Pacific Parlour Car Permanently Retired February 2018

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by AmtrakLKL, Jan 17, 2018.

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  1. Jan 20, 2018 #126

    zephyr17

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    I do like how they justified it as part of "fleet modernization" considering they have no real modernization plans for the Superliner long distance fleet.

    However, I have that thought that the PPCs have been on borrowed time for a long time, so I am not at all surprised. I also read into the "...Amtrak is reviewing amenities..." note that the amenities are gone, they are really not contemplating using Diner-Lounges or SSLs to provide PPC service. "Review" in many circumstances is a euphamism for "quietly let die". The Starlight will become just another standard Superliner LD.

    Thank you, Brian Rosenwald, for creating it. It was great while it lasted.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 20, 2018
  2. Jan 20, 2018 #127

    cpotisch

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    However, if the reason for PPC retirement is maintenance of the equipment, then I don’t see why Amtrak would want to ditch the CS first class lounge altogether. An unstaffed CCC or SSL would cost them nothing but diesel.

    Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum
     
  3. Jan 20, 2018 #128

    crescent-zephyr

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    GML "I doubt an extra $50 per passenger revenue would come close to making the car have a positive return on investment."

    What does it cost then? I was actually saying $50 per room... Which would be $1,000 per sold out sleeper. Since rooms can be sold multiple times... That's $2-3,000 per trip. If a car makes 2 trips a week that's $312,000 per year.

    I thought I was pretty clear that I wasn't saying that service had to be the heritage hi-levels. I was arguing the finances of having the service.
     
  4. Jan 20, 2018 #129

    zephyr17

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    There are still costs associated with keeping those cars available in a dedicated pool. Now the Starlight becomes just another standard Superliner consist requiring no dedicated equipment at all. Not really defending it, but I can definitely see the management reasoning for it. Besides, Amtrak management really doesn't give a lusty crap about anything outside the NEC anyway.

    I'll miss them, I loved those things. But, as I said, I've been expecting it for a long time. I'll keep riding the Starlight, because it serves where I live and it goes where I want to go. For a better train riding experience than run-of-the-mill Amtrak, the Canadian is easily accessible for me. I like domes better than a Hi-Level lounge anyway. Plus there's all that "extra" time on board Via is providing these days, courtesy of CN... [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 20, 2018
  5. Jan 20, 2018 #130

    Anderson

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    Which is, pardon the phrase, no way to run a railroad. Turning around and demanding that the cars be cut basically overnight, with no plan coming out, really rankles (especially since IIRC two of them had already been overhauled and were likely still usable at least for the 2018 season). Had they announced that the reduced schedule would continue through the end of the year, with an extra CCC-or-something filling the role during the summer for other dates? We'd grumble, but there's grumbling and there's looking at the train and getting a really bad feeling on issues with cutting the added space, etc.
     
  6. Jan 20, 2018 #131

    Ballyhoogirl

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    This always happens to me. Our first Amtrak trip was in a roomette. We were expecting a diner car. A few months after we booked the trip they said they were doing a trial of discontinuing the diner car from this train. We have taken several other trips with diner car since then. We were finalizing our trip today for the Fall on the Coast Starlight, and very much looking forward to the Parlor car. So sad we will miss this.
     
  7. Jan 20, 2018 #132

    flitcraft

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    Ironic that this past Monday, I got an email from Amtrak responding (after several weeks!) to my inquiry about when the PPC's would be back permanently. The email said:

    "The Pacific Parlour Cars will return to the Coast Starlight beginning Thursday, March 15, 2018. We hope this is helpful. "

    Immensely.

    Incidentally, I still haven't gotten an email concerning my March booked CS regarding the elimination of the PPC. Notwithstanding my specific inquiry.
     
  8. Jan 20, 2018 #133

    west point

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    It may be as simple explanation of inability to maintain asbestos mitigation ?
     
  9. Jan 20, 2018 #134

    Thirdrail7

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    There's a lot to tackle in this thread so we'll take it in no particular order.

    Rtabern, you can afford to have a cavalier attitude because you have nothing to lose. While it is true that they may never be able to find your source (if they even bothered to search), it still puts the rest of the people under the gun. I know for a fact the previous regime had a corporate presence on TO and Railroad.net. Letters were sent to the employees homes about posting information found on the INTERNAL intranet. Termination is possible if the IG got involved. I don't know what would happen if the IG or law enforcement demanded the identity of an employee on this board but it hardly seems worth it. That is why so many former employees have vanished over the last couple of years. While I'd like to think the current regime isn't as obsessed with privacy and images, the policy still stands (and if you're an employee that hasn't seen it for some reason, send a PM so you can see exactly what you're up against.).

    So, Rtabern, if someone tells you something from an internal source, perhaps you should take a cue from people that "drop hints' *cough cough*, say nothing until it becomes public (like Anderson) instead of blurting out that people are showing things you aren't supposed to see. Such an act has the potential to put this board under the watch as well and even if it doesn't, the other side affect is information that was previously easy to find has been buried under levels of clearance or in some cases, has been removed from the intranet. This doesn't help anyone.

    That being said, I think we are seeing the previous discussed concepts from the Greenville, SC (GRV) to be Unstaffed Effective June 15, 2017. Notably:

    Unfortunately, the long distance traveler may be the victim when it comes time to the budget. Rtabern's letter spells it out in spades. What is the cost? What "provable" revenue does it generate? I don't know why these cars need so much maintenance but assuming it isn't a ploy, would we rather spend money on these cars or the engines that pull them?

