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Passenger Trains > Superliner Bedrooms on Amtrak

Date: 11/07/10 23:52
Superliner Bedrooms on Amtrak
Author: alaska

Amtraks double/deluxe bedrooms in my opinion are not deluxe.
I rented a double bedroom on Amtrak's Empire Builder in July between Seattle and Milwaukee.
The room had a nice sink,toilet, and shower which worked well (actually the shower worked too well when the train rocks and pitches causing you to bump into the shower button and sprinkling yourself while using the toilet).
My main complaint was the lower bed which starts out as a couch folding out into a bed.
The bed was comfortalbe but once folded out prevented you from using the sink.
The bedding is stored on the upper bunk which must also be folded out.
The car attendant offered to make the bed which is fine, but in the morning putting it back up was a trick.
I suppose I could have tried calling the attendant to put the bed back but since he has the whole car to handle with roomettes and bedrooms on two levels you would have a long wait before he would arrive and be able to use the sink.
Now when the attendant fixes your bed you must leave the compartment since there just isn't much room for both of you.
Anyway this so called 'deluxe bedroom' was a disapointment and since the Builder is stuck with riding over rough roadbed your more likely to get thrown about in this room and get injured.
So I'm sticking with the roomette on all my future Amtrak trips and just deal with the restroom down the hall.
I've found the chief advantage of the roomette is that it has a 'fixed' upper bunk which you can simply climb into placing bags and bedding for the lower bed on the seats below which I find very convenient.
Also you won't be thrown about as much in the roomette when your train runs over rough roadbed.
I would like to hear your pros and cons on Amtraks bedrooms and roomettes.
Of course one advantage is that the roomettes are cheaper to rent.


Date: 11/08/10 01:55
Re: Superliner Bedrooms on Amtrak
Author: sevenmilesiding

Just the nature of train travel. The rooms are small so that the maximum number of rooms be be put in a car. For me, the only reason for a roomette/bedroom is the privacy. I do think Amtrak needs to do a better job of marketing its services...all of them. For a first time train rider who just spend $1,250 for a bedroom, not knowing what to expect seems common. The name "bedroom" conquers up for most people today a bedroom at a typical hotel...and for over a grand a night most people expect more than the 6x8 (or whatever the exact dimensions of a bedroom are) broom closet they get.

For most passengers, good service makes or breaks the trip anyway. Amtrak seems to be able to charge whatever they want for the rooms, so apparently there is a market out there for the tiny (or is it cozy?) rooms on a modern Amtrak train.

Date: 11/08/10 04:16
Re: Superliner Bedrooms on Amtrak
Author: poultrycar

Traditionally railroad bedrooms are no smaller than they ever were. However their pads that they call a mattress is something to behold. About as comfortable as sleeping on a door mat. Heritage cars, and old Pullmans before them, had 3" mattresses.

My wife and I took the handicap room on our last trip and so help me, I could not get into the upper! A small hand grip on the ceiling would have done the job. Consequently I "slept" on the floor.

Date: 11/08/10 06:13
Re: Superliner Bedrooms on Amtrak
Author: DavidP

There's clearly a difference between the Superliner bedroom and roomette. However, I expect views will differ as to whether or not the price difference is "worth it" based on each person financial point of pain. I think Alaska's point that "deluxe" conjurs up a different image is a good one - perhaps the reason that Amtrak has swicthed to using the terms "bedroom" and "roomette" instead of the earlier "deluxe bedroom" and "economy room". The bedroom really isn't deluxe, and its hard to call the roomette economical at today's prices. I have a hard time justifying the extra price for a bedroom vs. a roomette, although the pain seems less accute when paying with Guest Rewards points instead of cash.


Date: 11/08/10 07:30
Re: Superliner Bedrooms on Amtrak
Author: brassmag

I always ask the attendant to make up and put away the bed configuration. It's their job, besides, my family is pretty low maintenance when we travel, so that's about the only time we see the attendant.

Date: 11/08/10 07:44
Re: Superliner Bedrooms on Amtrak
Author: santafedan

I have ridden in all three of Amtrak bedroom configs. The two on the Superliners and the bedroom on the Lake Shore Limited. You just adjust to the situation. The sink in the Superliner is not that bad. I also rode the Canadian last summer. The room is smaller and the sink was more difficult to use when the beds are made up. The beds were a little more comfortable. What ever inconvenience there was on the Canadian was more than made up with the dome above the car.
If you want nearly a real bedroom then the private car is a must.

Date: 11/08/10 08:01
Re: Superliner Bedrooms on Amtrak
Author: webmaster

Sleeping aboard a train is never very comfortable. I usually don't sleep very well the first night. The second night I usually sleep better because I am so tired from not sleeping the night before. To make the experience more tolerable would require fares twice what they are now.

Todd Clark
Canyon Country, CA

Date: 11/08/10 08:49
Re: Superliner Bedrooms on Amtrak
Author: reindeerflame

I don't like the Deluxe Room either, with the sink location poor when the bed is down.

