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Author Topic: Sleepers on the rear ??
palmland
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On another forum it was stated that the Cardinal and the Coast Starlight have begun operation with the sleepers on the rear. Other trains will follow. The trans-dorm will remain on the head end with space sold if other sleepers sold out. The coach attendent will be responsible. Can anyone else confirm this?

I think this is a good move. A lot quieter ride for those paying the big bucks for a sleeper. Also better viewing out the rear for railfans and traditionally sleepers operated there in Pullman days.

Given the threadbare state of some trans-dorms, maybe Amtrak should sell those at at a budget rate and exclude meals and some of the services provided by the attendent (like meals in your room).

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Ocala Mike
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When I rode #58 (CONO) last November, the one and only sleeper was on the rear of the train. I believe, however, that Amtrak toyed around with placing it(or them)up front, and that is now the norm. I believe it has to do with the train going on as the Texas Chief out of CHI.

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Ocala Mike

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Steve O.
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Trains 58 and 59 generally look like this right now, in this order:

1 loco
1 Transition Sleeper
1 Sleeper
1 Diner
1 Lounge
2 Coaches

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Good morning America, how are ya?

44,950 Amtrak rail miles traveled since August 18, 2003.

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train lady
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For some reason every trip we have taken with one exception our sleeper was in the rear. I have been traveling Amtrak since its beginning.
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Italiancanuck89
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What about single level trains like the Lake Shore Limited and the Florida trains? They already eliminated the heritage crew sleeper and are now using a viewliner sleeper for the crew.

Maybe:
2 Locomotives
Baggage
4 Coaches
Lounge
Diner
3 Sleepers

On the flip side, I heard the last car on a train has the bumpiest ride. Would Amtrak want a rougher ride for their "first class" passengers?

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Southwest Chief
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Good news.

I've always preferred sleepers on the rear. The Southwest Chief always had them set up this way until around 1998 or so. I noticed the difference in my younger days between the Desert Wind and Chief since the Desert Wind always had the sleeper up front.

The best part was you could look out the end window without having to disturb as many people like when a coach is on the rear. And now without the express cars this news is even better.

I'll be keeping an eye on the Chief to see if the sleepers make the move.

I guess this means the consist will change to this:
Trans Dorm
Coaches
Lounge
Diner
Sleepers

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Matt
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Mr. Toy
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I remember when the sleepers were always at the rear. But it really doesn't make sense to put them there if Amtrak is (as it should be) using part of the Transition Sleepers for revenue space. Why would a coach attendant, who is already responsible for one and a half to two cars with up to 70 people each, want to take on the added responsibility of half a sleeper?

I don't know what the noise issue is. A sleeper pretty much sounds the same at either end. I guess some may be bothered by the horn, but its pretty muffled inside the car, even the frontmost sleeper. The natural noises inside the car are more prominent. Personally I don't care where the sleepers are, as long as I get one when I need it at a decent price.

But until somebody here confirms the change, I will chalk it up as rumor. How often have we heard "on another forum..."? Like the recent one about the Crescent replacing the Sunset. Sometimes these stories get started as someone saw a train which was reversed, (which sometimes happens when there isn't enough turn around time) and once or twice repeated it becomes Amtrak's new "policy."

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Gilbert B Norman
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I have yet to note any change in the "make up" of #3 or #5, but if this comes to pass, great.

Railroads generally had sleepers on the rear; but I guess Amtrak had to place them on the head because "the railroads did it one way and since they knew nothing about the passenger business we have to do it another".

Locomotive horns are necessary and melodic, but a bane if they are costing you the sleep that you have dearly paid for.

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wayne72145
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The Portland part of the Empire Builder the sleeper is always the last car on the train. The only draw back I see is that it is a long way to the dinner. You have to go through the two Portland Coachs, Lounge , and 2 Seattle Coachs to get to the diner. I do enjoy the back window however.
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Aladdin14
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Do any of your know where I can go to get a drawing of what the whole sleeper car looks like. I'm trying visualize where its located from the outside. Is it ahead of the trucks or behind. Sure would like to see a drawing of the whole car.

Amtrak has a viewer of the individual rooms, but not the whole car.

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HopefulRailUser
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It says "Sleeper" on the outside.

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Vicki in usually sunny Southern California

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Mr. Toy
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Worth repeating a link at this stage of the conversation: Superliner diagrams
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Southwest Chief
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Here's another interesting interior layout view of a Superliner I sleeper. This is the original as delivered configuration. Note the lack of the upstairs restroom next to room #1. This comes from a book I purchased on eBay.
 -

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Matt
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smitty195
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Well I'm on-board #14 as I type this. Currently about 10 minutes north of EUG (Eugene, Oregon). I'm in the 1431 sleeper, and it is the 2nd to last car on the train. I love it back here! The horn is not blaringly loud like it is when you're up closer to the front, and you almost never smell the diesel exhaust or burning brakes. I am really enjoying this.

