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Amtrak Superliner II Special Bedroom
www.trainweb.com/accommod/s2_speci.htm

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 mobility impairments.

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 wheelchair.

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 disabilities.

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."


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Information about photographs here.
Photographs of the Special Bedroom.
Superliner II Sleeper Page

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