Amtrak Superliner Roomettes
Amtrak Superliner Roomettes

Amtrak Superliner Roomette: What You Need To Know

An Amtrak Superliner Roomette is the smallest yet most popular sleeping accommodation. This car style is found on nine of the fifteen Amtrak long-distance trains. Superliners are Amtrak’s signature bi-level equipment, used on all long-distance trains except those that go to New York Penn Station.

Updated Superliner Roomette
Updated Superliner Roomette

Superliner roomettes are 3.5′ by 6.5′ rooms that offer privacy, shower access, and seating during the day, which converts to beds at night. Additionally, you can enjoy morning coffee, meals, and more.

Don’t worry; you will not share a room with someone you do not know.

Amtrak roomettes share a “sleeping car” with other rooms, such as bedrooms, accessible rooms (for special or mobility needs), and family rooms.

My first Amtrak Superliner roomette was room 14 on the 421 Texas Eagle from Chicago to Los Angeles. I loved it! The year before, I went from coast to coast in coach class and found roomettes to be my new happy place.

Since 2014, I have been in an Amtrak Superliner roomette, and I still get excited when I hear my train called at Chicago Union Station or my turnaround stop. In the past, I even got a roomette for short trips, like 2-3 hours, because it brought me joy.

If I have a terrible day, I imagine I am back in a roomette with the train’s rhythm relaxing me.

Amtrak Trains With Superliner Equipment

Superliner RoutesThe train travels between these cities
Auto TrainLorton, VA – Sanford, FL
California ZephyrChicago, IL – Emeryville, CA (San Fransico)
Capitol LimitedChicago, IL – Washington, D.C.
City of New OrleansChicago, IL – New Orleans, LA
Coast StarlightLos Angeles, CA – Seattel, WA
Empire BuilderChicago, IL – Seattle, WA/Portland, OR
Southwest ChiefChicago, IL – Los Angeles
Sunset LimitedNew Orleans, LA – Los Angeles, CA
Texas EagleChicago, IL – San Antonio, TX/ Los Angeles
The equipment on these trains is interchangeable.

Amtrak operates two types of long-distance trains due to the tunnels leading to New York Penn Station; in that case, they use Viewliner.

A 360 Interactive View Of An Amtrak Superliner Roomette

These interactive photo links provide a convenient way to explore different angles of the roomettes. The links below contain “360 photos” that are not mine.

Please note that the interior design may vary depending on when the car was built or renovated.

Not all Amtrak routes have beds made up like in the photo. New bedding and towels are on Amtrak trains.

The Size Of An Amtrak Superliner Roomette

Roomettes are the smallest of Amtrak’s accommodations but can be an excellent travel method.

These rooms are 6.5′ by 3.5′ and offer day and night accommodations.

During the day

NEW 2 people in a Amtrak Superliner roomette
Amtrak Superliner Roomette set up for the day (photo Amtrak.com)

During the day, two chairs face each other, and you can learn about the amenities of these rooms further down.

At night

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)

When ready for bed, press the call button to notify your attendant.

When traveling by train, the attendant will prepare your sleeping area by arranging two chairs to form the lower berth or bed, which measures 2.3 feet by 6.5 feet. They will then place a mattress over the chairs. If you travel with a companion, the second berth will be above the lower berth, measuring 2 feet by 6.2 feet.

Please note that the upper berth has no windows, and you must climb steps to access it.

There is enough standing space when the beds are down, but not much more. You can change it in the bathroom or shower dressing room while your roomette is being changed.

In the morning, inform your attendant when you are going to breakfast, and they will return your room to standard.

Superliner Sleeper Car Layout

Roomettes are available on both levels of a standard Superliner sleeper car, with rooms 1-10 on the top and 11-14 on the lower level.

However, you may encounter two other types of sleeper cars.

Standard Sleeper Car

Transdorm

These cars only have roomettes and are by Amtrak staff and passengers.

Deluxe Bedroom

Deluxe Bedroom cars only appear on the Auto Train, and only four roomettes are on the lower level.

The Lights And Outlet Of An Amtrak Superliner Roomette

Suoerliner Roomette switch
The newer lighting controls in Amtrak Superliner Roomette

Please note that the railcars predate the widespread use of electronics.

As such, each room features only one U.S. three-prong wall outlet. However, you can avoid this with a simple multi-outlet extension cord, enabling you to charge multiple devices simultaneously.

