if someone closed the door somewhat forcefully...a light 'slam', if you will. The 'front end' of the horizontal blade was angled causing it to automatically rise over the top of the horizontal bar allowing the notch to get over the bar and latch. That allowed the door to 'latch' every time it was fully closed. But put a little 'muscle' into closing the door (I never cease to be amazed at how many people SLAM the doors closed!), the latch mechanism works perfectly then the "L" piece is jolted/loosened and it drops into the lock position.

 

If you look at the "standard" Pullman style latch, it is only on the inside, making it impossible to latch or lock the door from outside the room. The 'blade' portion is a beefy-looking 3/8" think piece of stainless steel maybe 3" long with a small thumb-tab protuding inward along the top edge. There's also a 1/4"-3/8" by 1" long with a 'pancake' head on it, horizontal 'rod' protruding inward from the door jam that the notch in the blade engages. In most of the roomettes I've been in since the demise of the 10/6 heritage sleepers, the horizontal blade has a spring that forces it upward, thereby disengaging the horizontal rod and unlocking the door. So, there is a 2" long stainless steel zig-zag shaped rod that is hinged at the top and swings down to hold the horizontal bar, in 'latched' position over the horizontal rod, from being lifted up or springing upward. On the Viewliners, the new "Pullman" mechanism was bolted on top of the original mechanism, but the internal horizontal rod had been removed.

 

The downside of the "Pullman" latch is that the door cannot be locked from the outside and may roll someone, possibly to the fully open position. Sometimes it will stay closed by itself when I head to the diner for 'real' meals, or the lounge instead of "fresh choice" garbage. Recently, however, I've taken to putting 2 pieces of shim stock into the door jamb at the top when I leave the room. Few passers-by would even 'see' the shim stock, even though it is 100% visible. I guess most passengers are more concerned with staying upright while walking on a moving train than looking upwards towards the ceiling while walking...or is it 'wobbling'. I developed my 'sea legs' eons ago, so walking on the train isn't a problem for me...except every now and then there's a jolt that causes me to lose my balance.

 

On other potential problem with a "Pullman" latch is how can it be opened from the outside if the passenger inside is unable to open it themselves? Whether a medical problem or mental problem, or an accident, I'm sure there HAS to be some situations the door must be unlocked from the outside. Smashing the glass is one way, but then there'd be broken glass all over the passenger. Maybe each car has a 'double suction cup' thing like that used in mainframe computer rooms to lift the false floor? Then it's only necessary to remove the rubber around the window (door or hallway window) to gain access. But there's no door OR hallway windows in the Family Bedroom or the Handicap Bedroom in Superliners. Then what?

Edited by bratkinson

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Then the crew breaks out the "master key"......otherwise known as a six foot long pry bar..... ;)

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It was also interesting to note that when delivered, somebody 'forgot the lessons of the past' and 'invented' a new door latch mechanism for the Viewliners. BIG MISTAKE! People were getting locked out of their own room when going to meals or the shower! It took them maybe 2-3 years to retrofit them to the tried-and-true-for-the-past-70-years-or-more 'standard' Pullman door latch mechanism. It'll be interesting to see what 'nifty, new style' door latches the Viewliner IIs come through with!

So how did the original Viewliner door latch work?

 

 

When new, the latches on Viewliner sleepers used a hinged, horizontal knife-shaped 'blade' with a notch almost at the end that would engage a horizontal 'cross bar' in the door jamb. It may have been sprung to press it downward, or maybe just gravity. On both sides of the door were 4" long vertical indentations for ones' fingers to slide sideways a vertical bar (maybe 1/4" thick by 3/4" wide by 4-5" tall) that would force the horizontal 'blade' to be lifted up, disengaging it from the horizontal 'bar'. On the inside of the room there was also a 'lock' switch on the handle mechanism. I don't recall if it was a small finger-sized 'lever' or a small vertical slide switch that was pressed downward to lock the door by preventing the horizontal blade from being lifted. I'm thinking it was simply an upside-down L shaped piece of metal that would slide down to 'block' the horizontal blade from upward movement.

 

In theory, it should work well. It was easy to figure out...so easy, an unattended toddler could easily lock the door from the inside. I have little doubt that happened frighteningly often. As the mechanisms 'wore in', the internal resistance of the vertical L locking piece would drop into 'lock' position if someone closed the door somewhat forcefully...a light 'slam', if you will. The 'front end' of the horizontal blade was angled causing it to automatically rise over the top of the horizontal bar allowing the notch to get over the bar and latch. That allowed the door to 'latch' every time it was fully closed. But put a little 'muscle' into closing the door (I never cease to be amazed at how many people SLAM the doors closed!), the latch mechanism works perfectly then the "L" piece is jolted/loosened and it drops into the lock position.

