Amtrak Sleeping Accommodations
Amtrak Sleeping Accommodations

Amtrak Sleeping Accommodations: What You Need To Know

Traveling by train provides a unique mix of relaxation and adventure, and Amtrak’s sleeping accommodations enhance your journey with comfort and convenience. Whether embarking on a cross-country adventure or a shorter overnight trip, choosing the right sleeping option can make all the difference.

In 2014, I booked my first Amtrak sleeping accommodation, a Roomette on the Texas Eagle from Chicago to LA, and I have been in one every year since. As an experienced Amtrak traveler, I’ll guide you through everything you need to know about Amtrak’s Roomettes, Bedrooms, Family Bedrooms, and Accessible Bedrooms. You’ll learn about their features and amenities and which option best suits your travel needs. Let’s explore the perfect way to travel overnight with Amtrak.

Accommodation options on Amtrak Long-Distance Trains

Amtrak long-distance trains offer coach seating and various sleeping accommodations, including roomettes, bedrooms, accessible rooms, and family bedrooms (Superliner trains only).

The Palmetto is a long-distance train but does not offer sleeping accommodations.

Superliner versus Viewliner Amtrak sleeping cars

Amtrak uses two types of sleeping car equipment on their long-distance trains:

  1. Viewliner Sleepers: These are single-level cars primarily used on travel routes to and from New York City. Viewliner sleepers offer the convenience of having an in-room sink and storage. A few routes with these cars include the Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Lake Shore Limited, Cardinal, Crescent, and others.
  2. Superliner Sleepers: These are bi-level or two-story cars used on most of Amtrak’s long-distance routes, particularly those that travel west of Chicago. Superliner sleepers feature two levels of accommodations with Roomettes and Bedrooms on both levels. You can find these cars on trains such as the California Zephyr, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle, Coast Starlight, etc.

Viewliner Equipment

The Silver Star in the Tampa, Fl Station with passengers boarding and detraining.
The Silver Star at the Tampa, FL Station.

Viewliner sleeper cars get paired with Amfleet II coach, baggage, and cafe cars. Some trains have a dining car to round out their train set.

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

Trains with Viewliner Sleeper Accommodations

RouteTravels betweenRouteTravels between
CardinalChicago, IL – New York PennSilver MeteorMiami, FL – New York Penn
CrescentNew Orleans, LA – New York PennSilver StarMiami, FL – New York Penn
Lake Shore LimitedChicago, IL – New York Penn

Viewliner Layout Of Sleeper Accommodations

There are newer cars with slightly different configurations. The most significant difference is the number of roomettes and the removal of the toilet in the room. These cars have a restroom at the end by the shower.

Old Viewliner Layout
Here is a Viewliner Sleeping car 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 and is used on long-distance trains that do not go to New York Penn.

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

Trains with Superliner Sleeper Accommodations

RouteTravels BetweenRouteTravels Between
Auto TrainLorton, VA (Washington, DC) –
 Sanford, FL (Orlando)
California ZephyrChicago, IL – Emeryville, CA (San Fransico)
Capitol LimitedChicago, IL- Washington DCCity of New OrleansChicago, IL – New Orleans, LA
Coast StarlightLos Angeles, CA – Seattle, WAEmpire BuilderChicago, IL – Seattle, WA/Portland, OR
Southwest CheifLos Angeles, CA – Chicago, ILTexas EagleChicago, IL – San Antontio/Los Angelese, CA
Sunset LimitedNew Orleans, LA – Los Angeles, CA

Superliner Layout Of Sleeper Accommodations

Superliner Sleeper
The basic layout of a Superliner Sleeper offers more than one layout, but this is the most common setup.

The Four Types Of Amtrak Sleeping Accommodations

Amtrak trains offer four types of sleeping accommodations: Roomettes, Bedrooms, Accessible Bedrooms, and Family Bedrooms (available only in Superliner cars).