The Superliner roomettes offer various lighting options, including ceiling and nightlights.

Additionally, each seat has a reading light. Amtrak is replacing many of these lights with more efficient LED lights to improve energy efficiency.

Presently, Amtrak employs two switch types, although they are transitioning to touch controls as the cars are upgraded (as seen in the photo).

A helpful travel tip: the upper bunk has a reading light that provides excellent mood lighting while passing through the Rockies’ tunnels if you are traveling on the California Zephyr. This light also comes in handy when you head to dinner, providing some illumination when you return to your room.

Windows And Doors Of An Amtrak Superliner Roomette

Roomettes have spacious windows that let you enjoy the scenic view outside. Additionally, interior windows face the hallway, which adds a little spaciousness to the room. All windows have drapes you can close for privacy or to keep the light out.

It’s important to note that only you can lock and unlock the room door from the inside, so you won’t be able to lock it when you leave your room.

To ensure the safety of your valuables, it’s a good practice to hide them before leaving the room. Although there’s no widespread chat of theft, it’s best not to advertise or tempt anyone.

Storage For An Amtrak Superliner Sleeper Roomette

Superliner Roomette storage
Storage is at a premium in Superliner roomettes, but there are places to put your belongings.

Storing gear in your superliner roomette

Superliner roomette hook
If your Superliner Roomette does not have a closet, you get a hock like this, and Amtrak supplies hangers.

When you enter an Amtrak roomette, you will notice little space for your luggage.

However, you can use the step on one side of the door to place your bag against the wall. The headrest of the seat should keep it from falling.

If needed, you can store or hang additional items in the small closet or hook on the opposite side of the step. Amtrak provides hangers for your convenience.

Remember that there is some storage space under the seats, but once the seats get pushed together, you cannot access anything stored there.

Packing as light as possible is fantastic!

Other storage options

If you need more space, there is a downstairs rack to store your belongings. You will pass it on the way to your room.

If you travel alone and have too much luggage, you can ask your car attendant to lower the upper bunk and store your bags there. However, remember that this will reduce the headspace, which might only be an issue when standing.

Checked baggage service is unavailable at all stations, so check whether it’s available at your station before leaving. If your starting station doesn’t have a checked service, but your layover station does, you can check your bags there instead.

For instance, if you are traveling from Sturtevant, WI, an unstaffed station, to Omaha, NE, with a layover in Chicago, you can carry your bags on the Hiawatha and check them in Chicago. Still, it would be best to do this at least 45 minutes before departure.

Amenities Of An Amtrak Superliner Roomette

At Station Amenities

As a sleeper car passenger, you can enjoy station amenities such as lounges and red caps before boarding the train at select stations.

In Room Amenities

Mackenzie sleeping in an Amtrak Superliner roomette.

In addition to the sleeping areas and limited storage space, these small rooms offer more amenities.

Each room has a fold-out table between the seats, and most have a checkerboard pattern, allowing you to play checkers or chess while you travel! Behind the table, you will find a safety card and often a menu.

Your room has bottled water, fresh towels, blankets, sheets, and pillows.

A shower is also available on the lower level for everyone to use.

The car attendants are available to assist you throughout your journey. They will help you with your luggage, raise or lower your bed, and maintain the sleeper car.

In the morning, coffee and juice are available at the station on the car’s upper level by the stairs.

It is important to note that most Superliner trains do not have Wi-Fi. Therefore, it’s best to plan not to have Wi-Fi. Even if you have it, it is cellular-based and unsuitable for streaming movies or shows.

Food

Amtrak omelette breakfast
An Amtrak traditional dining omelet breakfast

Your room tickets include complimentary meals in the dining car during your trip and free non-alcoholic beverages during meal times. You can receive a free alcoholic drink with dinner.

All Superliner trains offer traditional dining but for two trains. The City of New Orleans and the Texas Eagle between Chicago and San Antonio have flexible dining options.

Please inform your car attendant beforehand if you require assistance with something like having your meals delivered to your room. The attendant is there to help the entire car, so it may take some time before they can assist you.

In addition to the dining car, you can visit the cafe car to purchase snacks, meals, and hot and cold beverages, including alcoholic ones.

Please consult my resources below for more information, including sample menus for each food car.

Getting Around A Superliner Train

I was looking towards the car's center down the middle of a Superliner roomette hallway.
You are looking at the Superliner roomette hallway; the end of the pic is the car’s center.

