Amtrak Rooms: The Top 21 Things You Should Know
Amtrak Rooms: The Top 21 Things You Should Know

Amtrak Rooms: The Top 21 Things You Should Know

I chose coach class when I first started traveling across the country on Amtrak. However, the following year, I upgraded to a roomette. I had many questions about the experience and found online forums helpful, but unfortunately, there were some trolls in 2014. Amtrak rooms offer a fantastic way to see the country, and this article covers the most frequently asked questions I encountered or received about Amtrak rooms on long-distance trains.

These days, I enjoy traveling across the United States with Amtrak. I can find happiness in any room, and I especially appreciate the privacy, including meals, and the ability to sleep horizontally and shower in the morning.

Top 21 Questions About Amtrak Rooms

Amtrak Superliner Train
An Amtrak Superliner Train

1) My favorite things about Amtrak Rooms

Amtrak rooms offer several things that I love. Over the years, these rooms have become my happy place. While I usually enjoy roomettes, I have splurged and gotten a bedroom where I wanted the extra space and all the extras that those rooms provide.

I appreciate the privacy of the rooms, which can be locked from the inside and have privacy curtains on the windows on both sides of the room.

Rooms allow horizontal sleeping, which works well for stomach and side sleepers like me. However, if you have a travel buddy, one of you will have to climb into the upper bunk.

Passengers in Amtrak sleeper cars can use the car’s shower. Amtrak provides soap and towels; passengers may bring items like blow dryers. If passengers have a bedroom, the shower is ensuite.

Some stations have lounges you can utilize while waiting for your first or next train. These lounges provide a peaceful place to rest from the station’s commotion. I have used several lounges, but my top picks are Chicago and New York.

2) Booking options for Amtrak Rooms

The best thing about Amtrak is that they offer multiple ways to book your room, so you can choose the option that suits your comfort level.

Call Amatrak

If you need assistance booking or modifying a reservation, contact Amtrak’s agents at 1-800-USA-RAIL or 1-877-SKIP-I-95 for the Auto Train. They can also provide updates and help with special requests.

I contact them for booking adjacent roomettes or changing reservations mid-trip.

Staffed stations

Waiting area Wilson NC Amtrak Station
One of two waiting areas at the Wilson, NC, Amtrak Station

Not all stations have staff, and many are unstaffed, so this isn’t an option for everyone. However, if you have access to a staffed station, they can help you the same way you would by calling.

Do it on your own: The Amtrak.com and their App.

Online tickets are an easy way to book your next adventure anywhere and anytime, plus you can also modify your trip.

I book 99% on my own using the app or website. I go back and forth between the two. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages.

Amtrak offers a website that caters to phones or tablets.

Let someone book your trip for you.

You could also use a travel agent, and there are authorized Amtrak travel agents and others specializing in rail travel.

3) Are Room Prices Per Person?

When searching for prices on Amtrak, if you enter two people, the prices you see on the screen are combined for both travelers, so if you need to split the bill on your own.

NEW 2 people in a Amtrak Superliner roomette
Amtrak Superliner Roomette set up for the day (photo Amtrak.com)

Booking both parties simultaneously on one ticket is best to save money and book a room with that travel buddy. You can add someone later but must call or use a staffed station.

Booking separate accommodations for one ticket on Amtrak.com or through the app is possible. However, please note that you are not guaranteed rooms together or in the same car.

To increase your chances of getting rooms near each other or in the same sleeper car, call Amtrak to book that adventure and let them know what you want to do. Please remember that this is not always guaranteed, especially if you are booking last-minute trips. I have done this a few times, and they try their best when possible.

If you get rooms in two different cars, you can hang out in the other person’s room, or they can chill in yours.

If you’re unsure how to proceed, contact Amtrak or visit a staffed station for more information.

4) Discounts On Amtrak

Here are the types of Amtrak discounts; see if you qualify! If eligible, the percentage off only applies to the base or rail fares, not the total price of the room.

