Amtrak Viewliner Roomettes
Amtrak Viewliner Roomettes

Amtrak Viewliner Roomette: What You Need To Know

Are you seeking comfort and convenience on your next East Coast train adventure? Consider the Amtrak Viewliner Roomette, where you can enjoy personal space and the ability to sleep horizontally!

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time explorer eager to indulge in the romance of train travel, the Viewliner Roomette offers a private oasis as you watch America’s scenic landscapes roll by.

Whether traveling solo or with a companion along the East Coast, the Viewliner Roomette provides a serene retreat amidst the excitement of the rails.

This blog post explains what trains use this equipment and everything you need to know about the Viewliner Roomette, from its features and amenities to tips for making the most of your journey. Get ready to embark on an Amtrak adventure—welcome aboard!

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

What is an Amtrak Viewliner Roomette?

Amtrak Viewliner Roomette Size

The upper bunk of a Viewliner roomette.
The upper bunk of a Viewliner roomette

The smallest of Amtrak’s accommodations is the roomette, measuring around 6.5′ by 3.5′. The roomettes remind me of an RV’s efficient use of a small space.

Amtrak Viewliner Roomette Beds

During the day, the two chairs face each other to provide seating. At night, the sleeping car attendants convert the chairs into a lower berth or bed (2.3′ by 6.5′), while the second or upper berth gets pulled down from above (2′ by 6.2′). To sleep in the top bunk, one must climb into it.

As someone 6’2″ tall, I prefer to sleep in the upper bunk when I travel. Even when traveling alone, I find it spacious and comfortable. This way, I still have the lower bunk for seating if I want to stay late or get up early.

The top bunk has safety straps to prevent rolling out at night. There is also a reading light and a pouch or netting for keeping personal items such as glasses, phones, and other belongings within reach. Remember to double-check everything before you leave!

What Amtrak trains have Viewliner Equipment?

Amtrak Viewliner equipment is present on all long-distance trains that arrive and depart from New York Penn Station, as shown in the table below.

Viewliner RoutesDestinations
CardinalNew York Penn – Chicago, IL
CrescentNew York Penn – New Orleans
Lake Shore LimitedNew York Penn/Boston, MA – Chicago, IL**
Silver MeteorNew York Penn – Miami, FL
Silver StarNew York Penn – Miami, FL
Palmetto*New York Penn – Savanna, GA
*This train is not an overnight train, so it has no sleeper car service. ** This train splits or comes together in Albany, NY

If your train is not listed above, you need the article on Superliner Roomettes.

Viewliner Sleeper Car Layout

Amtrak Viewliner 1 Sleeper
A look at the layout of an Amtrak Viewliner Sleeper car.

The Viewliner sleeper cars offer various types of accommodations. You already know about roomettes, but they also have bedrooms and an accessible room.

Moreover, they provide coffee and drink stations outside the shower and changing room for passengers’ convenience. The car attendant’s room is in the white area on the bottom right of the diagram, across from the shower.

Although there are newer cars with similar layouts, they have some differences.

Will I be sharing a Viewliner Roomette with someone else?

If you book a roomette, you will have the entire room to yourself, and Amtrak will not assign a stranger to your room.

New Viewliner Sleeper Cars

Amtrak Viewliner Roomette
Amtrak Viewliner Roomette

New Viewliner Sleeper cars, called Viewliner II, have been introduced on the Amtrak system. These cars are identifiable by their “wood” and burgundy interiors and equal-sized red, white, and blue stripes on the outside. For the Amtrak dorks, phase 3 scheme.

One significant change many travelers will notice is the absence of toilets in roomettes, although the cars still have sinks. Additionally, the new LED lighting technology has improved room lighting.

Amtrak put the Viewliner II sleeper cars into service around 2020. Unfortunately, I do not have any new layouts or photos of the Viewliner II cars. However, I will post them as soon as I receive them.

A few things moved in the car.

Twelve roomettes are available in the new cars, one used by the attendant.

The shower remains in the exact location, but the bathroom has moved across from it instead of next to the attendant’s room. Additionally, the coffee station has been relocated towards the middle of the car, next to room 1.

