If there are any Res agents reading maybe they can shed some light on this..
Old days (say, a few years ago or so) Book 2 roomettes, if system does not place them in the same car, call Res, agent takes care of it.
A year ago: System placed my son in a different car than daughter and me. Called Res. No way to make the change without charging me additional $500. Supervisor agreed. This is obviously not acceptable. We travel in different cars. Difficult to coordinate having meals together.
This year: System placed us in different cars again. I called and explained that traveling as a family we would like to be in the same car. Agent explained that the cars farther away from the diner are less desirable. To me every roomette is like every other roomette, so asked to please put us in the less desirable car. Agent complied (involved cancel and rebook).
I got the feeling there is something new in the system that presents this odd and decidely not customer friendly scenario. It really shouldn't be an issue to put rooms together when there are empty rooms. I could understand if there wasn't inventory to work with.