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, and this 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 that do not go to New York Penn Station.

  • Superliner roomettes are 3.5′ by 6.5′ rooms
  • Offer you privacy
  • Shower access
  • Seating by day and beds by night,
  • Morning coffee, meals, and more.
  • You will not share the room with anyone else unless you put them on your reservation.
  • These rooms are comfortable for one and cozy for two.

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 prior, I went from coast to coast in coach class and found roomettes to be my new happy place.

Amtrak Trains With Superliner Equipment

Superliner RoutesThe End 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.

Long-distance trains not found on this list use single-level Viewliner equipment.

Amtrak uses two styles of long-distance equipment because of the tunnels leading to New York Penn Station. While the Superliner equipment holds more people, they do not fit through the New York tunnels.

A 360 Interactive View Of An Amtrak Superliner Roomette

These interactive photos are a neat and handy way to discover what the roomettes look like from different angles. The links below contain interactive “360 photos” (these photos are not mine). A quick note: depending on when the car was built or rebuilt, there can be differences in the interiors.

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

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

At night

When you are ready for bed, let your call attendant know, and there is a call button you can hit to let them know you are ready.

The attendant will lay out the two chairs to form the lower berth or bed ( 2.3′ by 6.5′) and put a mattress over them. If you have a travel companion, the second berth comes from above (2′ by 6.2′). The upper berth does not have windows, and you need to climb up steps to get in there.

There is enough space for you to stand when the beds are down, but not room for much more than that. You could use the bathroom or shower dressing room to change while your space is transformed.

In the morning, let your attendant know when you are going to breakfast, and they can return your room to standard.

Superliner Sleeper Car Layout

Roomettes are on both levels on a standard Superliner sleeper car, with rooms 1-10 on the top and 11-14 on the lower level. But there are two other styles of sleeper cars you could encounter.

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

These railcars were designed and built before our mass use of electronics, so be advised that there is only one U.S. three-prong wall outlet in each room.

A simple multi-outlet extension cord will solve this problem for most people so that you can charge more than one device at a time.

Superliner roomettes have a few lighting options, including ceiling lights and a nightlight, plus each seat has a reading light. Amtrak is switching many of these lights over to more efficient LED lights.

Currently, Amtrak uses two different switches; Amtrak changed to touch controls as the car’s upgrade (like in the photo).

Travel tip: the upper bunk has a reading light that works well for mood lighting through the Rockies’ tunnels if you are aboard the Califonia Zephyr. This light also works well when you head to dinner because your room will have a little light when you return.

Windows And Doors Of An Amtrak Superliner Roomette

Roomettes have a large window to watch the country roll by, plus interior windows facing the hallway, giving your room a more open feel. All windows have drapes you can close to keep the light out or for privacy.

The room door is only lockable from the inside, so you cannot lock your door when you leave your room. Before leaving your room, hide your valuables. I have never had an issue, but why advertise or provide temptations?

Storage For An Amtrak Superliner Sleeper Roomette

Storing gear in your superliner roomette

A roomette has little space for your gear, but some room is available for those who pack lighter.

When you walk into a roomette on one side of the door, you will see a step, and you can see it in the above photo on the right. You can place your bag and slide it to the wall, and the headrest should keep it from moving (I have never had it fall). Use your discretion.

The opposite side of that set is a small closet or hook for storing or hanging your things. Amtrak provides hangers. There is some storage under the seats, but there is no access to whatever is there once the seats come together.

Other storage options

For additional space, there is a rack downstairs where you can store your things.

If, for some reason, you have too much baggage and are traveling alone, talk to your car attendant about lowering the upper bunk and storing your luggage up there. If you do this, you will lose headspace, which is only an issue when standing.

Checked baggage service is available between some stations, but not all, so check before leaving. If your first station does not have a checked service, but your layover station does, you can check bags there.

For example, you are going from Sturtevant, WI, an unstaffed station, to Omaha. N.E., with a layover in Chicago. You can carry your bags on the Hiawatha and check them in Chicago, provided you can do so 45 minutes before departure.

Amenities Of An Amtrak Superliner Roomette

At Station Amenities

Before boarding the train, you can use station amenities like lounges and red caps as a sleeper car passenger at some stations.

In Room Amenities

Besides the sleeping areas and little storage, there is more to these small rooms.

Each room has a fold-out table between the seats, and most have a checkerboard pattern, so if you bring checkers or chess pieces, you can play as you travel! Behind the table is a safety card and often a menu. Rooms come with bottled water, fresh towels, blankets, sheets, and pillows.

There is a shower on the lower level for all to use.

There is a car attendant to help you along the way. The attendants will put your bed up or down, help with luggage, and help maintain the sleeper car.

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

Most Superliner trains do not have Wi-Fi. It is best to plan on not having Wi-Fi. It is cellular and not set up for streaming movies and shows if you do have it.

Food

Your room tickets include meals in the dining car during your trip, complimentary beverages during meals, and an adult beverage with dinner.

Superliner trains have traditional dining, but the City of New Orleans and the Texas Eagle between Chicago and San Antonio have flexible dining.

If you need help, such as bringing meals to your room, inform your car attendant beforehand. Remember, the attendant is there to help the whole car; it may take some time before they can get to you.

The cafe car is also open to you, where you can buy snacks, meals, and hot and cold beverages, including adult ones.

Get more info and see sample menus for each of these food cars.

Getting Around A Superliner Train

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

First, to walk from one car to another, you need to be on the upper level. Trains are linear, so you may 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?

It can be hard to ensure you get on the “right side;” the placements of sleepers and the direction of cars can change if a sleeper does not get turned right before being put on the train. This means a ticket agent cannot guarantee which way a room faces because sleeper cars run in either direction.

