How are Amtrak train cars in Winter?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Kbyrdleroydogg, Sep 15, 2019.

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

  1. Sep 15, 2019 #1

    Kbyrdleroydogg

    K

    Kbyrdleroydogg

    Train Attendant

    Joined:
    May 27, 2017
    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I was gonna take an Amtrak to Washington in late January. I'm concerned about heat in the cars, especially the Bedrooms. Has anyone had a problem traveling in Amtrak during winter months?
     
  2. Sep 15, 2019 #2

    sttom

    s

    sttom

    Lead Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2019
    Messages:
    260
    When I rode the Zephyr in the winter a few years back, they cars were a little chilly, but nothing swears (and sweats) can't solve.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2019
  3. Sep 15, 2019 #3

    bratkinson

    bratkinson

    bratkinson

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2004
    Messages:
    691
    Location:
    QB 101
    Back in the steam heat days, I sometimes froze to death and had to sleep in my roomette fully dressed with overcoat on, too! When the Superliners were new, I don't think they had enough insulation in them for 30 below crossing Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota in the dead of winter. But that was cured long ago.

    These days, there's never been a problem with heat on any of the trains. In fact, it's sometimes the exact opposite, mostly in coaches. They set the A/C to 'Arctic Winter Blast' in the summer and set the heat to 'Death Valley CA Summer' in the winter. I'm leaving for a trip in a couple hours and even though forecast temps outside are supposed to be in the 70s and 80s, I"m taking a long sleeve shirt along, just in case.
     
    Qapla and Kbyrdleroydogg like this.
  4. Sep 15, 2019 #4

    pennyk

    pennyk

    pennyk

    Conductor Staff Member Administator Moderator Gathering Team Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    Messages:
    9,267
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    I wear layers in summer and winter. The heat can be too hot in the winter and the a/c can be too cold in the summer. I routinely find the Club Acela in Washington too warm in the winter. Layers help.
     
    tricia and oregon pioneer like this.
  5. Sep 15, 2019 #5

    peteypablo

    p

    peteypablo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2015
    Messages:
    6
    I rode the Cardinal from Chicago to DC a few years ago during vey cold weather in the dead fo winter. We still call it the "Ice Train." All the water lines in the sleeper froze and the heat stopped working during the night. They finally got it working sometime the next day, but for a while they had a special section of a coach cordoned off for us.
     
  6. Sep 15, 2019 #6

    SarahZ

    SarahZ

    SarahZ

    Conductor

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Messages:
    7,818
    Location:
    KAL
    Every time I've taken a long-distance train during winter, it is often miserably hot in the sleepers. If the attendant turns the heat down a bit, a few people complain (because god forbid they put on a sweater). Meanwhile, the rest of us roast with no way to get relief.

    I did notice that it's a bit more tolerable in a bedroom, likely because it's larger than a roomette and has better air movement.

    Do keep in mind that I keep my apartment at 68 and start to feel overheated above 72. I have coworkers who use space heaters in their cubicles while I have a fan set up in mine year-round. So, as with anything, your mileage may vary.
     
  7. Sep 15, 2019 #7

    Lonestar648

    L

    Lonestar648

    Conductor AU Supporter

    Joined:
    May 17, 2015
    Messages:
    2,669
    I have never felt cold in the winter either the Roomette or the Bedroom. I have been on almost every route in the winter. The heat is adjustable in the room, but I am very cautious about getting the room too warm since getting cooled down takes a while. I prefer to have the room cooler and be wearing a sweater. You can always put clothes on, but you are limited on what you can take off.
     
  8. Sep 15, 2019 #8

    oregon pioneer

    oregon pioneer

    oregon pioneer

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,115
    Location:
    near Seneca, Oregon
    All of my train trips are in cold weather, usually November to February. Penny is correct that you should bring layers, as it can be either too warm or too cold, even both on the very same trip (see Sarah's comment above -- if they adjust the car heat, it can go too far)! I always dress in layers anyway. It's a good idea in winter to have some kind of layer that is warm and does not look or feel like you are bundled up in outerwear (i.e. a warm but lightweight layer or two between your shirt and your outerwear -- think flannel shirt and fleece vest, or cashmere sweater, depending on how dressy you like to be).

    I have twice been on trains where the heat just flat failed in a car or some portion of the train. Accommodations were always made (i.e. pax were moved to other cars, and fed + reimbursed, especially if the move meant a downgraded accommodation). It was never my car, so I don't know the exact accommodation. It is a rare occurrence.

    I must say, I absolutely love sitting in the Sightseer Lounge and watching the snowy landscape roll by while sipping a hot beverage. I've been through North Dakota at 30 below, and loved it. I hope you will, too. Let us know how your trip turns out with a trip report!
     
  9. Sep 15, 2019 #9

    Dakota 400

    D

    Dakota 400

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2014
    Messages:
    1,297
    I do as well. The EB route in the Winter is uniquely beautiful, I think.
     
    zepherdude and oregon pioneer like this.
  10. Sep 15, 2019 #10

    SarahZ

    SarahZ

    SarahZ

    Conductor

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Messages:
    7,818
    Location:
    KAL
    I turn the knob to zero and close the vent the second I walk into the room, but the heat from the car itself is still too much.
     
    oregon pioneer likes this.
  11. Sep 15, 2019 #11

    zephyr17

    z

    zephyr17

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    3,903
    Location:
    Washington State
    Usually fine. Often the "temperature" control that is supposed to control the electric floor heat does nothing.

