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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It was on my bucket list, and the opportunity has arrived. Going to take a sleeper. Doesn't seem useful to get a roomette for the last leg from Washington to Raleigh, a nine hour trip, but looks like its that or nothing.

Last time I rode Amtrak was in 1984, and took a relaxing voyage from Springfield, Massachusetts to San Francisco on a $300 Rail Pass. Any advice or suggestions? How does one wash up in a roomette? Sink only? Is the food really lousy? Should I pack in several days of provender? Can I move around the train? Should I plan on heavy delays?
 

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It was on my bucket list, and the opportunity has arrived. Going to take a sleeper. Doesn't seem useful to get a roomette for the last leg from Washington to Raleigh, a nine hour trip, but looks like its that or nothing.

Last time I rode Amtrak was in 1984, and took a relaxing voyage from Springfield, Massachusetts to San Francisco on a $300 Rail Pass. Any advice or suggestions? How does one wash up in a roomette? Sink only? Is the food really lousy? Should I pack in several days of provender? Can I move around the train? Should I plan on heavy delays?
Chops;

I've ridden Amtrak from San Diego to LA many times, and then on to Seattle* a couple of times, but never the route you're planning.
So, Amtrak travel in general. You will need plenty of two things.

First, love of trains & train travel. ( I assume this is a given for any forum member! 馃槉 )

Second, patience. Amtrak is slow. They do have delays, many caused by the fact that freight railroads own the track that Amtrak trains run on. In the past, passenger trains were given priority over freight . Today in the US, its just the opposite. Your train is likely to sit on a siding waiting for a freight train to arrive & pass before you can travel on.
There can also be delays for other/no reasons and "coach" (Amtrak bus :confused:) substitutions, if the track is being repaired. One jolly little Amtrak experience when one travels from San Diego to Seattle, is that there is no direct rail route from LA, where the Amtrak San Diegan stops, and Bakersfield, where you catch another train. The LA to Bakersfield part is on an Amtrak bus. These are set up internally like a school bus. Instead of seat belts, the non-adjustable seats are scrunched together so closely that you are wedged in against the seat in front of you.

* The driver of my "coach" was, bar none, the absolute most rude person I have ever encountered. I suspect he may be an ex-school bus driver, fired for cruelty to children. :mad:

The "food" (on short haul trains like the "San Diegan" to LA) consists of simple items like hot dogs, hamburgers & sandwiches. Its similar to what you could buy from a lunch truck, but priced higher. This food is available in the "caf茅 car" equipped with a counter and attendant (if you're lucky) and a refrigerator & microwave (similar to an employee's lunchroom.) In some cases you may only find vending machines. Seats & tables are of the plastic MacDonald's variety, & limited in number, but you can take your food back to your seat & airline-type "tray table." So yes, you can move about the train freely.

On Long Haul trains you may have an actual dinning car with seats, tables & waiters. The menu is quite limited and the food is fair but pretty plain. (think Denny's, but with a much more limited menu.) So bringing your own food is a good idea.

I can't answer about roomettes. I believe only the (mega expensive) bedrooms have their own toilet & tiny stall shower. There are some YouTube videos about Amtrak journeys, I suggest you watch a few. Some cover the various accommodations. The trains I've ridden have a common bathroom in each car. The San Diegan uses bi-level cars and the bathroom is downstairs. So are some seats reserved for senior citizens & handicaped people. If you can get upstairs do so! The ride is much quieter and smoother up there and you avoid the rank smell of the bathroom. o_O

Happy travels;

Traction Fan
 

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Road the Amtrak Missouri river something route from Kansas City to Hermann (goes on to St Louis) and back a couple days later. No dining car, but did have a snack/ sandwich car. Bought a candy bar. As far as I know no private cabins or sleeping, just seats. Comfortable and fun. My only complaint, they won't let you roll the window down and hang your head out like a dog riding shotgun. :) :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Interesting information, and useful.

Already I see I misread my reservation. They have me booked in coach from El Paso to Dallas to Chicago by coach. That is two days of sitting. Then from Chicago to Washington with a Bedroom, ok, then the nine hours from Washington, DC to Raleigh by Roomette.

I am thinking I was given leftovers that would not sell.

This is not going to work. I purchased trip insurance, now I have to find a way to get out of this.
 

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I want to highlight what Traction Fan said about youtuber reviews.
I watched a few out of curiosity. I wouldn't do Coach if Amtrak paid me to.
I forget which room type is which. Suites & Roomettes. One is smaller, even cramped looking. I think the seat(s) fold into a bed or something? It didn鈥檛 look comfy.
The bigger ones, with like bunks bed kinda things (that still fold down) start out more like bench sofas than akin to an airplane seat reclined to a bed.
Then looking at the cost, for the accommodations鈥.

Some day I鈥檒l do it, but probably just a 1 or 2 night thing. I鈥檇 rather pay for comfort than for discomfort. If it was a period train, like an opportunity to ride the Orient Express as depicted in the big production Murder on the鈥 That I would stand in line like a iPhone junkie for. I was seriously disappointed by the realities youtubers have shown things to be. Just my two cents, I can make change if I over charged.
 
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