Viewliner Roomette: power & lighting

Power

The Viewliner I’s sleeper cars predate the widespread use of electronics, so there is only one outlet and no USB. Each room next to the sink has a standard grounded (three-prong) US voltage outlet, but the newer cars have two sets of outlets by each seat.

If you need to charge multiple devices simultaneously, you can quickly solve the problem using a simple extension cord or a power pack to charge your electronics.

A new Viewliner roomette controls and folded up sink
Look at the new Viewliner roomette lighting controls and folded-up sink. The room outlet is to the left of the sink.

Lighting

The room has a ceiling, nightlight, reading, and wall lights. Amtrak is currently transitioning to energy-efficient LED lights.

Heating and Vent

Heating controls and circulation vents are available.

Windows & doors of a Viewliner Roomette

View from an Amtrak Viewliner roomette
View from an Amtrak Viewliner roomette

Windows

Viewliner train cars feature large windows offering a breathtaking landscape view as you travel. The upper-level windows allow more natural light to enter and provide a scenic view from the upper bunk. The windows facing the hallway create a sense of openness in your room.

All windows have drapes, which you can use to block out light and ensure privacy.

Doors

When staying in a roomette, please note that you can only lock the door from the inside.

Therefore, it is advisable to ensure that all your valuables are out of sight before leaving the room. Although there have been no reports of theft, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Also, please be aware that the newer room locks are more user-friendly than the older ones.

Amtrak Viewliner Roomette luggage storage tips

Baggage area of a Viewliner Bag dorm car
Amtrak has dorm baggage cars on some trains, looking in the baggage areas.

Viewliners offer more storage than their Superliner counterparts, but that doesn’t mean you have room for the “kitchen sink.”

Roomettes have a place for you to hang garments, and ample storage for most travelers is above the door.

Packing as light as possible makes your trip easier, especially when getting on and off the trains.

Checked Baggage Service

Long-distance trains allow you to check bags, but this service is unavailable between all stops.

Amtrak Viewliner Roomette Amenities

Comfort Amenities For A Viewliner Roomette

Each Viewliner roomette, besides sleeping areas and storage, has several amenities.

A fold-out table is between the two chairs, with the safety card and menus often behind it.

Amtrak provides bottled water, fresh towels, washcloths, blankets, sheets, and pillows.

The coffee station offers coffee and juice in the morning. In older sleepers, the station is near the shower and towards the end of the car. In newer ones, it is towards room one in the middle.

Sink and Toilet In An Amtrak Roomette

Viewliner Roomette Sink
The sink in an Amtrak Viewliner Roomette, below that, is the toilet found under the step.

I am frequently asked whether Amtrak Viewliner roomettes have toilets. The answer depends on the age of the car.

The older cars have toilets in roomettes, but the newer ones are not. Unfortunately, you may not know which Viewliner type you will ride in until you board the train.

Having a toilet in the room has its pros and cons. If you are traveling alone, it might be fine, but it could be awkward for two.

If the sleeper’s walls are white, you have a toilet in your car. You can lift the lid under the sink, but your sleeper car doesn’t have public restrooms.

However, new cars have a public bathroom at the end by the door across from the shower unless you are in a dorm baggage car, which you can find on the Cardinal and other trains. In that case, the bathroom is in the middle of the sleeper car, and the shower is across from it.

Regardless of your car’s age, you have a sink in your room! Using the sink is different than what you are used to at home since the dirty water accumulates in the basin and drains out the back when you fold it into the wall.

The toilet lid and the shelf in front of the folded sink are steps you can use with safety handles to climb into the upper berth.

Meals Onboard

Your reservations include scheduled meals, which vary depending on the route. Traditional dining is available on the Silver Star and Silver Meteor, while all other trains offer flex dining options.

Car Attendant

Every car has a car attendant to assist passengers during the journey. The term porter is no longer used to refer to car attendants.

Car attendants help you settle and help you along your adventure.

When you board the train, you will usually be greeted by an attendant, except if you board late at night, which could be the conductor or an adjacent car attendant.

Hallway of an Amtrak Baggage Dorm car
Hallway of an Amtrak Baggage Dorm car

After boarding, you will have time to settle in before the attendant comes around to explain the functions of all the buttons in your room and answer any questions.

