Upper vs lower level on Amtrak

Amtrak two-level Superliner train

If you’re planning a trip on one of Amtrak’s Superliner trains, there are seats and sleeping accommodations on two levels. Based on availability and the type of ticket you purchase, you may have the option to choose the upper or lower level. Both have pros and cons. Here’s what you need to know in order to make the best decision.

Amtrak Upper Level

Pros

  • Better views
  • Less noise from the tracks
  • Easy access to sleeper car coffee station
  • Potentially quicker service from sleeper car attendant
  • No stair climbing needed to reach dining and observation cars
  • Better temperature control

Cons

  • Coach and public restrooms are downstairs
  • Upper level can sway more and make motion sickness worse
  • Roomette passengers may need to go downstairs for restrooms (only one on upper level)
  • The only way to move through Superliner trains is via the upper level, so you might hear the noise of doors opening and closing or people walking by.

Upper Level Seating Choices

  • Coach: Almost all coach seats are on the upper level of the train
  • Bedrooms: Bedrooms with showers, sinks and toilets are all on the upper level
  • Roomettes: 10 roomettes are on the upper level (rooms 5 and 6 at the center of the rail car are recommended if you are sensitive to motion sickness)

Tip: If you plan to book a roomette and would like to sit on the upper level or have a specific roomette number you’d like to reserve, call 1-800-USA-RAIL to make your request.

Amtrak Lower Level

Pros

  • Less sway
  • Can be quieter than upper level
  • Less foot traffic (passengers don’t walk through the lower level)
  • Easy access to restrooms and sleeper car showers
  • Next to sleeper car luggage storage (easy to retrieve items)
  • Easier to get off the train at “smoke” stops and your final stop

Cons

  • Views not as good
  • Might be harder to flag down the sleeper car attendant
  • There might be more noise from the tracks and children in the family bedroom
  • You have to climb stairs in order to reach the observation and dining cars
  • Exterior doors may open and close at stops, making the rail car temperature fluctuate

Lower Level Seating Choices

  • Coach: 12 seats, usually for passengers who have trouble climbing stairs
  • Roomettes: Four roomettes are on the lower level
  • Accessible Bedroom: Handicap-accessible bedroom with private bathroom
  • Family Bedroom: Four beds (two short) and windows on both sides of the train

If you have an accessibility request (such as lower level coach seats) or would like to reserve a roomette on the lower level, call 1-800-USA-RAIL to make your request.

More Information

Top photo by 7-how-7/Flickr.com