Getting around Superliner trains is easy if you remember two things.

First, you must be on the upper level to walk from one car to another. Trains are linear, so you may need to walk through a few cars to get where you want to go.

Second, you must go downstairs to get on or off the train.

Trains sway, so you may need to use the walls or handrails to brace yourself.

If the sleeper car is in the front of the train, the roomette side of the car is toward the locomotive, but if it is on the back of the train, then the bedroom side is forward. That can change anytime, especially if there is a last-minute swap. But in most cases, if you walk towards the bedrooms, you are headed towards a food car; you may need to go through a few cars to get there.

Can I request a room for the best view?

Amtrak Superliner Train
Amtrak Superliner Train

It is possible to request a room on the “right” side of the train, but unfortunately, it can be challenging to guarantee that you will get it. The direction of sleeper cars is subject to change, making it challenging to ensure that you end up on the desired side. Switching rooms depends on availability, so it might not always be possible if you want to move rooms.

A ticket agent cannot guarantee which way a room faces because sleeper cars run in either direction.

However, it’s important to remember that there are views on both sides of the train. Sometimes, a train may have better vistas on one section of the route but only part of the way.

Therefore, if you are new to Amtrak travel, don’t get too hung up trying to get on the “perfect side” because it is subjective. Just enjoy the journey and the views from whichever room you are in.

You can change your views by visiting the cafe or the Sightseer Lounge car. Chat with others on the train; maybe if you offer the neighbor across from you a treat of beverage, they may let you sit with them for the section that is on the wrong side.

Kev’s thoughts on the best roomette

I love traveling by train in a roomette and try to open to what room I get. Over the years, I have stayed in both upper and lower roomettes, each with advantages and disadvantages. There’s no “wrong” room for me, but I have certain rooms that I like better.

Amtrak California Zephyr
A view of Amtrak’s California Zephyr from my roomette

Rooms 2-4 are my favorite because they are close to the restroom, coffee, and the stairs. However, some people find being so close to the bathroom unpleasant. I’ve also had great experiences in rooms 9 or 10, which some consider “too loud.”

My first roomette was on the lower level and is still my friend Sean’s favorite. I’ve learned that being a good traveler means being flexible, trying new things, and adapting to unexpected situations.

If you don’t put too much pressure on a trip to be “perfect,” things often go more smoothly, and you’ll be less stressed. When traveling with others, I only request a specific room and want to be near them or in the same car.

If you embark on your first trip, it is crucial to focus on the new experience and not let someone else’s opinions shape your own. You can enjoy something someone dislikes, as it often happens to me. If you become too fixated on meeting others’ expectations of a “perfect” trip, you risk ruining your experience before leaving home.

Booking An Superliner Roomette

There are various ways to reserve a roomette on Amtrak. You can book it through staffed stations, Amtrak’s app or website, over the phone, or with a travel agent. If you are tech-savvy, booking from the comfort of your home on your preferred device should be hassle-free.

Amtrak TIcket
This ticket displays the equipment type, car, and room numbers.

When you book a roomette, you’ll have the entire room to yourself unless you book a travel companion. Amtrak will not randomly assign someone to share your room with you.

Booking a roomette is simple, and booking multiple rooms for groups is not difficult either. However, it’s important to note that roomettes are assigned randomly. If you want your group to stay together, you need to call and request the rooms to be assigned together. If rooms near each other are available, the staff will do their best to accommodate your request. If you are booking last minute, it may be harder to get rooms together, so it’s best to book as early as possible.

Once you make your reservations, Amtrak will email you your receipt and ticket. Your ticket will display your room assignment and be available in the app if you booked using your Amtrak Guest Rewards Number.

It’s important to note that all passengers must be on the same reservation if they want to share an Amtrak roomette. However, if you wish to separate rooms, you can book two roomettes on one reservation.

Reasons to call Amtrak or visit a staffed station:

If you need to book multiple rooms near each other, want a specific roomette, or are not satisfied with the assigned location of your roomette on an Amtrak train, you may need to contact the staff station or call Amtrak.

Amtrak will try to fulfill such requests, but they are based on availability. Therefore, it’s advisable to book your ticket as early as possible.

