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jasonmovieguy

Roomette by Family Room- Too Noisy?

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Greetings everyone!

 

I will be riding in a roommate for a second time next month. Three years ago I road in room 4 on the California Zephyr from Chicago to Reno, and it was terrific. I think the only thing I didn't like was getting used to sleeping (I was solo); it was a bit rocky at first. But loved the service, scenery and relaxation of having privacy.

 

I am going from Chicago to LA this time, on the Southwest Chief. When I booked online, as expected they pre-pick your seat automatically. I noticed I am in car 0330, and in Room 014. When I looked on the map diagram, I saw I was on the first floor vs second, and also right next to the infamous Family Room. Now I have nothing against families with kids, but I do know kids can be loud (as can adults of course). And I wanted to know what the chances are that the family I get is going to be possibly noisy, to the point I can't sleep? I called reservations to change my seat to an upper, but they only had rooms 9 and 10 left- and those were right off the trucks/doors- so major slamming of doors and foot traffic coming in and out. I hear many experts tell me not to book those rooms.

 

So, not trying to rant- just wanted some advice. Should I keep my lower room, or try to see if I can get another room upper floor? (maybe rooms 2-8 I hear are ok).

 

I AM considering keeping my lower floor because I hear there is less foot traffic, and you have closer access to bathrooms and showers. However I also hear that if you're on the lower floor, you will hear people getting on and off more, and the luggage area is there.

 

​If I keep my door closed, does that help block out some of the noise? Any advice would be much appreciated. I look forward to this trip as I enjoy relaxing for 3 days and watching movies while looking out at the scenery.

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I had either Roomette #11 or 12 on the Empire Builder, by choice, and thoroughly enjoyed it. There was a 3 person adult family in the Family Room; no issues. Noise from the outside hallway due to guests using the restrooms, shower, luggage area, boarding or de-boarding, no issues. Having the shower and additional restrooms so close by and not having to haul my carry-on up and down the narrow stairs is what caused me to book the lower level Roomette. I will do it again when I next have the opportunity.

 

I also liked the opportunity to step into the vestibule at times to view the scenery on the other side of the train from where my Roomette was. Can't see much of the other side if the occupants of the Roomette across from yours close their door or curtain, which does happen!

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I love the lower-level, and I think the significantly reduced foot traffic will more than compensate for any possible extra noise from a family in the Family Room. Unless you get really unlucky, the walls are thick enough and people are usually courteous enough that you shouldn't have any real issue. So I honestly don't think it's worth trying to change rooms.

 

Have a great trip!

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Unless the family room is occupied by a noisy family, it is not noisy. It may even be occupied by a non-noisy family, 1 or 2 adults traveling (as I have done) or not even occupied. You may get say room #6 - and have noisy neighbors on BOTH sides!

 

As far as rooms #9 and #10 - I have had both numerous times, and never had a problem with the door opening or closing!

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I concur with Dakota 400. I had Rm 11 on the SW Chief from CHI to LAX in 2017. Foot traffic was pratically non-existant, no noise issues with people training and de-training, and no noise issue from occupied family room. Easy access to toilets and showers. I also noticed less sway on bottom floor. I will always ride lower level.

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My preference is roomette #14, followed by 13, 12, and 11. I call Amtrak directly to book Superliner rooms and usually get an agent adept at getting a specific roomette number. As #14 does not have a glass window to the hallway (except for the one in the door) fewer hallway noises are heard...that portion of the 'wall' is actually the entryway into the family bedroom. I usually book my Superliner travel dates to be as far away from holidays and summer vacation time to minimize the likelihood of screaming kids in the family room. Only once in the past 5-6 years have I had noisy kids in the family room and that was only for 12 hours or so on the Empire Builder. I've encountered Amtrak managers in the family room, a honeymoon couple, and even a sleeping conductor. A year ago, I was in the family room alone when I had to change my reservations a week before traveling. First time I ever rode in that room! It was surprisingly quiet in there, although the air vent in the ceiling required taping to be closed off.

 

As mentioned in prior posts, access to the toilets and shower from the lower level is great, and the 'thoroughfare' hallway traffic stays upstairs. Being on the lower level also facilitates an occasional discrete opening of the window in either door to snap a couple of pix every now and then, too. It also affords an opportunity to clean my own window at longer station stops with the platform on my side. Also, any noisy passengers banging around their luggage while boarding/deboarding in the middle of the night go unheard when in #13 or 14. Soundproofing of the wall between the baggage rack in #11 and stairs in #12 is pretty good, but not 100% in my opinion.

