Westbound CZ Transdorm: Room H or Roomette 17 for a newbie?

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Chellerz

Train Attendant
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Hi everyone,

I'm traveling with a friend soon on a westbound Zephyr from Denver to Emeryville. It was a last minute trip and I snagged the very last roomette (#17 in car 540), then 2 weeks before the trip I scored Room H in car 540.

I've read other posts about the pros and cons of Room H, but my question is this:

I've taken LD trips before and know more or less what to expect. But this will be my friend's first LD trip, and I want him to have the best possible experience and fall in love with the train. Do you think it would be better for him to be in the roomette or in Room H?

Thanks for your advice, and Happy Thanksgiving! :)
 

Amtrak709

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Columbus, GA
Hi everyone,

I'm traveling with a friend soon on a westbound Zephyr from Denver to Emeryville. It was a last minute trip and I snagged the very last roomette (#17 in car 540), then 2 weeks before the trip I scored Room H in car 540.

I've read other posts about the pros and cons of Room H, but my question is this:

I've taken LD trips before and know more or less what to expect. But this will be my friend's first LD trip, and I want him to have the best possible experience and fall in love with the train. Do you think it would be better for him to be in the roomette or in Room H?

Thanks for your advice, and Happy Thanksgiving! :)
Chellerz: My two cents worth. I am a non-ADA passenger who has always loved the H space--but only on the Viewliner 1 equipment. I have frequently upgraded when available. H room there is large and the toilet, sink and shower are fully enclosed in a separate room behind a door. This, however, I understand is NOT the case in the H on Viewliner 2 and Superliner H. The toilet is actually out in the open in the main room and can he shrouded by a curtain. The H rooms were--and rightfully so--designed for ease of use by ADA passengers. For non-ADA passengers like me and perhaps others, the toilet in the main room itself can be esthetically unpleasing. If this is not an issue for you, then the H room would clearly be an upgrade over a Superliner roomette.
Again, just my opinion.
 
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An SL roomette is pretty tight quarters for two. So hopefully your relationship with your friend is good as you will be spending a lot of time in close quarters with them. Of course one can always escape to the lounge. Also note that the top bunk is very confining (referred to by some as "the coffin") and has no window view unlike the View liners.

I have not been in the H room so can't comment on that.
 

Chellerz

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An SL roomette is pretty tight quarters for two. So hopefully your relationship with your friend is good as you will be spending a lot of time in close quarters with them. Of course one can always escape to the lounge. Also note that the top bunk is very confining (referred to by some as "the coffin") and has no window view unlike the View liners.

I have not been in the H room so can't comment on that.
We're going to keep both the roomette and the H room - I'm just wondering which one he would have the better experience in as a newbie who hasn't taken an LD train and who also isn't as aware of Amtrak's...idiosyncrasies as I am. :) I've told him how awesome it is to take LD trains and now I want to deliver on that promise. :)

Happy Thanksgiving and thanks!
 

Maglev

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I like Room H, and as @Amtrak709 mentioned, think it is an upgrade over a Roomette. It's certainly spacious, as there's plenty of floor area to pile all one's luggage. One tip I'd offer is to jam a plastic Amtrak coat hanger between the door and the wall at the pocket side when you leave the room to keep the door from sliding open.
 
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I like Room H, and as @Amtrak709 mentioned, think it is an upgrade over a Roomette. It's certainly spacious, as there's plenty of floor area to pile all one's luggage. One tip I'd offer is to jam a plastic Amtrak coat hanger between the door and the wall at the pocket side when you leave the room to keep the door from sliding open.
I've used the coat hanger tip and it got stuck in the pocket once when the door opened anyway. Now I slide a towel folded to the right thickness under the door.

A downside of the SL H-room is the small windows so you pretty much have to put your nose on the glass to see much. Cure for that is the lounge.
 

Keith1951

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Doesn't one have to be disabled to get into the H room? I have traveled many times in a sleeper but I would like to try the H room because it has windows on both sides, but I am not disabled. Also why wouldn't someone prefer the H room over the roomette, the H room is much bigger?
 
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Also why wouldn't someone prefer the H room over the roomette, the H room is much bigger?
Yes, on Superliners it is the full width of the train, and it has a toilet and sink in the room (but not a shower). But it has certain downsides, as have been documented above and in other threads. It tends to be noisier, has small windows, and some don't like the full-size toilet being in the room.

On Viewliners, I believe it is slightly larger than a regular bedroom, with toilet, sink, & shower. However, it does not have the folding seat opposite the sofa, as that space is allocated to a wheelchair. It also tends to be noisy, especially on VL II's, and again the toilet is out in the room on VL II's.
 
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Barb Stout

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On one of the first Amtrak trips I took, we chose a roomette, but later Amtrak switched us to an H room for reasons that we never did understand. This was on a superliner and the H room was VERY spacious; one could have done ballroom dances in there. However, it did smell bad the entire time from the toilet being in there and also that H room was next to a bunch of bathrooms that probably also contributed to the smell. However, the smell wasn't bad enough to stop me from practicing my flute which requires deep and strong inhalations even though I'm sensitive to odors. Because the H room is pretty separate from other compartments, I didn't have to worry about bothering other people while practicing my flute (and no one complained) which is another bonus of the H room. And also because it's so spacious, we could bring our suitcases in there and have them open all the way to dig through possessions.