The Cost Of A Superliner Roomette

The ticket counter at the Milwaukee Intermodal Station.
The ticket counter at the Milwaukee Intermodal Station

One of the most frequently asked questions is about the cost of an Amtrak roomette, but it’s not easy to answer because there are many variables to consider.

These variables could include your starting and ending destination, the timing of your booking, room availability, and the number of people traveling with you.

However, check out my page for tips on saving money on Amtrak. The best way to determine the cost of a roomette is to enter your starting and ending points into Amtrak’s website for a few dates and see what they say. The more flexibility you have, the better your chance of getting the trip you want at a price you are willing to pay.

Packing Ideas For An Amtrak Superliner Roomette 

When traveling by train, it’s always a good idea to pack a few things to make the journey more enjoyable. Since there may not be internet available on the train, it’s helpful to bring along electronics that have pre-downloaded shows and movies. Remember to bring their accessories, such as headphones, chargers, cables, and an extension cord, as they are essential.

Besides electronics, books and other forms of entertainment are also great options. I have some other ideas for entertainment that you might find helpful.

Bringing snacks and drinks is also a good idea. I usually pack them in a small reusable bag that can be easily stored once it’s emptied. If it’s a long trip, I buy snacks for one direction and new treats at my destination for the ride home. However, it’s worth noting that shops at big stations like Chicago and L.A. may charge more.

A refillable water bottle is handy to stay hydrated and reduce your travel footprint.

If you’re planning on drinking alcohol, you can only consume it in your room. However, it’s essential to be mindful of your behavior since conductors will remove you from the train if you get out of control, regardless of your destination.

If you’re sensitive to light and noise, bring sleeping gear such as eyeshades and earplugs for a comfortable and restful journey. You can also consider using sleep aids.

Car Etiquette For A Superliner Roomette

Observe the basic manners during your Amtrak journey, but there are a few specific things I would like to go over.

It is crucial to use inside voices as the walls are thin, and you should be considerate of your fellow passengers. If you are not using headphones, keep the volume of your electronics low.

Your car attendant is responsible for the entire car, so please treat them with respect and only ask for assistance when necessary. Though tipping is not mandatory, it is a great way to show gratitude for their service.

Be mindful of common areas and clean up after yourself to ensure a pleasant experience for everyone.

My experience with Superliner Roomettes

Roomettes are my happy place!

I have spent many happy hours traveling by train, covering thousands of miles. Being on a train helps me relax, and having a roomette is even better. I can shut the door, close the shades, and enjoy my little world.

Amtrak Superliner Sleeper
The entrance to an Amtrak Superliner Sleeper Car

Sometimes, I don’t have the best car attendant, but that’s uncommon. Unfortunately, not all passengers realize they’re not the only ones on the train. However, you can find those kinds of people anywhere.

I love a Superliner roomette because I value personal space, access to food, a shower, and the ability to sleep horizontally.

The best part about having a roomette is stretching out, watching the scenery, and listening to music or podcasts at a low volume without headphones. I sometimes “watch” videos while on the move, but often, it’s just for background noise, or I watch the parts I like.

Once you’re on board, your basic needs are covered if you have a sleeper, and the cafe is available if you want something special. Going to the cafe car can be a nice outing and a chance to stretch your legs.

If you found this article helpful, please support me by clicking the Buy Me A Coffee button or visiting my support page. Thank you for joining me on this adventure of Amtrak Superliner roomettes.

You may also want to check out my Amtrak Rooms: The Top 21 Things You Should Know article.

Safe Travels!

Kev

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.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Mike

    This is really helpful We’re getting ready to go on our first trip and I was looking for more detailed information on roomettes. I’ve been a little concerned about the space (I’m fairly tall but my wife is short) after looking this over, I think we’ll be good. Thank you.

    1. Kev

      I am about 6’2,” and I am comfortable. You will be more comfortable on the lower bunk than on the upper. I hope you have a great trip.

      Safe Travels,
      Kev

    2. Kev

      Hi, Sally, if you check your luggage, it goes to the baggage car, not your room. If you can get your stuff to the train, the attendant can help bring it to your room. It may not be right away, but as soon as they can. If you are leaving from a larger station with red cap service and can help you get your things to your room.

      I hope this helps, and safe travels!
      Kev

  2. Kev

    Roomettes come in one size that is great for one person, or you can share it with a travel companion. The only way you will have someone else in your room is if you and the travel buddy make the reservation together. Amtrak does not pair you with someone you do not know.

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