Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by chrsjrcj, Jul 18, 2019.
You pretty much explained why they don't open the 4th car.
When I was on the Coast Starlight a couple of years ago, the business class car was merely a superliner coach which was designated as business class and it had an attendant. The consist was arranged as follows to the best of my memory (front to back): sleepers, Pacific Parlour car, dining car, business class car, sightseer lounge car, coaches. I assume it is being arranged the same except that the Pacific Parlour car is deleted.
Business class seemed to be doing a good business and that was confirmed in my conversations with the business class attendant. It would be interesting to see if the actual statistics confirm this. At that time, business class passengers on the starlight received a discount coupon for $6 off, or something like that, in the dining car. I ate with one of the business class passengers at dinner and he seemed pleased with the service.
At least one of the Coaches used for Buisiness Class on the Starlight had Leather Seating, and in addition to the $6 Voucher you got Bottled Water from the Attendant and Priority over Coach Pax on Meal Reservation Times in the Diner.
A guest/points program is designed to make money for a company, not us. Marketing analysts have likely determined that a points bonus for sleepers would not benefit the company since it would probably not influence enough additional passengers to choose sleeper to offset the cost, and they likely believe that the opposite is true for BC and Acela FC.
For day trips it might make a difference for Long distance ridership revenue on routes that overlap with corridors.
For example I always get a roomette even if it’s just Galesburg to Chicago on the SWC 1208pm to 315. Coming back 230pm to 524pm. Granted a meal is included each way (they always accommodate us right at 5pm with dinner in our room coming home since if the trains on time it’s 5:24 arrival). The accommodations charge is roughly 90 bucks. I’ve done LAX to SBA on the Coast Starlight that’s a 60 dollar upcharge. Both are basically quiet legs at the end of the trip or beginning before the sleepers sell out or have already started to clear out. It’s just extra $$$ for Amtrak. Offering the same point formula as the corridor trains would just be smart marketing for the network.
My point I guess is they need to market the sleepers to day travelers more than they do. I’m sure there’s a computer algorithm that can show how many rooms would be available to day trippers without shutting out someone traveling 900 miles or endpoint to endpoint. The point bonus would be an amenity to market with the possible free meal whatever that may be.
Recently, NYP-WAS sleeper space has been opened up on a couple of trains. Pricing is very close to BC and well below Acela FC. If the extra few minutes isn't a factor, a roomette might be a better place to get some work done than in a coach...
Your anger on this one is misplaced on Anderson. The new AGR happened before Anderson and a whole host of people at that time promised they will never ride Amtrak again, and astonishingly, none of them carried through on their promise. The name calling on one of the founders of AU who was then involved with the AGR program, and had nothing to do with these decision made above his pay grade, was downright abhorrent.
Actually, the Dining Car serves two roles in the new Contemporary Dining regime.
1. Serve as a place for eating the Contemporary Dining menu food, such as it is. Of course the food could also be eaten in ones own room and have it delivered there, thus completely avoiding this car if one so desires. That (avoiding the Dining Car completely) is no different from when they were used as conventional Dining Cars.
2. Is open throughout the journey to serve as a lounge for Sleeper passengers. This IMHO is a definite improvement, and I did use this feature extensively when I traveled on the LSL.
IMHO, the role 2 is a definite improvement. The role 1, well, the menu and delivery method could do with some significant improvement.
While I haven't personally experienced this yet, I do agree the idea of having a sleeper lounge / table space is a nice thing. I think there are ways the contemporary dining experience could turn in to a positive... but I don't think we are there yet. But again... I'm not able to speak from personal experience.
I continue to say they should keep the entrees separate from sides, salads, and desserts... let people mix and match a little bit. Stock the same items in the cafe car and you don't have to worry as much about over-stocking.
On my recent CL round-trip, the Diner (actually CCC) as a Lounge worked great. As a Diner, not so much.
To make it work even BETTER as a Lounge, some premium choices at an extra charge would be OK by me. Some high-end desserts, wine & cheese packages, etc.
Yes, we pay a lot for sleepers, but there’s nothing wrong with paying a little extra for something nice.
This must have changed to the middle of February 2020. BC seems to be still offered on Feb 16.
I just noticed this by accident yesterday (I was looking at Baltimore-DC trains, and a roomette on the Crescent showed up in the search). The pricing was nosebleed ($200+ for the ride) but it was there.
According to Train Orders BC remains but no new VL2 diner. Consist stays the same, the only change the downgrade food scheme. I'm very disappointed for my Cardinal trip in a few weeks. Really sad for Amtrak.
I don't know about the diner, but BC on 51 appears to be sold out (unavailable?) after Feb 16.[/QUOTE]
As someone who was about as pissed off at the person in question, I remember that there were two rounds of frustration. The second is where I (personally) recall really going ballistic, and I had dinner with the person in question last year and he admitted that the optics left something to be desired on that second round. Basically, a bunch of us felt we were getting "enhanced from behind" , so to speak, going into 2.0 and then you had the simultaneous "points estimator" vanish, "points penalty" fares show up out of the blue with no prior mention or hint, and the cash-and-points bit never appear. Bad rollout, I know.
I'll also say that, this side of 2.0, I don't think I've taken more than one east-west-ish trip (I forget the timing, but I might have done a single Capitol Limited trip since then). Now, how much of that was the 2.0 fiasco, how much of that was a bunch of OTP collapses, and how much was a generalized shift in my travel behavior? Good question, ask another, but I can certainly say that prior to all of that you wouldn't have caught me dead in an airport and now I hold status on two airlines . I can say that the Frakked and Contemptible dining service knocked me off of the Capitol Limited once and for all. We'll see how much of a train wreck this second round turns out to be, but there is a serious chance that it knocks me from being able to slap together Select Executive to dropping back to Select Plus  if it ultimately shoves me over to Delta for trips to Florida .
 I've seen "enhanced" used so many ways when something is getting slashed that I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the word gets redefined in a century or two to mean something is getting cut. It's in the same vein as "contemporary" or "modern", TBH.
 I still hold the TSA to be just about beneath contempt. If anything, I have an even worse view of them now.
 S+ requires native on-Amtrak spend of about $2500-3000 plus the CC TQPs. That's basically travel to/from DC in Business Class plus a "joyride" or two to New York or a stray ride to Montreal. That can easily happen (I could probably get within striking distance without ever actually buying a ticket on a train that credits to Amtrak's bottom line ). SE requires $6500-8000. That is a rather heavier lift.
 NGL, if I can get a better meal on a JFK-MCO/MCO-JFK flight than on the Silver Meteor, that's a Problem for my future with Amtrak.
 That is to say, if I stick to VA Regionals and never board said trains anywhere north of WAS.
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