- Apr 28, 2020
- Reaction score
Hmm, lie-flats as the 21st century descendant of the Slumbercoach. Even if, as is probably likely, enough seats could be stuffed in, I'm having trouble envisioning the market. Anything longer than the core NEC runs (or, really, the core Acela runs) is well into territory where a plane is going to be faster, and anything overnight a lie-flat's inferior to the dedicated sleepers. I do wonder about the Amfleet club cars that run as 2-1 business class on some of the mid-distance trains off the corridor; might be able to market a more-premium quasi-sleeper on some of those runs. 66/67, incidentally, was one of the regular users of those cars (I don't know if that was always the case, but until they were pulled from the schedule a few months back they were running with club cars, and I distinctly recall one on my one trip on 67, incidentally exactly nineteen years ago.) I thought 66/67 (like the independent Silver Meteor) got pulled for Covid-related staffing shortages, though I don't know if that's turned into an Arborway-style "temporarily suspended" meaning gone forever or not.Honestly you're probably right as far as the Acela / NEC is concerned. (And the 66/67 no longer appears to be part of the NEC schedule) Half the appeal to me is the fact that you could probably do it within standard passenger coaches, without needing to touch the dedicated sleeper fleet. (Though expanded sleeper capacity would have the same functional result, I feel that a roomette is less "short ride" friendly, and isn't well set up for a singleton.) The Acela may not be the best service for it, but once the National venture fleet comes along, refitting some of the amfleets could give the longer corridor services / shorter LD trains a sleeper / premium option where one doesn't currently exist, such as the Adirondack or Niagara Empire services, or the VA regionals. Apparently Breeze is looking at lieflats for the 220, so it's probably possible. And unlike planes, trains are relatively length unconstrained, given 14 car regionals are a thing.
Width, probably. A Viewliner roomette is 6'8", and the car's only 10'6" or thereabouts. You'd only be able to fit a notional 13 rooms of equivalent dimensions, so take your pick of restrooms, shower, or car attendant's room, two of the three has to go or you're down a roomette on net. (I know the V1s didn't have dedicated restrooms, but even in that case one of the shower or the attendant's room has to go.) For whatever reason, the one decent night's sleep I ever got on an Amtrak sleeper was the only one in a roomette.As an additional aside, why are Amtrak roomettes longitudally oriented anyways? Every international sleeper I've been on had them transversely, and so are the Amtrak Bedrooms.