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Old 06-12-2014, 08:36 PM
 
Location: Vancouver
12,697 posts, read 8,771,886 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BugsyPal View Post
Was watching one of those old "Thin Man" films on television the other day with Myrna Loy and William Powell.

In the opening sequence the ritzy and wealthy Nick and Nora Charles were arriving in CA from NYC onboard one of the high class trains of the period. Scene opens with the couple in their suite preparing to disembark and as Mrs. Charles is packing she is in full flow about " how are you supposed to keep the mystery in a marriage after spending several days travelling like this"... she groans out loud.

That my friends is why long distance train travel with overnight cars began to lose its luster for many who could afford other ways to travel when they came about.

Imagine being cooped up for three, four , five or more days on a train as it made it's way from NYC to San Francisco, or Chicago to Texas, Or New Orleans to Ohio, and so forth. Remember there were no televisions, lap tops, tablets, cell phones or any of today's media/tech mod cons. Looking out the window at the "view" gets old after awhile. So you either chatted with fellow travelers, knitted, played endless rounds of cards, read a book and other busy work to keep occupied.

For the businessman where time is money spending endless days on the rails was not only unproductive but could cost business. While one guy was taking the train from say LA to Seattle, another flew there and not only arrived sooner but could close the deal before the former even set foot in the place.
Yes, but people of that era did not miss things that weren't invented yet. Even with all the toys we have today, certain people still get bored.

There were bar cars and dining cars, so eating and drinking also became much more important to pass the time.
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Old 06-12-2014, 10:26 PM
 
47,573 posts, read 60,679,370 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adi from the Brunswicks View Post
I wonder why sleeper train services are obsolete in the US. On busy routes, why doesn't Amtrak run overnight sleeper trains to ferry people. For example, wouldn't it be nice if one could board Amtrak in the evening, enjoy a comfortable night sleep, and arrive at my destination the next day morning. These service could be used in routes like Boston-DC, NYC-Montreal, Raleigh-Atlanta, San Fransisco-LA, or any other pair of cities within 400 miles of each other which people frequently travel between. Why has Amtrak decided not to start any new sleeper train services in recent times, when it has the potential to improve ridership on busy routes and increase revenue.
That would be so cool.

Train travel could be a lot more convenient than airplane travel since train stations can be -- and sometimes are -- located near bus stations so you can mix and match -- buses can connect to smaller towns where the trains don't go.

Now you can get on a bus in the evening and be 600 miles away by the morning, but a train with cheap bunks would be easier for sleeping.
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Old 06-12-2014, 10:30 PM
 
20,804 posts, read 13,806,020 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natnasci View Post
Yes, but people of that era did not miss things that weren't invented yet. Even with all the toys we have today, certain people still get bored.

There were bar cars and dining cars, so eating and drinking also became much more important to pass the time.
Booze and food were not being *given* away by RRs back then, and unless one was a glutton and or alcoholic there is only so much of either that can be consumed. Also remember those services would not have been 24/7 during a long haul train ride. Staff needed to rest as well, not to mention previous meals had to be cleared away, place cleaned up, dishes washed, etc... and also whatever meal was next had to be prepared.

Mrs. Charles was complaining about being in close quarters with her husband for the several days it took to get from NY to CA. Air travel was available in the 1930's, but many wealthy and or rich (who were pretty much the only persons who could afford such travel) in numbers chose to travel by rail. It may have been slower but trains got you to your destination alive; that was something not all air flights could claim.

Am not going to go into a long debate with you over this; the information is out there for you to research. As the automobile and air travel presented new and formidable competition rail travel especially sleeper car, overnight, long haul service declined to the point RRs couldn't dump the service fast enough.

The last great sleeper service offered by an American RR was the California Zephyr which ran from 1950 until 1983. Even that service was *NOT* designed and or offered as fast or trying to steal thunder from say air travel. It was what it was; a "vacation" of sorts on the rails. The train meandered through some of the most beautiful scenery of the American middle and west. Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 06-12-2014, 11:28 PM
 
Location: Oceania
8,623 posts, read 6,259,709 times
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The first problem with rail travel in the USA is AMTRAK is owned by the US government. Anything the government touches turns to s##t.
The government has been regulating railroads since the late 19th century.

I can't get over how some people can't spend more than 8 hours to travel 3000 miles. AT one time people looked forward to the voyage as well as the destination on ships, trains and in their cars as that was part of 'getting away' from it all. Planes trips are generally under 3 hours in length, and hectic before, during and after the entire ordeal. Those 3 hours on a plane can easily turn into 10 hours from home to destination; if you're lucky. Most people tune out with iPods or books or other stuff. It's almost as if it is a solitary experience save for the few families with 3 toddlers that demand full time attention and aren't seated near each other.

The reason RR travel is so expensive is because government runs it and lobbyists tell then how to run it down. Planes can't carry as much freight as trains but they can move more passengers at higher rates of speed. The airline companies have deep pockets and lobby for regulations to hold back RR. They did to the point RR companies shut down starting in the 60s. Government started AMTRAK in 1971 and it is what it is today. It is never profitable but the government does nothing to make a profit. The government can waste all of the money they can possibly get away with but never have anything to show for it at the end of the fiscal year. It can buy cars, planes tanks, ships and administrative junk - huge salaries - but can government show actual product or profit?
Such it is with RR.
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Old 06-12-2014, 11:45 PM
 
Location: Vancouver
12,697 posts, read 8,771,886 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BugsyPal View Post
Booze and food were not being *given* away by RRs back then, and unless one was a glutton and or alcoholic there is only so much of either that can be consumed. Also remember those services would not have been 24/7 during a long haul train ride. Staff needed to rest as well, not to mention previous meals had to be cleared away, place cleaned up, dishes washed, etc... and also whatever meal was next had to be prepared.

