Long-distance sleeper trip questions

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by ceo418, Jul 13, 2019.

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  1. Jul 13, 2019 #1

    ceo418

    c

    ceo418

    Train Attendant

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    I finally convinced my husband to come with me on a one-way trip from TRE-TAC next May (we're flying back). My first trip entirely across country (have taken other long-distance trips) in sleeper, his first long-distance train trip ever. We'll be taking a Northeast Regional to WAS, the Capitol Limited to CHI, and the Empire Builder to SEA. I've ridden several Amtrak trains in coach so I know the basics, but with two of us traveling I have a couple of questions:

    1. He uses a CPAP machine. It's carried in a small case and can fit on a nightstand. Would a roomette be able to accommodate this, or should we try for a bedroom?

    2. I haven't yet decided whether or not to take a Cascades train to Tacoma where my family will pick me up and we can rent a car there, or take the light rail to SeaTac and rent a car from there (where it will be more expensive). Does the King Street station have any sort of baggage storage for waiting time between the arrival of the Empire Builder and an afternoon Cascades train?

    3. I know I can't reserve specific rooms online. If a bedroom is better than a roomette, is Bedroom A a good option for two people? Does the lower bed fit two, or should I plan to sleep in the upper bunk if he needs the space for his CPAP machine? (Same question for any bedroom really, but I think he'd feel more comfortable if we can get a room without a sliding door between it and another room).

    Thank you for any answers you can provide. I've ridden long-distance coach before but never been in the sleepers and I know to keep my expectations low and enjoy any good service that comes my way.
     
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  2. Jul 13, 2019 #2

    Maglev

    Maglev

    Maglev

    OBS Chief

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    I have heard of bringing a CPAP machine on a train, but will let others who have actual experience comment.

    Sound Transit also runs commuter trains from King Street Station to Tacoma. Baggage storage at King Street Station is $10 per bag.

    I recently took a six-night trip all in room A traveling alone. I liked it, but think that for two people I would prefer the extra space of one of the other Bedrooms. The large mirror on the sliding door also gives a sense of spaciousness. I carry shims to keep the door from rattling. I don't think the lower berth in a Bedroom is wide enough for two, but some people share it.
     
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  3. Jul 13, 2019 #3

    drdumont

    drdumont

    drdumont

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    Just remember to bring an extension cord. There is only one outlet with one hole, and they are not located in the most convenient place. A threefer and a 10' Ace Hardware 12 Ga. cord will do.
    And rubber doorstops or wood wedges from Ace for the annoying door rattling.
    Then sit back, relax, and enjoy!
     
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  4. Jul 13, 2019 #4

    me_little_me

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    me_little_me

    Conductor

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    Not only an extension cord but one with multiple outlets in it.

    I have been using CPAPs for 15 years and have taken many trips in roomettes with them. Generally, I put the CPAP on the bed itself in the inner corner by my head with the intake such that I can partially cover it with my pillow to get more room. Sometimes I put it on the small stand by the bed or even on a suitcase placed vertically on the floor by the door.

    When two roomettes are cheaper than a BR (which is most of the time), we get them across from each other so neither of us (getting old) has to climb up to the upper bunk. This allows us to clear the area by pulling down the upper bunk, then placing suitcases, loose clothing, PCs, her purse, CPAP bag and other stuff on it, then pushing it up freeing space for the machine.
     
  5. Jul 13, 2019 #5

    zephyr17

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    zephyr17

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    I use a CPAP. I always put it on the shelf/ step. This is on the opposite corner of the room from the outlet, unfortunately. So I run an extension cord from the outlet, around the perimeter of the room to the shelf. I run it below the window, gaffer taped, so it isn't laying there loose to get tangled in, and stuffed into the crease in the headrest of the seat beside the step.
     
  6. Jul 14, 2019 at 12:48 AM #6

    spinnaker

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    spinnaker

    Lead Service Attendant

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    Ran into a passenger with a CPAP on the EB. If your train is expected to have an power interruptions you had better plan for it. He was saying how he experienced issues with the stop in Spokane and the link up of the two trains. Power was interrupted and it created a bit of a problem for him.

    I slept right through the hookup in Spokane. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019 at 1:09 AM
  7. Jul 14, 2019 at 12:54 AM #7

    spinnaker

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    spinnaker

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    If you are an older couple then I highly recommend a larger room. I meet a younger couple in a roomette and they mentioned how much of a challenge it was even for them. Never stayed in a bedroom so maybe others that have can weigh in to see if this is a better option for you.

    King Street Station has 24 hours storage for $10. It is charged to even first class passengers which is a bit upsetting and yet another inconsistency in the Amtrak system.
     
  8. Jul 14, 2019 at 1:15 AM #8

    Amtrakfflyer

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    Amtrakfflyer

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    The CPAP qualifies you for the “H” room, aka “accessible or handicapped”. It’s one of the biggest and is the cheapest room on the train. So that’s an idea too. You can price it out online by clicking you need a wheelchair then calling to book it. Or book it and then call and tell them it’s a cpap not accessibility issue. I’d do that over a roomette in a heartbeat. If you have the money a bedroom is an idea too it’s a lot more however and the rooms almost the same size.

    Did 4 trips ( 8 nights) in the H room that way, had a bad sinus surgery that had me using a cpap for 18 months. No issues at all onboard.
     
  9. Jul 14, 2019 at 2:39 AM #9

    Sauve850

    Sauve850

    Sauve850

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    I think two adults in any bedroom is fine. A included. Sleeping in the lower bunk together wont work all that well in bedroom letter A-E. IMO. There are two outlets in a bedroom.
     
  10. Jul 14, 2019 at 11:39 AM #10

    me_little_me

    m

    me_little_me

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    Do you have any evidence that use of a CPAP qualifies? "Passengers booking an accessible bedroom accommodation will be required to certify that they require one or more of the accessible features of the accessible room accommodation in order to book and receive the discount."
     
  11. Jul 14, 2019 at 1:11 PM #11

    Amtrakfflyer

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    Amtrakfflyer

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    It’s approved by Amtrak, there is no self certify paperwork anymore. As I’ve said I did it 4 trips with no issues. I emailed Amtrak originally asking the question they said it was an approved reason. Also I as I noted earlier you can’t make the reservation online completely you have to call. No one was ever anything but helpful, no questions at all.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019 at 1:19 PM
  12. Jul 14, 2019 at 9:14 PM #12

    zephyr17

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    zephyr17

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    I have a CPAP and ride the Builder regularly. Westbound, I wake up when the CPAP stops when the power is shut down for switching at Spokane, stay awake until the power comes back on, then settle back down and go back to sleep. Eastbound I usually just stay awake until Spokane.

    As to the handicapped room, personally I would never dream of using sleep apnea as an excuse to get it even if it were allowed, since apnea,while a disability, is not a mobility impairment, at least for me. The power supply, which is the critical factor for CPAP therapy, is no more reliable in the handicapped room than in the rest of the car. Since there is only one H room per car, I'd leave it alone for someone with an actual mobility impairment book it. I'm perfectly fine in a roomette.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019 at 9:34 PM
  13. Jul 18, 2019 at 3:46 PM #13

    cruisegary

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    cruisegary

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    Took CPAP on Empire last year. Left unit on the bed... I think midway down. Did not want to trust it on that little step, especially since I sometimes need a night time potty break. Had no issue reaching the outlet since the cord it self is at least 6 foot long.

    As to the HC room... I would be concerned I was taking it away from someone that needs it. If there was a way to KNOW it would be empty, I would jump on it. then again, it is on the lower level.
     

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