Amtrak Viewliner Roomettes
Amtrak Viewliner Roomettes

Amtrak Viewliner Roomette: What You Need To Know

An Amtrak Viewliner roomette is a comfortable room on all overnight East Coast trains traveling to or from New York. These rooms are comfortable for one and cozy for two.

These roomettes are private accommodations containing everything you need to watch the country roll by day and lay flat to sleep at night.

The seats come together for one bert or bed, and the other pulls down from above. When you wake up in the morning, you can get morning coffee service, access to a shower, meals included, and more.

These rooms are great for one and cozy for two.

Viewliner sleeping cars contain more than roomettes; they also contain two bedrooms and an accessible room in each car. A few trains have a baggage dorm car, half baggage car, and the other half roomettes.

What is an Amtrak Viewliner Roomette?

As you know, an Amtrak Viewliner Roomette is a small room on single-level trains, and they are comfy for one and cozy for two.

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

Amtrak Viewliner Roomette Size

Roomettes are the smallest of Amtrak accommodations, measuring around 6.5′ by 3.5′; they remind me of an RV’s efficient use of a small space.

They provide privacy, a shower, changing room access, and complimentary food and beverages.

Amtrak Viewliner Roomette Beds

During the day, two chairs face each other to provide seating, and at night, they come together to form the lower berth or bed ( 2.3′ by 6.5′), with the second berth pulled down from above (2′ by 6.2′).

The top bunk has safety straps, so you do not roll out at night, and it has a pouch or netting for putting your glasses, phone, or whatever you want within reach of the bed. Don’t forget to double-check it before you leave!

Whoever sleeps in the top bed must climb into it for slumber.

What Amtrak trains have Viewliner Equipment?

You can find Viewliner equipment on trains that travel in and out of New York’s Penn Station.

Viewliner RoutesDestinations
CardinalNew York Penn – Chicago, IL
CrescentNew York Penn – New Orleans
Lake Shore LimitedNew York Penn/Boston, MA – Chicago, IL
This train splits or comes together in Albany, NY
Silver Meteor/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.

If you have a roomette for a train not listed above, you need the article on Superliner Roomettes.

Viewliner Sleeper Car Layout

Viewliner sleeper cars contain more than roomettes but include bedrooms and an accessible room.

Additionally, they offer coffee/drink stations outside the shower/changing room. The car attendant’s room is the white area on the bottom right of the diagram across from the shower.

There are newer cars with similar layouts but with some updated layout differences.

Do I share a Viewliner Roomette with someone else?

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

New Viewliner Sleeper Cars

There are new Viewliner Sleeper cars on the system known as Veiwliner IIs. You will know these cars because of the “wood” and burgundy interiors.

Many travelers will notice the most significant change because roomettes no longer have toilets but still have a sink. Room lighting has improved with new LED lighting technology.

These sleeper cars started in service around 2020. I don’t have a new layout or photos of the new Viewliner II cars yet, but I will post them as soon I have some available.

A few things moved in the car.

There are twelve roomettes in the new cars, one of those used by the attendant.

The shower is in the same spot, but the car bathroom is now across from it instead of the attendant’s room. The coffee station is now towards the middle of the car, next to room 1.

Viewliner Roomette: power & lighting

Power

These sleeper cars were designed and built before our mass use of electronics, so be advised there is only one double wall outlet in the room by the sink. They are standard US voltage and grounded or three-pronged.

A simple extension cord will solve this problem for most people and allow you to charge multiple devices simultaneously.

A power pack could help with charging electronics. The newer cars now have an outlet by the sink and the other seat.

Lighting

Lights in the room include ceiling lights, a nightlight, reading, and wall lights. Amtrak is in the process of switching many of these lights over to more efficient LED lights.

The photo shows you the right side (looking into the room) of the heating controls and vent system for air movement. To the right of the heating and vent controls is an area to hang your garments.

Travel tip: The upper bunk has a reading light that works well for mood lighting in conjunction with the nightlight. I often use this light when I head to dinner, so there is some light in the room when I return.

Windows & doors of a Viewliner Roomette

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

Windows

Viewliners have large windows, allowing you to watch the country roll by as you travel. Plus, upper-level windows let in more light and give you a view from the upper bunk. Additionally, windows facing the hallway give your room a more open feel.

All windows have drapes to keep the light out and for privacy.

Doors

Doors are only lockable from the inside, so before leaving your room, make sure you put things out of sight. I have never had an issue, but I try not to leave valuables out when I am not in the roomette.

The newer room’s locks are easier to use than the older ones.

Tips for storage and baggage in an Amtrak Viewliner Roomette

Viewliners offer more storage than their Superliner counterparts, but that doesn’t mean you have room for the “kitchen sink.” Besides, these rooms have a sink, so you do not have to bring yours.

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

Checked baggage service is available between some stations, but not all, so check while booking or before leaving for your trip to prevent surprises.

If your first station does not have checked service, but your layover and destination stations do, you can check bags at your layover station.

If you want this option, check bags at least 45 minutes before departure.