Kev’s thoughts on the “right Amtrak Roomette.”

People forget that there are views on both sides of the train and focus too much on the “perfect room.” Some trains have better vistas on one section of the route but not the whole way.

If you are new to Amtrak travel, don’t get hung up trying to get the “right room” because it is subjective.

Kev’s thoughts on the best roomette

I love being on the train in a roomette, and I try not to get too hung up on what room I get. Over the years, I have had both upper and lower roomettes on the train, each with advantages and disadvantages. There are no rooms that are wrong for me, but there are rooms that I like better.

For me, rooms 2-4 are ideal because they are close to the restroom, coffee, and the stairs. But for some, it is repulsive to be that close to a bathroom. I had great experiences in rooms 9 or 10, which some people find “too loud.” My first roomette was on the lower level, and I still fell in love with sleeper cars. The lower level rooms are my friend Sean’s favorite spot.

You are a better traveler if you are flexible, trying things for yourself, and rolling with the punches. The less pressure you put on a trip to be “perfect,” the smoother things go, and often, you will find you are less stressed.

I only request a specific room when I travel with others and want a room near them or at least in the same car.

Booking An Superliner Roomette

There are several ways to book a roomette, including staffed stations, Amtrak’s app or website, over the phone, or with a travel agent.

If you book a roomette, you get the whole room to yourself unless you book a travel companion. Amtrak will not assign someone to your room that you do not know.

Booking on your own is simple, and booking multiple rooms for groups is possible, although roomettes are randomly assigned. If you want them together, you need to call.

After making your reservations, Amtrak will email you your receipt and ticket. The ticket shows your room assignment and can be found in the app if you booked with your Amtrak Guest Rewards Number.

All passengers must be on the same reservation if sharing an Amtrak roomette. You can book two roomettes on one reservation if you want separate rooms.

Reasons to call Amtrak or visit a staffed station:

  • If you are booking multiple rooms near each other
  • Do you want a specific roomette, or don’t you like the assigned location of the roomette?
    • For example, you have a lower-level room and want an upstairs room or vice versa.

Amtrak will try to fulfill these requests, but it is not always possible. It is best to book as soon as you are able.

The Cost Of A Superliner Roomette

This is one of the most asked questions, but it isn’t easy to answer because there are too many variables.

Variables include the destination and starting point, how far out you book, and availability of rooms. The number of travelers in your party affects the price as well. Check out my page for ways to save money on Amtrak tickets.

The best way to determine how much a roomette is to do the legwork of entering the start and finish points into Amtrak’s website for a few dates and see what they say.

Packing Ideas For An Amtrak Superliner Roommette 

There are a few things I pack to make my trip more enjoyable.

  • Electronics (typically, there is no internet on the train)
    • Extension cord
    • Headphones
    • Chargers and cables
    • A tablet with downloaded entertainment can help buy time at night or if there is a delay.
      • Here are some more ideas for entertainment on Amtrak.
  • Snacks and drinks
    • I usually use a small packable bag that is easily stored after consuming my snacks.
    • Depending on the trip and snacks, I often buy them for each direction. This can save space and allow me to go shopping before returning.
    • Many big stations, such as Chicago and L.A., have shops that sell snacks, but you may pay more.
    • A refillable water bottle is handy for staying hydrated and lowering your travel footprint.
    • When writing, you can bring your alcohol and consume it in your room.
      • The conductors will remove you from the train if you get out of control, regardless of your destination.
  • Sleeping gear
    • Eyeshades if you are super sensitive to light at night
    • Earplugs, if you need them for a quieter night
    • Sleep aides

Car Etiquette For A Superliner Roomette

Basic manners apply, but there are a few things I want to go over.

  • Inside voices are essential; the walls are thin, so be mindful of your neighbors.
  • If you don’t use headphones, keep your electronics at a low volume.
  • Treat your car attendant respectfully; only one is for the whole car. They try to help everyone the best that they can
  • Clean up any mess you make in common areas for the betterment of your fellow passengers.

My experience with Superliner Roomettes

Roomettes are my happy place!

As you have gathered by now, I have enjoyed thousands of miles in these rooms with much joy and happiness. Being on a train helps me decompress, and roomettes help because I can shut the door, close the shades, and be in my little world.

Occasionally, I didn’t get the best car attendant, but that is the exception to the rule. Not every passenger realizes that other people are on the train and that the world does not revolve around them. But you can find that walking down the street.

I try to get a superliner roomette because of personal space, food, shower, and sleeping horizontally. 

My favorite part of having a roomette is stretching out, watching the scenery, and listening to music or podcasts without headphones (at a low volume). Sometimes, I will “watch” videos while rolling along, but often, it is on just for background noise, or I watch the parts I like.

Your basic needs get covered with a sleeper once you are on board, and the cafe is there for you if you want something special. Going for a walk to the cafe car makes for a nice outing and gets you out of your room.

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

Safe Travels!

Kev

Would you like train travel info in your inbox?

Consider joining the Travel with Kev email list for Amtrak travel info, tips, and tricks.

Here is the latest email!

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 6 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. 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. Sally

      Thanks for this – really helpful. I’ll be having my first trip next month. Silly question – but does ‘checked baggage’ come with my to my roomette, or is it stored somewhere? There’s only me, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to fit it into my roomette. Also, is arriving an hour before departure enough, or should I allow more time. Sally

      1. 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. Liz

    Yes, very, very helpful. But, (and, isn’t there always a “but”, lol) are roomettes single or double? I will be traveling alone, and would prefer not to share.

    Thanks for your help!

    Liz

    1. 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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.