5) Amtrak Room Assignment

Bedroom ticket
Amtrak etickets show you your train name and number, car number, and bedroom letter.

Amtrak assigns rooms after processing your payment and then emails you a ticket. Like in the ticket photo, you see the number for your car and room, plus the equipment type.

If you want a particular room, call 1-800-USA-Rail or visit a station. Tickets bought at stations look different, but the information is the same.

6) What Comes With Your Amtrak Room

Your room comes with all scheduled meals while on the train. Your attendant will start the coffee and provide juice in the morning.

A look at a Superliner roomette set up for the night. (Photo courtesy of Amtrak.com) NEW
A look at a Superliner roomette set up for the night. (Photo courtesy of Amtrak.com)

You will also have access to a shower. Turndown service is available, and there will be a place to hang up your clothing with hangers provided.

Each room has chairs with a fold-out table, and the bedrooms also have a sofa. The seating comes together to form the lower berth or bunk.

You will have both interior and exterior windows with curtains for your privacy. Additional lights, such as night and reading lamps, are available. Each room has at least one 120v grounded three-prong outlet for your convenience.

7) Do You Share Amtrak Rooms With Strangers?

No, on an Amtrak train, only the people on your ticket can share your room. Solo travelers have the rooms all to themselves.

8) The Sizes Of Amtrak Rooms

The rooms are small and cozy, like an RV.

Roomettes

A Superliner roomette is around 3’6″ by 6′ 6,” while a Viewliner roomette is slightly larger.

I am about 6’2″, 210 pounds, and fit comfortably in the room.

Bedrooms

Bedrooms are around 6’6″ by 7’6″ and have bathroom ensuite.

The less luggage you have, the more room you have in your accommodation.

9) Amtrak Beds: Are They Comfortable? How Are They Made?

For me, the beds are comfortable, but your mileage can vary.

Superliner Upper bunk
Mackenzie on the upper bunk of a Superliner Train

All the rooms have bunk beds.

The lower bed comes from the two seats coming together, or the sofa gets flattened in a bedroom or family room with a mattress on top.

The upper bunk pulls down with safety straps to keep you in.

When two people are sharing a room, one person needs to be able to climb up to the top bunk. Roomettes have steps to get up there, while bedrooms have ladders.

Your attendant will make your bed up at night and put it away in the morning.

Yes, there is a net to prevent you from falling out of the top bunk, and no, I have never fallen out of bed.

10) Is It Hard To Sleep On An Amtrak Train?

I tend to sleep well on the train but sometimes need help, such as melatonin or a sleep aid. If I am on a long train, I sleep better on the second night.

Trains make noise

Amtrak Bedroom at night
An Amtrak Superliner Bedroom made up for bedtime.

The train’s motion relaxes me as I sleep; sometimes, I wake up when the train stops because of the lack of movement. Plus, the horn lulls, and the track noise makes me sleep.

You may struggle if you need perfect silence, but earplugs may help.

Amtrak can only do so much. There is always a din to train travel, the sound of steel wheels on steel tracks, the sounds of the wheels going through switches, bells, and horns.

Staff and fellow passengers

Conductors stop making announcements around 10 p.m. and don’t return to the public address system till 7 a.m.

Also, sometimes it gets a little noisy when people board the train at night if they forget that others are already sleeping. But on the whole, the people are pretty good.

Because I am a side sleeper, I wish Amtrak had a heftier pillow, so I pack a blowup pillow and a small blanket to add to my comfort to help with this problem.

If you need an extra pillow or blanket, ask your attendant, and they may be able to help.

11) Moving Around Amtrak Trains

Trains are linear, meaning if you want to go from one section to another, you may need to walk through one or more cars to get to the one you want to visit.

Superliner door
The doors connecting Superliner Sleepers

It could be a hike from where you are to where you want to go on some trains.

A sliding door is found on each end of each car and has upper and lower (foot) buttons; hitting either will open the door.

Be careful when walking between cars when the train is moving. To maintain balance, grab onto the candy cane-striped handles.

