I’m low-key obsessed with trains, whether it’s taking the MARC commuter train down to DC or hopping on a long-distance Amtrak. It’s forever been my favorite form of travel, and a few years ago I got to book an Amtrak Roomette on their sleeper car.
It was part of a solo trip where I visited one friend who was lovely, and a (now former friend) who was less so, but that story is for another post. I want to focus on the journey back home that I took. The first leg of the journey was in a regular seat, and the second was in the sleeper car.
This is the Amtrak train station waiting room at Osceola, IA (OSC). It was built in 1907 and was a delightful historic experience. Amenity wise, there’s not much going on here. No Wi-Fi, no bathrooms, no Quik-trak kiosks. But it was warm and quiet, which is exactly what I needed.
I spent some time looking around, as I was dropped off awhile before my train was due to arrive.
I am such a sucker for old detailed radiators.
A lot of the old historic details were left intact, which made me quite happy.
My itinerary for the trip before my train ride had involved airline, bus, and car travel, so I was somewhat overpacked compared to my usual travel loadout.
I had my Tortuga V2 travel backpack (love it so much!, a Travelon anti-theft convertible cross-body purse/backpack, and a Baggu bag I had picked up at a museum I visited.
The train arrived late but I didn’t really care. The extra peace and quiet were a blessing for me.
I’m fat, so one reason that train travel always wins out over air travel for me is that the seats are comfortable without me shelling out for business or first-class. I ache so bad after economy class flights that I try to avoid them whenever possible.
SO MUCH LEGROOM.
I had a nice little travel setup for my tablet with the Logitech K480. It’s Bluetooth and allowed me to easily switch between typing on my tablet and my phone. Wi-Fi and tethering connectivity were hit-and-miss on my train travel, but I heard that it’s gotten much better (this trip was in 2017).
Gratuitous recliner shot.
The views are another reason why I love riding on Amtrak trains. I get to see so much that normally gets flown over (I was doing OSC-CHI for this part of my journey).
The luggage racks are generously sized and I had no problem finding room if I needed it.
Looking like a Windows Desktop.
We traveled into a storm system and I was all about that. Having rain AND the background noise of a train is the best.
I don’t remember where this was, but there was a PULLMAN TRAIN AHHHH.
JUST LOOK AT IT. Anyway, the train was pretty behind schedule and I got super lost in Chicago’s Union Station so I didn’t get to take a lot of pictures in there. But here are a few from the lounge that I got access to from being a sleeper car passenger.
Outlets and USB ports were readily available.
The drink menu at the Metropolitan lounge in Chicago.
A nice lounge attendant came by with some chocolates! There were other snacks and drinks there, and the lounge was pretty big! Here are much better pictures of what it looks like and more information about the amenities there.
SLEEPER CAR TIME. Since this has long been a dream of mine, I put a lot of thought into how to get the most out of this experience. I’m kind of obsessive about travel preparation, as I also do this with hotel rooms and Airbnbs. This view is of the armchair when it’s set upright. There’s a hook on the right wall for luggage/jackets/etc (I used it for a toiletry bag).
This is what the tray table looks like when it’s pushed in. The water was waiting for me in the handy cup holder and I brought my other drink and cookie in. I wanted to try and get pictures of every nook and cranny of the Roomette. I have anxiety so I tend to overprepare just in case, and not knowing exactly what I’m dealing with in little details sometimes makes my travel less enjoyable. So I hope these pictures will be useful to others!
I kept snacks, notebooks, and other travel helpers close at hand with this toiletry bag.
This is the view of the other armchair in the Roomette. The little shelf on the left was a good size for my backpack (it’s 40L so it’s a big one).
Also the little panel next to the headrest are the controls for lighting, music, and a call button for the attendant. There’s also a small mirror on the wall behind the backpack.
Here’s the air vents, lights, curtain, and the pull-down mechanism for the top bunk.
There’s also a small closet that’s narrow, but deep enough for clothes, smaller luggage, shoes, etc.
There’s also a small trash receptacle in the Roommette.
Once again, the leg room is exceedingly generous and the seats are wide and comfy. I brought an appropriate book for the journey.
Closing the curtains at night for some privacy.
Time for food! 😀
I asked the attendant to bring all my meals to my Roomette, as I really just needed some time to myself and wasn’t feeling the dining room experience for this trip.
Getting comfy and waiting for my food. In this picture, you can better see the position of the trash can – it’s on the bottom right alongside the chair. If I remember correctly, the box of tissues were included in the Roomette.
Meals are included with your Roomette, and I thought they were pretty tasty overall! You can also grab snacks from the Cafe in-between your meals.
I bought one of the little travel kits available at the Cafe – it is a fleece bag that includes a small blanket, eye mask, and I think ear plugs were included too.
It also hung nicely from the coat hook.
After dinner, the attendant set up the chairs into a bed! While it’s small, it still felt like a good amount of room for me to get comfortable.
Setting up my pillow nest!
This is how much space there is from the edge of the bed to the door for reference.
I woke up to a delightful view of the Appalachias.
The groove behind the tray table was the perfect size to stow my laptop.
Breakfast in bed!
Getting ready for the day.
I was double-checking the MARC commuter train schedule, since this Amtrak line took me to Union Station DC rather than going through Baltimore.
I feel like I need to apologize for the blurry photos for a lot of these. My hands are shaky in the best of times and I was in quite the state during most of this trip.
I went down to the bathroom on the sleeper car, which was located on the first floor. The bathroom has push to flush buttons, along with an attendant call button.
You can easily tell whether someone is in one of the bathrooms. I forget exactly how many there were, but I never needed to wait in line.
Plenty of toilet paper!
You’re not dealing with a whole lot of space in here.
This is about the floor space you’re working with.
There’s thankfully a place to hang my purse, and a place for trash.
Extra supplies – the bathrooms were always properly stocked throughout my trip.
The windows are so nicely sized.
Look at that fog. 😀
More great views. 😀 I thought I had taken a picture of the shower, but apparently did not. It was very small, and certainly an experience to shower on a moving train.
To take a step back, here are some of the things I brought with me on this trip. The Altoids tins and contact lens holders actually have my makeup in them.
Everything fit nicely into my travel quart bag (since the initial leg of my trip was via air).
This was everything I included in my hanging toiletry bag.
I also keep a travel first aid pouch on me. Anyway, that’s about all I have to say about the sleeper car today. I really loved it and I look forward to being able to travel on it again (especially since they are upgrading them!!) after the pandemic.