Southwest Chief Trans/Dorm sleeper

Discussion in 'Guest Forum for Amtrak Questions' started by _guest, Jun 25, 2016.

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

  1. Jun 25, 2016 #1

    _guest

    _

    _guest

    Guest

    I am offered room#20 in the trans/dorm car for my CHI to LAX trip. This will be my first reserving a rommatte in trans/dorm room. I am guessing this car will be next to the baggage which is behind the locos.

    Is room# 20 close to the next to the regular sleeper or next to the baggage car?

    How is the engine noise and horn? Were you able to sleep?

    How about the smoke? Does it get inside the cars?

    Were you mostly ignored by the attendant?
     
  2. Jun 25, 2016 #2

    Albo5000

    A

    Albo5000

    Train Attendant

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2016
    Messages:
    68
    http://www.craigmashburn.com/amtrakcardiagrams.html

    Since the baggage cars are usually right behind the locomotive, chance are they aren't going to turn the dorm are around because they need the one end to have the stairs go down to the baggage car. Looks like you will be near the back of your train car and usually the transitional sleeper is butted up to the first set of sleeper cars. Engine noise should not be a problem, especially if they have two engines, horn you may hear occasionally during the night but once i fell asleep, i never heard the horn. Worse than the horn is the 7am wake up call announcing breakfast in the diner car.

    As for the smoke/exhaust, I don't think you will have any issues with that. Hopefully a OBS crew member will reply with that info. I couldn't imagine it being bad or else the crew would probably have done something by now. Of course lastly, attention from the attendant will be dependent on their attitude of helping people. We had Yonis on the EB and he seems like someone who would go above and beyond to help everyone on the train, but the ding dong we got on the CZ who didn't even have a name tag was someone who wouldn't even help his own car, let alone a profit room on a dorm car.

    Hope that helps and never hurts to bring some earplugs if you really are concerned about noise.
     
  3. Jun 26, 2016 #3

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    Messages:
    25,542
    Location:
    Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
    The horn noise - even if it's the 1st car - was never a problem for me. As far as the "smoke" - the front of the trans-dorm (where the crew stays) has a sealed curved window on it, unlike a door on a "regular car". Thus there is no way for exhaust to enter the car from that end.
     
  4. Jun 26, 2016 #4
    I would prefer the normal sleeper cars but it seems they are sold out. Is there any waiting list for roomette I can join? What are the chances I could switch my room to the normal sleeper at the CHI station? I am thinking of asking the ticket agent there an hour before the departure to see if anyone cancelled their reservation. If I do switch, will they charge me more -- assuming the high bucket rooms are in the normal sleepers?
     
  5. Jun 26, 2016 #5


    I just watched the SWC youtube video above which is filmed from a coach car showing the entire trip from CHI to LAX. The person made the video also mixed the footage with shots from outside the train -- he mentioned he drove to the locations and took the footage. You will see many different SWC consists. One of the consists at 50:12 has no baggage car which means the trans/dorm will be directly hooked up to the second locomotive. I would definitely ask for a refund in that case and book another trip.

    Do they change the SWC's consist in the middle of the trip - take the baggage car out? I know CZ sometimes changes its consists.

    Here is a typical SWC consist.

    3/4

    Southwest Chief

    5 sets

    LAX pool

    ----|---- —— Heritage Baggage

    0340|0440 —— Superliner Dorm/Sleeper

    0331|0431 —— Superliner Sleeper

    0330|0430 —— Superliner Sleeper

    ----|---- —— Superliner Diner

    ----|---- —— Superliner Lounge

    0311|0411 —— Superliner Coach *

    0312|0412 —— Superliner Coach

    0313|0413 —— Superliner Coach (seasonal)

    * One of the coaches is almost always a baggage coach.

    Looks like the car 0311 can be a baggage car but for the coach passengers only.
     
  6. Jun 26, 2016 #6
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NTYPYKr7xc#t=1535.917736

    I think I got the answer as to how bad the noise is in the transition sleeper/Dorm car. In the youtube video above, you can see the inside of the baggage car at 24:38 while the train is in forward motion. The guy taking the video turns around and takes the stairs to the upper level -- first passing the crew roomettes, a small curtain and then the passenger roomettes. Looks like there is no door at all between the trans/dorm and baggage car but I thought I heard the door shut behind him as he got up. I am not sure how quiet is inside the passenger roomette in the trans/dorm. He then goes through the first normal sleeper car and all the way to the diner. I can hardly hear any engine noise in the normal sleeper cars although they are closer to the locos. Now I am not sure if I should take this trip in the trans/dorm. I am 50/50 on the noise level here.
     