The attendant will prepare your room for the day or night, assist with your luggage (when possible), and maintain cleanliness in the sleeper car.

They can also bring meals to your room and provide you with information about meal times and other relevant details for that particular train.

If you require assistance during your journey, you can use the call button to alert the attendant.

It’s important to remember that the attendant is there to help everyone in the car, not just you. Due to the other passengers in the sleeper car, it may take some time before they can attend to your request.

The middle of the night is usually the attendant’s downtime, so plan accordingly.

If you receive excellent service from the attendant, tipping is appreciated.

Wi-Fi On The Train

Most Viewliner trains do offer Wi-Fi, and it is free!

Amtrak Wi-Fi uses cellular technology and is not designed to stream videos or large files.

Connectivity can also be inconsistent during the journey, and that includes cell service on your phone. I plan on slow or no Wi-Fi on any transportation, and if it is available and works, I am thankful. I would advise you to prepare for unavailability.

If you wish to watch movies or shows during your travels, it is recommended that you download them beforehand to ensure uninterrupted viewing.

Getting Around The Train & Where You Can Go

Navigating through a train is straightforward if you remember the right direction to move.

Since trains are linear, you may pass through a few compartments to reach your intended destination. It’s essential to be considerate of others when walking through the train, especially when they’re sleeping.

Sleeper Lounge (on the Lakeshore Limited)

Amtrak Beer
Beers on the train

A sleeper lounge is a dining car now used as a gathering place for sleeper car passengers.

This car has an attendant to help get you your meals and complimentary soft drinks.

Try the lounge if you need to leave your roomette for a while. Amtrak set this car aside for sleeper car passengers to relax and watch the scenery roll by traveling to their destination. If you need snacks or additional alcohol, check out the next car.

Cafe Car

The cafe car, where coach passengers can hang out and grab snacks and drinks, is often located next to the dining car on the Silver Meteor and Star, between the coach and sleeper on the Crescent, and between the coach and front sleeper car on the Lake Shore Limited.

Shower & Changing Room

Amtrak Shower
A Viewliner Shower for sleeper car passengers

When traveling on a train, taking a shower can be both necessary and enjoyable.

Each sleeper car has one shower available for all roomette passengers. If you need more space, you can also use the shower area to change your clothes.

Amtrak provides bar or soft soap, washcloths, and towels for your convenience.

However, you should bring your own shampoo, hairdryer, or other hair accessories if needed. It’s also recommended to bring shower shoes or flip-flops to keep your feet clean and avoid slipping.

Can I Request A Room For The “Best View?”

This question is frequently asked on forums.

A ticket agent cannot ensure the direction in which a room faces since sleeper cars can run in either direction. As a result, Amtrak may arrange sleeper cars in any order they arrive at the yard.

The direction your room faces is determined by chance, and while the onboard staff may be able to relocate you, this is not guaranteed.

Often people forget that there are thing to see on both side of the train.

How Do I Know What Room I Have?

Amtrak Ticket
A sample of an Amtrak ticket (I redacted personal information)

When you book your room with Amtrak, they will assign you a car and a room number after the payment clears.

Each sleeper car is assinged a number for the trip, such as 9710. As you approach the train, keep an eye out for the illuminated sleeper car number near the door. You will find the room number displayed on the wall by the door of your roomette. In some cases, you may have to access your car through a neighboring one.

Where Are Sleeper Cars On The Train?

The sleeper cars are at the end of the train, past the cafe or dining car, usually positioned at the rear end of the train. Sleeper cars on the Lake Shore Limited are found on both ends since the train either separates or joins together, with the Boston 448 or 449 on the front and 48 or 49 on the rear.

Amtrak Viewliner Roomette: Extras To Consider Packing

Travel bag

I like bringing a few things to make my trip more enjoyable.

