Amtrak Sleeping Accommodations
Amtrak Sleeping Accommodations

Amtrak Sleeping Accommodations: What You Need To Know

Mack and I walking to the Cal Zepher
Mackenzie and I walk to our Amtrak Sleeping Car.

Are you looking for a little more privacy on your next Amtrak adventure? Or maybe you would rather sleep horizontally than somewhat upright in coach class. Either way, Amtrak sleeping accommodations are an enjoyable way to see the United States while riding the rails.

This article provides overviews of the different rooms on Amtrak long-distance trains, plus links for additional details on each room. That way, you can dive deeper into the rooms you want and be an informed traveler.

I have ridden in many Amtrak sleeper cars over thousands of miles, and they have become my happy place. I hope it can be for you, too.

Get comfy, and let’s discuss what you need to know before booking your first Amtrak sleeping accommodations.

Accommodations Amtrak Offers On Long-Distance Trains

Amtrak long-distance trains offer coach seating 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?

Yes, Amtrak uses two types of equipment on their long-distance trains: single-level cars found on the routes that go to New York. The rest of the Amtrak system uses bi-level cars.

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

Viewliner Equipment

Amtrak Viewliner trains are single-level cars found on the East Coast 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, 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

Train RouteEnd DestinationsTrain RouteEnd Destinations
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 removing 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, found 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

TrainTravels BetweenTrainTravels 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
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 Sleeping Accommodations

Amtrak trains have four sleeping accommodations: roomettes, bedrooms, and accessible rooms, and Superliner cars have a family room.

Amtrak Roomettes

Here is a little about Amtrak roomettes:

  • Roomettes are the most popular but are petite, 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, and there are two steps to the upper bunk.
  • If you travel alone in a Superliner car, you could use the upper bunk to store luggage, but you will lose some headroom.

There is some storage in the room and a shelf on the lower level if you are in a Superliner car, but remember it is not secure. On Viewliner roomettes, there is a space above your door to store luggage.

Depending on the train, the shower is either down the hall or on the lower level.

Amtrak Bedroom

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

Two people in an Amtrak bedroom
Inside of a Superliner Bedroom. (Photo courtesy of Amtrak.com)
  • Seating in this car
    • Bedrooms offer a sofa and a chair
    • The sofa becomes the lower berth or bed, giving you room to stretch out by day or night.
    • That bed is a little bigger than a twin but smaller than a full
    • The upper bunk folds down from above and is smaller.
  • There is a small room with a shower and toilet.
    • A sink, mirror, and toiletry storage are also outside that space.
  • For storage
    • Every room has a small closet for you to hang your things.
    • There is a shelf on the wall for you to put a small carry-on size luggage, and you will find the ledge on the wall across from the bathroom,

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

On the Auto Train, a few cars have only 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 are for passengers with mobility issues and provide space for a travel companion if needed.

  • These rooms are on both Superliners and Viewliners.
    • Accessible Bedrooms are located on the lower level of Superliner and at the end of Vewlier trains.
    • These rooms offer extra space for a wheelchair.
  • Seating by day transformed into upper and lower beds by night.
  • These rooms come with an accessible in-room sink and restroom.
  • Viewliner train rooms also have a shower en suite, but Superliner train does not, although one is available in the car.

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)

Family rooms are only on Superliner trains.

  • These rooms offer a sofa and chair similar to a roomette chair.
  • The space has two bunk beds for adults and two bunks for smaller kids at night.
  • 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.

You do not need a family to get this room; a single person could reserve it for a little more room.

What amenities do you get with sleeping accommodation?

Perks and amenities are always fun, and here are a few you will get when you book Amtrak sleeping accommodations.

  • Your reservation includes your meals.
    • Your attendant can deliver to your room, or you can eat in the cafe or dining car.
  • Rooms have a day and night configuration.
    • The car attendant will set your space up for the appropriate configuration.
  • Linens, pillows, towels, washcloths, soap, and more are provided for you.
  • There are places to hang your clothing, including hangers.
  • Showers are available to all sleeper car passengers.
  • Coffee service in the morning
  • Some stations offer extra services
  • And more

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

Car attendant

Amtrak car attendant
Amtrak Sleeping Car Attendant

Amtrak sleeper car attendants are there to help you along your journey.

  • 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.
  • One thing to keep in mind is not your “personal assistant.”

How to call your attendant

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. They also have to open the door to let people on and off the train.

Be kind and thoughtful with their time so they can help others and get their task done.

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

Meals That Come With Your Amtrak Sleeping Accommodations

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 but 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 from 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.

The meals with this service include 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 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, but not always.

Your Amtrak sleeping accommodations can include coach seating or a connecting service.

While traveling on the Amtrak system, you may encounter multiple train styles 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.

In some cases, your reservation could include something other than a sleeping accommodation and could involve a connecting bus, regional train, ferry, or something else. Amtrak is upfront with this if you pay attention to mixed service words when you book. Learn more about Amtrak Connecting services.

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 may be able to help you or Amtrak Vacations, which is an authorized Amtrak travel agency.

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 what equipment will be used on the train I will be on, 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, where you get two bedrooms next to each other with a door connection via 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 rooms are sold out from Chicago to Omaha, NE; you could book a coach seat till Omaha and then get a roomette from Omaha till the end. You often do not save money doing that, but run the number yourself.

Booking multiple Amtrak Sleeping accommodations

If you do not care if your travel party is 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 line up with the rooms people want, so in this case, everyone having a ticket comes in handy, and you may need to explain it to the car attendant or conductor. This has happened to me a few times, and they understood that situation 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. There could be a price change, either up or down, if you can make the change.

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 see the USA by rail.
  • When pricing a room on the train, consider all that you get.
    • More space, privacy, meals, and more.
    • Long-distance prices are compared to road trips and bus travel than flying.
      • Consider the cost of gas, meals, and hotels.
  • 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. 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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