Trains cars can sway in opposite directions, and snow and rain can enter vestibules, making them wet or slippery.

You must wear shoes while walking around the train because there are pinch points between cars that could hurt your toes.

Heels may not be the best shoes for train travel because they can change your center of balance; if you are riding a regional train or only on for a short time and not walking around the train, heels could be acceptable.

12) Can I Get Off The Train During My Amtrak Trip?

There are select stops to get off the train for a smoke or fresh air. Smoke stops are usually crew changes and refueling stops.

Texas Eagle
My Sleeping car I had on the Texas Eagle, and we were out enjoying a fresh air break.

Most station stops are quick for boarding and un-boarding.

When Amtrak arrives early, they hold the train until the scheduled time. If the passengers wait a while, conductors often allow passengers to get a quick fresh air break.

If you get off the train, don’t wander too far because when it is time for the train to leave, the conductors alert the crew and passengers, and they are off. As a warning, the engineer may blow the horn (two quick toots) when it’s time to board. If you do not make it on the train, the train WILL LEAVE WITHOUT YOU!

13) Food Options For Amtrak Sleeping Passengers

Amtrak's new chicken ceaser salad
Amtrak’s new chicken Ceasar salad from the dining car. Photo Courtesy of Amtrak

All long-distance trains have a cafe car open to all passengers.

The cafe is closed at night and for attendant breaks, but you can often sit in the car while it is closed.

One-night trains, except for the Auto Train, Silver Star, and Silver Meteor, use flex dining for sleeping car passengers.

Trains that run for two or more nights use traditional dining.

Texas Eagle between Chicago and San Antonio uses flex dining, but you will have traditional dining between San Antonio and LA.

Dining or sleeping car lounges are also only available for sleeping car passengers.

14) Alcohol And Drinking In Amtrak Rooms

Travesl with Kev
Kev is enjoying a beverage in a Superliner Roomette.

You sure can; I often do! But there are some limitations you should know.

Amtrak sells adult beverages in the cafe and dining cars, or you can bring your own. IF YOU BRING YOUR OWN, YOU CAN ONLY CONSUME IT IN YOUR ROOM or the room of another passenger. Do not take your fun water to non-sleeping cars.

The next station might be your stop if you get out of hand. Plus, you could get local and federal fines, and the police could take you to their local iron bar hotel.

If you get kicked off the train, you forfeit any refunds on your trip.

15) How Many Bathrooms Are In Sleeping Cars?

All bedrooms have a restroom en suite.

Superliner trains have one restroom upstairs and two-plus on the lower level.

Older Viewliners with blue seats do not have public restrooms in the cars, but every accommodation has a toilet. Roomettes do not have enclosed bathrooms, so If two people are in the roomette, one might have to step out.

Newer Veiwliners, with “wood” interiors, have one public bathroom and no longer have bathrooms in roomettes.

16) Shower For Amtrak Sleeping Passengers

Yes, there are showers! They are only for sleeping car passengers.

Outside of the shower is a dressing area.

Roomettes, family, and accessible rooms share one shower room with a dressing area. Accessible rooms on Veiwliner trains have showers in their rooms.

Bedrooms have small rooms that house the toilet and shower.

Most showers have a place to sit for better stability over rough tracks, and there are also bars to help.

The shower head is on a hose to make it easier to clean up. Many passengers choose to use “shower shoes” or flip-flops when showering.

Amtrak Shower
Sleeping car passengers have showers available to them, like this Viewliner Shower.

17) What Amtrak Provides For Your Shower

  • Amtrak provides:
    • Washcloths and towels
    • Soap for your shower, but not shampoo.
      • Either small bars or liquid

18) Smoking And Transporting Marijuana In Amtrak Rooms

All Amtrak trains are non-smoking, including e-cigarettes and vapes.

Smoker
The guy by the poll decided to make this stop, his stop by smoking on the train.

If a passenger gets caught smoking on the train, the next stop will be their stop (even if it is not their destination), and conductors will issue tickets, which are federal fines. Those passengers also forfeit any refunds.