I also prefer what are now again called the Roomettes.

I also see no need to have a toilet in the room. It's perfectly fine to have shared toilets and showers.

Date: 11/08/10 09:47
Re: Superliner Bedrooms on Amtrak
Author: raisin

If you are traveling by yourself, I see no reason to go for the bedroom, though I do prefer a roomette on the lower level in this case. Showering down the hall if easy enough.

If you have two people, especially on a long trip, however, the bedroom is a clear upgrade. Those roomettes feel pretty crapmed after a day or two with two people in them.

Of course, on a recent trip with my son, the folks in the next bedroom had stuffed 4 people in there. The on board staff warned them a couple of times but never made anyone leave. It didn't really bother me, but I just couldn't believe you could fit that many people in one of those rooms.

Date: 11/08/10 09:56
Re: Superliner Bedrooms on Amtrak
Author: warren49

Depending on trip length, my wife and I have often purchased separate roommettes (sometimes quite a bit less expensive than 1 bedroom). We like to keep the top bunk down all the time, then use it for luggage. We had one attendant, on a City of New Orleans, who refused to make up the lower bed while the top bunk was in the lowered position. He said he might bump his head....I'm serious. Another thing we have for long trip are self inflating air mattresses, 27 inches wide, about 3 inches thick, when inflated. They fit almost perfectly on the lower beds....we just slide them under the bottom sheet. They are very easy to deflate and roll up. Two of them fit into a large suitcase.

Date: 11/08/10 11:42
Re: Superliner Bedrooms on Amtrak
Author: asheldrake

I totally agree, two people in a roomette is a push...........we now have a rule established by my wife. Husband by himself = roomette; together we are in a bedroom or on a plane.......no exceptions, no discussions. Rule established after a Builder trip to Izaak Wallton Inn from/to Portland in a roomette. and no, I'm not sleeping in the roomette's upper bunk, I'll postpone climbing into a casket for as long as possible.

One of the things that Amtrak's National Train Day lacks at least in Portland Oregon is having a spare coach and sleeper to show to people. In order to properly sell both the Builder and Coast Starlight here in Portland we need to show people what coach means on Amtrak (it is a bit different to what they have experienced in the air) and what a bedroom and roomette are in a sleeper. Amtrak's lack of equipment
so far has prevented this but it has NOT prevented me from continuing to harp on it as a primary need. Arlen

Date: 11/08/10 12:31
Re: Superliner Bedrooms on Amtrak
Author: RetiredGal9

Although I am traveling alone, I pay extra for the bedroom. Ladies of a "certain age" aren't very thrilled about sharing bathrooms with strangers. I get Bedroom A if possible, where there is no back-to-back bathroom. Hearing the WHOOSH of the toilet next door will jolt you out of a dead sleep.

And hey, even if it's not PERFECT, it's a train trip. I can put up with a cramped sink or a skimpy bed if I'm on a train.

Date: 11/08/10 15:12
Re: Superliner Bedrooms on Amtrak
Author: colehour

It's been a long time since I traveled in a Superliner roomette -- perhaps 25 years ago, on some of the first models (built here in Hammond, Indiana, my fair city). The cars I was on did not have showers, which was something of a nuisance for a 40+ hour trip.

I have often wondered why the slumber coach model was never used in Amtrak-built cars. My first long distance trip on Amtrak (Chicago-San Francisco in 1973) was also in a slumber coach and I my last long distance trip was also in one (Chicago-Philadelphia on the Broadway Limited in the mid-'90s.)

Perhaps the slumber coach is more expensive with the extra fixtures and plumbing and is also more expensive to maintain. Perhaps one of you folks out there knows why this innovative car design has gone out of fashion with Amtrak.

Date: 11/08/10 21:35
Re: Superliner Bedrooms on Amtrak
Author: chakk

I prefer any rooms that align my body in the bed with the direction of train travel. Transverse sleeping arrangements like the beds in deluxe bedrooms don't work well for me. Even when I have a full seat to myself in superliner coach I prefer to sleep sitting up (although fully reclined) rather than lie down sideways, as in common with many of my fellow coach travelers.

Date: 11/09/10 00:52
Re: Superliner Bedrooms on Amtrak
Author: Fizzboy7

Not to get off-topic, but which room(s) offer the best view out? And if one had a bad back and required a hard sleeping surface, do the Amtrak "mattresses" suffice or are they soft and sinky like most hotel mattresses?

Date: 11/09/10 11:03
Re: Superliner Bedrooms on Amtrak
Author: poffcapt

the mattresses are so thin that it is almost like not having a mattress. They have to be thin enough to roll or fold, and store in the upper bed space when the bed is folded up. They all have good views. The side is pretty much all window.

Date: 11/09/10 15:38
Re: Superliner Bedrooms on Amtrak
Author: emd_run8

In reply to Colehour's post about slumber coaches...Bring them back. The single room bed was slimmer, but you didn't have to raise the bed to use the toilet. And there were more rooms, than a 10/6.

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