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Not All Roomettes Are Created Equal.

OK, this could be more than you’ll ever want to know about Superliner roomettes, but for some reason, most of us who enjoy train travel love these details. And, based on many conversations I’ve had in the past, there will probably be a nugget or two for just about everyone. The main thing to remember is that all of this is just one guy’s opinion.
There are 14 roomettes in an Amtrak Superliner—numbers 1 through 10 on the upper level and 11 through 14 on the lower level. They’re identical in every respect, but there are pluses and minuses according to where in the sleeper they’re located. For example, if your roomette is on the upper level, you’ll have a somewhat better view, but you could experience a little more sway.
I try to avoid roomettes 1 and 2. They are, respectively, next to and almost across the corridor from the one lavatory on the upper level. There will be a lot of traffic passing your door and the whoosh! of the flushing could be disturbing during the night. I also don’t care for numbers 9 and 10 because they’re at the end of the car and there’s a lot of noise from the vestibule whenever someone opens the door and passes through to the next car. That leaves numbers 3 through 8 as the best choice of the upper level rooms.
In a roomette on the lower level, you’ll obviously get more track noise. Personally, I love all those sounds, although not enough to choose a roomette down there. There’s a lot of foot traffic up and down the stairs . . . people fetching something from the large community luggage rack or using one of three lavatories or the shower room. All of that is located on the lower level.
One other thing: It’s delightful to keep your window curtains open when you go to bed, but if you’re on the lower level, when the train stops at stations during the night, people walking along the platform outside will be able to see you asleep in your berth. In an upper level roomette, that’s not a problem, of course.
There is one electrical outlet in each roomette; a surge protector is not necessary, but I use one anyway. There is no window for the upper berths in Superliner roomettes and there’s also not a lot of headroom. As a consequence, I find them claustrophobic. Finally, because there are 10 roomettes on the upper level and only one lavatory, I usually go down to the lower level to use the facilities. The lavatory in the far corner next to the shower gets the least use and is, therefore, usually the cleanest. Finally, if, like me, you invariably have to use those facilities in the middle of the night, it’s a huge hassle having to get dressed in your roomette. I sleep in a comfortable pair of gym shorts and a T-shirt and when Nature calls, I just slip on a pair of rubber slippers and off I go. (You’ll thank me for that suggestion!)
Next: Superliner bedrooms and which one is best.


  1. Jim, thanks a lot for the info on roomettes. I will be doing the Empire Builder eastbound in march 2024 and got room 6. It seems to be a good assignment.

  2. So if I call the Amtrak reservations line, I can just request a certain room? Well, one on the upper level anyways.

  3. If you’re assigned a roomette when you book and for the reasons you stated above, you decide you want a different one, Will Amtrak let you switch?

    1. Hi Ken … thanks for the comment/question. If you’re en route, and assuming these’s an empty roomette available, the car attendant will usually make a switch for you. Before your departure, call Amtrak reservations and ask them to do it.

  4. I agree with everything you said. However, I’d add that one advantage of the lower level roomettes is that they are close to the shower so you don’t get your shower stuff all around only to find out that someone else is in there. That said, I still prefer the upper level rooms for the reasons you stated.

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