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Author Topic: Bad News
Jerome Nicholson
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Trains' newswire reports that Amtrak is permanently retiring all of its Pacific Parlour Cars fron the Coast Starlight.
Since I am not a subscriber, I can't access the whole article, so I cant give any details.
I only know it's a sad day, though one we had to know was coming.

Posts: 470 | From: Richmond VA USA | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
yukon11
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I think this is a huge mistake. The PPC, in my opinion, has contributed greatly to the popularity of the Coast Starlight. I was planning a trip to Oregon, on the Starlight, for July. Now, I probably won't go unless I'm absolutely sure I can get all meals delivered to my sleeping compartment.

Richard

Posts: 1790 | From: Santa Rosa | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
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I'm with you, Richard.

On my 2016 Auto-Train journey, all they could offer me was a 9P seating. Since there is no longer "comp" wine offered, I made sure I was "prepared" before boarding with my own "grape juice".

9PM is a "little too late" for this 76yo to have Dinner which is after his normal bedtime. The Attendant was happy to help, for which the "paper handshake" recognized his extra service. Of course it helped that I was in Bedroom A in the car right behind the Diner.

As for the Parlour, which I've never been near, it is a "5 of a kind" piece of equipment supporting a "one of a kind" service. Amtrak seeks to "standardize" it's "Amtrak America", better known as LD's, and offering something inspired by a now retired railfan, is just not part of a standard model.

Surprised it lasted as long as it did.

Posts: 9388 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
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Unfortunately for many of us, Anderson appears to be running Amtrak as a business that reduces expenses by standardization and efficiencies that remove some of the goodies. But, I suspect most of the traveling public would be more than satisfied with consistent on board service, reliable and clean equipment, and reasonably close to on time operation.

I’m not sure how much he can do about the last, but he will have an impact on the others. In the long run this will do more to increase revenues than 5 PPC cars. My suggestion for the CS would be to modify a portion of the coach used for business class passengers to provide a small lounge area for sleeper passengers. Maybe even install those great upholstered swivel chairs from the PPC!

On my trip this week on the Palmetto, the crew was efficient, if not particularly friiendly. And, there has got to be a way to upgrade the quality of the cafe car food. Northbound the train was about 30 min late due to waiting on a couple freights. Southbound we were on time at all stations. The coaches had not been upgraded yet - and it was badly needed.

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Jerome Nicholson
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This makes me think of something else: Amtrak's oldest piece of equipment is now it's remaining dome car ( if it wasn't already). Has it done it's last miles on the ex D&H line?
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Vincent206
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I have mixed emotions about the PPCs. They were unique and a pleasant added perk for sleeper passengers, but to me, they also felt kind of shabby and worn out. On my trips I enjoyed having an uncrowded place to sit and watch the scenery but other than attending one wine/cheese tasting I never used the other features of the car. I always ate in the diner, the movies never worked, the espresso machine was out of service but there always was a comfortable chair to sit in and watch the mountains roll by.

When Amtrak orders new bi-level LD equipment it would be nice to have a split crew dorm/sleeper lounge that could be placed on the end of all the western trains. But I think standardization will be the key word in future train consists.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Here's the "Service Alert".

Haftaluv the "fleet modernization" reference.

Posts: 9388 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
yukon11
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From the Jim Loomis website:

https://is.gd/YYKv8H

Quote: "And that begs the question, if we want it, and we’re paying for it, why are they taking it away?"

Richard

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palmland
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Richard,
As we all know from 'fake news', you can find data to support whatever you're trying to prove. I checked a Saturday, March 17. A roomette for the same cities he uses is: CS $272, the CZ is $671.

The PPC cars are part of a very small fleet of 5 cars requiring parts to be manufactured. The VIA fleet has probably been better maintained and is a very large fleet with, I suspect, a good inventory of parts built up over the years including cars no longer in service.

Personally I would rather see Amtrak use some of that high PPC maintenance expense to convert SSL or even CCC into a suitable replacement. Unfortunately I suspect we will have to live with just one SSL like the other LD trains.

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yukon11
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Mr. Palmland: Yes, I agree with your point regarding the small fleet of PPC cars. Maybe Amtrak can purchase some VIA cars [Confused]

I have to think there must be some way to convert existing Amtrak cars for parlor car use. I like your suggestion to convert some space, in the business class section, to provide a small lounge area. However, BC seating is limited and I don't know how easy it would be to provide a lounge area. Another website suggests adding refurbished and rebuilt "Cross Country Cafe" diner-lounge cars for PPC replacement.

I went to the Amtrak site to see the cost of a roomette from Sacramento to Denver, then from Sacramento to Seattle. The figures (for late July) are fairly similar; $427 for SAC TO SEA and $436 for SAC TO DENV.

By the way, I guess direction and travel date (and availability?) must significantly affect cost. For July 21, SAC to SEA was $427 but SEA to SAC was $272 for a roomette.

Richard

PS -I'm not sure how appropriate it is to list Amtrak prices on the forum. If not appropriate (please advise, Laurie) I will delete the actual price figures.

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RRRICH
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On my 1998 trip, I took the CS from SEA to MTZ, I believe. The first afternoon, the PPC was so unbearably hot that no one was using it, and the wine party was even moved to the diner, I believe. Since I could barely stand the heat in the PPC, I moved to the SSL, but the SSL was so crowded and noisy with rowdy passengers, that I returned to the very very hot PPC, so at least I could enjoy the tranquility of the ride and the scenery in peace and quiet. (the following morning, the A/C in the PPC had been fixed).

Losing the PPC is a very bad mistake, and I wouldn't be surprised if ridership on the CS were to drop significantly now.

Posts: 2427 | From: Grayling, MI | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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