Quantcast

New Considering SW Chief

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Mlgraham22

AU Supporter
Joined
Feb 21, 2021
Messages
2
Location
Atlanta
New to the forum and have become excited about taking the family to LA via the SW Chief this summer. The question is should I pay up for the family bedroom or stick with 2 roomettes? It’ll be the wife and me and our two daughters (18 and 13). The website prices 2 roomettes at $2,200 and 2 family bedrooms at $3,600. I’d much rather save the money and go two roomettes but having never traveled Amtrak I’m looking for some advice here. I know my picky girls would much prefer an en suite bath and shower but is that even a thing in the bedrooms?
 

TrackWalker

############
AU Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 19, 2009
Messages
147
Location
Pacific Northwet
Welcome to the Amtrak Unlimited forums and congratulations on your decision to get out and ride Amtrak. You've come to the right place to find answers to all your questions from some very experienced travelers willing to help you out with your questions. Have fun and enjoy! Welcome again, from Western Washington State.
 

pennyk

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
10,708
Location
Orlando, FL
The family bedroom does not have a shower and toilet in the room. The "bedroom" does. It likely will be more expensive, but you could get 2 bedrooms next to each other (E and D or C and B) and you would have 2 toilets, showers, sinks and a sliding door that could be opened.
 

PaTrainFan

Service Attendant
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
200
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa.
No en suite anything in the roomettes. Restrooms are down the hall (one) and downstairs (presuming you are on the upper level) and there is a shower on the lower level. Bedrooms do have en suite toilet/shower. But technically they are only for two people, though two could in theory fit into the lower berth. And these are very expensive. Several years ago when I traveled with my son and daughter who were young adults I got a roomette just for me and a bedroom for them for sleeping, and we hung out there during the day.
 

Amtrakfflyer

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
491
2 roomettes side by side across the hall from each other, downstairs rooms 13 and 14 would be my choice as to not have people constantly walking by. Drawbacks would be if a noisy family had the family room which would be right next door. I haven’t had it happen yet but it’s possible. I’m a fan of the downstairs for the quietness and it is nice to have the shower 30 feet away and know if it’s vacant not without lugging stuff down there. Another plus is easy hop on and off at fresh air breaks. You can just sit in your room while a crowd forms on the steps or in the vestibule to get off at the 5-20 min stops.

I think the view is just as good downstairs but I think we’re split about even on this board as to upstairs/downstairs preferences.

Also check prices over a week or even a month if your dates are flexible. Amtrak prices are very fluid. It’s not uncommon to see a roomette, $620 one day and $990 the next. Unfortunately Amtrak isn’t upfront about prices with a 30 day price calendar like most airlines have.

The SWC is a great trip and Amtrak’s fastest long distance train end point to endpoint. I take it 2-3 times year with the family. Highly recommend.
 

niemi24s

Conductor
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,488
Just in case you are not aware that each sleeper accommodation has five different prices (aka, buckets) that they can be sold at, here they are for the SWC and all the other long distance trains:
33 - 6 Sep 2020 Amtrak Fare Buckets.jpg
If there's some flexibility in you travel date, this will allow you to see what fare is being charged each day and look for dates with the lowest possible fares. When in a sleeper, each of your daughters goes at an Adult fare, so the asterisked item on the bottom applies. The lowest fares for the four of you and two rooms would be:

• 2 Roomettes = $1,710
• 2 Bedrooms = $2,490
• One of each = $2,100

As there is only one Family Bedroom in each car, two of them would be in different cars. And don't be surprised by seemingly strange total fares because when booking two of the same type of sleeper room, each may be at different prices. Neat, huh? :)

And if you're totally new to Amtrak, this route map will let you see the different ways to get from your home (Atlanta?) to Los Angeles: https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/projects/dotcom/english/public/documents/Maps/Amtrak-System-Map-1018.pdf If you are leaving from Atlanta by train, I can see at least six different way of doing it. Google searches for images of each of the different rooms will turn up lots of photos and floor diagrams. As much of a train trip is spent enjoying the scenery out the window, this shows what you get in of the three on the SWC:
Sleeper Kneespace.jpg
 
Last edited:

joelkfla

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
372
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
You are confusing the "Family Bedroom" with the plain old "Bedroom"; they are 2 very different things.

There is one "Family Bedroom" on the lower level of the sleeping car. It has 4 berths: 2 regular size + 2 sized for small children (much smaller than your daughters). It has no in-room facilities. Shared toilets and a shower are down the hall on the same level. The Family Bedroom takes up the full width of the car, with small windows on both sides.