There are “smoke breaks,” but they are not guaranteed. Finding something to curb cravings would be wise if you are a smoker.

You cannot transport marijuana on Amtrak trains even if it is legal in the state you are coming from or visiting. Amtrak is under federal jurisdiction, so it follows federal laws.

19) Bringing Your Pet In Amtrak Rooms

Yes and No: Amtrak allows pets under 20 pounds on trains and in cages, and pets cannot travel longer than seven hours. Check with Amtrak’s service animal policy before booking your reservation.

View from an Amtrak Viewliner roomette
A view from an Amtrak Viewliner roomette

20) Tipping Amtrak Sleeping Car Attendants

Tipping is not necessary but is a great way to reward excellent service.

I will tip great car attendants but not tip for unsatisfactory service. The average amount is around $10 – $20 per day. A heartfelt thank-you works well, or whatever you can afford. You can also inform Amtrak when you receive excellent service (see tip 21).

21) Sharing Compliments And Complaints With Amtrak

Constructive criticism is helpful, and the praise of an employee is even better. The best way is to let Amtrak know, and comments and praise go to the boss and get relayed to the employee.

Kev’s Tips For Amtrak Rooms

Getting ready for the night:

Once the car attendant makes your room for the night, there is not much room left. It may help to get dressed before your room is ready for the night. You could use a bathroom or the dressing area in the shower to change while your room is getting prepared.

What else you need to know:

Take advantage of the fresh air stops. Stepping off the train breaks up your trip and allows you to stretch your legs.

Do not plan on Wi-Fi. Even your cell phone will not have service from time to time.

Train manners

Viewliner Hallway for Amtrak rooms called roomettes.
Looking down the hallway of a Viewliner Sleeper Car

Be respectful of others. Talking to fellow passengers is fun, especially meeting a new train buddy, but not everyone wants to hear your conversation late at night.

When walking in other parts of the train, remember other riders. You may have to make way for others or temporarily invade someone’s space, so be considerate.

Consider sharing a table instead of hogging it when the lounge is busy. Feel free to take up the entire area if no one is around. If you need to make a long phone call at night, going to the lounge car is courteous so that others can sleep.

Again, walkways are tight quarters, and you may get bumped into or let others pass by to get through. It is a great time to practice manners and say hi to fellow riders.

Ensure your bags or luggage are not banging into others as you walk through the train.

Gear To Improve Your Stay In Amtrak Rooms

From my experience, these are helpful things for staying in a sleeper. If you want entertainment on Amtrak trains, check out this article.

  • Tablet (iPad Air 3 for me),
    • Many streaming programs allow you to download videos to watch later without wi-fo.
  • Smartphone (I use an iPhone 13 Pro)
    • Map apps are cool for determining a location.
    • Also, it works well for games, listening to music, and podcasts.
  • Other Electronic Accessories
    • Headphones
    • Extension cord
    • A backup battery
    • Chargers and cords
  • Comfort items
    • Snacks are a good idea.
    • Amtrak’s Comfort Kit, available at some stations and cafe car
      • The kit comes in a bag and contains a small blanket, eye mask, neck pillow, and earplugs.
      • You could make your own
    • Blowup pillow
    • A water bottle
    • Wet wipes
    • Sleep aids, stuff for motion sickness, aspirin, or other such things
    • Pain relief and a small first-aid kit
    • Shampoo or a multi-use soap
    • PJs or something for sleeping

For more information on specific rooms on the train

If I missed something, let me know in the comments below or message me.

Thanks for stopping by and letting me help with your next adventure! I love to help.

Safe Travels!

Kev

071221

Kevin Monteith

Kev Monteith has been traveling on Amtrak since 2012. With over a decade of experience, he has been on over 800 trains, covering over 200k miles of rail. Kev enjoys helping others achieve their travel dreams by providing support and information. Outside of travel, Kev enjoys making music as an organist and outings with family.

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