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Location of First/Business class cars

Location of First/Business class cars

Old Jul 2, 12, 12:53 pm
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Location of First/Business class cars

Is there a system for placement of the first class car on Acela trains and the business class car on NE regionals?

Last edited by IFlyHarder; Jul 2, 12 at 1:04 pm
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Old Jul 2, 12, 4:36 pm
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Always at the end - not sure how they determine which end.
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Old Jul 2, 12, 5:20 pm
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Location of First/Business class cars

Thanks. I'm wondering if there is a system for determining which end. I always find myself completely clueless as I go to the platform.
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Old Jul 2, 12, 9:36 pm
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On Acela, there is simply no way to know which end the FC car will be on. There is no set pattern. If you're in one of the First Class lounges, they usually tell you which end, except for DC where it probably doesn't really matter anyhow as you'll quickly find out when you get to the platform.

Also at most stations, the overhead variable message signs do indicate where to stand for the FC car and even the quiet car.

For business class on a regional, it is always the same. Although at the moment I can't recall if the BC car is always at the end of the train or next to the engine.
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Old Jul 2, 12, 9:39 pm
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Originally Posted by AlanB View Post
For business class on a regional, it is always the same. Although at the moment I can't recall if the BC car is always at the end of the train or next to the engine.
I've taken BC Regional exactly once, and it was the first car.
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Old Jul 2, 12, 9:48 pm
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Originally Posted by nerd View Post
I've taken BC Regional exactly once, and it was the first car.
I've found it to be more consistently at the front on Regionals as opposed to Acela.
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Old Jul 2, 12, 11:44 pm
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The Regionals should always be consistent, as those trains have to be physically turned around using either a wye track or a loop track. I just don't ride them very often, so I couldn't recall if BC was always right behind the engine or not. Or maybe it was also the influence of the wine with dinner.

Acela is a different situation, as that train can be operated from either end. In Boston & DC, they basically just clean it and then change ends for the next run. However, in NY, all Acela's that terminate there, run out to Sunnyside yard and go around the loop track to the yard. It's for that reason that Amtrak cannot consistently have the FC car on the same end.
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Old Jul 4, 12, 4:51 pm
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When I board in PVD, I always ask at the ticket counter. They are normally able to look it up and let me know if FC is going to be at the front or the back of the train.
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Old Jul 4, 12, 5:45 pm
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Yes, the location of the First Class car is entered into the computer at the originating station and any agent worth their salt can look that information up.

Of course one also must rely on the originating station to enter the correct location. I've had it happen twice where they got it wrong. The first time was about 2 years ago out of Boston, and I didn't care since I boarded in Boston. But at every stop down the line, people were positioned at the wrong end and either we had to wait for them to run down the platform or for the crew to get them onboard and then have them walk through the train.

The second time was just a month ago, when I boarded at Philly on NTD. We were all standing at the head end as that was where both the lounge and the usher in the main station had directed people. Of course as the train rounded the curve just south of the station, I saw that the FC car was on the rear and started the long walk to the other end of the platform.
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Old Jul 5, 12, 10:04 am
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Originally Posted by AlanB View Post
The Regionals should always be consistent, as those trains have to be physically turned around using either a wye track or a loop track.
They're also always consistently at the front because the BC car has to be positioned such that coach passengers don't have to walk thru the BC car to get to the cafe car - usually it's

1) engine
2) BC
3) quiet car
4) regular coach
5) cafe car
6 onwards) rest of coach cars
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Old Jul 5, 12, 12:03 pm
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Originally Posted by abefroman329 View Post
They're also always consistently at the front because the BC car has to be positioned such that coach passengers don't have to walk thru the BC car to get to the cafe car - usually it's

1) engine
2) BC
3) quiet car
4) regular coach
5) cafe car
6 onwards) rest of coach cars
Well as long as the BC car is either at the front or rear, coach passengers would never have to walk through the BC car to reach the cafe car.
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Old Jul 5, 12, 1:03 pm
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FWIW, on the Pacific Surfliner corridor the Business Class car almost always follows the engine. I believe the "last" car is a coach configured with a cab for push-pull operation.

Surfliners don't have an official Quiet Car (not sure why, really), but there's almost always an Superliner car second to last in a Surfliner consist, and with the Superliners' darker colors, subtler lighting, and (IMHO) more comfortable seating, I've found that it serves as the defacto Quiet Car.
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Old Jul 5, 12, 7:33 pm
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Originally Posted by Alika View Post
Surfliners don't have an official Quiet Car (not sure why, really), but there's almost always an Superliner car second to last in a Surfliner consist, and with the Superliners' darker colors, subtler lighting, and (IMHO) more comfortable seating, I've found that it serves as the defacto Quiet Car.
Because the State of California pays for that service and they set the rules. The Surfliners don't use the same cafe menu as the rest of Amtrak because California wanted things to be different. The Surfliners remain one of the few unreserved trains that Amtrak runs, again because that's what California wants. And so far, no one in the Amtrak California division of Caltrans has decided that a quiet car is a good idea, so no quiet car.
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Old May 5, 19, 5:07 pm
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Found this thread wondering which end of the platform to go to. Watched a north bound train go be with business first behind the engine, so I positioned myself accordingly. Alas, my southbound has it as the last car
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Old May 5, 19, 7:48 pm
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The problem when Business (on NE Regional) or First (on Acela) is the last car is that it becomes a much bumpier ride, combined with a crack-the-whip effect, compared to when those cars are up front, right behind the locomotive. It makes a big difference. One time on NE Regional I paid extra for business, and greatly regretted it as it was too bumpy to do anything on the laptop -- had I been up front, that problem would not exist.
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