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Author Topic: Change in Consist Order for Southeastern Trains
notelvis
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The Carolina Association for Passenger Trains is reporting that effective yesterday (April 22) the Crescent, Silver Star, and Silver Meteor will be operating with coaches up front, sleepers on the rear.

I'm going to try to log a May 9 trip on the Silver Star to check this arrangement out for myself.

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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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Gilbert B Norman
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High time; contrary to what is held in some quarters @ 60 Mass (albeit many less quarters than was case @ Elephant Plaza), the railroads weren't all that dumb.

Considering that you are often paying Four Seasons' rate for a room with less cube than many a closet in your own home (especially if you are a McMansionite), you can do very nicely without "Listen to the jingle the rumble and the roar".

"For those tuning in late", with of course exceptions, railroads placed Sleepers on the rear.

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notelvis
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Yes, sleepers rear was the traditional orientation and one that Amtrak adopted last season with the superliner trains.

I had always assumed that one reason for this was that by having sleepers rear it meant a shorter walk from station to rail accomodation for first class passengers boarding the train in stub-end terminals.

I applaud the change remembering a sleepless roomette night about a decade ago aboard the Silver Palm from Fayetteville, NC to Tampa. The single Viewliner sleeper was directly behind the single locomotive and it was a noisy, bumpy ride.

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SilverStar092
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If this holds true, we will be in the rear car on the Crescent on the first leg of travel in late June. I always liked sleepers in back as on the Silver Star. Of course, in pre-Amtrak days many trains like the Silver Meteor and City of Miami had sleepers up front due to the presence of an observation car on the tail end.
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Gilbert B Norman
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From Marriott Courtyard Bowling Green KY--

Actually Mr Silver Star, the Seaboard was the main carrier to operate Sleepers on the head. Because the Silver Meteor was originally an all Coach train, whiuch included access to the obs, the Sleepers were an afterthought. Same applies to the City opf Miami.

The Silver Star also followed the sleepers head line-up. This was first account a Coach Obs, but by the '50's, the Obs assigned to such were operated mid-train. Because several secondary trains had been killed, the Star handled Sleepers to intermediate destinations i.e. Columbia on the rear.

An aside, public timetables and Guide listings for both SAL and ACL had a valuable resource; their train's consists were listed as the cars were lined up.

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Printman2000
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quote:
Originally posted by notelvis:
Yes, sleepers rear was the traditional orientation and one that Amtrak adopted last season with the superliner trains.

Actually, I think that was two summer ago (2007) and only on a couple of SL trains. I do not think any that were switched for that summer are still doing it. I think the biggest issue with SL trains is separating the Transition sleeper from the rest of the sleepers.
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notelvis
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quote:
Originally posted by Printman2000:
quote:
Originally posted by notelvis:
Yes, sleepers rear was the traditional orientation and one that Amtrak adopted last season with the superliner trains.

Actually, I think that was two summer ago (2007) and only on a couple of SL trains. I do not think any that were switched for that summer are still doing it. I think the biggest issue with SL trains is separating the Transition sleeper from the rest of the sleepers.
Good information to know.......clearly it's been too long since I've done a long trip......and I do have 40,000 Guest Reward Points burning a hole in my cyberfile!

--------------------
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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PullmanCo
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Actually, Amtrak ran its SL sleepers aft on 5-6 as late as 1997.

Certainly it ran sleepers aft in the Rainbow Era, when I rode 3-4 and 11-14.

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SilverStar092
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GBN: You are right about the old timetables and Official Guides. I have many of both in my collection. I was in jr. high and starting high school in the years right before Amtrak so I collected several of both in person including from friends at the Seaboard and SCL. I also wrote to many of the railroads and was sent tons of great stuff that I value today. The consist orders were one of the best things in the timetables and Guides. My memory from trips in the mid 60s onward was of sleepers always on the rear of the Star but, indeed, my 1955 Official Guide lists them up front as you state. In the 1960s car R-360 ran Miami to Richmond, usually a 10-6 car, and we rode that a few times on trips to Virginia. Interestingly, in 1966 an 11 DBR sleeper ran NY to St. Pete on the Meteor and another NY-Miami on the Star. SAL only had 6 of those car types and needed 7 to cover these two car lines. The Official Guide lists dates (every 4th day) when another car type substituted. The railroads knew how to do things in those days!
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Gilbert B Norman
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From Marriott Courtyard Roswell GA--

I saw, as distinct from observed, #20(25) at ATL while passing on I-85. While staying alive in the land of "world's worst drivers" (what dimestore do these clowns get their licenses at?) comes first, I did note the absence of Sleepers on the head.

