Plus sized first time overnight train ride

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Joined
Oct 23, 2021
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Amherst, MA
Hi everyone!
I'm 25 and doing my first overnight train ride on November 19th from NYP (New York Penn Station) to West Palm Beach! I've been on little day rides on the local amtrak, but it's been a little bit. I'm a plus sized woman (size 28 pant size) and would love to know what it's like traveling overnight in coach. I also have insomnia, which causes me to be awake most of the night, so I probably just won't sleep. Can I get some tips as a first time overnight train ride in coach? What should I bring? Are there outlets by each seat? Anything I should be aware of?
Thanks!
 

JoshP

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Buffalo, NY
Welcome aboard!

You will love it and enjoy the trip. However, if you want and can afford, upgrade to Sleeper (Bedroom) and guaranteed, you won't be disappointed. If you do this, you don't have to wear mask at all the times. Esp, if your going for Roomette, you need wear mask going to toilet/shower rooms. Other than that, you can sit and relax because it's a private room for yourself only.

If you rather stay coach, bring a bag where you can fill up (snacks, drinks, etc) Bring a blanket and small pillow if you have and course maybe few book or you can bring tablet or laptop and watch movie. Download them at your home, say 6-8 movies then bring it on train, they have trays you can put them on and plug in a power outlet, you will have 2 of them. You will be required to wear mask, regardless but not when your eating/drinking only.

If you are hungry when cafe car is open, you can get like coffee, food, etc.

Again, enjoy your trip and stay safe.
 

John from RI

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Bloomfield NJ
I have ridden the train overnight in both a coach and a sleeping car. A coach is doable but even if you don't sleep a roomette where you can stretch out is a lot more comfortable, You may want to consider it. However, if you can't sleep at home in your own bed you are unlikely to be able to fall asleep in a roomette.
There are two electrical outlets. You will find a power strip with a surge protector very helpful. Get one long enough as the outlet is on the wall and you may have an aisle seat. And get one with a straight in plug rather than a plug that lies flat against the wall. In a coach you will want an inflatable pillow and a coat or blanket to put over you. I just used a fairly heavy jacket and long pants; the coach can get quite cool at night. In a coach I suggest you bring your own snacks. You have Amtrak experience; I don't know how you find the snack bar. New York Penn Station has a lot of good places to buy food. And I like having some fruit and cheese and perhaps simple rolls with me. However, I do enjoy breakfast on the train and always look forward to it.
Have an enjoyable trip.
 

MARC Rider

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Don't worry about the roominess of the coach seat. I'm a man in my late 60s, and I am definitely, ahem, "plus size," (5'10", 250 lbs) and the overnight coach seats have plenty of room for me. The last overnight coach ride I took was from Baltimore to Tampa, and I wasn't squeezed in, nor did I disturb my seatmate. That said, it's always nicer if you can afford a sleeper.
 

flitcraft

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One thing that may surprise you--while coach seating is much roomier than, say, airline seats, there are no physical dividers between the two adjacent seats. This may not bother you, but it does bother some folks. Just FYI...
 

Qapla

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I have ridden from Florida to NY and back in coach more than once - been on both Silvers doing this. The ride is fine and I was able to be plenty comfortable in the seat (5' 8" - 285 lbs).

In addition to bringing something to plug into the outlet(s) at each seat (if you are in an aisle seat you may need an extension cord so your cord is not over your seatmate and can lay on the floor), and in addition to something to eat and/or drink, and in addition to some things to entertain you ... make sure you bring some earbuds and/or headset to listen to your electronic device since they do not want you using "speakers" (others mentioned bringing movies but did not mention then need to listen to them privately)

When I took those trips it was before COVID and masks - but, as long as you are comfortable with wearing a mask for an extended period, coach overnight from NY to Florida is doable and relaxing - at least, it was for me.

BTW - I would bring several masks so you can swap them out every few hours - makes them nicer to wear for long durations.
 

SarahZ

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I'm a size 26 and carry most of my weight in my hips. I don't have any trouble with the coach seats on long-distance trains. There isn't a divider, though, so if your seatmate is also a bit heavy, you may end up rather close. They will usually try to pair women with other women, but I still don't like sleeping that close to a stranger. You may find you like it, though, depending on how social you are.

