Simple Tips for Travel in an Amtrak Sleeping Car
As noted in the previous blog, when traveling on one of Amtrak’s long-distance trains, I invariably choose a roomette for my overnight accommodations.
Many first-time passengers traveling in one of the Superliner roomettes are unhappy to discover that the lavatory facilities are elsewhere in the rail car … one on the upper level, and three more on the lower level. But it’s no fun having to struggle into your clothes – shoes and all – when a trip to the facilities becomes necessary, usually – in my case, anyway – around 3:00 a.m.
There is, however, an easy way to minimize the inconvenience: I pack a pair of lightweight slippers (you probably call them flip-flops or go-aheads) and I sleep in a pair of soft comfortable gym shorts and a T-shirt. So, when nature calls in the wee hours, I just sit up, poke my feet into the slippers and head off down the hall.
What about a hot shower on the train? No problem. Passengers in roomettes can avail themselves of a changing room and shower on the lower level of Amtrak Superliners. It’s more than adequate and much to be preferred over the phone-booth-size shower/toilet in the big bedrooms. (Every so often, someone hits the wrong button and gets a shower instead of a flush.)
By the way, in the event my wife accompanies me on one of these rail journeys, I book two roomettes instead of one of the large bedrooms. (See previous post for the reasons for doing so.)
Yes, the roomettes are small. But they are very well designed and, once you learn a few tricks-of-the-trade, you’ll find them perfectly adequate. And a lot less expensive!
By the way, a small wash basin and toilet are included in roomettes in the Viewliner sleeping cars used on Amtrak routes in the eastern part of the U.S. For me, this is not a plus because it simply reduces your moving-around space. Furthermore, when two people occupy the Viewliner roomette, someone has to go stand in the hallway when the other one … Well, you get the picture! Amtrak has ordered more Viewliner sleepers and rumor has it that the toilet and wash basin will not be included in the roomettes. Good!