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Thread: Dinner is Served in the Dining Car...

  1. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luca View Post
    I was just fantasizing about a 30/40 min ride in a proper club car, rather than the god-awful tube cattle-trucks I have to ride in...
    In another thread it's pointed out that MetroNorth is packed to standing room and has more riders than ever before. Despite this it loses money.

    This is used as blanket proof that you can't make money on commuter rail. But is this true?

    What if there were first class club cars available on commuter rail? At a hard day's end, would sometimes you and some of your ilk ease gratefully into the lounger or sidle anticipatorily up to the bar? Would you be willing sometimes to pay twice (or even thrice) the fare for the comfort, the space and the bonhommie of a luxo club car like the ones illustrated? Would you furthermore pack away a stiff Tanqueray or three, further boosting the profitability of the trip for TfL? On the morning commute, could you be tempted by eggs, bacon, scones and hot coffee?

    Paris' Metro used to have a double-fare first class section to which the well-heeled or weary retired for little more than freedom from the unwashed and a thin layer of seat padding.

    Let the oligarchs have their luxuries, particularly if it subsidizes the rest of us.

    What do you think?

  2. #17
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    There's only one problem with that: you said it's already standing-room only, but if you convert some cars to first-class, you're obviously going to lose seats.

    It's times like these when I'm forced to ask myself: why not totally privatize transportation again? Sure, we can give subsidies in times of crisis, as with the airliners, but overall, I think the private sector will be more efficient in running an operation like Metro North. And even then, making certain cars first-class isn't a guarantee of better revenues: the so-called low-cost carriers, Southwest and JetBlue come to mind, are also the most profitable of the airlines. No first-class, no business-class. What's the reason? They're the best at minimizing the inefficient crap, i.e.: bureaucracy.

  3. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by pianoman11686 View Post
    There's only one problem with that: you said it's already standing-room only, but if you convert some cars to first-class, you're obviously going to lose seats.
    Club cars are in addition to the regular carriages, not in place of.

    What's the reason? They're the best at minimizing the inefficient crap, i.e.: bureaucracy.
    No bureaucracy at the club car bar. If the barkeep's bureaucratic, you don't leave him a tip.

    .
    Last edited by ablarc; November 10th, 2006 at 03:10 PM. Reason: typo

  4. #19

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    And to think Amtrak recently cut ALL food service on their trains between Albany and NYC.

  5. #20

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    ^ There was no glamour to it anyway. People will pay $5 for a grilled cheese sandwich if it's served on a porcelain plate in overstuffed surroundings. And $10 if it's accompanied by a draught of Newcastle Pale.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc View Post
    Club cars are in addition to the regular carriages, not in place of.
    Don't you think that adding additional cars will create some kind of trouble? Either safety standards, or unloading/loading of passengers could be affected by making a train longer.

    No bureaucracy at the club car bar. If the barkeep's bureaucratic, you don't leave him a tip.
    Funny. But the way I was looking at it was, bureaucracy in terms of "pork". Private companies, especially smaller ones, are better at minimizing this. Agree?

  7. #22

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    Luca then doesn't use South West Trains as I thought he might as he uses the Piccadilly Line (express) or District Line (local) of the London Underground...ie not commuter rail.

    That said there are commuter trains (there are no less than 17 heavy rail companies operating in and around London operating thousands of trains) which do have first class carriages. Infact train services coming from the metro area tend to have first class carriages depending on their stopping patterns. Quite a few trains though offer food carts (coffee, sandwiches, sweets, etc...) which go up and down the train even through standard class.

    Below is the Heathrow Express First Class





    And Standard Class:






    However the nicest interior of any train operating from London is probaby that of the 'British Pullman' trains for the Venice Simplon Orient Express





  8. #23

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    ^ Can't help feeling that if more trains looked like the Venice-Simplon Express, there'd be customers. The trains need to be fast of course, but plush interiors don't slow down a train. A little more luxury please; the Heathrow Express is awful.

    Thanks, nick.

  9. #24
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    Pullman...isn't that an American company?

  10. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by pianoman11686 View Post
    Pullman...isn't that an American company?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pullman
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Pullman

  11. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by pianoman11686 View Post
    Don't you think that adding additional cars will create some kind of trouble? Either safety standards, or unloading/loading of passengers could be affected by making a train longer.
    If the train's already as long as the platform, substitute a club car for a cattle car and run another train ten minutes later. Put two or more club cars on that one, since the idea is the club cars make money. Like a rolling pub.

    Funny. But the way I was looking at it was, bureaucracy in terms of "pork". Private companies, especially smaller ones, are better at minimizing this. Agree?
    Yeah, I agree. That was me being ablarc the obtuse.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc View Post
    From the article:

    The Pullman Company merged in 1930 with Standard Steel Car Company to become Pullman-Standard, which built its last car for Amtrak in 1982. After delivery the Pullman-Standard plant stayed in limbo, eventually shut down, and in 1987 had its remaining assets absorbed by Bombardier.
    Thought so. I wonder how the British got their hands on them...

    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc View Post
    If the train's already as long as the platform, substitute a club car for a cattle car and run another train ten minutes later. Put two or more club cars on that one, since the idea is the club cars make money. Like a rolling pub.
    I didn't want to say it was impossible, just that it might not be quite as simple as adding one car here, taking away another car there. Every time I hear about our current transportation system, it's always something to the tune of "Penn Station operating over-capacity," subways being more crowded than ever, and additional planes having difficulty navigating taxiways.

    Let me put it this way: if the goal of the organization is to maximize revenues, then by all means, experiment with a first/business class car. If the goal is to transport as many people as efficiently as possible, then we might need to keep the "cattle" system. It's up to those in charge to find the best solution. But as I said before, that solution will depend largely on who's ultimately paying the bills: the government, or a private company.

  13. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by pianoman11686 View Post
    I didn't want to say it was impossible, just that it might not be quite as simple as adding one car here, taking away another car there. Every time I hear about our current transportation system, it's always something to the tune of "Penn Station operating over-capacity," subways being more crowded than ever, and additional planes having difficulty navigating taxiways.

    Let me put it this way: if the goal of the organization is to maximize revenues, then by all means, experiment with a first/business class car. If the goal is to transport as many people as efficiently as possible, then we might need to keep the "cattle" system...
    With bi-level coaches you could add three club cars to each train and still maintain capacity.

    Or how 'bout bi-level club cars with vista-domes?

  14. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by nick-taylor View Post


    Now THAT's what I'm talking about!!!

    I'm a afraid a proper club car would cost quite a bit more than double, though, ABLARC. More like 3-4 times at least (if only becuase it should/could not pack as many people in).

  15. #30

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    ^ Sell 'em overpriced drinks. Or extend the platforms for longer trains.

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