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SilverStar092
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Thanks for the confirmation. Looks like you are heading southward again, Mr. Norman. I concur about ATL drivers...terrible!
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gp35
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I thought coach was in the back to limit the number of injuries if there was a bad wreck.
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PullmanCo
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Uhhhh. No.

It was simply an operating practice of the past 10 years or so.

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Gilbert B Norman
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From Marriott Courtyard Roswell GA (home tomorrow)

Morbidly, Mr. GP-35, I have held same in the past; you could well be on the mark.

Also in view of that my trip was over essentially when I saw #20(25)last evening, while returning from Dinner with friends, including their two precious Labradors, in Newnan (on the A℘ route of the REAL Crescent i.e. all-Pullman) to this hotel (convenient to a Friday Dinner in Sandy Springs and Breakfast with Mr. Haithcoat yesterday), I guess an itinerary of ATL-20(25)-WAS-29(26)-CHI would have won the race, but then it is my choice to avoid driving at night which means that an Atlanta to 18.34 drive gets broken. "Once upon a time", I thought nothing of driving it non-stop, but then that was "once upon a time".

BTW, as Mr. Haithcoat will also concur, there is presently a "good" Pine Tree in this hotel's parking lot - a FELLED Pine Tree!!!

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bill haithcoat
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Yes, it must have made Mr. Norman's day when he first saw that felled pine tree!!

We have had quite a few storms recently.

But at least he had also seen a "good" pine this trip also. That is, a pine sleeper in Bowling Green.

I am glad he got a glimpse of the Crescent. also.

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bill haithcoat

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gp35
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quote:
Originally posted by PullmanCo:
Uhhhh. No.

It was simply an operating practice of the past 10 years or so.

Imagine had coaches been up front in the City of New Orleans crash a few years ago. Or the Sunset crash in Alabama. So I may not be right, but it makes sense.
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RRRICH
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I've always heard that the railroads (pre-AMTRAK)put sleepers in the rear of the consist for a few reasons:

1) so the noise of the horn wouldn't be as bothersome to the first class passengers;

2) so the first class pasengers wouldn't have to put up with coach passengers walking past their room constantly on their way to the diner;

3) in the OLD OLD days, sleepers were in the rear to minimize the amount of cinders and smoke which would emanate from the old steam engines.

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Joe Urda
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Sleepers in the rear. That's great news. Our trip from Phl to Atl and back was great with one exception. The noise of the horn. Never did count them, but there has to be several hundred crossing on the Crescent route and everyone of them gets at least 4 blast.

The wife slept through it all, but me being a lite sleeper was aware of every crossing.

Next trip sounds like it will be much quieter.

Ciao for now.

Joe

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Gilbert B Norman
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From MP 18.34

Oh well, I guess the score is presently Marketing (passenger comfort)1, Legal (potential liability) 0.

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George Harris
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quote:
Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:
From MP 18.34

Oh well, I guess the score is presently Marketing (passenger comfort)1, Legal (potential liability) 0.

Maybe not. Legal might have considered sleepers on the rear a good idea because, in times past these would be the people most likely to mount the lawsuits, and the liability could be shared with or foisted off on the Pullman Company instead of being carried only by the railroad.
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Gilbert B Norman
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Here are photos on the Corridor that I beieve are of the Crescent 20 (25) I saw passing Peachtree Sta on I-85:

http://kaback9.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=1582220

http://kaback9.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=1582221

The photographer, Brandon Kaback, is a Member @ Railroad Net.