There are several "Bedrooms" on the upper level. They have 2 regular sized berths, upper & lower. They have an enclosed bathroom that doubles as a shower stall. They have a large window on one side; on the other side there is a window onto the corridor which also has an outside window, so there is some visibility out to both sides.

The Roomettes are arranged along both sides of the car, separated by a central corridor. They have an upper and lower berth, with no toilet or shower. There are roomettes on both the upper and lower levels. There is one shared bathroom on the upper level, and several more plus the shower on the lower level. There is a large window on one side, but no visibility out to the other side of the train.

If you want private facilities, get one bedroom and one upper level roomette. You and wife can sleep in the bedroom, and relegate the girls to the roomette -- or vice versa if you're feeling generous. Everyone can use the bathroom in the bedroom if they don't want to use the shared ones, and you can all spend time together during the day in the bedroom, when you're not enjoying views in the Sightseer Lounge. Note that doors on Amtrak rooms lock from the inside only, so the roomette occupants would have to use the shared facilities while the bedroom occupants are sleeping.
 
Last edited:

Barb Stout

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
659
In my experience, the bathroom(s) shared with the other roomettes have not been dirty or smelly. I can't say the same about those for the coach car. I haven't used the shower in the SWC as I don't shower every day, so can't offer opinions on that. Personally, I would definitely go for 2 roomettes across from each other unless you get exceedingly lucky and find low bucket bedroom(s), but only high bucket roomettes.
 

Rasputin

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
790
I almost always travel by roomette and haven't had a problem with the showers in any Amtrak long distance train, either superliner or viewliner.
However I was glad I wasn't in the shower on one trip on the Texas Eagle/Sunset when the car ran out of water en route. The Texas Eagle sleeper had evidently not been watered in LA and had to be watered in El Paso.
 

Mlgraham22

AU Supporter
Joined
Feb 21, 2021
Messages
2
Location
Atlanta
You are confusing the "Family Bedroom" with the plain old "Bedroom"; they are 2 very different things.

There is one "Family Bedroom" on the lower level of the sleeping car. It has 4 berths: 2 regular size + 2 sized for small children (much smaller than your daughters). It has no in-room facilities. Shared toilets and a shower are down the hall on the same level. The Family Bedroom takes up the full width of the car, with small windows on both sides.

There are several "Bedrooms" on the upper level. They have 2 regular sized berths, upper & lower. They have an enclosed bathroom that doubles as a shower stall. They have a large window on one side; on the other side there is a window onto the corridor which also has an outside window, so there is some visibility out to both sides.

The Roomettes are arranged along both sides of the car, separated by a central corridor. They have an upper and lower berth, with no toilet or shower. There are roomettes on both the upper and lower levels. There is one shared bathroom on the upper level, and several more plus the shower on the lower level. There is a large window on one side, but no visibility out to the other side of the train.

If you want private facilities, get one bedroom and one upper level roomette. You and wife can sleep in the bedroom, and relegate the girls to the roomette -- or vice versa if you're feeling generous. Everyone can use the bathroom in the bedroom if they don't want to use the shared ones, and you can all spend time together during the day in the bedroom, when you're not enjoying views in the Sightseer Lounge. Note that doors on Amtrak rooms lock from the inside only, so the roomette occupants would have to use the shared facilities while the bedroom occupants are sleeping.
Thanks for all the great info to everyone who has replied. I see the difference in rooms now. I think between these replies and the many YouTube trip reports I have a decent idea what to expect. I think the roomette and bedroom would fit our needs best. The website, however, wants me to book two of the same. It won’t let me mix. I guess I need to talk to a human for that unless there is a trick I don’t know? My dates are pretty firm as we have rooms booked at The Grand Californian at Disneyland (I’m gambling it will be open by our June travel date...fingers crossed).
 

Amtrakfflyer

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
491
Make 2 separate online reservations possibly? Or call most agents are usually great. If the conversation isn’t going well or points not getting across hang up and call again. Some agents really do go above and beyond.
 

niemi24s

Conductor
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,488
The website, however, wants me to book two of the same. It won’t let me mix.
That's because you're probably entering 2 adults and 2 youths (13-18 year olds) and you need two rooms for that many. The website's not flexible enough to allow booking 4 people in two different types of rooms. Just do 2 people at a time and it ought to work just fine. And do that twice, as mentioned by Amtrakfflyer.
 
Top