In Praise of the Roomette.

Once again I have heard from someone who was put off by a Superliner roomette. Or, rather, by the size of the roomette.

The lady in question was sending one of her nieces back to college on the West Coast and, being a generous soul, she had booked a roomette for the young lady on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief.

“I took Margaret to the station and helped her board the train, ” she said. “I took one look at her accommodations and I knew I could never spend even two hours in that tiny little box.”

But of course you could! Millions of people have traveled quite happily in Superliner roomettes for decades. Yes, it’s compact—I’ll give you that—but it’s pretty well designed, with almost everything you need at your fingertips.

Yes, there is no toilet in each roomette, but there are four lavatories in each Superliner sleeping car and there is a wonderful shower/changing room, too.

And remember that you are certainly not confined to your roomette. You’ll be off to the dining car three times a day and I certainly hope you’ll spend some time in the lounge car, with its floor-to-ceiling windows and a snack bar on the lower level.

I will say there was one omission in the original design that does bother me: there is no window for the second occupant in the roomette, who sleeps in the upper berth.  It’s reasonably comfortable up there, but without a window it can be  claustrophobic for some people.

On those occasions when my wife travels with me, I book two roomettes on opposite sides of the aisle— numbers 5 and 6, for example.  With our doors open, we can converse quite easily in near-normal tones; it’s not a problem if one of us wants to nap; we can see out of both sides of the train (that’s a big plus); and neither of us (well, that would be me) has to climb up into that little upper bunk.

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