When traveling on the Amtrak sleeping car trains, you think you have only two choices, the bedroom and the roomettes, but in fact there is another hidden secret that no one will tell you about. It is Room A in the bedroom car area. Room A is at the end or beginning of the row of sleeping bedrooms, depending whether your train is traveling east or west. It is the smallest Bedroom with a full bathroom inside the bedroom. While traveling by yourself it will be adequate, room A has a top bunk bed with a ladder, (although I have no idea how you will be able to get around the ladderer with a couple of people in this room). It has the nice private bathroom with a shower exactly like all the bedrooms on the sleeper car. Attached to the bathroom unit there is a sink and a mirror. The mirror is located above the sink and a small counter next to the sink where you can place small items, just as the other regular bedrooms have, but if you are traveling with two or more people, the room is very tiny.
The other bedrooms on the train are a nice size when the beds are made in the morning. But, if you happen to board the train going east, starting from Los Angeles train station, you will notice exactly how hard it is to get into the room and walk around when the bedroom is turned into a sleeping room.
It was 10pm when our train left L.A. for Texas when we boarded the train, the bed filled almost the entire room. We put our small carry on luggage beside the built-in chair Amtrak provides and there is not much room to turn around. Since I was going to be sleeping on the top bunk, I decided to do a practice run, going up the ladder that was already placed in front of the bottom bed touching the top bunk mattress. The way it was positioned, I landed almost onto of the pillow. I am a tiny person, I couldn’t not imagine how a normal size person could possibly get up and down the bed… until I moved the pillow to the other side of the bed, right next to the door. That made more sense. The attended offered me another sheet to sleep on and the bed was made perfectly. When it was time to sleep, I noticed how loud the bathroom was rattling and how hard the mattress was. It is not like the bed on the bottom bunk, they put an extra mattress on top of the couch, so it isn’t hard at all. But the top bunk thin mattress is place upon a board. To make my bed softer, I asked for more pillows from the attendant and that seemed to do the trick.
The next day I explored the rest of the train. From the roomettes to the coach area, where the passengers were sleeping on to the seats, everyone was trying to get a good night’s sleep.
The roomettes I noticed were two seats that would be turned into one bed. There was noting else in the room except the seats, a long closet and the steps that leads passengers to the top bunk. No need for a ladder here. But it did look like they also had a hard bunk on top same as the bedroom area. There is no bathroom, no sink, no extra area when the small bed is made. You may need to change in the restrooms located in a different area. They did enjoy the same meals that the bedrooms enjoyed, so that is a nice added feature. The windows to look out of were also a nice size.
When it comes to traveling for an overnight sleeping trip, of course my first choice would be a bedroom where you have your own private bathroom. My second choice would be cabin A, then a roomette. But if you really have to sleep overnight on a train and don’t mind your sleeping arrangements as if you were on an airplane, then you could travel in the regular section of the train and sleep on the seats. The seats have plenty of leg room and the leg area comes up, just like in first class on an airplane. You may bring your own food and drinks onto the train no matter where you decide to sleep, although no alcohol is allowed to be brought in unless you are in a bedroom or roomette. The most important thing to bring is your patience and a smile.
Everyone on our train seemed happy to be traveling.
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