Superliner trains: Layout, routes and other things to know

Capitol Limited Superliner exterior

Superliner trains are composed of “Superliner” rail cars — a specific model that has two levels. There are Superliner coach cars, sleeper cars, lounge cars and dining cars (to name a few) that can be combined in different ways depending on the needs of the Amtrak route. For example, sleeper and dining cars are added to overnight trains, but typically aren’t on trains that travel shorter distances.

In addition to the Superliner, Amtrak also uses Viewliner, Surfliner, Acela and Amfleet rail cars. Surfliners are based on the Superliners and also have two levels, but are designed for more frequent stops and are only used in California.


Eleven Amtrak routes use Superliner rail cars:

Note that the tunnels into Manhattan limit the height of the trains, so only single-level rail cars are used on routes that stop in New York City.

Coach Car Layout

All Superliner trains have coach cars with upper-level seating. There is a center aisle and two seats together on each side of the aisle. Luggage racks are above the seats for carry-on bags.

On the lower level are restrooms. A traditional coach car also has 12 accessible seats, or the lower level can be used for bag storage or a snack bar.

Lounge Car Layout

Sightseer lounge cars are available on most Superliner long-distance routes. This lounge is open to all train passengers, with tables, swivel seats and stationary cushioned seats that face the windows. A stairway leads down to a snack bar, additional tables and an accessible restroom.

Dining Car Layout

On overnight trains, dining cars are available to sleeper car passengers only (as of January 2021). They are located near the sleeper cars on the upper level of the train (a kitchen is below). Sleeper car passengers can eat in the dining room (tables accommodate up to four adults) or have food delivered to their room.

Sleeper Car Layout

All Superliner routes except for the Heartland Flyer and Pere Marquette have sleeper cars with roomettes and bedrooms. To increase privacy, the sleeper cars are usually at the front or back of the train and the coach cars are positioned at the other end. This ensures that there is no need for coach passengers to walk through the sleeper car (coach passengers are not allowed in this area of the train).

The upper level has one shared bathroom, 10 roomettes (#1-10) and five bedrooms (A-E) with private bathrooms that include showers. Here are the key things to know about the layout:

  • Roomette 1 is next to the bathroom.
  • Roomette 2 and Bedroom E are next to the stairs.
  • Bedroom A and Roomettes 9 and 10 are at the end of the sleeper car, so you might hear doors open and close between the rail cars if you are in one of these rooms.

The lower level of Superliner sleeper cars contain the following:

  • One family bedroom (2 adults and 2 children maximum)
  • One accessible bedroom with a private bathroom
  • Four roomettes (#11-14)
  • Carry-on bag storage
  • A shared shower with dressing area
  • Multiple shared restrooms

Tip: If you book your sleeper car tickets over the phone (1-800-872-7245), you can request a specific bedroom or roomette.

More Information

Top photo by Mark Levisay