Amtrak Sleeper Accomodation Questions

Old Aug 9th, 2008, 04:38 AM
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Amtrak Sleeper Accomodation Questions

I've never travelled on Amtrak and am considering getting one of the "roomette" accomodations for a trip from Charleston to Albany. I understand from speaking with Amtrak that you are unable to lock these roomettes, say if you want to go to the dining car. I'm a little leery about leaving luggage, laptop, etc. just sitting in there unattended. Anyone had any experience with this that they could share? I'm travelling alone so I thought I might feel more "secure" in one of the roomettes, but if you can't lock the door........! Perhaps I should just save the money and just book a regular seat? How roomy/comfortable are the seats for a 13 hour trip? Any advice you could share would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Aug 9th, 2008, 04:51 AM
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I've never had a roomette (I will later this month, though, from Chicago to SF), but I have done NYC-Chicago round-trip in a coach seat. The seats were comfortable enough for me. If you somehow get two empty seats to yourself, like I did, it's possible to curl up and sleep on them unless you're really tall.
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Old Aug 9th, 2008, 06:17 AM
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No matter where you are onthe train, sleeper or coach there will be no locking storage for your stuff. The roomette has a sliding door and a curtain that pulls over it from the inside. It can be locked when you are inside. We have not had a problem when traveling. We leave the nornal bags in the roomette and take laptop, purse etc with us.

If can sleep curled up in a chair for several hours at home and get up and feel ok, then you may be ok with coach. My daughter does great with coach and I used to when i was her age but as I have gotten older I find that I don't sleep well without stetching out.
Another thing to consider is that all meals are included in the sleeper fare. In addition, each sleeping car has an attendant on duty. Sleeping cars are situated in the train so that they are out of the normal flow of traffic. Coach passengers are not normally being routed through sleeper cars. Whereas in coach your are on the main throughfare to get any where.

If the train is crowded you may not be able to get an extra seat to yourself. If you decide to go coach, check to see if your train has a business class seat. Business class will ocst more, but allow you to board first and get some snacks.

you might want to price flying if you are thinking about a sleeper. It may be cheaper than the train.
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Old Aug 9th, 2008, 07:35 AM
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I use a Pac-Mate locing "bag" for my laptop on train trips in sleeping compartments and have never had a problem with theft. And it is a LOT easier than hauling a laptop to the dining car IMO.
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Old Aug 9th, 2008, 07:52 AM
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I recommend the roomette for the Charleston-New York City portion of the trip given the distance (there aren't sleepers New York City-Albany). It's worth it for the relaxation (you might actually sleep) and you'll be calmer during any delays.

You can lock the door from the inside but not the outside. I've left things in the roomette when I've gone to the dining car, taken a shower, gone to the bathroom, etc... I bring my wallet/passport with me and the laptop I would probably hide somewhere (under bed/ in closet, etc...) for safe-keeping.

However, I think theft is a minor worry for a few reasons. First, only sleeper car passengers are in principle allowed in the sleeper car area, and given the crowd (people in their 60s, 70s and 80s mostly, and folks willing to pay a bit more), being a victim of theft has seemed an improbability. The attendant knows the sleeper car passengers, coach passengers tend not to enter the sleeper area. Also, I always get to know the people in the adjacent rooms (many sleeper passengers are very nice and seem to like to chat a bit); I think a potential thief would be taking a big risk to enter a room, rummage through, walk down the corridor with a laptop, as the nearby passengers would know that the thief is in someone else's room. Then the thief is trapped on the train with plenty of witnesses.

However, if you're really concerned about this, you can always ask that the attendant bring food from the dining car to your roomette and bring your laptop with you to the bathroom. One thing you could do is close the curtain when you shut the door to eat or use the bathroom; a thief I suspect would be less likely to try the door if he/she thinks you *might be* inside.

Anyhow, have fun deciding. DAN
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Old Aug 9th, 2008, 10:57 AM
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Not foolproof but you can... lock your laptop into your suitcase.

Sure someone could steal the whole kitt'n'kaboodle, but more likely would make an easy grab of a laptop sitting out somewhere.

I personally would get the roomette. I couldn't do 13 hours in a regular train seat. The cabin would be much more fun imo.
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Old Aug 9th, 2008, 11:16 AM
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The roomette isn't all that comfortable, For thirteen hours I would check my luggage and get a coach seat.

You can move around and meet people, rather than be sequestered away.

Book your meals in the dining car. The food is much better there than in the snack bar, and it isn't much more expensive.

The dining car is a great way to meet other passengers.


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Old Aug 9th, 2008, 11:42 AM
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We traveled from Boston to Portland in a roomette- and found it to our liking. Much more room-and privacy than in coach- when we would go to the dining car in the morning, the coach cars we went thru were almost as tired looking and disheveled as the people!
I would definitely take a roomette. We had no problems with any of our belongings, and the staff were most pleasant and helpful.
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Old Aug 9th, 2008, 12:20 PM
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My experience is that it is not a big deal. We have used roomettes exclusively for the last 20 years or so and have had no problems...we would pay extra for a suite, except that you have to book a year in advance and we don't plan that far out.
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Old Aug 9th, 2008, 04:36 PM
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When you leave the roomette - use a bicycle chain to secure it in the room and have the luggage zippers locked.

It's pretty safe,have had no problems doing it that way.

MaryAnn
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Old Aug 9th, 2008, 04:56 PM
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I had one from Florence, South Carolina to Washington DC and loved the experience.

As Daniel Williams stated, only people with sleeper car tickets are allowed in the sleeper car.

I don't understand why people are saying you would be just as comfortable in a regular seat.

To me, there is a huge difference in a seat and a private area with a bed.
 
Old Aug 9th, 2008, 08:17 PM
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In consideration of a friend who hates to fly, I traveled Amtrak in a roomette, from Seattle to Chicago and back. I did not enjoy the trip, and my friend now flies rather than take Amtrak.




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Old Aug 9th, 2008, 09:18 PM
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But Seattle to Chicago round-trip must have been a lot more than the 13 hour trip this person is taking, right?
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Old Aug 10th, 2008, 08:17 AM
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We were on the train two nights both ways, bumping our way across the country on thin little mattresses and, when we needed service, tracking down room attendants hiding out in vacant state rooms.

Another joy was having our journey impeded as we pulled to side tracks with freight trains lumbered by.

Amtrak travel isn't for me. I'd rather go Greyhound.



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Old Aug 10th, 2008, 09:26 AM
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www.narprail.org
The National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) is a non-profit, non-partisan, membership group dedicated to expanding and improving passenger rail.

Lobby for better rail service. How can we expect a quality system, when it lives from hand to mouth every year?
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Old Aug 10th, 2008, 10:10 AM
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You can get the equivalent of a bicycle lock (plastic-encased cable with a lock on it) to lock the handle of your computer case, suitcase, whatever, to anything permanent in the room. Google "computer cable lock" or some such to see examples -- check an office supply or student book store.

(Just make sure you've also locked the zipper or they could conceivably just unzip it and leave you the empty case.)
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Old Aug 13th, 2008, 04:59 AM
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Thank you all for your help and suggestions! I've booked a roomette and am looking forward to the trip.
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