Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak sightseer lounge’

Lounges to Remain Absent from 2 Trains

May 24, 2021

Sightseer Lounge cars won’t be returning to two long distance trains when they resume daily operation.

The Rail Passengers Association reported on its website that it has been told by Amtrak that the absence of the popular cars from the Capitol Limited and Texas Eagle is temporary.

“While temporary, we do not yet have a defined timeline for increasing Sightseer Lounge availability, and have placed the other five Western [long distance] routes at a higher priority for deploying these popular cars,” said Larry Chestler, Amtrak’s vice president of the Long-Distance business unit. “We also are maintaining the Sightseer Lounge on the City of New Orleans due to our long-standing axle count requirements in Illinois.”

That means the Capitol Limited and Texas Eagle will will continue to operate with a single food-service car.

Chestler said Amtrak has a shortage of the lounge cars due to coronavirus contingencies. He said the cars will be restored once it’s possible to do so.

The Capitol Limited is scheduled to return to daily operation on May 31 while the Texas Eagle will resume daily operation today (May 24).

In a related development, Amtrak expects to resume full-service dining aboard Western long distance trains as early as June. Last May it switched to the contemporary dining model as a response to COVID-19 pandemic.

The passenger carrier is recalling furloughed workers and getting them qualified.

RPA said it was told that once traditional dining returns to the Western trains, Amtrak will begin work on “improvements to dining services on other [long-distance] routes, including the Eagle.”

Tags: Amtrak onboard service, Amtrak Sightseer Lounge, Amtrak’s Capitol Limited, Amtrak’s Texas Eagle, Capitol Limited, COVID-19 pandemic, dining aboard Amtrak

Looking Down on a Sightseer Lounge

April 9, 2021

On Amtrak trains that are assigned Superliner equipment, the Sightseer lounge is a popular place to hang out and view the passing scenery.

It doesn’t offer the same perspective as a dome car but with its large windows that extend into the ceiling you can still see quite a bit.

Shown is the Sightseer lounge on the westbound Capitol Limited as it sits in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, making its station stop.

I wondered if anyone in the lounge noticed me photographing their train.

Since Nos. 29 and 30 went to tri-weekly operation in October 2020, the Capitol has been running without a Sightseer lounge. Will it be restored for summer operation?

Cooling Their Heels

May 10, 2020

A gaggle of American Superliners sit in the coach yard outside Chicago Union Station awaiting service, repairs or the call to return to the road.

This image was made from aboard the outbound Illini as it was backing out of the station en route to Carbondale, Illinois, on June 2, 2012.

Did Amtrak Ever Use This Serving Area

January 28, 2020

I made this image of the upper level of an Amtrak Superliner Sightseer lounge while riding aboard the Capitol Limited from Cleveland to Chicago on May 31, 2012.

It got me to wondering if Amtrak has ever used the upper serving area of a Sightseer lounge.

I’ve never seen anyone working this area in a Sightseer lounge car. It appears that the purpose of this serving station is to provide beverages.

I asked a friend who once worked as a lounge car attendant for Amtrak if he knew whether this serving station had ever been used.

He primarily worked Amfleet cars in the Northeast Corridor, but had made a few runs aboard Nos. 29 and 30 between Chicago and Washington.

He could not recall this serving area being used and suggested that was  because that would mean paying two attendants to work the lounge car.

Perhaps in the early years of the use of Superliners aboard Amtrak this area was used. Yet the Superliner equipment began arriving at a time when Amtrak was being squeezed financially.

Perhaps its a case of it seemed like a good idea at the time the car was designed but in practice the carrier decided it didn’t need to use this area.

Yet the fact that a modern soap dispenser is present suggests that maybe, yes, this area is used at times. I’ve just never seen it done.

Staying Cool in the Sightseer Lounge

May 5, 2017

Outside the temperature is going to be an unseasonably 90 plus degrees in North Dakota. But inside the Sightseer Lounge of Amtrak’s westbound Empire Builder, the passengers are staying cool.

There is hardly a seat to be found as the train rolls west of Minot.  When this image was made in May 2014, the oil boom was at its peak and BNSF was laying new tracks as fast as it could.

Oil is still pumped here, but the amount of it moving by rail has fallen off.

Lounging Aboard the Capitol Limited

December 29, 2016

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It’s morning in Indiana. Some passengers aboard the westbound Capitol Limited have made their way to the lounge car to get a better view of the passing countryside.

Although No. 29 has a full-service dining car, many Amtrak coach passengers don’t patronize it. They either bring something to eat with them or grab something in the cafe car.

Often that might be a cup of coffee and a muffin. Then it is back upstairs to find a table or empty seat, or return to their coach.

Then again, if the train is on time into Chicago Union Station, there is a McDonald’s there and it will still be serving breakfast.

But the view is better from the Sightseer Lounge while you eat.