Mrs. Charles was complaining about being in close quarters with her husband for the several days it took to get from NY to CA. Air travel was available in the 1930's, but many wealthy and or rich (who were pretty much the only persons who could afford such travel) in numbers chose to travel by rail. It may have been slower but trains got you to your destination alive; that was something not all air flights could claim.

Am not going to go into a long debate with you over this; the information is out there for you to research. As the automobile and air travel presented new and formidable competition rail travel especially sleeper car, overnight, long haul service declined to the point RRs couldn't dump the service fast enough.

The last great sleeper service offered by an American RR was the California Zephyr which ran from 1950 until 1983. Even that service was *NOT* designed and or offered as fast or trying to steal thunder from say air travel. It was what it was; a "vacation" of sorts on the rails. The train meandered through some of the most beautiful scenery of the American middle and west. Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
There is nothing to debate. I worked on Canada's Via Rail as a dining car waiter, a bartender and a porter. I have a pretty good idea what people do on long haul train rides. I worked there for 2 years starting in 1980, before wi-fi, TV on trains, and even showers on trains.
The cars were mainly US made BUD cars, renovated, but configured much as they were when they were built.

Just like on a cruise ship, a certain rhythm of life develops on the train as we crossed the country. That rhythm was centred on meals and and the bar for some. The meals back then were not included but people still lined up for sittings and the bars were always full. People read, play games ( we used to have bingo in the dining car ) and basically amused themselves. It really was no different than the era in which that movie you saw took place…but come on…it's ONLY a movie.

I'm not sure why you think I need a history lesson on modes of travel and the history of flight vs trains? My statement stands

Last edited by Natnasci; 06-12-2014 at 11:58 PM..
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Old 06-12-2014, 11:49 PM
 
35,108 posts, read 40,296,531 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adi from the Brunswicks View Post
I wonder why sleeper train services are obsolete in the US. On busy routes, why doesn't Amtrak run overnight sleeper trains to ferry people. For example, wouldn't it be nice if one could board Amtrak in the evening, enjoy a comfortable night sleep, and arrive at my destination the next day morning. These service could be used in routes like Boston-DC, NYC-Montreal, Raleigh-Atlanta, San Fransisco-LA, or any other pair of cities within 400 miles of each other which people frequently travel between. Why has Amtrak decided not to start any new sleeper train services in recent times, when it has the potential to improve ridership on busy routes and increase revenue.
Basically because it is not cost effective when it comes to profits.
Many people prefer to fly or drive because of the amount of time it takes to travel by train with all the stops and lay overs that are required.
One example, my Mother lives a 5 hour drive from us, if she would take the train it would take her 18+ hours including a 7 hour layover. It is quicker and less expensive to drive the 5 hours.
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Old 06-12-2014, 11:54 PM
 
4,023 posts, read 3,269,372 times
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Because Amtrak service is pretty mediocre. The trains are really dated and look like they haven't been upgraded since 1971 when Amtrak was started. Even back then they looked dated. The seating areas are very basic and not appealing at all. There's nothing glamorous or special about riding on Amtrak. Just a means to get from point A to point B, like a Greyhound on rails. If I can barely tolerate a 3 or 4 hour day trip on an Amtrak train why would I want to sleep in one overnight?

Last edited by cisco kid; 06-13-2014 at 12:07 AM..
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Old 06-13-2014, 07:25 AM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
4,896 posts, read 7,664,847 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Eurostar is a London to France /Belgium train service.



A plane has tighter seating quarters than a long-distance train. I did a search, Florence to Paris is $159 for a 16 hour ride, might not be the best deal. One transfer is involved, there might be another route that's better.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
At least with Google maps, 16 hours 20 minutes is the best I'm seeing. I'm not really digging into that much. Transfers add a lot of time and hassle. Once again, I'd much rather fly from Florence to Paris than deal with five transfers. I'm sure the transfers are slowing things down as opposed to Sacramento/Seattle which is just a straight shot with not that many stops. Again, even without a sleeper which is way more expensive (and totally pointless with five transfers), $159 is barely less expensive. Looks like $359 for a round-trip flight.

Flying is definitely the way to go.
On RailEurope's website, I'm currently looking at 4 options for Florence to Paris, and all are under 16 hours. All have one transfer in Milan. (that's new, as it was a straight shot, when I made the trip) The overnight route I'm talking about is one of the longer ones, at 12h 30m. (There is a cheaper 10h 22m option, but it's during the afternoon/evening) Leave Florence at 9pm, and arrive in Paris at 9:30 am. I don't know what "best" vs. "flexible" means with regard to first and second class, but "best second class" is $220, "best first class" is $293, and "flexible first class" is a pricey $469.

I don't mean to dwell on this, but I think this is a good example of how overnight trains can work, and be competitive with the cost of flying & additional night in a hotel.
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Old 06-13-2014, 08:29 AM
 
1,915 posts, read 2,052,634 times
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Time is money. Passenger rail has neither the speed of airlines, nor the door-to-door convenience of road transport.
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Old 06-13-2014, 08:47 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,992 posts, read 42,026,386 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BugsyPal View Post
Imagine being cooped up for three, four , five or more days on a train as it made it's way from NYC to San Francisco, or Chicago to Texas, Or New Orleans to Ohio, and so forth. Remember there were no televisions, lap tops, tablets, cell phones or any of today's media/tech mod cons. Looking out the window at the "view" gets old after awhile. So you either chatted with fellow travelers, knitted, played endless rounds of cards, read a book and other busy work to keep occupied.
Why would I need to imagine. Done that. Well, I had a cell phone with sluggish internet, but didn't use it except for sending some e-mails. I like seeing the view much of the time. I also had several books with me that were good reads, met a number of people and did talk a bit.
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