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What you need to know about Amtrak Sleeping Accommodations

Amtrak Sleeping Accommodations: What You Need To Know

Are you looking for a little more privacy on your next Amtrak adventure? Or maybe you would rather sleep horizontally. Either way, Amtrak sleeper accommodations are an enjoyable way to see the United States.

Amtrak Viewliner 1 Sleeping Car

This article covers sleeper basics, including overviews of roomettes and bedrooms on Amtrak long-distance trains, plus links for additional details on each room.

I have ridden in many Amtrak sleeper cars, and over those miles, these sleeping accommodations became my happy place, and I hope it can be for you too.

Get comfy, and let’s talk about what you need to know before booking your first Amtrak sleeping accommodation.

What accommodations does Amtrak offer on long-distance trains?

Amtrak long-distance trains offer coach seating, with few routes providing business class and sleeping accommodations such as roomettes, bedrooms, accessible rooms, and family bedrooms (Superliner trains only). The Palmetto is a long-distance train but does not offer sleeping accommodations.

So, you say there are two types of Amtrak sleeping cars?

Amtrak uses two types of equipment on their long-distance trains: single-level cars for routes that have New York as a stop, and the rest of the system uses bi-level cars.

Viewliner Sleeper
A Viewliner Sleeper on the Lakeshore Limited at New York Penn Station.

There is a list of what trains use what equipment later on.

Viewliner Equipment

Amtrak Viewliner trains are single-level cars found on the Eastcoast and are the newest sleeper cars on the Amtrak system.

Because the tunnels leading into New York Penn do not allow Amtrak’s signature Superliner cars, these cars are the perfect answer.

Viewliner sleeper cars get paired with Amfleet II coach cars, baggage, cafe, and sleeper lounge cars to form the trainset.

These cars offer two rows of windows to see the country roll by as you travel to your destination.

Viewliner TrainsDestination
CardinalChicago – New York Penn
CrescentNew Orleans – New York Penn
Lake Shore LimitedChicago – New York Penn
Silver MeteorMiami – New York Penn
Silver StarMiami – New York Penn
Old Viewliner Layout
Here is a Viewliner Sleeping ca layout; new cars are slightly different.

Superliner Equipment

June 20 2021 Amtrak #5 oma
The California Zephyr #5 in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Superliner equipment is bi-level or two-story, found on long-distance trains that do not go to New York Penn.

Superliner Sleeper Cars get paired with Superliner coaches and a dining car, and most trains get a Sightseer Lounge with a cafe on the lower level.

Superliner TrainsDestination
Auto TrainCalifornia Zephyr
Capitol LimitedCity of New Orleans
Coast StarlightEmpire Builder
Southwest CheifTexas Eagle
Sunset Limited
Superliner Sleeper
There is more than one layout available in the basic layout of a Superliner Sleeper, but this is the most common setup.

The Four Types Of Amtrak Sleeper Car Accommodations

Viewliner Sleepers Car Hallway
Here is a photo of the hallway of a Viewliner Sleeper Car.

There are four types of sleeping accommodations on Amtrak trains, roomettes, bedrooms, accessible rooms, and Superliner cars have a family room.

Sleeper accommodations have a day and night mode, making it comfortable to sit up day and lay flat at night.

There are privacy currents, a place to hang garments, access to a shower, and more.

Amtrak Roomettes

Roomettes are the smallest of Amtrak’s accommodations but also the most popular. They are cozy, measuring about 6’6″ by 3’6.”

These rooms are great for one person, but two people can fit, although a little tighter.

These rooms have two chairs that face each other and form one of the two beds at night. The second bed comes down from above.

Sleeper cars also offer coffee in the morning, or you can walk to the dining car or Sleeper Lounge for complimentary coffee.

Amtrak Bedroom

Bedrooms offer more space and amenities than others of Amtrak’s accommodation offerings.

Bedrooms have a sofa and a chair and a small room with a shower and toilet. On the outside of that space are a sink and mirror. The lower berth or bed gives you room to stretch out, a little bigger than a twin but smaller than a full.