    Personally, I think it is a mistake to whittle away at the amenities. This was done before and it didn't work out. Trains don't have an advantage of speed like a plane nor do they have the cost structure of a bus. So, what exactly is Amtrak bringing to the table? It should be something memorable to justify the costs. It should be something to bring you back. It should be something to make you say "do you remember that time?" Otherwise, what is the point? If you wanted to ride a bus on steel wheels, then you might as well ride an actual bus.

    Maybe Tricia is right! As Amtrak continues to cut station personnel, maybe they should mothball the new baggage cars as well. How much revenue are they generating? [​IMG]

    I think I will continue the rest of my rant in the CEO thread.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 24, 2018
  10. Jan 20, 2018 #135

    Thirdrail7

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    This may be true but it doesn't answer why. It didn't have to be an overrated experience based upon the offerings. Someone CHOSE to take everything that made that car special and lobbed it right in the budget cut bin! Now, that may have been because someone decided it wasn't worth it, but that was a choice. The same can be said for the Auto Pain. The cuts have eliminated the perks and the riders have noticed. Sure, you can blame OTP but it's not like that train had the best OTP prior to the cuts. The difference is the passengers felt like they were getting something for their money. They weren't just getting transportation. They were getting a trip.

    I can respect that there are real issues with skinny budgets and deteriorating assets, but it takes money to make money. Not everything should be measured in direct revenue generation particularly if you have no way to definitely track it (like checked baggage) because what's the plan if this causes more bleeding?
     
  11. Jan 20, 2018 #136

    Thirdrail7

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    Hmmm. What's the operative word in that sentence? [​IMG]
     
  12. Jan 20, 2018 #137

    Ryan

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    Diesel? [​IMG]
     
  13. Jan 20, 2018 #138

    Thirdrail7

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    It "probably" has more to do with him riding the train, seeing it in person and deciding the money to preserve these cars was better spent on other things. Hell, maybe you can all pitch in and buy them. [​IMG]

    Too bad they won;t fir in electrified territory. There were some AEM-7s for sale too! You could have a whole train!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 20, 2018
  14. Jan 20, 2018 #139

    neroden

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    I am not surprised at this.

    I'm glad I managed to experience a PPC a couple of months ago when I went to Seattle & Portland to see the Tacoma Narrows route before the train moved to the Point Defiance Bypass. I thought it was my last chance at the Narrows... turned out it was the last chance at the PPC.

    Despite riding the Coast Starlight many times before, the PPC had *always* been broken and replaced with a Sightseer Lounge on my previous trips, year after year... so it was obvious to me that they were barely holding on. I'm surprised they lasted this long.
     
  15. Jan 20, 2018 #140

    neroden

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    I'm going to make an educated guess that the separate lounge will be available during the busy season. That's the primary reason for the PPC -- in the busy season the regular lounge is overcrowded and the regular dining car is overbooked, so the separate lounge takes the pressure off. A number of reports were saying that they needed one on the Empire Builder in busy season too. They may not have a separate lounge in the winter low season.
     
  16. Jan 20, 2018 #141

    neroden

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    I've said this repeatedly, but anything less than daily service is unusable. The Canadian has slipped from daily, to four a week, to three a week, to two a week in the low season... what's next, one a week? There's basically no way I can use it. I've got a very flexible schedule but I cannot make it work.
     
  17. Jan 20, 2018 #142

    neroden

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    There are a lot of sleeper trains going away in Europe, and if you want to experience them, do it now. But I don't think sleeper service as a whole is going away. It seems to be alive and well in both China and Russia, both of which have some *very* long train routes; China actually has HSR sleepers, and I doubt the Trans-Siberian sleepers will ever go away. The main thing which happened in Europe is that HSR makes Western European trips too quick to make sense as sleeper routes. They're just about long enough if you go from one side of Germany to the other, but Deutsche Bahn didn't want to run sleeper service for the benefit of people travelling from one non-German location to another non-German location; they dropped their sleeper trains but Austria promptly picked up most of them, because Vienna is one of the primary beneficiaries of the routes.
     
  18. Jan 20, 2018 #143

    neroden

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    Doing this as an advertised special -- PPC from LA to Chicago, five days only! -- would definitely raise some extra cash! Why not?

    They have to be "good to roll" to get them from LA to Chicago. Why not make them a special, advertised, extra-cost amenity for five days (five SWC departures)?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 20, 2018
  19. Jan 20, 2018 #144

    neroden

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    The LSL situation is, indeed, terrible. I did a lot of calculation at one time :) and figured out that the LSL has the most profitable sleeper cars in the system -- apparently it attracts the least price-sensitive clientele. It's also documented to have the largest coach passenger usage of the dining car of all the trains.

    This is a train where a nice lounge and a decent dining car *will* bring in revenue. But the idiots at Amtrak who don't know how to count beans have left it without even a proper dining car for years on end.
     
  20. Jan 20, 2018 #145

    CHamilton

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    From the Coast Starlight group on Facebook.

     
  21. Jan 20, 2018 #146

    cpotisch

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    To pull the car.
     
  22. Jan 20, 2018 #147

    Chey

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    It may sound like heresy to some, but even though I liked my two experiences with the PPC, I'd take the Surfliner business class over the CS with the PPC in a heartbeat, any day, if only it went to SJC.
     
  23. Jan 20, 2018 #148

    Ryan

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    No s—t. You missed the joke.
    (Hint: the correct answer was “unstaffed”).
     
  24. Jan 20, 2018 #149

    cpotisch

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    Still don't get it. [​IMG]
     
  25. Jan 20, 2018 #150

    Ryan

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    TR7 pointed out that the operative word in your post was “unstaffed”, since the PPC obviously wasn’t unstaffed.

    My poor joke was picking an obviously wrong operative word, but I guess that’s only funny if you understood the point he was making.
     

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