  • Electronics
    • Extension cord
    • Headphones
    • Chargers and cables
    • A tablet with downloaded entertainment can help buy time at night or if there is a delay.
      • Apps such as Netflix, Disney +, Amazon Prime, or other streaming services allow you to download movies ahead of time to watch them without the internet.
  • Snacks and drinks
    • I bring a reusable bag of snacks to pack the bag away when the snacks are gone.
    • To save on weight, I’ll buy snacks each way instead for the whole trip and replenish them before returning.
    • Many big stations, such as Chicago, DC, New York Penn, and more, have food courts and shops that sell snacks.
    • A refillable water bottle is handy for staying hydrated and lowering your travel footprint.
    •  When writing this article, you can bring your alcohol and consume it in your room. Conductors could remove you at the next stop if you get out of control, regardless of your destination.
  • Sleeping and misc
    • Eyeshades if you are super sensitive to light at night
      • Drapes block a lot of light, but if you are uber-sensitive, these could help.
    • Earplugs, if you need it uber quiet
    • Sleep aides

Viewliner Roomette Etiquette

Basic manners apply when riding in a Viewliner Sleeper, but here are a few points to review.

  • 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, especially at night.
  • Treat your car attendant respectfully; remember, there is only one for the whole car.
    • Here is more information on tipping on Amtrak trains.
  • Clean up after yourself in common areas. It is the right thing to do and improves things for staff and fellow passengers.

Viewliner Roomette Wrap-up

Roomettes are my happy place; I have enjoyed thousands of miles in these rooms. I love the extra storage of these cars!

Roomette Views
Views from a roomette on the Cardinal

Occasionally, I didn’t get the best car attendant, but it was the exception to the rule.

I try to get a roomette because of personal space, food, shower use, and sleeping horizontally. Plus, roomettes are often cheaper than a bedroom. With a sleeper, once onboard, your basic needs are covered, but it is always fun to splurge on a treat from the cafe car.

My favorite part of a roomette is that I can stretch out, watch the scenery go by, and listen to something without headphones (providing I keep it at a low volume). I also love to use the upper berth because when I wake up in the morning, I can sit up with my coffee and push my bed out of the way. Or if I want to stay up late, I can have my bed ready.

Reminder: things can change at any time. I do my best to keep things updated, but Amtrak can change things without me finding out.

Safe Travels!

Kev

For more information, check out these topics!

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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.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Carey

    My recent experience on the SW Chief was that bottom berth seemed more padded because you have the cushion of the seat. The mattresses are thin so even though there are two on the upper berth, it doesn’t amount to the cushioning of the seats on the lower berth. Western Kansas has uber bumpy rails!

    1. Kev

      The Superliner Sleepers, like the Southwest Chief, seem to have different upper berth mattresses than the Eastcoast Viewliners. I rarely use the upper bunk on Superliners. I believe that as the Superliners get rebuilt, they are getting new mattresses, which can help. 🙂

  2. Bill

    Nice Viewliner roomette info! My wife and I are going to need to use the full complement of allowed Amtrak carry-on baggage, and I don’t think that will all fit into the roomette. Is there a shared baggage compartment on a Viewliner I or II sleeper, or does one need to go to a coach car to find that? We can only go the checked baggage route for part of the trip if one is able to check baggage in Albany on the BOS->CHI Lake Shore Limited during the car shifting. Thanks.

    1. Kev

      If you are traveling from ALB to CHI (on either section), you can check bags, which could be the best option for you. The only luggage storage option for sleeper cars is the spot above the door, which holds a decent amount of stuff. There is luggage storage in the coach car, but that could be full of coach passenger luggage. I hope this helps! Safe Travels!

  3. Bill

    Got it, no shared baggage compartment in a Viewliner sleeper. Is there any decent room under the seats, or under the lower bed at night? And can the upper bunk hold baggage during the day without making it impossible to stand up? Thanks for the info!

    1. Kev

      You are welcome; there is some room under the seats but not a lot, so it must be flat and low. Once the bed is made, you cannot access whatever it is. Size-wise, think like under an airline seat. As far as the top bunk, Viewliners gives you more options because the bed comes straight down, so you can put stuff on the bunk and push it back up, which provides you with more headroom than the Superliners. How much room you have to stand up depends on how much you put up there and your height. 🙂 You could ask the attendant if there is an empty room that you could put stuff in; not guaranteed, but possible.

  4. Bill

    Your first-person knowledge is very helpful. Thanks again.

    1. Kev

      You are welcome; safe travels! Kev

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