Regarding Mr. Harris' comment, The Pullman Company (a railroad owned joint facility 1947-1968) had a safety record any airline would envy (and none can argue that airlines are mighty darned safe - just not much fun is an entirely different issue). Their last recorded fatality was during 1951.

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amtrak92
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The sleeping cars being at the end of the train will also, make it a way less trafficked by crew and passengers, if your car is on or near the end.
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notelvis
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quote:
Originally posted by amtrak92:
The sleeping cars being at the end of the train will also, make it a way less trafficked by crew and passengers, if your car is on or near the end.

I once made a trip in the 422 sleeper from Los Angeles to St. Louis (rear of train 2 followed by rear of train 22) in the number 10 roomette. The rear door of the train was just a couple of steps from my door for three nights and for the entire trip there was virtually no foot traffic outside my room. Just the new conductor coming by to eyeball things once after each crew change and a railfan here and there to check out where we had been.

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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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palmland
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Thanks for the photos, GBN - and Mr.Kaback. I was concerned that Amtrak would find some misguided reason to stick the baggage car behind the sleeper.

To add to RRRich's list of pre-Amtrak reasons for sleepers on the rear:

-A shorter walk for sleeping car passengers when boarding at stub end terminals - like New Orleans for the Crescent.
-Facilitate switching at intermediate terminals where sleepers were often set out or picked up.

On this last point - I wonder if Amtrak operations could manage to do this where a switcher is already on duty. For instance, at Washington, what if that third sleeper in Florida service ran Washington to Miami. Might improve utilization so that one less sleeper would be required and could be used elsewhere.

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RRRICH
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I went to AMTRAK-WPK this AM to get some new timetables, and got there as southbound #91 came through (only about 20 minutes late) -- sure enough, the 2 Viewliner sleepers were on the rear of the train, directly behind the diner.

Are all LD's now consisting sleepers on the rear again? Or is this limited to Silver Service/SE trains?

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Gilbert B Norman
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Appears the consist order is limited to the single level trains, Mr. Rich.

Apparently, Amtrak and the ASWC agreed that the revenue space in the T-Dorm would be handled by the Attendant assigned to the head Sleeper. While that assignment calls for a higher rate of pay, it obviously results in savings over the previous arrangement where, in exchange for assigning not less than two Coach Attendants, one such would also handle revenue space in the T-Dorm.

I consider this Agreement "groundbreaking" as one Attendant per Sleeper had been sacrosanct since days of A. Philip Randolph. Obviously, in view of such, the superliner Sleepers will remain on the head.

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George Harris
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quote:
Originally posted by palmland:-A shorter walk for sleeping car passengers when boarding at stub end terminals - like New Orleans for the Crescent.
-Facilitate switching at intermediate terminals where sleepers were often set out or picked up.

On this last point - I wonder if Amtrak operations could manage to do this where a switcher is already on duty. For instance, at Washington, what if that third sleeper in Florida service ran Washington to Miami. Might improve utilization so that one less sleeper would be required and could be used elsewhere.[/QB]

Or only Washington to Jacksonville. Fir the Crescent, pull of a sleeper or two at Atlanta, That one was done for years.

As to the convenience: For years Memphis Central Station was set up so that Frisco's Kansas City Florida Special used the through track nearset the station, normally for the ICRR through trains. The train was spotted with the sleeper positioned at the end of the concourse so that sleeper passengers had no length of platform to walk, at all. The positioining was even more convenient than that of the Panama Limited's drop off sleeper which was spotted on the end of the first stub track next to the ICRR through tracks.

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SouthernServesTheSouth
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Just completed my CVS to SIM round trip train ride and the Southwest Chief's sleepers are at the front. The Cardinal's sleeper was on the rear.
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Steve O.
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I took 19 out of ATL a couple of weeks back on the first day that particular trainset was running with sleepers on the rear, and the attendant told me that none of the on-board staff liked the layout.

Also of note, she even told me that there were 3 sleeper passengers who were supposed to de-train in Gainesville, but the Conductor didn't call for a second station stop for the rear cars...so those folks got a free ride to ATL, and a van ride back to Gainesville at the Conductors expense.

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Good morning America, how are ya?

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

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