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

Are you wondering about Amtrak rooms and what accommodations are available on your next Amtrak Adventure but unsure if they are right for you? I hope this article about Amtrak rooms will help you out.

This article covers the top question about Amtrak rooms on long-distance trains. After traveling around the United States via Amtrak, I found any space on the train was my happy place. I enjoy privacy, sleeping horizontally, and showering in the morning.

Terms To Know: So We Are All On The Same Page

The Silver Meteor, Amtrak Viewliner Train
  • Accommodation: For this article, accommodations are any room in a sleeper car.
  • Accessible Room: This room is for those with limited mobility and a helper.
  • Bedroom: This room offers the most space in the sleeper car, with a sofa, chair, sink, and bathroom/shower combo
  • Car Attendant: An Amtrak employee who assists you while you travel in a sleeper car. The term Car Attendant replaces the term porter.
  • Conductor: They are in charge of the train and its safety and walk through the train as you travel. They are the ones with neat hats.
  • Engineer: These fine folks control the train and are in the locomotive.
  • Family Room: These rooms, only on Superliner Trains, are designed for two adults, two tiny humans, or a few other combinations.
  • Roomette: This is the smallest of the Amtrak accommodations; it is comfortable for one and cozy for two. These rooms have two chairs that fold into a bed and an upper pull-down bed. There are Superliner Roomettes on bi-level trains and Viewliner Roomettes on the East Coast train.
  • Sleeper Car: A passenger rail car containing roomettes, bedrooms, a handicap-accessible room, and Superliner trains also have a family room.
  • Superliner: Two-level rail cars are on all long-distance routes that do not go to New York Penn Station.
  • Viewliner:  Single-level long-distance trains set, only found on Eastcoast routes in or out of New York Penn Station.

Top 21 Questions About Amtrak Rooms

Amtrak Superliner Train
An Amtrak Superliner Train

1) The Advantages Of Booking Amtrak Rooms

  • Privacy: Rooms have a sliding door with a window; if you close the drapes, you can block out the world.
  • Sleep Horizontally: The lower seats fold into a bed at night, and your travel companion can sleep in the pull-down upper bunk. The person in the upper bunk needs to crawl up or use a ladder in the bedrooms.
  • ShowerThere is a shower for everyone to use. Passengers in the bedrooms have a shower/bathroom in the room.
  • Use of lounges: Your sleeper ticket allows you to use Metropolitan Lounges or Club Acela at select stations for free.

2) Where To Book Amtrak Room Reservations

  • Over the phone, call Amtrak at 1-800-USA-Rail.
    • Phone agents can help you book a new reservation or help modify existing ones, including updating coach tickets to a sleeper.
    • They can also answer questions.
    • Agents can help book rooms together if you book two or more rooms.
  • Staffed station
    • Station ticket agents can do the same things you can do over the phone but in person.
    • If you are new to train travel, a trip to a staffed station is an excellent opportunity to get to know the station, parking, and what is around before your first trip.
  • Amtrak App or Website
    • Online tickets are an easy way to book your next adventure anywhere and anytime, plus you can also modify your trip.
  • You could also use a travel agent, and there are authorized Amtrak travel agents and others specializing in rail travel.

After booking the trip, Amtrak sends an email with the ticket, including your receipt. This ticket is scannable from your phone, or if you want, a paper ticket is printable from home, Quick-Trak machines, or station agents.

3) Room Prices Per Person Versus Groups

Mom and me
My mother with one of her travel buddies, me! We are aboard the Capitol Limited.

If you are looking to book for more than one passenger, enter the number of passengers for that trip, hit find trains, and display your travel options.

The price on the screen is the total price for the party. Ticket prices include your rail fare (what you pay to ride the train) and the cost of the room.

If two people are on your ticket, both pay rail fares but only one room fee.

Booking separate accommodations for one ticket is possible but will cost more. Call Amtrak or visit a staffed station for more information or to get rooms together.

4) How To Get Discounts On Amtrak And How They Work

First off, here are Amtrak discounts; see if you qualify!

If eligible, the percentage off only applies to the base fares, not add-ons such as business class or a room. There is a chance that only one passenger may qualify for a discount, such as a parent with a child where the child qualifies but the parent doesn’t.

For example:

Let’s say rooms cost $200 and rail fare is $100; for a solo traveler, the cost is $300, but for two people, the cost is $400. If the solo traveler qualifies for an Amtrak discount, the price is now $290 because the reductions come off the rail fare, not the room price. In this scenario, the cost is $350 for a parent and child because children 2-12 pay half.

5) Gettin Your Amtrak Room Assignment

Amtrak TIcket
Your ticket shows the equipment type, car number, and room number.

Amtrak assigns room numbers after processing your payment, and then they email a ticket to you.

Like in the ticket photo, your accommodation car, room number, and 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.

Check out this article if you are interested in Amtrak’s boarding process.

There is an example from one of my last trips to Charleston, S.C. (part of the ticket I redacted for my privacy)

6) What Comes With Your Amtrak Room

Amtrak Superliner roomette
Amtrak Superliner roomette
  • All scheduled meals come with sleeping car accommodations.
  • Coffee and juice in the morning
  • Shower
  • Turndown service
  • A place to hang up clothing (either a small closet or wall hook)
  • Comfortable chairs with a fold-out table, bigger rooms have a sofa.
  • Large windows to watch the country go by.
  • Use of lounge cars and dining cars or sleeper-lounge
    • Sleeper lounges are on single-night trains.
  • Additional lights such as a night light and reading lamps
  • A three-prong, aka grounded outlet

7) Do You Share Amtrak Rooms With Strangers?

