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Roomette info (when boarding at 2am)?

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We will be taking the Empire Builder in November and boarding in Sandpoint, Idaho. We have reserved a roomette. Since we get on at 2:00 am, can we expect our roomette to already be made up for sleeping?

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We will be taking the Empire Builder in November and boarding in Sandpoint, Idaho. We have reserved a roomette. Since we get on at 2:00 am, can we expect our roomette to already be made up for sleeping?

Yep! And the Conductor will board you since your attendant,who stays in Roomette #1, will be asleep @ that time!

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We will be taking the Empire Builder in November and boarding in Sandpoint, Idaho. We have reserved a roomette. Since we get on at 2:00 am, can we expect our roomette to already be made up for sleeping?

Yep! And the Conductor will board you since your attendant,who stays in Roomette #1, will be asleep @ that time!

 

 

I would expect that the attendant would be up to assist boarding passengers at each stop he/she has a passenger. Logically, the conductor and assistant would be up front boarding/deboarding coach passengers, leaving the attendant to take care of their own passengers. Sometimes, attendants in adjacent cars will cover each others' car while they get some rest.

 

And yes, your roomette should have both beds made up if it shows 2 passengers on his list. That's the good news. The bad news is that having the beds made up make it difficult to put whatever fits underneath the seats as well as to get undressed and get into bed. Perhaps that would be best done in a restroom. I think it was #2 leaving LAX where the bed was already made down when I boarded. The first thing I did was roll it up onto one of the seats then put the other seat upright (lift the back of the seat from the flat position to the first 'stop', after that, press the pedal to get past the stop, then use the 'seat adjust' bar under the front of the seat to move seat further upright). That way, I could sit up as long as I wanted, then made down the bed in the reverse sequence.

Edited by bratkinson

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Be sure and check in the evening, to see what time your train is expected in to Sandpoint. By that time, it should be well underway, and any early delays would show up. Go to amtrak.com and click "train status" or call 800-USA-RAIL and ask for "status." You may also be set up to receive notifications on your cell phone about a late train. I stood on a platform in the Columbia Gorge last winter and got the first of a series of texts letting me know my train would be late, with specifics about expected arrival. I can't remember if I opted in, or if all they needed was my cell phone number. It was certainly more comfortable waiting in the car than on the platform!

 

Here are a couple of excellent maps to keep you amused and track your train while waiting:

https://asm.transitdocs.com/map

http://dixielandsoftware.net/cgi-bin/getmap.pl?mapname=West

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Don't freak out when you see how small the roomette is. Not much room to move around with the lower bed made up.

Agreed. A roomette can seem a bit small and even "intimidating" at first, but it's pretty amazing what you can do in such a small space.

Edited by cpotisch

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Don't freak out when you see how small the roomette is. Not much room to move around with the lower bed made up.

Agreed. A roomette can seem a bit small and even "intimidating" at first, but it's pretty amazing what you can do in such a small space.

 

 

Trying to find space for whatever luggage you want in your room can be tricky. Many times, I see 'first timers' in the roomette across the hall and they are always surprised at how small it is...especially if they are quite large and/or their suitcase(s) are. I've been amused a number of times when 'first timers' try to lug a giant sized suitcase up the steps to their upper floor accommodation. Unless they're in a bedroom, they'll have no choice but to bring it back down again and put it in the luggage rack.

 

I usually travel using an airline-carryon-size rolling suitcase that is designed to fit the overhead bin in a plane. Once I've unloaded the hanging clothes and other items I'll need before I get off the train, it's flat-enough to fit underneath one of the seats. My second carry on is basically a cheap gym bag with 5 pockets around the outside. That conveniently goes on the steps leading to the upper bunk in a Superliner, or the 'shelf' directly below the hanging clothes in a Viewliner.

