I was a little disoriented when I got on the train tonight, because the blue plastic floor and yellow striped stairs and white plastic walls were all a lot brighter than I remembered.
And then I scuttled up the stairs and I saw that not only was this a new train car, but that they'd also changed the layout of the seats. I didn't actually sit in the new car, as my quest for a single seat took on to the next car, but I went back later and checked things out to see what I might have to look forward to on my next train trip.
The most important change was that the moved the upstairs luggage racks from being across from the stairwell to flanking the door to the next car. However, to do this, they had to replace the pair of single seats that I so love.
Now, for Amtrak, this is a very intelligent move. First of all, it gives them 4-8 extra seats per car (an estimate). Second, There's now more than twice as much large luggage storage on the upper level. Third, people putting away their luggage are no longer sandwiched next to the stairwell, so there's a lot more room to move around in case someone putting away luggage needs to let another passenger pass. And finally, no passenger will be sitting right next to the door. The new distance between the door and the nearest seat (about two seats) will go a long way towards making passengers sitting near a door happy, I expect.
But as intelligent as this new layout is for Amtrak, it really irritates me, because I really like these single seats. =/
All the other changes on the new cars were very minor. The ceiling lights are much brighter, and they were moved closer to the center of the ceiling so that less of the light gets blocked by the overhead luggage racks. The overhead luggage racks themselves were changed from having doors to being merely shelves. And the whole thing smelled like new car smell.
Oh, and ironically, the new car featured the first stopped up toilet that I've ever seen on an Amtrak train.