  7. Jun 26, 2016 #7
  8. Jun 26, 2016 #8

    Tennessee Traveler

    Tennessee Traveler

    Tennessee Traveler

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Messages:
    1,229
    Location:
    Franklin, TN
    The consist without a baggage car probably was taken during a short lived experiment January - February 2014 when Amtrak removed the baggage car and some crew cars from the LD trains such as SWC and CZ. It was failure and not repeated in 2015 so I doublt that will happen again.
     
  9. Jun 27, 2016 #9

    Lonestar648

    L

    Lonestar648

    Conductor AU Supporter

    Joined:
    May 17, 2015
    Messages:
    2,628
    The Trans/Dorm attendant on one train was a Coach Attendant since the SCA was swamped with many off and on passengers. On the SL both the SCA and a Coach attendant seemed to shared the duties maybe based on their needs. I have never smelled smoke in the Trans/Dorm, nor has noise been an issue from the crew who try to be quiet when they walk through early morning or late at night.
     
  10. Jun 28, 2016 #10

    Kenneth

    Kenneth

    Kenneth

    Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Messages:
    101
    Location:
    Southern Illinois
    I had a trip in the trans dorm a couple years ago, and it was very enjoyable. Not much traffic, quiet.
     
  11. Jun 29, 2016 #11

    Devil's Advocate

    Devil's Advocate

    Devil's Advocate

    Conductor

    Joined:
    May 24, 2010
    Messages:
    10,523
    Location:
    Америка
    The engine noise has never bothered me but the horn can be annoying depending on the engineer's particular usage and the frequency of grade crossings. For me the public address system is more distracting than the horn but that ends at 10PM. I am almost always able to sleep so long as I have a sleeper compartment regardless of car type or position in the train. The one thing that can keep me awake at night is rough track, but that is the same regardless of car type.

    There is no smoke per se, but it's not uncommon for me to smell diesel exhaust during acceleration and brake fumes during stops. The diesel exhaust can be stronger the closer you are to the locomotive.

    It varies by train and by trip.
     
  12. Jun 30, 2016 #12

    PaulM

    PaulM

    PaulM

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2008
    Messages:
    2,240
    Location:
    Quincy, IL
    Just a nitpick. Are you sure the failed experiment wasn't Jan-Feb 15, and not repeated in 2016? I was on the SWC in early Feb 2015 expecting the runt, but got a complete train. The odd thing was that it had a heritage baggage car, but a coach baggage car was being used for actual baggage.

    Unfortunately, the experiment on the Capitol Limited was a "success". In February 2016, I was in the 2901 sleeper with only 2 bedrooms between me and the horn, not even a second engine. For me, it was very uncomfortable. It helped a little bit that between DC and Pittsburgh, it is mostly wilderness with few grade crossings.
     
  13. Jun 30, 2016 #13

    Lonestar648

    L

    Lonestar648

    Conductor AU Supporter

    Joined:
    May 17, 2015
    Messages:
    2,628
    How were you just 2 room from the engine when the second half of the trans/dorm is for the crew. The eight revenue room are before the stairs going to the lower level.
     
  14. Jun 30, 2016 #14

    CCC1007

    CCC1007

    CCC1007

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2015
    Messages:
    1,719
    The short consist for the CL doesn't include a crew dorm.
     
  15. Jul 1, 2016 #15

    Tennessee Traveler

    Tennessee Traveler

    Tennessee Traveler

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Messages:
    1,229
    Location:
    Franklin, TN
    Yes, the failed experiment was January February 2015. At some point I do think they put the baggage car back on without using it since they ran the SSL as the first revenue car. They did not have crew car and put the crew in rooms in the two revenue sleepers when I rode in February.
     
