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Sleeper Accommodations on Amtrak: An Overview

Amtrak Viewliner 1 Sleeping Car

An enjoyable way to see the United States is in an Amtrak sleeper car. These cars provide you with a private room, meal, showers, and more.

For me, an Amtrak roomette or bedroom is my happy place. If you are new to Amtrak travel, there are a few things you should get familiar with before you start booking.

What accommodations does Amtrak offer?

Amfleet 1
The inside of an Amtrak Amfleet 1 Coach Car found on many regional trains

That is a great question, but first, you need to know a few things.

Amtrak runs more than one type of train on its network, so you could have a few different choices depending on what train(s) you take on your.

Regional and Acela trains

Regional trains, those under 750 miles, have coach-class, with many offer business-class accommodations. With these trains, most of them have a cafe car for food. These trains do not have sleeping accommodations, but for the ones listed below.

The upper bunk of a Viewliner roomette.
Here is a photo of the upper bunk of a Viewliner roomette.

There are a few NEC trains, 65, 66 & 67, that do offer sleepers. And those rooms offer a complimentary alcoholic beverage upon boarding and continental breakfast before arrival.

Long-distance trains

Like regional trains, long-distance Amtrak trains offer coach seating, and a few routes provide business class.

Long-distance Amtrak trains offer the choice of roomettes, bedrooms, accessible rooms, and family bedrooms (Superliner trains only).

Food on these trains can come from the cafe car, open to everyone, or a dining car or sleeper-lounge car (depending on the train), currently only for sleeper car passengers.

This article is an overview, and it will direct you to more significant articles about each accommodation to help with your research.

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

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

Yup, 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 is of the system uses bi-level cars. There is a list of what trains use what equipment later on.

Viewliner

These are the newest sleeper cars on the Amtrak system, with brand new cars entering service now.

Amtrak Viewliner trains are single-level cars found on the Eastcoast. Viewliner sleeper cars get paired with Amfleet II coach cars with baggage, cafe, and sleeper lounge cars.

The tunnels at New York Penn do not allow for Amtrak’s signature Superliner cars.

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 Meteor/Silver StarMiami – New York Penn
Old Viewliner Layout
Here is the layout of a Viewliner Sleeping car; new cars are slightly different.

Superliner

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

The Superliner equipment is bi-level or two-story, and like I said before, it is on all the long-distance trains that do not go to New York Penn.

Superliner Sleeper Cars get paired with Superliner coaches, 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
The basic layout of a Superliner Sleeper, there is more than one layout available, but this is the most common setup.

You could ride both on an Adventure!

While traveling on the Amtrak system, you may encounter more than one style on your adventure. For example, travel from Sturtevant, WI to Kissimmee, FL.

You start on a regional train, and from there, you may begin on the Capitol Limited, a Superliner, and in DC, transfer to the Silver Star or Silver Meteor, both Viewliners.

The Four Types Of Amtrak Sleeper Car Accommodations

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

As stated before, there are four types of sleeping accommodations on Amtrak trains, roomettes, bedrooms, accessible rooms, and Superliner cars add a family room in each car.

Each room has chairs that become beds, privacy curtains, lights, a fold-out table, food, and more.

Amtrak Roomettes

Roomettes are the smallest of Amtrak’s accommodations; 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 at night form one of the two beds. 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 the most space and amenities out of all of Amtrak’s accommodations.

Bedrooms have a sofa and a chair and include a small room that consists of a shower and toilet. On the outside of that space are a sink and mirror. The lower berth or bed is more significant than most rooms, a little bigger than a twin but smaller than a full.

Superliner trains have their bedrooms only on the upper level. Vewliner, there are two, and they are 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 have an article for this room yet.

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 an sleeper car accommodation?

Several nice perks come with your Amtrak sleeper car accommodations reservation, like the use of lounges at select stations, car attendants, showers, and meals. Most of all, being able to sleep horizontally.

Car attendant

Amtrak Sleeping 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.

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

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. So be kind with their time.

Meals on the train

Amtrak sleeping car accommodations include regularly scheduled meals with your reservations. Coach passengers are respectable for their meals either from the dining car or the food they brought.

If you take the City of New Orleans from Chicago to New Orleans, you will get dinner, breakfast, and lunch. 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 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

Flex dining features pre-prepared meals that are heated when you order them. The dining cars on these trains were rebranded as a Sleeper Car Lounge, 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 are bringing back flowers on the tables, table cloths for diners, ditching their plastic tableware. For more information on this topic, check out this article.

The meals with this service include entrees, add-ons (like cheese or bacon), non-alcoholic drinks, salads, and dessert. These meals now 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 sleeper car 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 out, click here. If you liked this article and want to say thank you, check out this page to do so.

Safe travels!

Kev

Kev

Kev has traveled over 125,000 miles on over 660 trains all around the United States aboard Amtrak. When he is not on the move, Kev enjoys making music as an organist.

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