 

If you look at the "standard" Pullman style latch, it is only on the inside, making it impossible to latch or lock the door from outside the room. The 'blade' portion is a beefy-looking 3/8" think piece of stainless steel maybe 3" long with a small thumb-tab protuding inward along the top edge. There's also a 1/4"-3/8" by 1" long with a 'pancake' head on it, horizontal 'rod' protruding inward from the door jam that the notch in the blade engages. In most of the roomettes I've been in since the demise of the 10/6 heritage sleepers, the horizontal blade has a spring that forces it upward, thereby disengaging the horizontal rod and unlocking the door. So, there is a 2" long stainless steel zig-zag shaped rod that is hinged at the top and swings down to hold the horizontal bar, in 'latched' position over the horizontal rod, from being lifted up or springing upward. On the Viewliners, the new "Pullman" mechanism was bolted on top of the original mechanism, but the internal horizontal rod had been removed.

 

The downside of the "Pullman" latch is that the door cannot be locked from the outside and may roll someone, possibly to the fully open position. Sometimes it will stay closed by itself when I head to the diner for 'real' meals, or the lounge instead of "fresh choice" garbage. Recently, however, I've taken to putting 2 pieces of shim stock into the door jamb at the top when I leave the room. Few passers-by would even 'see' the shim stock, even though it is 100% visible. I guess most passengers are more concerned with staying upright while walking on a moving train than looking upwards towards the ceiling while walking...or is it 'wobbling'. I developed my 'sea legs' eons ago, so walking on the train isn't a problem for me...except every now and then there's a jolt that causes me to lose my balance.

 

On other potential problem with a "Pullman" latch is how can it be opened from the outside if the passenger inside is unable to open it themselves? Whether a medical problem or mental problem, or an accident, I'm sure there HAS to be some situations the door must be unlocked from the outside. Smashing the glass is one way, but then there'd be broken glass all over the passenger. Maybe each car has a 'double suction cup' thing like that used in mainframe computer rooms to lift the false floor? Then it's only necessary to remove the rubber around the window (door or hallway window) to gain access. But there's no door OR hallway windows in the Family Bedroom or the Handicap Bedroom in Superliners. Then what?

 

Thanks for taking the time to write all that out. :)

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It's true, a noisy family will be noisy. I had a terrible experience next-door to the family room. The family in that room was traveling with grandparents in a roomette also on the lower level. They kept their room doors open, they talked back and forth, there was constant traffic of kids and parents moving between the two rooms, and there was playing in the hallway. I asked the conductor if I could switch roomettes and move upstairs and he obliged, fortunately for me.

 

Based on my experience, I will never book a roomette on the lower level. YMMV.

 

Btw, the same thing can happen on the upper level. I understand that. But "family" room does suggest the presence of kids........

 

Yes, it can... because a family can book a "double" bedroom (suite), and be just as noisy!

Or two roomettes!

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The vestibule doors open between the cars making a lot of wind noise on upper level.

I thought the vestibule is the entrance and exit compartment of a train car (which in the case of a Superliner, is downstairs)?

 

I believe the vestibule is the space at car ends for moving car-to-car...upper level on the Superliner. I guess technically (by definition) the space you describe could also be referred to as a vestibule.

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The term 'vestibule', as applied to railroad cars, signified the space between the doors into the carbody, and the platform door's at the end(s) of the car. When gallery cars were introduced, they had a center vestiblue, as did the Hi Level and Superliner cars that followed, on their lower level. Since Superliner's do not have a 'platform' between cars on their upper level, the area around their end doors are not considered 'vestibules'...

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It's true, a noisy family will be noisy. I had a terrible experience next-door to the family room. The family in that room was traveling with grandparents in a roomette also on the lower level. They kept their room doors open, they talked back and forth, there was constant traffic of kids and parents moving between the two rooms, and there was playing in the hallway. I asked the conductor if I could switch roomettes and move upstairs and he obliged, fortunately for me.

 

Based on my experience, I will never book a roomette on the lower level. YMMV.

 

Btw, the same thing can happen on the upper level. I understand that. But "family" room does suggest the presence of kids........

 

Yes, it can... because a family can book a "double" bedroom (suite), and be just as noisy!

Or two roomettes!

 

 

If the two roomettes are across the hall from each other, and, invariably, I'm in an adjoining roomette, the cross-hallway talking can sometimes be annoying. But then, I've been politely asked to keep it more quiet myself when talking to a brand new friend across the hall from me! That was especially true a couple months ago on the Crescent when an attractive woman was across the hall from me and she was not only a railfan, but active in a museum with a steam engine, too! (If only if I were 30 years younger and she wasn't married...)

 

The good news is that when passengers with children are in two roomettes, either one of the roomettes has 2 teens in it that spend nearly 100% of their time on Facebook or whatever rather than making noise. Or, there will be one parent with each child and they're usually pretty quiet. This past April, there were 2 teen girls across the hall from me on the lower level, and the parents upstairs in maybe a bedroom, but more likely a roomette. Either the girls were busy on their cellphones, going to see what the parents were up to, or one of the parents coming down to check in on them. They had already deboarded by the time I went to the shower just before 6AM...I never heard them leave.