Amtrak Roomettes

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)

Amtrak Roomettes

  • Popularity: The most popular choice for travelers.
  • Size: Compact, measuring about 6’6″ by 3’6″.
  • Suitability: Suitable for one person but can be cozy for two people.
  • Configuration:
    • Two chairs that face each other for daytime seating and convert into one of the two beds at night.
    • The second bed folds from above, with steps leading to the upper bunk.
  • Storage:
    • A small closet or hook on the wall hangs clothing up.
    • If traveling alone in Superliner cars, luggage can be stored in the upper bunk, though this reduces headroom.
      • There is limited space in the room for luggage.
      • An unsecured shelf on the lower level of the car can store extra bags.
    • In Viewliner Roomettes, there is a luggage storage space above the door.
  • Shower Location:
    • Superliner trains the shower on the lower level of the car.
    • Viewliner cars, in most cases, are at the end of the sleeper car.

Amtrak Bedroom

Two people in an Amtrak bedroom
Inside of a Superliner Bedroom. (Photo courtesy of Amtrak.com)

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

Seating in this Car

  • Bedrooms:
    • Offer a sofa and a chair.
    • The sofa converts into the lower berth (bed), 3′ 4″ x 6′ 3.”
    • The upper bunk folds down from above and is smaller, 2’4″ x 6’2.”
  • Amenities:
    • Each bedroom includes a small room with a shower and toilet.
    • There is a sink, mirror, and toiletry storage outside the shower/toilet area.

Storage

  • Closet: Every room has a small closet for hanging clothes.
  • Shelves:
    • Superliner trains have a few places to put smaller luggage; you can use the unsecured luggage storage shelf.
    • Viewliner trains have storage and other places to hold your gear above the door.

Train-Specific Details

  • Superliner Trains: Bedrooms are located only on the upper level.
  • Viewliner Trains: Have two bedrooms located next to each other at one end of the car.
  • Auto Train: Only a few cars have bedrooms on the upper level.

Accessible Rooms On Amtrak Trains

Amtrak Car attendant and passenger in a Amtrak accessible room.
Superliner Amtrak Accessible room (Photo courtesy of Amtrak)

Amtrak Accessible Rooms

  • Purpose: Accessible rooms are designed for passengers with mobility issues and provide space for a travel companion if needed.
  • Availability: These rooms are available on both Superliner and Viewliner trains.
  • Location:
    • On Superliner trains, accessible bedrooms are located on the lower level.
    • On Viewliner trains, they are located at the end of the car.
  • Features:
    • Extra space to accommodate a wheelchair or mobility device.
    • Daytime seating that transforms into upper and lower beds by night.
    • An accessible in-room sink and restroom.
    • Viewliner-accessible rooms also include an en suite shower.
    • Superliner-accessible rooms do not have an en suite shower, but one is available within the car.
  • Travel companions can sleep on the upper bunk in the room.
  • These rooms must be booked with an Amtrak agent over the phone or at a staffed station.

Superliner Amtrak Family Rooms

Amtrak Family Bedroom set up for the night
Amtrak family room set up for the night. (Photo courtesy of Amtrak.com)
  • Availability: Family rooms are only available on Superliner trains.
  • Seating and Sleeping Arrangements:
    • The room includes a sofa and a chair, similar to the chair in a Roomette.
    • At night, the space converts to two adult-sized bunk beds and two smaller bunks for children.
  • Location:
    • Family rooms are located on the lower level of the car, behind the four Roomettes, often assigned the number 15.
  • Capacity:
    • These rooms can accommodate two adults and two small children.
  • Flexibility:
    • You do not need to travel with a family to book this room; a single person can reserve it for additional space.

What amenities do you get with sleeping accommodation?

Booking Amtrak sleeping accommodations comes with a variety of perks and amenities that enhance your travel experience:

  • Meals Included:
    • Your reservation includes meals, which your attendant can deliver to your room or enjoy in the cafe or dining car.
    • Amtrak will help you make reservations if needed.
  • Room Configurations:
    • Rooms have day and night configurations, and the car attendant will set up your space accordingly.
  • Provided Essentials:
    • Amtrak provides linens, pillows, towels, washcloths, soap, and more.
    • There are places to hang your clothing, including hangers.
    • Your room will also have water bottles for you.
  • Showers:
    • Showers are available to all sleeper car passengers.
  • Morning Coffee Service:
    • Complimentary coffee and juice service is provided in the morning.
  • Station Services:

Most of all, my two favorite perks are sleeping horizontally and having personal space.