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I rode in a lower level roomette next to the family bedroom once. I think it was on the EB east-bound about 3 years ago. There was a very noisy family (1 parent, 3 little kids about 4-10 years old), who made quite a racket during the day, but they were quiet after about 10PM both nights and didn't bother me at all. (They were gone when I got up on the 3rd morning, but I didn't hear anything and they didn't wake me up at all when they got off the train, where ever that was.)

Small sample, but I think the family room tends to be quiet during the hours when you would be sleeping.

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This has been such great advice so far, thank you!! I am going to keep the room and see how I like it. I watched some YouTube videos with one guy in the exact room I am. Seems very quiet down there. I did notice the Family Bedroom is literally right next to room 014. Not sure how that works out with noise from inside their room vs my room if my door is closed. But overall I like the atmosphere down there.

 

Also bratkinson: You mentioned that #14 "doesn't have a glass window to the hallway (except for the one on the door)". Im sorry for the confusion- you mean it only has half a glass window facing the hallway vs a full open one? I don't think I followed that right.

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This has been such great advice so far, thank you!! I am going to keep the room and see how I like it. I watched some YouTube videos with one guy in the exact room I am. Seems very quiet down there. I did notice the Family Bedroom is literally right next to room 014. Not sure how that works out with noise from inside their room vs my room if my door is closed. But overall I like the atmosphere down there.

 

Also bratkinson: You mentioned that #14 "doesn't have a glass window to the hallway (except for the one on the door)". Im sorry for the confusion- you mean it only has half a glass window facing the hallway vs a full open one? I don't think I followed that right.

Roomettes have a window above the steps to the upper bed. 14 does not have that window because that is the family room’s “foyer” wall.

 

post-5142-15386472463041.jpg

Edited by AmtrakBlue

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And that is exactly why I like roomette #14 at night — much less hallway light coming thru curtains to disturb sleep without an eye mask.

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Question for ya. Are the lower floor roomettes affected at all by the wheel noise/vibrations any more than being upstairs?

 

It's why I was exclusively trying for bedrooms D or E in the middle of the train... to stay away from the wheels and the noise, etc.

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I rode downstairs for the first time last week and found it to be jerkier, but then, I was on the Southwest Chief. :P I found the 2nd night, through Kansas, more noticeable, but I already knew Kansas tracks are the worse anyway

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I've actually found it to be smoother than the lower-level. You get a little more truck noise, but the ride felt smoother and more stable.

Edited by cpotisch

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I've had plenty of noisy neighbors upstairs, too... Kids, people playing movies on their laptops, yakking on cell phones when coverage is available. Fortunately, there are areas with no coverage.

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I've had plenty of noisy neighbors upstairs, too... Kids, people playing movies on their laptops, yakking on cell phones when coverage is available. Fortunately, there are areas with no coverage.

I think you really hit the nail on the head. Yes, the family room can be noisy with hyperactive children and inconsiderate adults, but so can any other room.

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When I travel solo on Amtrak LD trains I usually opt for the lower Roomettes and have never had an issue with excessive track/wheel issues. Only once did I ever hear kids from the family room out of perhaps several dozen trips in room 14. I agree with the other comments that overall it is usually quieter on the lower level from the standpoint of passenger traffic as well. The convenience of the Shower and several bathrooms very close by is nice too. Enjoy the ride!!!

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I have been in the family room a few times. Even though it is next to the trucks, I have heard no excessive noise.

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I have been in the family room a few times. Even though it is next to the trucks, I have heard no excessive noise.

For me there was maybe a tiny more truck noise than the upper-level, but not nearly enough for it to be annoying or the dominant sound. The lack of foot traffic more than compensates for any extra bit of truck noise.

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The vestibule doors open between the cars making a lot of wind noise on upper level.

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The vestibule doors open between the cars making a lot of wind noise on upper level.

I thought the vestibule is the entrance and exit compartment of a train car (which in the case of a Superliner, is downstairs)?

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The vestibule doors open between the cars making a lot of wind noise on upper level.

I thought the vestibule is the entrance and exit compartment of a train car (which in the case of a Superliner, is downstairs)?

 

He may have used the wrong terminology, but I'm sure you know what he means. The doors to go from one car to the next.

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The vestibule doors open between the cars making a lot of wind noise on upper level.

I thought the vestibule is the entrance and exit compartment of a train car (which in the case of a Superliner, is downstairs)?

 

He may have used the wrong terminology, but I'm sure you know what he means. The doors to go from one car to the next.

