More Questions Answered.

Q: When I reserved my roomette on the Southwest Chief, they told me I would have to leave my suitcase on a luggage rack on the lower level, where all baggage is stored. I’m very nervous about that.

A: Don’t be. If you’re traveling alone and have a small suitcase, there’s room for it in your roomette. But a larger bag should go in the common storage area on the lower level of the sleeper. (See photo.) Just use common sense and keep it closed and locked. In all my Amtrak travels, I’ve never heard of a problem. 


Q. We’re going to travel in the Fall from Los Angeles to Cleveland and back. Because of time constraints, we’ll have to fly one way. What’s your advice? Should we take the train to Cleveland and fly home? Or do it the other way?

A: Sounds like the train ride is the more important part of your trip. If you start with that assumption, then everything after you get off the train in Cleveland will be anti-climactic. I’d start with the plane ride. Fly to Cleveland, see all the friends and relatives, then take the Lake Shore Limited to Chicago and the Southwest Chief from there back to L.A. And you know to spend at least one night in Chicago, right? Do NOT try a same-day connection from the Lakeshore to the Chief!


Q: Is it possible to take a shower on one of Amtrak’s long-distance trains?

A: Absolutely! There is a changing room and shower on the lower level of every Superliner sleeper that is more than adequate. Towels and washcloth are provided. Each of the five bedrooms has a combination lavatory/shower, but the space is so small and with the toilet in the way, I always use the shower on the lower level. Besides, it’s a common mistake for someone intending to flush to hit the shower button by mistake.


Q:  I’ve noticed that Amtrak fares for sleeping car space can fluctuate dramatically, but it’s hard to figure out when the cheapest fares will become available. I’m planning an extended trip for sometime next Fall, and my date are semi-flexible. How can I schedule my trip on a day when I can get a really low fare?

A:  It’s pretty hard to predict because the cost of the ticket varies for a variety of reasons. Avoid the holidays, if you can.  And if your travel dates are flexible, do see if the fare varies from one day to the next. There is a website that will do the checking for you. When it’s up and running, Amsnag is very helpful, so you might want to check that site when your dates are set.