On average, we take the Empire Builder once a month between Tomah, WI and Glenview, IL to visit my elderly parents.
Going east we have taken coach, as much of the lunch options are gone by the time we get on... and if the train is more than 90 minutes late we get no lunch.
Going west, we will "treat" ourselves and get a sleeper... as we get a steak dinner and real meal service now in the dining car.
We have been able to get a roomette from Chicago to Tomah for around $241 for the two of us.
I figure prices are just going to go up this summer and fall with gas prices going up, so we hopped on and booked our reservations every month through October.
I noticed a weird change after September 1st to reservations when going through and booking this morning.
Roomette prices dramatically jumped ($241 to $346) after September 1st. However, I did notice some lower prices on "family bedrooms", so I booked us in there whenever it was lower.
Then, I went back to see what the next "price bucket" might be on a family bedroom -- and there was NONE.
Did some more investigating and it seems like there is just 1 family bedroom on the #7 (Seattle section) and 1 family bedroom on #27 (Portland section) available when no one has booked yet.
This leads me to believe Amtrak's long-term plan is just to run one sleeper to Portland (which has normally been the case), but now just one bedroom to Seattle as well (normally it was 2 sleepers or sometimes 2 sleepers plus some rooms in the transition/crew sleeper).
Sad. Expect to pay a lot more for roomettes and such on the Empire Builder!
Gilbert B Norman Member # 1541
Mr. Tabern. this is the tactic used by railroads when they wished to drive passenger business away.
During the later '50's when both Central and Pennsy decided they wanted out, substantial price hikes were part of the game plan.
For example, during Summer'58 the price NY to Chicago in a Roomette on either road was $59. That suddenly became $81 or a 37.5% increase.
Anyone handy with an inflation adjustor can calculate how much in today's prices, and decide if Amtrak is into the same predatory pricing business.