I was actually more verifying that I had the terminology right, not criticizing him. :)

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I have been in the family room a few times. Even though it is next to the trucks, I have heard no excessive noise.

For me there was maybe a tiny more truck noise than the upper-level, but not nearly enough for it to be annoying or the dominant sound. The lack of foot traffic more than compensates for any extra bit of truck noise.

 

 

Based on about 40 years of riding in Superliner sleepers, I've concluded that they have done quite a bit towards quieting them down & removing rattles since they were first built.

 

Back in the late '70s and early '80s, I'd be on Amtrak 2-3 times per month on business trips, and another 1-2 times per month for pleasure. Back then, if I didn't travel with a handful of rubber door stops to stop the rattles in the Superliners, I'd have a difficult night sleeping. (I hadn't yet discovered cheap carpenters' wood shim stock for the task). But perhaps my 'noisiest night' in a Superliner was riding in the handicap bedroom that I purchased about 2-3 days before travel, so they offered it...this was back when it was necessary to call for reservations or take a trip to the station to book a trip. I'm guessing there was/is only a single piece of maybe 1/4" thick steel (maybe 3/8") between the rear wall of the handicap room and the trucks. I think the wheels themselves are 2" or so away from that sheet steel. All night long, it was the eerie 'hollow sounds' of steel wheels rolling on steel rails. Back in the days of 10/6 sleepers, I've had a number of nights in roomette 9 or 10 (later 'expanded' to a handicap roomette) above a wheel with a flat spot. The flat spots 'machine gun fire' were definitely louder and more annoying, but the steel-on-steel rolling sounds made it impossible for me to sleep.

 

Maybe 20 years or so ago, I 'took a peek' inside an empty handicap room while we were at speed and was amazed at how quiet it was. A subsequent 'peek' into an empty family room verified that the 'rolling sounds' were gone. I confirmed that about 18 months ago when, due to a last minute change of reservations, I ended up in the family room for a night on the TE/SL through sleeper. (I had to piece together 'shorts' for one night each to get back to Chicago that trip). Once I taped over the single air outlet vent in the room, I had peace and quiet for the entire time I was in the room. Perhaps they've installed some kind of sound proofing on the outside of that wall. I'll have to remember to take a close look next time I'm in a Superliner sleeper. I'll speculate that a spray-on rubber akin to what aftermarket autobody anti-rust places spray under your car is what they would have used for soundproofing.

 

That said, when the Viewliners first came online in the early '90s, they beat them all when it came to rattles and vibrations!! It took a good 10-15 years to get them quieted down...but I still had to use some shims about a month ago to stop the closed door from rattling on the Silver Meteor and again on the Lakeshore Ltd. On those trips, I noticed that the doors that didn't rattle had a small roller mechanism bolted to the floor at the point it slid into the wall that prevented the bottom from swaying back and forth. Perhaps that's an ongoing revision as they come in for updates and maintenance. It was also interesting to note that when delivered, somebody 'forgot the lessons of the past' and 'invented' a new door latch mechanism for the Viewliners. BIG MISTAKE! People were getting locked out of their own room when going to meals or the shower! It took them maybe 2-3 years to retrofit them to the tried-and-true-for-the-past-70-years-or-more 'standard' Pullman door latch mechanism. It'll be interesting to see what 'nifty, new style' door latches the Viewliner IIs come through with!

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It was also interesting to note that when delivered, somebody 'forgot the lessons of the past' and 'invented' a new door latch mechanism for the Viewliners. BIG MISTAKE! People were getting locked out of their own room when going to meals or the shower! It took them maybe 2-3 years to retrofit them to the tried-and-true-for-the-past-70-years-or-more 'standard' Pullman door latch mechanism. It'll be interesting to see what 'nifty, new style' door latches the Viewliner IIs come through with!

So how did the original Viewliner door latch work?

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I think a previous poster hit the nail right on the head. If it is a noisy family then it is going to be noisy. On a previous trip on the EB, I was in room #13 right next to the family room. The kids where really excited. It did not bother me one bit, I actually got kind of a kick out of them giggling and their comments to one another. I guess I was sort of living vicariously through them as I was also an excited 59 year old kid on my first long distance train ride. ;)

 

The audible excitement lasted only briefly. The moment mom and dad got the luggage stowed away, mom came into the room and explained to the kids they have to be quiet as their were other people on the train. The kids quieted down almost immediately and that was the last I heard from them on the trip. I was very impressed with the concern for thoer fellow passengers had and was even more impressed with the young ladies and gentlemen the parents had raised.

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