The bathrooms are a bit tight, but manageable. They're not as small as an airplane bathroom, but they're still pretty small. I don't think you'll have any issues (I never have). I just wanted to give you a heads-up. :)

In the dining car, the booths are kind of a tight squeeze, and the tables sit kind of low. If you're fuller in the belly, you might be a little uncomfortable.

The Sightseer Lounge has a few different options for seating. The single chairs might be too tight for you (I haven't been able to use them since I was a size 20), but they also have some double chairs that don't have a divider in the middle. There are also booths.
 

BCL

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Here's a review, and it shows a walk though.


If someone 400 lbs was sitting next to me, I wouldn't have a problem. The seats are more or less the size of traditional first class airline seats before they turned into these weird compartmentalized seats, and you'll have more legroom than anyone needs. It's so far to the next seat that the tray has to be extended to reach most people.

The outlets are two grounded outlets sitting on the side. They're not terribly well spaced, so it might be a concern if you have something that manages to block both outlets. I'd consider maybe getting a 6 ft ungrounded extension cord if you're only bringing two-blade devices.

 

Barb Stout

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However, if you can't sleep at home in your own bed you are unlikely to be able to fall asleep in a roomette.
There are two electrical outlets. You will find a power strip with a surge protector very helpful. Get one long enough as the outlet is on the wall and you may have an aisle seat. And get one with a straight in plug rather than a plug that lies flat against the wall. In a coach you will want an inflatable pillow and a coat or blanket to put over you. I just used a fairly heavy jacket and long pants; the coach can get quite cool at night. In a coach I suggest you bring your own snacks. You have Amtrak experience; I don't know how you find the snack bar. New York Penn Station has a lot of good places to buy food. And I like having some fruit and cheese and perhaps simple rolls with me. However, I do enjoy breakfast on the train and always look forward to it.
Have an enjoyable trip.
The first line is not necessarily true. My sister, who is an incredibly light sleeper and has all kinds of sleep problems, after spending a night sleeping in a roomette said that was the best night sleep she had ever had. We're chalking it up to the train motion rocking her (and me) to sleep.

With regards to being cool at night, boy howdy! I took the SWC from ABQ to LA, so desert all the way in late May when it's pretty hot outside, but it was quite cold at night on the train. On most of my trips I have noted a few people in coach with sleeping bags and I think next time I take coach overnight, I'll be bringing one of my sleeping bags.

Also, for sleeping in coach, Amtrak sold (I don't know if they still do) a "sleeping kit" which consists of an eye mask, airline-type blanket, neck pillow, and ear plugs.
 

anumberone

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I’m curious, what effect does laying a seat back have on the person in the seat behind when they are sitting upright. For instance if you wanted to take a nap during the day.
 
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Qapla

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Amtrak viewliner coach seats on the Silvers are NOT airplane seats. There is sufficient space between the seats that when you recline the seat as far as it goes (it does not go flat) it is NOT in the lap of the person behind you. There is still room to use the seat tray when the seat is reclined.
 

BCL

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I'd just note that if you have electronics with audio, you might want to bring some headphones or earbuds. I remember the last time I did an overnight I forgot, but the cafe sold some for $5. Not sure how they enforce noise issues, but certainly on airlines I was told no audio without headphones.

If you're an insomniac though, at night even headphones can be distracting to people around you if they're sleeping. Certainly don't be like the idiot who came to my coach car to talk for almost an hour after the lights were already dimmed and people were sleeping.
 

BoulderCO

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If you will be getting up frequently during the night since you can't sleep, have a window seat and have another person assigned to the adjacent seat, you might want to negotiate with them about swapping seats during the night. While the seats are very large and comfy and recline almost fully, getting from the window seat to the aisle without disturbing the person in the aisle seat is almost impossible. Or, you might luck out and have nobody next to you at all.
 

jpakala

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In coach at any time of year it can be wise to bring along a lap robe or blanket. Even for a daytime trip of a few hours in coach or business class I make sure I have an overcoat or sweater or something to use for extra warmth if needed (and it usually is, especially if i want to recline and snooze).
 

daybeers

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Not sure how they enforce noise issues, but certainly on airlines I was told no audio without headphones.
No speaker audio on Amtrak, though sometimes it's not as enforced as I'd like it to be. Sometimes I ask the passenger to turn it off in that case :) I think people are really supposed to be quiet, as in not much talking, once the lights dim.
 

niemi24s

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If there's any flexibility in your departure date, the lowest possible fares for your trip are:

• $127 Coach Saver Fare (supposedly offered 1 to 3 weeks before the travel date)
• $487 Roomette
• $910 Bedroom

While the Silver Meteor and Silver Star may have different fares offered for the same day of travel, the choices are made from a common set of fares for those two trains.
 