Amtrak Viewliner Roomette Amenities

Comfort Amenities For A Viewliner Roomette

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

Each room has:

  • A fold-out table between the two chairs
    • A safety card and menus are often behind it.
  • Bottled water
  • Fresh towels and washcloths
  • Blankets, sheets, and pillows.

In the morning, coffee and juice service is available at the coffee station towards the end of the car by the shower.

Sink and Toilet In An Amtrak Roomette

Amtrak has recently rolled out nice new cars, and all roomettes still have sinks. Only the older cars have toilets in the room; the new ones do not.

If you are traveling alone, often this is not a big deal, but it could be awkward for two.

If the walls of the sleeper are white, you have a toilet in your car, lift the lid under the sink, and do not have public restrooms in your sleeper car.

New cars have a public bathroom at the end by the door across from the shower unless you are in a dorm baggage car, commonly found on the Cardinal. In that case, the bathroom is in the middle of the sleeper car. Across from it is the shower.

The newer cars have a public restroom but no in-room roomette toilet.

Using the sink is a little different than what you are used to at home, for 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 use with safety handles to climb into the upper berth.

Meals Onboard

Your sleeper car reservation includes all scheduled meals, which means you do not get a meal if you board in the middle of the night.

The Silver Star and Meteor trains have traditional dining, but the Crescent, City of New Orleans, Cardina, and the Lake Shore Liminted use flex dining.

You can consume your meals in the cafe or sleeper lounge, bring them back to your room, or have them delivered by your attendant.

You are eligible for complimentary adult beverages with dinner (provided you are 21 or older). Other complimentary beverages include soft drinks, juices, hot and cold coffee or tea, and more. More about this later.

On my last few trips (in 2020 through 2022), the attendant suggested that they would bring my meals to me, with the option of going to the lounge car. Breakfast was either in the room or going to the car. How they offer meals can vary from train to train and how full it is.

Car Attendant

A car attendant (porter) is in every car to help you along the way. The term porter is no longer used to refer to car attendants.

Help You Settle In & What They Can Do For You

The attendant will often greet you when you board the train unless you board late at night; in that case, it could be the conductor or an adjacent car attendant.

Once you are on board, you get a little time to settle in before the attendant comes around to let you know what all the buttons do and answer any questions.

The attendant will prep your room for day or night, help with luggage (when able), and maintain cleaning in the sleeper car.

They can help bring meals to your room and fill you in on the food procedure for that train and things like meal times and information you need.

If you need help along your journey, use the call button to alert the attendant you need assistance.

Remember, the attendant is there to help the whole car, not a personal servant. Because of others in the sleeper car, it may take some time before they can get to you.

The middle of the night is the attendee’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 have Wi-Fi. Amtrak Wi-Fi is cellular and not set up for streaming videos or big files, and it can be spotty along the way. The best way to approach Wi-Fi on trains is to plan for unavailability and be happy when it works out. If you want movies or shows along your journey, downloading them beforehand works best.

Getting Around The Train & Where You Can Go

Getting around the train is easy if you remember which direction to go.

Trains are linear, so you may need to walk through a few cars to get the car you need to visit. When walking through the train, be respectful because others may be sleeping.

Sleeper Lounge (on the Lakeshore Limited)

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 is often the next rail car from the sleeper lounge. The cafe car is where coach passengers can hang out and a place for you to get a few extra snacks or grab something to drink.

Shower & Changing Room

Showering while traveling down the rails can be necessary and fun. There is one shower in each sleeper car for all roomette passengers to use.

You can use the shower area to change your clothing if you need extra space to get dressed.

  • Amtrak provides:
    • Bar or soft soap
    • Washcloths and towels.
  • What you need to provide
    • Shampoo
    • Hairdryers or other hair accessories
    • Shower shoes or flip-flops (optional)

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

This question comes up a lot on forums. A ticket agent cannot guarantee which way a room faces because sleeper cars run in either direction. Since they run in either direction, Amtrak may put sleeper cars together in whatever order they come into the yard.

The direction your room faces is the luck of the draw; the onboard staff might be able to move you, but this is not guaranteed. For a different view, try the Sightseer Lounge, or for passengers on the City of New Orleans and Auto Train, try the Sleeper Lounge.

How Do I Know What Room I Have?

Regardless of how you book your room, Amtrak assigns you a car and room number as soon as your transaction is complete.

Each sleeper car has a number; the ticket example above is 9710. As you walk to the train, look for this number; they are found by the doon and light up.

Sometimes, you may walk into a neighboring car to enter yours.

As you would guess, the room number is the roomette you have during your journey.

If you are reserving multiple rooms, call Amtrak to see if you can get them near each other.

Where Are Sleeper Cars On The Train?

You can find sleeping cars at the end of the train after the Sleeper Lounge/Dining Car. The Lake Shore Limited has sleeper cars on both ends because the train splits or comes together.

Amtrak Viewliner Roomette: Extras To Consider Packing

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!

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

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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. 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. 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. 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. You are welcome; safe travels! Kev

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