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Thanks so much again for this information- it's been very helpful. I do have a few more questions, so I hope I don't come off repetitive :

 

1. I am in Room 014, downstairs. Now this has a partial wall because that is adjacent to the foyer to the family room. I have read people saying that this makes the room quieter. However, if there is a noisy family inside will it matter? Some folks have claimed "the roommates, when you have your doors closed, are pretty quiet from outside noise." Others have said "walls are paper thin." Which one is correct? Also, many people often keep their doors open and curtains open during the day. I am going to be doing editing on my computer and using headphones, so will have my door closed for privacy. Does the family door opening and closing make that much noise IF my door is already closed? What about during the night- will the kids be able to kick the walls that are next to my room? Just wondering how much a fussy child, or loud family will impact room 014. And I understand kids get fussy and sometimes parents cant help it. That's part of raising children (I was no walk in the park myself as a child). Just asking for this situation. I would have changed to 11 or 12, but I hear one is by the luggage rack which can cause noise when passengers de board and board. And the other is right off the stairs and you will hear footsteps.

 

2. When I board the train, can I ask the attendant who is going to be in charge of my car and making up my bed what to do in a noise situation? I don't want to make a complaint in advance if there's nothing to complain about. But I would like to know if he can at least tell me "Well, if its too noisy and there's room, I can switch your room." I am going all the way from Chicago to LA- so the entire ride. Some folks may use the family room for a few hours, or not at all. I also always tip my attendants when they deliver my meals as well as the end of the trip. Perhaps a tip upfront would work in my favor? I don't want to come off like a nag to these guys as they already work very hard.

 

3. I do like that there are only 5 rooms downstairs and I am close to bathrooms (the handicap room being the 6th room behind the restrooms). I also like being able to see the tracks from a lower angle. So either way I will try to make the best of it. I just am wondering how much noise I will end up hearing if I keep my doors closed and headphones on (sometimes off of course). When I rode the California Zephyr a couple of years ago, I was upstairs in Roomette 8- and I didn't hear anything when the doors were closed. And it was a busy, full train. Many couples (some with kids) in all 10 rooms. But it had a very relaxing atmosphere to it. I never felt like I was riding on an airliner in coach. The rooms were still spread out enough where I felt private.

Edited by jasonmovieguy

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1. I have read people saying that this makes the room quieter. However, if there is a noisy family inside will it matter? Some folks have claimed "the roommates, when you have your doors closed, are pretty quiet from outside noise." Others have said "walls are paper thin." Which one is correct?

This is somewhat subjective, but I would disagree with the statement that the walls are "paper thin". With the door shut, I don't think I've ever heard any significant noise from any of the adjacent rooms. I really wouldn't worry about noise.

 

Also, many people often keep their doors open and curtains open during the day. I am going to be doing editing on my computer and using headphones, so will have my door closed for privacy. Does the family door opening and closing make that much noise IF my door is already closed? What about during the night- will the kids be able to kick the walls that are next to my room? Just wondering how much a fussy child, or loud family will impact room 014. And I understand kids get fussy and sometimes parents cant help it. That's part of raising children (I was no walk in the park myself as a child). Just asking for this situation. I would have changed to 11 or 12, but I hear one is by the luggage rack which can cause noise when passengers de board and board. And the other is right off the stairs and you will hear footsteps.

Again, I really wouldn't worry about noise. I have never had any issues of particularly noisy families in the sleepers. I assure you it will be fine.

 

 

2. When I board the train, can I ask the attendant who is going to be in charge of my car and making up my bed what to do in a noise situation? I don't want to make a complaint in advance if there's nothing to complain about. But I would like to know if he can at least tell me "Well, if its too noisy and there's room, I can switch your room." I am going all the way from Chicago to LA- so the entire ride. Some folks may use the family room for a few hours, or not at all. I also always tip my attendants when they deliver my meals as well as the end of the trip. Perhaps a tip upfront would work in my favor? I don't want to come off like a nag to these guys as they already work very hard.

 

I highly doubt that you'll be able to switch rooms, even there is one open. People often book at the last minute, so it's definitely very possible for a room which seems empty to end up occupied. Now I would recommend you not ask the attendant right off the bat about what to do if someone is being noisy, because you might sort of lose your credibility if you have to complain later in the trip. Just wait until there actually is an issue and then let he/she know. I'm sure they'd be happy to help you out and deal with it.

 

 

3. I do like that there are only 5 rooms downstairs and I am close to bathrooms (the handicap room being the 6th room behind the restrooms). I also like being able to see the tracks from a lower angle. So either way I will try to make the best of it. I just am wondering how much noise I will end up hearing if I keep my doors closed and headphones on (sometimes off of course). When I rode the California Zephyr a couple of years ago, I was upstairs in Roomette 8- and I didn't hear anything when the doors were closed. And it was a busy, full train. Many couples (some with kids) in all 10 rooms. But it had a very relaxing atmosphere to it. I never felt like I was riding on an airliner in coach. The rooms were still spread out enough where I felt private.

 

You'll be fine. You'll really be fine. The walls IMHO are plenty thick, and people are almost always very quiet and courteous. I would add that I think if you go into this trip expecting noise and being this worried about it, you'll probably be mentally primed to hear and be bothered by noise. Just try not to worry about it and enjoy the trip. :)

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