 

One trip, I used a good-sized garment bag in place of the carry on size bag and a larger, 2-wheel 'rolling briefcase' (maybe 18"x12"x8") that's large enough for my 17" laptop computer. I figured that once I pulled out most of the stuff in the garment bag, I'd just toss it into the upper bunk. That part worked well. The downside was walking more than 3-4 car lengths with the garment bag over my shoulder. I'm a long ways past being young, agile, and reasonably strong. So, when I tired, I put the garment bag on top of the briefcase part and held on to the hanger part along with the briefcase handle. That worked great until I rolled over abandoned street trackage adjacent to the Portland OR station...off came a wheel! Most likely due to the briefcase being loaded to the hilt and the garment bag another 12-15 pounds on top of that. Of course, riding in a Superliner, larger luggage can be left in the luggage rack with reasonable safety (I'd put a lock on it, though). But there's no such rack in a Viewliner. So, I only travel with what will fit in either roomette.

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The small cubby hole space for luggage located above the door to the Roomette is OK if one has something that will fit into that space and whose arms are long enough to get the luggage into/out of the space.

 

I find the Viewliner's Roomette luggage storage space to be less than a Superliner's Roomette's storage space.

 

To be honest, I have not tried to see if my carry-on bags will fit under the seats. Really never thought of trying that, so I do appreciate the thoughts of trying this.

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The small cubby hole space for luggage located above the door to the Roomette is OK if one has something that will fit into that space and whose arms are long enough to get the luggage into/out of the space.

 

I find the Viewliner's Roomette luggage storage space to be less than a Superliner's Roomette's storage space.

 

To be honest, I have not tried to see if my carry-on bags will fit under the seats. Really never thought of trying that, so I do appreciate the thoughts of trying this.

 

I'm a bit puzzled by your statement that the Superliner roomette has more storage space. The rooms seem to be identically sized, but the Viewliner has the cubby over the hallway above the sink/toilet vs the Superliner has a baggage storage area on the lower level and doesn't have a cubby. Although the closet in Superliner Is seems spacious, I think the 'open section' that replaces the closet in the Superliner IIs and Viewliners makes the room feel bigger and leaves space above the floor (Superliner) and shelf above the trash (Viewliner) to store something.

 

FWIW, I stopped using the cubby when I left one of my roll-up, compressible pillows in there.

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Don't freak out when you see how small the roomette is. Not much room to move around with the lower bed made up.

Agreed. A roomette can seem a bit small and even "intimidating" at first, but it's pretty amazing what you can do in such a small space.

 

I used to get "Roomettes" in the ol' daze (since retiring the 2 of us get 2 connecting rooms = plenty of space), and I swear the "floor space" was literally about 6" x 18" when made up!

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When I travel by myself in a superliner roomette. I just use the top bunk as my personal luggage rack. And usually my suitcase is small enough I can put the bunk back up and stow it.

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Don't freak out when you see how small the roomette is. Not much room to move around with the lower bed made up.

Agreed. A roomette can seem a bit small and even "intimidating" at first, but it's pretty amazing what you can do in such a small space.

 

I used to get "Roomettes" in the ol' daze (since retiring the 2 of us get 2 connecting rooms = plenty of space), and I swear the "floor space" was literally about 6" x 18" when made up!

It's actually more like 40" x 24".

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It's actually more like 40" x 24".

 

? When the 2 seats are pulled down to make the bed? I remember hardly being able to stand up in the space. Will go downstairs and take some pics next trip.

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It's actually more like 40" x 24".

? When the 2 seats are pulled down to make the bed? I remember hardly being able to stand up in the space. Will go downstairs and take some pics next trip.

Oh yeah, when the bed is down, it's probably about what you said. When you said "when the room is made up", I thought you were referring to the room being in "day mode", not the other way around.