Car attendant

Amtrak car attendant
Amtrak Sleeping Car Attendant

Amtrak sleeper car attendants play a crucial role in ensuring a smooth journey for passengers:

  • Responsibilities:
    • Attendants assist with setting up and stowing beds, cleaning the car, and helping with luggage and meals.
    • They coordinate with conductors to stay informed about upcoming stops.
  • Availability and Etiquette:
    • While attendants are there to assist, it’s important to note they are not personal assistants.
    • Use the call button to request assistance, but understand they may be busy assisting other passengers or performing tasks like meal service or door operations.
    • Respect their time and workload so they can assist everyone efficiently.
  • Gratitude and Tips:
    • If you receive exceptional service from your attendant, consider tipping them and other crew members as a gesture of appreciation.

Most of my car attendants were helpful, and some went above and beyond. There have only been a few times when I had a less-than-stellar experience.

If you need meals brought to your room or special accommodations, it is best to bring that up early and be flexible. Sometimes, they may need to help others when you want service such as station stops.

Meals that come with your room

Amtrak sleeping car accommodations include regularly scheduled meals. Sleeper car meals come from the dining car on those trains with traditional dining and from the cafe for those with flex dining.

Amtrak has two meals for sleeping car passengers: traditional and flex dining.

Amtrak flex meal
Amtrak Flex Dining: Thai Red Curry Street Noodles, with dessert and white wine

Flex dining

Flex dining features pre-prepared meals that are heated. Meals include beverages and appropriate sides like a dinner roll and salad. With dinner comes an adult beverage for those old enough and want to partake.

Flex dining is on trains that run mainly one-night trains, except for the Silver Star, Silver Meteor, and Auto Train.

On the Texas Eagle, you have Flex dining between Chicago and San Antonio and traditional dining between San Antonio and LA.

Traditional Dining

AMTRAK PAN ROASTED CHICKEN BREAST
AMTRAK PAN ROASTED CHICKEN BREAST

Traditional dining is on all two-night trains, plus the Auto Train, Silver Meteor, and Silver Star.

If you ride the Texas Eagle, you get traditional dining between LA and San Antonio.

They want to bring back favorites like flowers on the tables and tablecloths for dinner service and ditch their plastic tableware, although I have not seen “real plates” return.

This service includes entrees, add-ons (like cheese or bacon), non-alcoholic drinks, salads, desserts, and your first adult beverage, complimentary with dinner.

Cafe Car

The cafe car is open to all passengers and offers adult beverages, soft drinks, snacks, and other food. It often carries Amtrak’s comfort kits, cards, blankets, headphones, and the like, but not always.

How can I book an Amtrak sleeping accommodation?

You can book a room on an Amtrak train in a few ways. Common ways are using:

  • Amtrak’s website or app
  • Calling 1-800-USA-Rail
  • Staffed Amtrak stations.
  • Some travel agents or Amtrak Vacations, an authorized Amtrak travel agency, may be able to help you.

Amtrak emails you a PDF ticket as soon as your transactions are complete, and it will give your car and room “numbers,” for some numbers are letters. You can access this ticket from the app; if it does not appear automatically, you can enter it yourself. If you want to have a paper ticket in hand, you can print out your tickets.

Amtrak TIcket showing my amtrak sleeping accommodations
This ticket shows the equipment used on the trains along with the car number and my room number.

Can you reserve more than one Amtrak sleeping accommodation?

You can, and I have done it a few times when traveling with family, but not if you are traveling alone. If you travel solo, you can only get one room! If you reserve more than one room, you can hang out in another room, even in a different car.

Bedroom Suits

Earlier, I talked about a bedroom suite, which consists of two bedrooms next to each other connected by doors, like a hotel.