Superliner trains have their bedrooms only on the upper level. Vewliners have two on one end next to each other.

Amtrak Accessible Rooms

These rooms are for those passengers with mobility issues and their travel companions, if needed. These rooms are on both Superliners and Viewliners. The link below goes directly to Amtrak’s website since I do not yet have an article for this room.

Amtrak Family Rooms

Family rooms are only on Superliner trains.

These rooms are on the lower level of the car behind the four roomettes, often given the number 15. They accommodate two adults and two small children.

What amenities do you get with a sleeper car accommodation?

Several nice perks come with your Amtrak sleeper car accommodations reservation, like lounges at select stations, car attendants, showers, and meals.

Most of all, my two favorite points are being able to sleep horizontally and having personal space.

Car attendant

Amtrak sleeper car attendants are there to help you along your journey. Each car has one attendant for the whole car, and they are there to help you and your fellow passengers.

Attendants will put beds up and down, clean the car, and help with luggage and meals. They work with conductors to know when your stop is coming up.

Amtrak Sleeping Car Attendant

One thing they are not is your “personal assistant.” When you hit the call button, it may take them a while to get to you. They could be out of the car, grabbing meals for other passengers, or helping a fellow traveler. Be kind with their time so they can help others.

You can tip them, plus other employees, if you have a great attendant.

Meals on the train

Amtrak sleeping car accommodations include regularly scheduled meals with your reservations. Coach passengers are responsible for their meals from the cafe car or the food they bring.

If you take the City of New Orleans from Chicago to New Orleans, you will get dinner, breakfast, and lunch. Often you will get your meal before leaving the station. But if your journey is from Kankakee, IL, to Memphis, TN, those stops are between mealtimes, so you won’t get a meal unless the train runs late. In that case, you could get breakfast.

Amtrak has two styles of meals, traditional dining and flex dining.

Flex dining

Flex dining is on trains that run mainly east of the Mississippi River and the Texas Eagle between Chicago and San Antonio, TX. “Amtrak traditional dining” is on all westbound trains and the Auto Train. You can enjoy your meals in the dining car, taken to your room, or the car attendant can bring them to your room.

Flex dining features pre-prepared meals that are heated when you order them. The dining cars on these trains were rebranded as Sleeper Car Lounges, meaning sleeper car passengers can use this car anytime. One plus of this system is complimentary beverages throughout your journey, and your first adult drink is on Amtrak.

One-night trans use Amtrak flex dining.

Traditional Dining

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

Recently Amtrak announced that they are refreshing their traditional dining experience.

They want to bring back favorites like flowers on the tables and tablecloths for dinner service and ditch their plastic tableware.

The meals with this service include entrees, add-ons (like cheese or bacon), non-alcoholic drinks, salads, and desserts. These meals include complimentary beverages outside of mealtimes and a free adult beverage with dinner.

Cafe Car

The cafe car is open for all people on the train and offers adult beverages, soft drinks, snacks, and other food. Often they carry Amtrak’s comfort kits, cards, blankets, headphones, and the like.

Amtrak adventures could include both equipment types.

While traveling on the Amtrak system, you may encounter more than one train style on your adventure. For example, travel from Sturtevant, WI, to Kissimmee, FL. You start with the Hiawatha, a regional train, then transfer to the Capitol Limited, a Superliner, and in DC, transfer to the Silver Star or Silver Meteor, both Viewliners.

Amtrak sleeper accommodations overview

I hope this article helps to give you an overview of Amtrak accommodations with the links to get you the resources you need before booking your next Amtrak adventure.

This article may also help you with general sleeping car info; it covers many of the most asked questions I get about Amtrak accommodations. Another related topic is on tipping on Amtrak trains.

If you liked this article and want to keep in touch with me to find out when new information comes, click here. If you enjoyed this article and want to thank you, check out this page.

Safe travels!

Kev

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Kev

Kev has been traveling with Amtrak since 2012, celebrating his tenth year this year. Over those years, he has been on over 700 trains covering over 200,000 miles of rail. Kev enjoys helping others achieve their travel dreams by assisting them with support and information. Kev enjoys making music as an organist.

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