Jennifer and I took a vacation to New York City. Instead of flying out, we did something a little more unorthodox in this day and age – took the train. From Chicago to New York City, we clacked around the Midwest and East coast with the Amtrak Cardinal line, coming home via the Amtrak Lakeshore. An amazing experience that not only let us see the sights but also appreciated the travel.
Walkthrough of the Amtrak Roomette Sleeper Car
There are three ways to travel via the train – in the coach seating, through a Roomette or the Viewliner bedroom. We stayed in the roomette through our travel, but I was also able to walkthrough the higher end viewliner.
The roomette is a 3.5 foot by 6 foot room for two people the two seats turn into a single sleeper bed while a bunk bed comes down from above. The roomette also has a small bathroom with toilet, 2 plug outlets, temperature controls and storage for roller bags.
The upper bunk has a net so you don’t roll out of bed during the night. Lights and fans are available for both bunks and the bathroom area also acts as a stairway to the top bunk.
There are 12 roomettes in a car, with a community shower at the end of the hall.
Walkthrough of the Amtrak Viewliner Bedroom
Although we didn’t stay in the viewliner, I was able to walkthrough the room. This is slightly bigger than the roomette, adding room for a third person, private toilet and attached shower area. The sink also has a 3-mirror area and closet for your luggage (what I thought at first to be an adjoining room).
Both the viewliner and roomette have a spacious window to enjoy the scene passing by. Both rooms also have a door and curtain system – although the door only locks if someone is within the room. Therefore, keeping valuables out of sight is recommended, but only other passengers from the sleeper cars are admitted within the car.
Important Things to Know When Taking the Train
First of all, although trains have destination times, they rarely stay on schedule. Expect a couple hour buffer in arrival time. During our trip down we were six hours late in arrival. Usually it is only 2-3.
Remember to make sure that everything is secure. Heading out of Penn station – 2 miles out we hit a bump and the fold-able sink came down right on my phone, smashing the face. The net on the upper bunk also needs to be secure so you stay in your bunk during the night. You will be moving around.
The train has a dining car with limited seating. You will be paired with others during your meal. Beverages and snacks are available during the trip for additional fees.
It’s all tight quarters for everyone and the train will bounce you around from time to time. The train might speed up to about 150 MPH, but most of your trip may be at slower speeds. All the better to enjoy the view because there is a lot of great scenes to take photos from.