Getting multiple roomettes

There are several reasons why getting multiple roommates makes sense.

Sometimes, you want more individual space, but the bedrooms are sold out or cost more than two rooms. Another reason is that no one wants to climb on the upper bunk; sometimes, you can get rooms across from each other. Or at least nearby.

Can you reserve different Amtrak sleeping accommodations?

Sometimes, the very nature of your trip will mean you may have more than one accommodation. For example, if I want to go to New Orleans, I would leave the Sturtevant Depot on the Hiawatha, a regional train with only coach seating. When I transferred to Chicago, I would go to the lounge and wait until it was time to board my roomette.

You can book an accessible room and a roomette, two roomettes, a bedroom and roomette, or whatever your travel needs.

Technically, you book different accommodations for the same train on one trip. For example, let’s say you want to take a trip from Chicago to San Fransico aboard the California Zephyr, but you find sold-out rooms from Chicago to Omaha, NE. You could book a coach seat until Omaha and then get a roomette from Omaha until the end. You often do not save money doing that, but run the number yourself to see if it is worth it.

Booking multiple Amtrak Sleeping accommodations

If you do not care if your travel party gets split up between different cars, you can book online and see what you get. But if you want to have rooms near each other, call Amtrak.

Amtrak bedroom sofa
This sofa is in an Amtrak bedroom and folds out into a bed.

In cases like this, the names on the reservations may not match the rooms people want, so everyone having a ticket comes in handy. You may need to explain it to the car attendant or conductor. This situation has happened to me a few times, and they understood it with no issues.

Be advised that getting rooms in the same sleeper car is based on availability and may not always be available. Book as early as possible to increase your chances of getting what you want, but you can keep trying if that does not work.

Sometimes, people’s plans change, and rooms open up, which could cause prices to change, either up or down.

Kev’s Thoughts On Amtrak Sleeping Accommodations

There are many great reasons to get a room on Amtrak trains, and I hope you can try it someday soon!

Looking at the cost of Amtrak sleeping accommodations

Sleeper accommodations: Amtrak Viewliner Roomette
Amtrak Viewliner Roomette
  • Any Amtrak sleeping accommodations can be a great way to travel by rail.
  • When pricing a room on the train, consider all that you get.
    • More space, privacy, meals, and more
  • If economics is a factor, consider coaching classes.
  • Consider how much you will spend on food and your comfort level.
  • You will not sleep horizontally and could share a seat with someone else.

I started trading in coach and have done it from coast to coast, but my happy place is a room on the train, often a roomette.

Many of my Amtrak accommodation adventures for free because I joined Amtrak Guest Rewards. I received points from travel, took advantage of promotions, got points from shopping, and even bought some.

What Amtrak sleeping accommodations do I choose when I travel?

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

We are all different in our needs.

I am more concerned about the journey and scenery than if I will have flax or traditional meals. Some people are more upset about a few meals than missing great views and experiences. To each their own; we each have a soapbox on which we stand, and I guess that is me standing on mine.

Don’t let someone else’s opinion and personal frustration hinder your enjoyment; I have seen this on a few Amtrak forums and groups. There was a trip I almost canceled because of people’s bitterness when asking a question. I am glad I did not listen to them, for they were wrong, and I don’t get why people choose bitterness and negativity.

I love a roomette but have spent time in Amtrak Superliner bedrooms and family rooms. If the price is right, I will upgrade and get a bedroom for the extra space, even if I travel solo.

When deciding what room to get, consider your budget, comfort level, and needs, and go from there. If you need to start in coach class like I did, so be it, and save up for that room!

Thanks for reading about my take on Amtrak sleeping accommodations

I hope this article gave you the start to the research you sought. There is more to know about tracking by train, so please check out my page on other Amtrak travel-related topics.

If you liked this article and want to keep in touch with me to find out when new information comes, join the Travels with Kev email list to get Amtrak travel updates and tips.

If you enjoyed this article and it helped you, and if you want to thank you, check out how you can support Travels with Kev. You could even get a postcard from me every month!

Safe travels!

Kev

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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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