Travel first class on the Coast Starlight, and you get use of a converted Santa Fe high-level lounge car now running as the Pacific Parlour Car.

There's a small movie theater downstairs.

Now comes word that the cars are to be removed from the Coast Starlight from January to March for maintenance.  The problem, though, is that amenities and public enterprises don't necessarily coexist.
But these are "cost-cutting" days, with influential members of Congress demanding that Amtrak do whatever might be necessary to achieve break-even. So far, as a result, those of us who travel in sleeping cars no longer get newspapers slipped under our doors during the night … the little bottle of cheap sparkling wine no longer welcomes us aboard … and (this is the biggie!) the coffee pots in each sleeping car are now unplugged at 9:30 in the morning instead of making hot coffee available throughout the day. If they're trying to save pennies on newspapers and coffee, why wouldn't they be tempted to save dollars by eliminating …

No! I won't say it. I'll try to not even think it.

But hear this, (Amtrak President) Joe Boardman: If you eliminate that wonderful vestige of the Golden Age, you do so at your peril. Because Hell hath no fury like Parlour Car passengers scorned.
At the margin, the nickel-and-diming of sleeping car amenities probably has less effect on ridership than the crappy timekeeping the freight railroads are imposing on the overnight trains. I wonder if sleeping car passengers are more likely to vote in the non-presidential elections than coach passengers or the general populace?

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