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When the lower seats are flattened and made up as a bed, in both Superliner roomettes and Viewliner roomettes, the total amount of open floor space is the distance between the closet (Superliner I); open area below U shaped hook that takes the place of the closet (Supereliner II); or the trash recepticle/toilet paper holder (Viewliner) and the bottom of the first step (Superliners) or toilet (Viewliners). It's only a tad wider than the door, so I'll call it 30 inches. However, the distance between the bed and door (when closed) is about 8". Unless you're quite skinny, standing up in quarters that cramped is difficult, at best. And getting dressed/undressed? Almost impossible, even more so if the step/toilet has a suitcase on it and/or the side shelf (Viewliner) has a suitcase on it as a suitcase there will restrict ones 'air space' (flailing arm space, actually) when standing up and changing clothes.

 

I've done it a couple of times, gotten dressed or undressed while laying in bed on a roomette. It's difficult, tricky, and probably easy for the 'youngsters' but for us overweight senile citizens, it's about the limit of what we can do and we end up out of breath for doing it.

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I've found that if you have to change while the lower bunk is down, the best way is to retract the upper bunk and stand on the toilet. Works surprisingly well.

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We will be taking the Empire Builder in November and boarding in Sandpoint, Idaho. We have reserved a roomette. Since we get on at 2:00 am, can we expect our roomette to already be made up for sleeping?

Yep! And the Conductor will board you since your attendant,who stays in Roomette #1, will be asleep @ that time!

 

 

I would expect that the attendant would be up to assist boarding passengers at each stop he/she has a passenger. Logically, the conductor and assistant would be up front boarding/deboarding coach passengers, leaving the attendant to take care of their own passengers. Sometimes, attendants in adjacent cars will cover each others' car while they get some rest.

 

 

 

 

Sandpoint has surprisingly high ridership for a station that boards in the middle of the night in both directions, but I"m guessing that in November (assuming a non-holiday week), there would only be a handful of people getting on an eastbound train there. If there's just one sleeper passenger boarding (or, one party), there really isn't a huge need for an attendant to be there. Let 'em get some sleep....plenty of time to introduce themselves in the morning.

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I've found that if you have to change while the lower bunk is down, the best way is to retract the upper bunk and stand on the toilet. Works surprisingly well.

Not in a Superliner...

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I've found that if you have to change while the lower bunk is down, the best way is to retract the upper bunk and stand on the toilet. Works surprisingly well.

 

Not in a Superliner...
Yeah, no kidding. The fact that I said “stand on the toilet” should make that pretty clear.

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Consider yourselves lucky. Back in the days of open sections, standard practice was to change from day attire to night clothes and back while lying in your fully made-up berth. And some folks shared their berth (with a traveling companion) to save a few bucks....

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Consider yourselves lucky. Back in the days of open sections, standard practice was to change from day attire to night clothes and back while lying in your fully made-up berth. And some folks shared their berth (with a traveling companion) to save a few bucks....

You could have done that, but it wasn't really necessary...back in those day's, section sleeper's, and even long distance coaches, had a large men's and a women's 'dressing room' lounge around the restroom's where you could change.

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Consider yourselves lucky. Back in the days of open sections, standard practice was to change from day attire to night clothes and back while lying in your fully made-up berth. And some folks shared their berth (with a traveling companion) to save a few bucks....

Two people would actually share a single berth? I get that open section berths were slightly wider than that of a roomette, but that still sounds absolutely miserable. Also, even if people did change clothes in their berths back then, there's no reason why both people would have to change at the same time. I'm just wondering why two people sharing a berth would make any difference when changing...

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Consider yourselves lucky. Back in the days of open sections, standard practice was to change from day attire to night clothes and back while lying in your fully made-up berth. And some folks shared their berth (with a traveling companion) to save a few bucks....

Two people would actually share a single berth? I get that open section berths were slightly wider than that of a roomette, but that still sounds absolutely miserable. Also, even if people did change clothes in their berths back then, there's no reason why both people would have to change at the same time. I'm just wondering why two people sharing a berth would make any difference when changing...

 

That was SOP on troop trains during World War II. Hopefully, the two in the bottom berth were both skinny and didn't snore.

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On the Canadian I had no trouble changing in the section.

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