Overall I would say if your friend is particularly bothered by toilet/sewer smells, a roomette would be the better choice for him/her.
 

JP1822

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I would definitely look at the layouts of a Superliner roomette vs ADA (Handicap) room. See if there's an online tour or even video you can take a look at. Interesting points made above. The smaller, windows, lower level, and bathroom situation are my main points of concern. The Viewliner ADA room is a different story......When all else fails, just use the bedroom for sleeping, and spend the rest of your time in the lounge and diner!
 

Chellerz

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Thanks, everyone!
If you are keeping both rooms, why not wait till you are both on the train and let him pick after he sees both rooms.
Seems like there's pros and cons to the H room so yes, I think that's what we'll do. And thanks to everyone's help I can give him the full details about what to expect.
 
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In a Superliner, the H room and the Family Bedroom both have the advantage of being 'full car body width' rooms. Meaning, you have a window on both sides of the train. They also have the 'commonality' of having noticably smaller windows than the rest of the train. I'm guessing they're about 24" wide vs 48" or more 'standard sized' windows. The narrow width limits the viewing angle, especially looking towards the front of the train and surroundings. I'm also guessing (I'm not a structural engineer) they are smaller due to sidewall structural strength integrity requirements.

Given a choice between a roomette (#14 on lower level is my favorite) and the H room, I would definitely take the H room, especially if the same or lower price. I did that years (and years) ago in the early 90's, IIRC. That was my only experience in the H room, but I've looked in a good number of times in the years since as, if vacant, the attendant uses it to 'store' bags of dirty linen while enroute.

Also...if booked into the H room, bring a hardware store wedge-shaped rubber door stopper. Maybe 2. In the 40 years or so of running Superliners, Amtrak mechanical department has YET to figure out how to make that door stay closed when unoccupied. Why the opening is seemingly a good 0.75-1.00" wider than the door itself is a mystery as all the other Superliner and Viewliner room doors are about 0.50" smaller than their openings. Although the 'arc' of the standard, plastic Amtrak coat hanger effectively fills the gap, there's nothing to prevent it from sliding down and becoming dislodged while the train is moving. Hence, my suggestion for a rubber door stopper. As a passenger on the lower level, I've also tried using a couple of stacked, carpenters wooden shim's a couple of times but they slide down as well. That was necessary as the door keeps loudly banging from extreme to extreme while the train is moving. Maybe taping them in place with some gaffers tape would work better.
 

Duane Witte

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Ok I think I'm confused. Is 540 the transdorm? That would be the only sleeper with a roomette #17 and I didn't think they actually sold the H room in the transition.
 

Chellerz

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Ok I think I'm confused. Is 540 the transdorm? That would be the only sleeper with a roomette #17 and I didn't think they actually sold the H room in the transition.
Yes 540 is the transdorm. This was a last minute LD ride, returning from a just-scheduled business trip. As soon as I found out about the business trip (about 3 weeks beforehand) I bought a roomette. The website said "1 room left" and I grabbed it. It was #17 on car 540.

I told my friend/work colleague who is joining me for the business trip that I was taking the train home and he was wishing he could do the same. We're not close enough to sleep in the same roomette, but I told him I would keep checking to see if another room happened to show up (he wasn't interested in coach). I looked every day for a week to no avail, then exactly 14 days before the train departs, 2 rooms became available - both accessible rooms. I grabbed one for him and luckily it's also in car 540 so we're close. There was still 1 accessible room available for a couple of days (couldn't see which car as I didn't buy it) and now the train is 100% sold out including coach.

The Amtrak website says "Within 14 days prior to a train departure from its origin city, and if all other Bedroom and Family bedrooms have been reserved, accessible bedroom are made available to all passengers on a first-come, first-served basis." That seems to have been the case here.

@bratkinson, thanks for the doorstopper advice!
 

Chellerz

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so, the end result is you will be in the same car, one upstairs, one downstairs.....
Yup. I'm prob overthinking this whole thing. I just want him to have a good time - and for ME to have a good time instead of having to hear complaints about sewer smells and clanging doors the whole trip! :)
 
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Yup. I'm prob overthinking this whole thing. I just want him to have a good time - and for ME to have a good time instead of having to hear complaints about sewer smells and clanging doors the whole trip! :)
They don't happen all the time. People don't tend to report "nothing happened" The greatest likelihood is that you will have a great time. But having a stopper in your bag from the 99 cent store that you may never use is not the worst thing.
 

jpakala

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When we had Superlinet H room no tape or shims needed, toilet never smelled, but H room in the Viewliner I was much better owing to sizable bathroom (including shower, sink, toilet), wider beds (unlike Superliner H beds), 2 large windows on outer side one above the other & small window on aisle side (across from an aisle outer window on that side), a very nice ladder for upper berth, and nice floor space.
 
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