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happycamper

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I’m curious, what effect does laying a sheet back have on the person in the seat behind when they are sitting upright. For instance if you wanted to take a nap during the day.
It is ok but my only pet pieve is when the person in front of me doesn't put their seat back up - some get up and leave to go to the lounge and leave it reclined - that is rude.... It is better when the person in front of you is not reclined - alot more room but it is understandable to recline and take a nap just please put it back up... ;)
 
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happycamper

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We travel coach long distance and have found that a blanket - we have a mexican blanket from Ensenada that we use as it is warm and thick but not heavy and bulky. also a travel pillow and those pillows that go around you neck. We also wear hoodies as it gets cold at night and they really help keep you warm. It gets real quiet in coach about 10pm and everyone is very considerate of others in coach. Bring some ear buds if you want to listen to music to put you to sleep. :) i dont really sleep much in coach as much as doze I think. Im up with the sunrise and at the cafe when it opens for COFFEE! LOL
 

anumberone

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We travel coach long distance and have found that a blanket - we have a mexican blanket from Ensenada that we use as it is warm and thick but not heavy and bulky. also a travel pillow and those pillows that go around you neck. We also wear hoodies as it gets cold at night and they really help keep you warm. It gets real quiet in coach about 10pm and everyone is very considerate of others in coach. Bring some ear buds if you want to listen to music to put you to sleep. :) i dont really sleep much in coach as much as doze I think. Im up with the sunrise and at the cafe when it opens for COFFEE! LOL
I know exactly the blanket you are referring to. they are great. Hard to find nowadays.
 

happycamper

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I know exactly the blanket you are referring to. they are great. Hard to find nowadays.
Our first long distance train ride was Beaumont (east of Houston) to LA and then hop a 4 night cruise to ensenada and catalina, tour Los Angelas and come back again on the sunset.. That is where we got the blanket. :) Big enough for 2... I also roll up a few clothes in a plastic bag to put behind your low back - saves on luggage and pillows. :) Might try rolling clothes and putting in a travel pillow case for neck pillow - trying to cut back on luggage but hard to do when sleeping in coach...
 

BCL

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I’m curious, what effect does laying a seat back have on the person in the seat behind when they are sitting upright. For instance if you wanted to take a nap during the day.
There is so much room that it's not going to ever affect the passengers behind the seat. I've had the passenger in front lean all the way back and it didn't even come close to affecting the stuff on my tray. I'm not sure if these have been updated, but I don't think the new seating is difference size or pitch. The one thing would be that taking a nap usually involves raising the leg rest, so that might affect how easily a window seat passenger might be able to exit. But with the leg rest stowed, I've never had a problem.

 

flitcraft

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Might try rolling clothes and putting in a travel pillow case for neck pillow - trying to cut back on luggage but hard to do when sleeping in coach...
Here's what I have done, both to McGyver a lumbar support and emergency pillow--carefully roll your clothes into a log about 10 inches across. Roll reasonably tightly. Then insert into a gallon sized zip top bag and push to the bottom. Begin to roll that bag up, pause to push out the air, and zip it shut. You can adapt this to how firm you want it (for a lumbar roll) or squishy you want it (for a pillow, for my taste). For using it as a pillow, I then insert the zip top bag into a T-shirt because I don't care for plastic against my face, but YMMV. Back in my pre-HSR Chinese rail travels, I used this hack frequently.

Honestly, I never travel without an assortment of sizes of zip top bags--they have a multitude of uses! That same gallon zip top bag can magically transform itself into a sink for washing socks and undies, for example. Small baggies can keep food items clean and edible for eating later on, and will prevent your snacks from contaminating your day pack. I know that a lot of folks say duct tape is the more versatile travel item to tuck into your suitcase or backpack, but for me, it's zip top baggies!
 
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