The one thing I can't figure out (maybe someone can help me out here): The consist, as noted previsouly, is as follows:

Locomotive
Locomotive
Baggage
Trans/Dorm
Coach
Coach
Coach
Sightseer Lounge
Diner
Parlour Car
1430 Sleeper
1431 Sleeper
1432 Sleeper

My question is this: Why is the 1432 the last sleeper? They are "backwards" from the way they number them when the sleepers are up front. In other words, the 1432 sleeper is always the forward-most sleeper, located next to the Trans/Dorm. But now that they have moved the sleepers to the rear, the 1432 has become the last car in the consist. Any reason why they are numbered in a different order now?

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Ocala Mike
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Simple; the lower the number of the sleeper, the closer it is to the diner. Some people hate to walk any further than necess

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Ocala Mike

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Ocala Mike
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ary to chow down!

(And some other people don't know how to keep from hitting the send button in error!)

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Ocala Mike

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train lady
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As I noted before we have always,with one exception, been in the rear behnd the diner. On the Capital we get car 2900 and it is always next to the diner. Likewise returning and on the CZ. I ask for the car next to the diner and it is always the first of the sleepers.It does seem logical to do it that way.Since the 1432, when in front, is the first car and the lower numbers follow it is essentially following the same system. Just a guess.
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Ocala Mike
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Right on, train lady! We had 0532 on the CZ, and had to walk through 31 and 30 to get to the food!

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Ocala Mike

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train lady
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Mike, it is not always because people don't want to walk any farther than necessary. My husband found it difficult to walk on the train for the past few years. It is a lot safer for him to be close to the diner. I feel sure this is a problem for other people as well.
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Mr. Toy
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Well, it looks like we have some confirmation of the switch. One of those rare occasions when the rumors proved to be true.

Might note that coaches, when they were on the rear, were also numbered from the center back.

Confidential to Ocala Mike: That's what they made the "Edit" button for. [Wink]

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Ocala Mike
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And I meant no disrespect, train lady. I actually was happy to have to hike back two cars on our trip because it gave me a chance to see where the nearest coffee was. It seems that our sleeping car attendant didn't bother with this particular amenity in his (our) car.
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dixiebreeze
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Surprisingly, none of the train noises bother me. I enjoy them as part of the experience. I always sleep well on a train sleeper car
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notelvis
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No one has noted yet (so I will now) that the sleeping car which travels through from Chicago to Los Angeles via San Antonio on the Eagle/Sunset is generally at the back of the train. I had a great trip in roomette 8 from El Paso to St. Louis in this car in July 2005. Being very near the back of the last car meant that I had virtually no foot traffic outside my door. I slept very well due to the absence of engine noise as well.....of course the first night was spent mostly sitting in the San Antonio station with no jostling either.

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David Pressley

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Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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train lady
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I agree David. We had a similar experience. Our attendent told us we could get off and get a cab to the River Walk but be sure to be back at a specific time ( I have forgotten what). We finally decided to stay put as we were both tired. I have often regretted the fact that we didn't follow that advice.
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Gilbert B Norman
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Observed #3(27) today with Sleepers-rear.
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notelvis
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quote:
Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:
Observed #3(27) today with Sleepers-rear.

This means a shorter walk to your car for first-class passengers boarding in Chicago.

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David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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Ocala Mike
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Sleepers not on the rear on Silver Service trains yet, if at all. Perhaps this new trend only has to do with Superliners?

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Ocala Mike

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rresor
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This discussion reminds me of an early story about Amtrak. One of the new managers saw an old Pullman Co. "Dining Car in Opposite Direction" sign and said, "That's stupid. Why don't we tell people which direction to go, rather than which direction NOT to go?" So Amtrak put up signs saying "Dining car this way". Think about it. There are only two directions you can go on a train. If you do it Amtrak's way, some poor schmoo is going to walk the entire length of the train before he figures out he's going the wrong way. As usual, the Pullman Co. had it right.

As for sleepers on head or rear, the only time I can remember being bothered by horn noise was when I was in a sleeper right behind the F40 (no baggage car) on #21 some years ago.

In pre-Amtrak days, it's interesting to note that Seaboard Air Line always put sleepers on the head end of the train, while ACL always ran them on the rear. So as usual with railroads, if there are two ways to do something, the industry will split evenly between them.

We'll see how long this Amtrak phase lasts.

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Southwest Chief
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I can add something I do not believe has been mentioned about the benefit of sleepers on the rear.

Many mention horn noise, but this is actually minimal, and I like K5LA's.

But a big issue I started to notice when the Southwest Chief changed to sleepers up front in the late 90s was diesel fumes. With 4 P42s back then the fumes were annoying while trying to sleep. I never remember the fumes when the sleepers were on the rear.

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Matt
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Gilbert B Norman
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Take note Miss Vickie--

Observed #4(26) today with Sleepers-rear AND passing 18.34 'as good as" on-time.

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palmland
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rresor - However obscure there was usually a reason why sleepers were on the front instead of in their appointed slot on the rear. In the case of the SAL I believe the reason was the SAL ordered their new Budd built all coach streamliner in 1939. It of course had a classic observation lounge for the coach passengers on the rear.