  16. Jul 2, 2016 #16

    Montreal Ltd

    M

    Montreal Ltd

    Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Messages:
    126
    I was on that train in January 2015. CL from WAS to CLE. The sleeper was just behind the engine, and that horn was loud
     
  17. Jul 2, 2016 #17

    NW cannonball

    NW cannonball

    NW cannonball

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2012
    Messages:
    1,541
    Location:
    Minnesota
    On my ride last year on the SWC ABQ-LAX in the crew-dorm the attendant was on the job. The roomette was so much more quiet than the other sleepers. The showers were cleaner as were the toilets. (the crew don't make noise or party, they sleep)

    Zero "diesel fumes" not like riding a boeing 757.

    One of the quietest best roomette rides I've done on Amtrak.

    If the train horn bothers you -- dunno.

    Was a good ride for me in the crew dorm.
     
  18. Jul 4, 2016 #18

    George K

    George K

    George K

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2014
    Messages:
    1,182
    Location:
    The Chicago Burbs
    A nice set of earplugs will block most horn noises effectively if that's an issue.

    I always wear them when I ride the City of New Orleans. The CONO sleeper is right behind the dorm/sleeper car, iirc.
     
  19. Jul 4, 2016 #19

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

    Conductor

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Messages:
    17,977
    Location:
    Austin Texas
    There's also a Bag Car on the CONO butvwirh so many Grade Crossings in the South the Horn blows almost continuously. Ear plugs are always s good idea on Trains.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2016
  20. Jul 5, 2016 #20

    me_little_me

    m

    me_little_me

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Messages:
    2,732
    I find that taking out my hearing aids seems to reduce the sound considerably.

    BTW, I had trouble with your post. Next time can you post a little louder?

    :giggle: :giggle:
     
  21. Jul 5, 2016 #21

    willem

    willem

    willem

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2014
    Messages:
    970
    I almost never use a smiley or an emoticon, and I won't this time, but I've come closer than I have in a long time. Thanks.
     
  22. Jul 18, 2016 #22

    The OP

    T

    The OP

    Guest

    I am the OP and just returned home from my Southwest Chief trip in the trans/dorm roomette. The trans/dorm sleeper was right behind the baggage car which was behind the second loco. Surprisingly the low engine noise didn't bother me after first few minutes. I completely tuned it out and the room was pretty quiet even at night.

    The horn noise, on the other hand, is a different story. It's not that loud but you can easily get irritated with the constant noise. It seems the engineer has to blow the horn four times for each rural dirt road that are literally couple of miles apart. Anyway the horn noise at first was annoying but it too didn't bother me as the time went on.

    The SCA from the adjacent sleeper took care of us but the service was pretty minimal. For coffee, juice and ice, we had to go to the next car. Restrooms were kept clean for the most part.

    So would I take another trip in the trans/dorm sleeper? No!
     
  23. Jul 18, 2016 #23

    The OP

    T

    The OP

    Guest

    I was at the new metropolitan lounge and like the new design. Not having the red cap service for the baggage storage was a major disappointment for me. I saw luggage all over the place in the room and didn't feel like leaving mine as anyone can just grab it (may be accidentally) and walk away. So I did the next best thing. Tied the bag handle to the rack using a bike lock.

    I understand other lounges don't have the red cap service but Amtrak could at least provide a locker and rent the locks for a small deposit.
     
  24. Jul 18, 2016 #24

    me_little_me

    m

    me_little_me

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Messages:
    2,732
    Why not? Because of the SCA? Do you know if he/she gave any better service to those in the other car? They may have thought you had your own SCA and got better service than they did!

    Our local police department gave away gun locks a number of years ago. I use mine for my luggage at times particularly on NEC trains but also on LD at times.

    Oh, I don't own a gun.
     
  25. Jul 19, 2016 #25

    tim49424

    tim49424

    tim49424

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Messages:
    1,209
    Location:
    Holland, MI
    I traveled the Texas Eagle from Fort Worth to Chicago in the trans dorm room H last fall and agree. I do have to admit it was a little different seeing the layout but pretty cool nevertheless. I wasn't bothered by the horn as it was somewhat like white noise to me.

    I was in the lounge on Sunday and liked the new design as well. The baggage storage didn't bother me as I didn't use it but the attendant informed me about the room when I checked in. I travel light anyways. When I was in Los Angeles last fall in their new ML, there wasn't even a separate room....luggage was stored behind the check in desk along the wall.
     

Share This Page

arrow_white