Amtrak's Private Rooms Make Train Travel Actually Comfortable

Take in the scenery without having to share your space with other passengers.

Amtrak sleeper car
Photo: Courtesy of Amtrak

By rail is one of the most idyllic ways to travel. One imagines tucking into a good book as magnificent natural scenery passes by in the window, a steaming cup of tea beckoning on the tray table. Unfortunately, the reality can be less romantic.

As with any sort of public transportation, Amtrak travelers risk being seated next to snorers, fussy youngsters, or — worse — someone with a penchant for eating pungent foods. Thankfully, these nonoptimal scenarios can be outright avoided with the train operator's private room option.

More than a dozen Amtrak routes traversing all corners of the U.S. have private accommodation options. The rooms are located in the Sleeping Car and range from "roomettes" to entire family bedrooms. The most basic and cheapest option features two seats that can transform into upper and lower berths by night. The standard bedroom, one step up from the roomette, has twice the space, plus an in-room sink, restroom, and shower.

Amtrak sleeper car
Courtesy of Amtrak

Then, there are bedroom suites, which have two in-room sinks, restrooms, and showers, and family bedrooms, which can sleep four with two upper and two lower berths.

Private rooms come with free WiFi, your own private window from which to watch the world go by, complimentary meals and lounge access, and a turn-down service. There are two types of Amtrak Sleeping Cars — Superliner and Viewliner, the former with two levels of private accommodations and the latter with just one. Which you wind up with depends on your chosen route.

Amtrak's private rooms are a little on the pricey side, but some passengers deem the extra cost worth being able to watch Glacier National Park or the Grand Canyon pass by their own private windows (on the Empire Builder line and Southwest Chief line, respectively). Just think: In the fall, you could ride the Capitol Limited line from the East Coast to Chicago and relish in unmatched views of fall foliage from the comfort of a personal space.

Roomettes range from $400 to $2,500 per round-trip ticket between two major cities, depending on the route, and the cost of private rooms go up from there. Accessible rooms are available and include room service.

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