After the war, they decided to add new sleepers to it. Since the coach observation lounge had to stay on the rear to maintain the streamline appearance (rairoads worried about those things then), the new sleepers went on the front with their new sun room sleeper lounge.

As may have been mentioned, a primary reason then for sleepers on the rear was to easily add and remove sleepers at enroute points. This was frequently done, often for the business travler, who could board at 9 PM and be sound asleep when the train picked up the car and left at 1 AM. Because of cost this has become a thing of the past in the Amtrak era.

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Gilbert B Norman
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That is a plausible reason, Mr. Palmland, with respect to the Meteor, and the same practice also applied to the Star, or at least until early '60's when its Obs was fitted with the unsightly diaphram and moved to a mid-train location. This change was made so that Sleepers could be moved to the rear, added/cut en route, and a Sleeper Lounge need no longer be assigned (downgrading even on the SAL).

Otherwise, the SAL in their public timetables provided a detailed "line up' of their trains' consists. Your namesake train appeared in the December 19, 1958 timetable to have Sleepers rear.

Regarding the Obs noted above, one such is on display at the Boca Raton railroad museum located in the FEC station. Fortunately, the diaphram has been carefully removed and to such extent that an auto body shop man would let loose with his "old chestnut' of "you'd never know it was there'.

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HopefulRailUser
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GBN - #4(26) arrived CHI at 3:30, 10 minutes after scheduled arrival time. Last actual on time arrival was #4(11). Usual arrival is 1-3 hours late this month. Better times are coming in June! Rear sleepers will be a new experience for me.

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Vicki in usually sunny Southern California

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Steve O.
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I just returned from a trip on #49/5/4/59.

I had coach on 49 but the three sleepers were up front. Very rough ride on that one by the way. I didn't get much sleep.

The sleepers on #5 were in the front...sleepers on #4 were at the back (according to the attendant it was the first day of this new layout), and #59 had its lone sleeper (and an old one at that) up front behind the crew sleeper.

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Good morning America, how are ya?

44,950 Amtrak rail miles traveled since August 18, 2003.

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palmland
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I wonder if the move to the rear has any connection with the pending trial for the GrandLuxe sleepers? While you couldn't pass through from superliner to current Grandluxe cars it would keep all the sleeping car passengers at the same end of the train.

I did hear that Colorado Railcar/GrandLuxe built superliner/cruise train type cars for their use on the intended Mexico service that was not to be because of objections from KCS. I assume they will be used on other tour routes. The cars include bedroom suites under glass to view the stars! Now if those cars were available for the western trains this winter, presumably sleeping car passengers could pass from one to the other??

Mr. Norman I can attest to the Palmland sleepers being on the rear. Had the pleasure of a leisurely two night out trip in one from Washington to Ft. Lauderdale when in college. Good food and cold beer from the grill/cafe car and very fast running through the carolina low country but with lots of interesting station stops including a 3 hour one in Jax. Quite a trip.

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Southwest Chief
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quote:
Originally posted by palmland:
...I did hear that Colorado Railcar/GrandLuxe built superliner/cruise train type cars for their use on the intended Mexico service that was not to be because of objections from KCS. I assume they will be used on other tour routes. The cars include bedroom suites under glass to view the stars! Now if those cars were available for the western trains this winter, presumably sleeping car passengers could pass from one to the other??

The GrandLuxe "dome" sleepers have lower level end doors. So unfortunately they won't mate with Superliner sleeper end doors, isolating them from an Amtrak connection if placed on the rear.

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Matt
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Mr. Toy
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Of course, there's no reason why a Transition Sleeper can't be put on the rear between Superliners and lower level cars.
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Henry Kisor
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I heard a rumor the other day that Hollywood was planning a movie called "Sleepers on the Rear." Same production company that made "Snakes on a Plane."

Uh ... April 1 was some time ago, wasn't it?

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SilverStar092
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All trains I rode on my recent NOL-CHI-ABQ-CHI-WAS-ATL trip (May 9-22)were in front. However, my rail buddy rode the CZ CHI-DEN last night and the sleepers were on the rear. They still were up front on his Capitol Limited and Silver Meteor.
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Doodlebug
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I know this topic was last discussed weeks ago, but my copy of Trains magazine has arrived with some answers to the original question of why some Superliner trains now carry their sleepers on the rear.

It has to do with the sale of rooms in the transition sleeper, or crew dorm car, to passengers as a source of additional revenue on these trains.

On trains where only four roomettes in the transition sleeper are available for sale to regular passengers, service to these cars will be provided by the attendant from the adjacent sleeper. However, on the Coast Starlight, Southwest Chief and California Zephyr, on which six to eight rooms in the transition sleeper will be sold, sleepers have been moved to the rear so that a coach attendant is adjacent and can serve those passengers. During the summer there is an extra coach attendant on these trains because of increased passenger load and this procedure doesn't over-burden the sleeper attendants.

According to the magazine, this policy will be in force through the fall.

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