Amtrak Superliner II Special Bedroom
Amtrak Superliner Passenger Train Accommodations, including photographs and
detailed descriptions of seats, rooms, train cars and services. This page
describes the Special Bedroom for travelers with wheelchairs and other
Let me start right at the top and state that Amtrak is probably the most
friendly mode of travel to mobility impaired people available. If you
have experience to the contrary, please do let me know the details. As
far as I know, it is the only mode of long distance travel that allows
a person to travel from one end of their trip to the other without being
required to leave their wheelchair ... other than the use of their own
private van. I don't think there is yet a way to travel long distance
by either plane or bus (other than specially equiped local commuter
buses) that way.
Here is the real story on the Special Bedroom! I had a bit of a
misimpression of the Special Bedroom until I took a trip with my parents and
reserved this room for them. From diagrams and descriptions I had assumed
that the Special Bedroom was the largest room on the train. This might
still be true in terms of cubic footage or even square footage of floor
space, but "usable" space is actually quite a bit smaller.
What you really have is a room that is identical in size and layout to
the Economy Bedroom, with the addition of a private toilet, sink, and
room for a wheelchair. My first impression was that of a very large
"EMPTY" room with 2 chairs crammed tightly together into one corner of
the room. This is actually an illusion. There is just as much space
between the two chairs as in the Economy Bedroom. If you are traveling
in a wheelchair, this room is probably ideal. There is plenty of room
for the wheelchair and there is a locking mechanism to lock the wheelchair
in place while the train is moving. Everything has been aranged, including
the toilet, sink, and even the air conditioning/heating vent, so that a
person traveling in a wheelchair would probably be able to do
everything for themself. But should you need any help, do keep in mind
that there is an attendant assigned to each car and there is a call button
in every room.
Should you reserve the Special Bedroom if you are not in a wheelchair?
That depends. If you are not mobility impaired and not traveling with
somebody mobility impaired, then you probably should not even attempt to
reserve this room. There are only a few of these on each train and they
should be kept available to those that really do require this room.
If you are mobility impared, such as needing to use a cane, crutches,
or a walker, then you might or might not want the Special Bedroom.
Personally, I would prefer the Economy Bedroom. It is less expensive,
the window is larger, there is less noise, and I don't feel like I'm
sitting in the corner of a large empty room. Also, since there is only
a curtain that seperates a person using the private toilet in the room
from the person traveling with you, I probably would prefer to use the
public toilet that is right outside the room instead.
However, if you envision yourself making frequent trips to the restroom
and expect you'd have great difficulty navigating about 20 feet in a
shaking room, then you definitely should reserve the Special Bedroom!
From the Special Bedroom, you can use the private toilet right in the
room or the public one immediately outside the door (about 3 steps). If
you do stick with the Economy Bedroom, try to reserve room 11 or 12
rather that 13 or 14. That will place you 5 to 10 steps closer to the
restrooms depending on your gate. I know the saving of 5 to 10 steps
may seem silly to some people, but I have traveled with someone mobility
impared and the saving of every step can be very significant, especially
on a moving train! Whatever you do, don't reserve Economy Bedrooms
1 through 10. Those rooms are upstairs in the train
and will require you to climb a set of stairs to reach your room!
If you will need assistance from Amtrak embarking or disembarking from
the train, do call 1-800-USA-RAIL and make arrangements with them as
much in advance as possible. They will minimize the distance that you
need to travel under your own mobility and will offer any assistance
that you need to get onto and off the train, even if you are in a
There is a door to the room that closes for complete privacy. You might
be wondering how people can get through the train if this room stretches
the entire width of the train car. That is a very common question. The
train cars have 2 levels to them. People can only walk the full length
of the car and even move from car to car on the upper level of the train.
This cannot be done on the bottom level of the train. The reason for
this is that the wheels of the train are at about the same level as the
rooms on the bottom level of the train and it would not be possible for
people to walk through the wheels of the train!
Thus, the bottom level of the train interior is shorter than the top
level and there is no passage through to other cars on the bottom level
of the train. This leaves room to place one room at each end of the
bottom level of every car that stretches the total width of the car.
One of those rooms is the "Family Room", the other is the "Special
Bedroom" designed for passengers with special mobility requirements.
There is only one Special Bedroom per Sleeping Car and there are usually
only 2 or 3 Sleeping Cars per train. Book this room well in advance as
they usually fill up pretty quickly.
Here is Amtrak's own descrition of the Economoy Bedroom: "The Special
Bedroom is designed for passengers with special mobility requirements,
with ample space for a wheelchair. Special Bedrooms occupy the entire
width of the lower level, with two facing, reclining seats and an upper
and lower berth. A sink, vanity and toilet are also accessible by
wheelchair, separated from the room by a privacy curtain. Food and
beverage service to the room are also available for passengers with
DIMENSIONS: 9'5" X 6'6" (1.5M X 2.9M)
LOWER BERTH: 6'6" X 2'4" (2M X 71CM)
UPPER BERTH: 6'2" X 2' (1.9M X 61CM)
Capacity for 2 suitcases."
Please select one of the following:
Information about photographs here.
Photographs of the Special Bedroom.
Superliner II Sleeper Page
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