No, the only passengers in your room are the people on your tickets. Solo travelers have the rooms all to themselves. If you have a travel buddy you want to share, you must book that together. You are not supposed to bring coach passengers back to your room.

8) The Sizes Of Amtrak Rooms

The rooms are small and cozy, like an RV.

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

I am about 6’2″, 200 pounds, and fit comfortably in the room.

Bedrooms are around 6’6″ by 7’6,” but the bath and shower room occupy space.

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

Superliner Bed
Superliner roomette bed in night mode

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 on the train have bunk beds. The lower bed consists of the two lower seats pulled 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, the net will prevent you from falling out of the top bunk, and no, I have never fallen out of bed on the train.

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

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

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

The train’s motion relaxes me as I sleep, and sometimes, I wake up when the train stops, and my body misses the movement. Plus, the horn lulls me to sleep.

If you need perfect silence, you may struggle; a set of earplugs may help.

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

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, most people are pretty good.

Because I am a side sleeper, I wish Amtrak had a heftier pillow. 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. Grab onto the candy cane striped handles to help you balance.

Trains cars can sway in opposite directions, and snow and rain can make their way into vestibules, making them wet or slippery, so, again, be careful and use the grab bars.

You must wear shoes while walking around the train. There are a few 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.

If the train arrives early, Amtrak holds the train at that station until the scheduled time. They may allow the passengers to get a quick fresh air break if they wait a while.

If you get off the train, don’t wander too far from it 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 and the 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 MUST 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 consume too much and 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.

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 will have to leave while the other “goes.” Newer Veiwliners, with “wood” interiors, have one public bathroom and no longer have bathrooms in roomettes; they are still in bedrooms.

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 a shower in their rooms.

Bedrooms have a small room that houses the toilet and shower.

It’s fun taking a shower at 79 mph.

Most showers have a place to sit for better stability over rough tracks. There are bars also 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, towels, and soap for your shower, but not shampoo. The soap is either bar or liquid; the bar soap is similar to what you find in a hotel.

Dr. Bronner’s Soap works well for travelers because of its versatility. The Dr. Bronner soap works well to clean you and your clothing. It does come in a few fragrances, is environmentally friendly, and a little goes a long way.

18) Smoking And Transporting Marijuana In Amtrak Rooms

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

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 they follow federal laws.

19) Bringing Your Pet In Amtrak Rooms

Yes and No: Amtrak allows pets on trains under 20 pounds and in a cage, and pets cannot travel longer than seven hours. Click here for Amtrak’s policy on service animals.


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. To contact Amtrak, click here to let Amtrak know you received fantastic service.

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 the shower room to change and do this as your attendant prepares your room. Bathrooms or the shower area work well for changing.

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

Be respectful of others. Talking to fellow passengers is fun to meet a new train buddy, but not everyone wants to hear your conversation late at night, so keep your voice down.

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

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. If there is no one around, feel free to take up the entire area for those of you who might be night owls. 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),
    • Subscription apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime allow you to download select TV shows, movies, and other visual entertainment without Wi-Fi.
  • 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
      • Bluetooth or corded, make sure they are comfortable.
    • Extension cord
      • An extension cord with a few outlets works well; there is often just one outlet in the room.
    • A backup battery
      • I used one a few times to charge my phone overnight because it was easier.
    • 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 like Dr. B’s (if required)
    • PJs or something to sleep in (just in case)

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!


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Kev has been traveling with Amtrak since 2012, celebrating over ten years of travel! Over those years, he has been on over 700 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.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. loretta mendoza

    I so love your time and effort for traveling with Kev. I can’t wait to make a reservation to Texas, near Brownsville area. Blessings to you

    1. Kev

      Thanks Loretta! If you need any help let me know!

  2. Michael Brown

    Thanks for the useful info.
    Is the 3 prong outlet in the sleeper bedroom one outlet only or the traditional one on top of the other type?

    1. Kev

      If I remember right, there is a single wall outlet (by the sofa) in the Superliner bedrooms and a double outlet by the medicine cabinet. The newer cars like the viewliners tend to have dual outlets.

  3. Clar

    We have 3 adults and the only rooms available on the train are roomette, bedroom and family bedroom. Can we book the family bedroom?

    1. Kev

      If you do not need to sleep, that could be an option. Family rooms have needs for two adults and two preschoolers. A bedroom is better if you are going overnight. However, two people will need to cuddle. In either case, you will have to call Amtrak for those reservations. Also, check if two roomettes could be cheaper than one bigger room.

  4. CodenameGarcia

    I am looking at a trip that I put a departure and return date on. If I book it at the room price, is that covering the room up and a room back on the return date?

    1. Kev

      The website and app will give you a price for each section separately. After you add both to the cart, you will get the total cost. Often the price is in the upper left corner. I hope that helps.

  5. Linda nichols

    I need to hear more about your handicap accommodations. Don’t need a wheelchair but assistance with a cane.

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