    However, on one trip on the Builder in December a few years ago the floor heater was heating uncontrollably in my roomette (and only my roomette) and the room was intolerably hot, not just warm. It also turned out that the handicapped room is same car wasn't heating at all. The individual in that room demanded to be moved and was moved to the (luckily) unoccupied handicapped room in the other sleeper. I was offered that room with extra blankets. So I had the choice between a room with Sahara like temperatures or no heat at all. On a train that went through North Dakota in December. I chose no heat and blankets and was damned happy I did.

    BTW the billboard at Minot that shows the temp showed -5. I still preferred no heat to insufferable heat.
     
  12. Sep 16, 2019 #12

    Lonestar648

    L

    Lonestar648

    Conductor AU Supporter

    Joined:
    May 17, 2015
    Messages:
    2,669
    I enjoy seeing the snow from the SSL, because of the glass that car can be slightly cooler. A clear moon lit night after fresh snow has fallen creates some beautiful artistry. I have been known to sit up late viewing, then up early for breakfast. There is nothing like viewing winter with a hot beverage, a warm sweater, in the moving train with continuous changes.
     
    oregon pioneer, Dakota 400 and tricia like this.
  13. Sep 16, 2019 #13

    Dutchrailnut

    D

    Dutchrailnut

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2006
    Messages:
    1,059
    Location:
    Brookfield, Connecticut, USA
    Just like the porridge, some hot, some cold but most just right.
     
    Bob Dylan likes this.
  14. Sep 16, 2019 #14

    chrsjrcj

    c

    chrsjrcj

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2011
    Messages:
    762
    Location:
    West Palm Beach, FL
    When I rode the Capitol Limited in March (single digit temperatures), my sleeping car started off HOT, but began to cool off to a more comfortable temperature, if not a little too cool.

    The sleeper lounge was an ice box though!
     
  15. Sep 16, 2019 #15

    anumberone

    anumberone

    anumberone

    OBS Chief AU Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    758
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I've been cold in the upper bunk while riding the LSL in the winter with the curtains open. I think it was a faulty heat system, no amount of knob twisting helped.
     
  16. Sep 16, 2019 #16

    Dakota 400

    D

    Dakota 400

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2014
    Messages:
    1,297
    There have been times when I wondered if the knobs were connected to anything.
     
    Mystic River Dragon and tricia like this.
  17. Sep 16, 2019 #17

    me_little_me

    m

    me_little_me

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Messages:
    2,832
    I just use the fireplace in the corner of my room when I'm too cold! Great at Christmas when waiting for Santa. :)
     
  18. Sep 16, 2019 #18

    railiner

    railiner

    railiner

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Messages:
    7,286
    Location:
    South Florida
    One thing I liked about the old Pullman's....they all had individual ceiling fans that did not depend on 'central air' being circulated into the rooms...so even if the car's A/C was weak, you could at least get a nice breeze blowing at you...
     
    Bob Dylan likes this.
  19. Sep 16, 2019 #19

    Devil's Advocate

    Devil's Advocate

    Devil's Advocate

    Conductor

    Joined:
    May 24, 2010
    Messages:
    10,746
    Location:
    Америка
    Yes, many times.

    For some incomprehensible reason Amtrak staff always turn the winter heat up to a point where I cannot sleep or relax comfortably and most of the time they won't turn it down even if you try to bargain or beg. The most they will do is tell you open the in-room vent (which does nothing to cool your room) or set the in-room temperature to cold (which also does absolutely nothing to cool your room). I can tolerate up to 77F when sleeping but Amtrak sleeper cars are significantly hotter than that in the winter. For this reason I never ride Amtrak in winter anymore.

     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
  20. Sep 17, 2019 #20

    Sauve850

    Sauve850

    Sauve850

    Lead Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2014
    Messages:
    427
    Location:
    West Palm Beach, Florida
    Ive traveled on Amtrak a lot over the years and I dont recall my temperature control ever working. 90% of times I travel in a bedroom. This year (Sept) from west to southeast Florida the EB was very cold. The Cl was cool as was the Star. In the winter I have had mixed results but mostly a little warm but not terrible. Winter has mostly been on the Silvers and twice on the CZ. I pack many layers for such possibilities.
     
  21. Sep 17, 2019 #21

    OlympianHiawatha

    O

    OlympianHiawatha

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Messages:
    4,253
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    If you have Amfleets on your train and are traveling through a snowstorm, those vestibules can pile up with snow and be slippery when passing through. Enough snow to have a good snowball fight!
     
  22. Sep 19, 2019 #22

    Skyline

    Skyline

    Skyline

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2016
    Messages:
    548
    Layering is the way to go at home, at work, on a train, and camping. It just gives you so much more flexibility. It expands the possibility of comfort.
     
    oregon pioneer likes this.
  23. Sep 23, 2019 #23

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

    Seaboard92

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2014
    Messages:
    3,179
    Location:
    South Carolina
    I’ve seen snow also accumulate on the Superliners. And I have had a snowball fight on board once. All in good fun.
     
  24. Sep 23, 2019 #24

    Dakota 400

    D

    Dakota 400

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2014
    Messages:
    1,297
    Traveling on the Empire Builder during a snowfall is one of my most favorite travel memories!
     
    oregon pioneer likes this.
  25. Sep 23, 2019 #25

    pennyk

    pennyk

    pennyk

    Conductor Staff Member Administator Moderator Gathering Team Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    Messages:
    9,267
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    traveling on the Canadian during a snowfall was incredible (for this Florida native).
     

Share This Page

arrow_white