Amtrak Roomette Tour / Back in California
We just got off the train a few hours ago and are now back in Southern California. We’ve taken Amtrak from Oregon to California more than a few times and have always enjoyed it, especially in the sleeper car. We’ve ridden our fair share of coach trips and have since been spoiled by taking the sleeper. If at all possible, we will opt for the extra room, the ability to lay down and the included meals. But what’s it like? Doing a search on Youtube didn’t bring up many good examples of the experience, so we thought we’d give you all a sneak peak into the sleeper cars. (Youtube version)
Amtrak remains one of our favorite ways to travel with a bicycle. Compared to flying or Greyhound, Amtrak has a fairly enlightened policy when it comes to bikes and we’ve always had great customer service with them. On our last adventure, we had hoped to highlight the possibilities of multi-modal travel. We would have preferred to integrate the train more than we did, but things didn’t work out as planned. However, It is still our belief that combining rail and bicycles has great possibilities in our country’s transportation future.
(Keep our adventures going and the site growing! If you’ve enjoyed our stories, videos and photos over the years, consider buying our ebook Panniers and Peanut Butter, or our new 2012 calendar or some of the fun zombie apocalypse shirts we’re designing.)
buddy lee November 22, 2011 at 10:07 am
I have been wanting to do this trip for awhile. Can you tell me about amtraks policy for non-folding bikes? Great video thank you so much.
Russ November 22, 2011 at 10:11 am
If you are taking an interstate train, you’ll have to box your bike. You’ll only be able to do this with a station that is a checked baggage stop. Be sure to call ahead to ensure they have bike boxes. Check out our other post below for more tips:
Ed M. November 22, 2011 at 10:20 am
Thanks for this video. I have wondered about the sleeper cars on Amtrak and your video was much more informative than anything I could find on the Amtrak website. Have a great Thanksgiving week!
Amtrak California November 22, 2011 at 10:44 am
Welcome back to California.
That was definitely a quality tour. We really got a kick out of watching it. Thanks for sharing more about the train. As always, love having your support!
bran November 22, 2011 at 10:47 am
Nice video, liked the movie room on the train. I Did not notice if the train between Seattle and Chicago had one. Also you did not show the door/curtain to the roomette. Which is it?
David November 22, 2011 at 6:17 pm
Excellent video! I took this trip from Los Angeles up to Portland a few months ago, and you documented it very accurately.
That arcade car was supremely lame.
@Bran – Roomettes have a sliding glass door that locks, and then a curtain can be pulled over the glass. To get a sense of the size of the room, the camera operator was standing in the hallway outside the glass door when he took the video of her in her seat/bed.
Scott November 22, 2011 at 10:11 pm
I’ve taken my Brompton on Amtrak from Seattle to the Bay Area and back, as well as on many shorter jaunts–Seattle to Vancouver BC, Seattle to Portland, Oakland to Salinas–and the experience is inevitably terrific. The bike fits into the luggage rack at the end of the passenger car, so you don’t have to check it, and the Amtrak conductors are always cheerful about having a folding bike along for the ride.
As you well know, a Brompton is convenient when you get to your destination, too. Hotels don’t give you any grief about taking it up to your room, you can take it onto buses and light rail if need be, and it’ll comfortably go anywhere a road bike will. From Salinas, I rode highway 183 to Castroville (on a wide, paved shoulder) then hopped onto the bike trail that goes all the way to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. On the way back to Salinas, I was short on time and took the bike on Monterey-Salinas Transit. The bus driver gave it nary a second glance.
gl. November 23, 2011 at 3:00 pm
i LOVE train sleeper cars! i would love to see amtrak take full-size bikes w/o a box and w/o requiring them to come off only at baggage stops.
matt picio November 30, 2011 at 12:11 pm
I wish I’d been able to afford the sleeper this time around. I returned to Portland from Cleveland via the Lakeshore Limited and the Empire Builder. LL was only about 7 hours on the train, and the biggest downside was boarding at 3am. The Empire Builder is 2 days (about 46 hours to be precise), and in a coach seat, thats a little rough. I considered stepping off at one of the many “smoke stops” when one could leave the train, but I never did. 3 days total sleeping in a seat and no shower does wear a bit, but it also gave me a real sense of place on the return, and the enormous legroom and no neighboring passenger were both big helps. I actually would have had a much rougher time taking a 5 hour plane flight back to PDX than the train ride.
James Destiche November 30, 2011 at 8:17 pm
This beautiful little film helped me decide to take my bike on the train to Portland. Can’t wait.
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Loved this video! I’ve never really considered travel by train, but just might need to think about it more seriously. Thanks!
On a side note, as much as I think the video was great, the background music (jazz piano) was cool too. What is it?