Sleeping Car Bedrooms
These are generally offered on trains that travel overnight (though you can of course use them during the day as well.) Sleeping car accommodations are considered first-class service, and in addition to the room, you get several other amenities: free meals in the dining car (including everything – even desert – except alcoholic beverages), free morning paper each day, free coffee, free bottled beverages, and the ability to use Amtrak’s first-class waiting areas in major train stations. Each sleeping car has its own attendant, so you also get better personal service.
A room in the sleeping car is just that – your own private room. Generally, rooms have multi-purpose furniture. During the day, it will serve as nice soft chairs, and at night, converts to a real, flat bed. (Your attendant will normally do this conversion for you whenever you ask for it to be done.)
Sleeping cars also provide showers for use by first class travelers. Some more expensive rooms even provide those showers in your own room.
Different rooms are available depending on what sort of equipment your train uses. Here is a summary:
Often the cheapest first class option, this room accommodates 1 or 2 people. When you first walk in, it will seem small. However, you’ll quickly that this is (a bit) deceiving; there is very good use of space, and you’ll actually find it to be comfortable.
During the day, the roomette has two chairs facing each other. In the middle is a table that can be folded down for playing games, using a computer, etc.
Roomette passengers have access to the shower on the lower level, as well as restrooms on the lower and upper levels.
This room also accommodates 1 or 2 people. It is significantly larger than the roomette. It also features private toilet, sink, and shower facilities. The shower and toilet are in their own small room with a door, and the sink is in the main part of your room.
The Viewliner roomette is similar in concept to the Superliner one. The notable difference is that the Viewliner roomette provides you with a private sink and toilet, whereas with the Superliner roomette, you use the restroom facilities down the hall or downstairs.
The private sink and toilet in the Viewliner Roomette are just in the room. Unlike the Superliner Deluxe Bedroom, there is no wall or door separating them from the room.
These large rooms typically occupy the entire width of the sleeping car and accommodate 3 or 4 people. They provide two adult-size beds and two child-size beds.
These are designed for people with disabilities. They accommodate 1 or 2 people (though in most cases you’d want to have only one disabled person in the room). They include private toilet facilities.
Accessible bedrooms can be booked only by people with disabilities until 14 days prior to departure. After that, anyone can book them.
See also Amtrak Accessibility.
All bedrooms feature AC outlets, but if you’re using a large AC adapter for your device, you may need an extension cord.
When two people occupy a sleeping car room, you only have to pay the accommodation charge once. The fee for first class is charged per room, not per passenger.
For more information, consult Amtrak’s accommodations page. They also have a new traveling by sleeper area that has photos and virtual reality tours of sleeping cars, plus demos of booking sleepers online.
Sleeping cars have areas outside your room for storage of luggage. Many passengers, especially those in the roomette, will usually store most of their carryon luggage there, and bring just a small bag or two into their room. Unlike checked bags, you can always get access to bags in this storage area.
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Let’s talk about what you can expect on the train. We’ll start with the layout of the train, and go on to describe different parts of it. Scroll down for more.
Amtrak is the only cross-country passenger railroad in the United States. Outside a few regions, Amtrak is usually the only way to travel state-to-state by rail, and is the only regular option for cross-country travel by rail. Amtrak operates the trains, and mostly runs on tracks owned by freight railroads. Amtrak is a quasi-governmental corporation, created in 1971 when the passenger railroads at the time wanted to get out of the passenger business. For more information on the history of Amtrak, see the Wikipedia article on Amtrak.