What Is the Difference Between A Superliner And Viewliner?

When booking a trip on an Amtrak train, you may be asked what type of sleeper car you want to be in. This will vary on the trip’s location that you are planning to use, but you will have two options. The first will be the Viewliner rail car, and the second will be the Superliner. But what is the difference between the two?

Trip LocationMostly Eastern PartMostly Western Part
SizeOne LevelTwo Levels

As you can see, the most significant difference between the two is their size. TheSuperliner is the larger of the two and is a two-level rail car used in the Western part of the country, for the most part. But what does this information actually mean? Continue reading if you want to find out.

Where Are The Superliner And Viewliner Located?

You may be able to find both types of rail cars anywhere in the nation, but they are each used in specific areas of the country. The reason for that is their size. The height of the Superliner may cause some issues in areas with higher populations and more dense cities. On the other hand, the smaller one-level Viewliners can go anywhere that has a set of train tracks.

  • Superliner – The two-level rail car is primarily found in the western parts of the nation because those areas are not as constricted as the other side of the map.
  • Viewliner – The single-level rail car can be found throughout the nation, but they are primarily used in the country’s eastern half.

The reasoning behind this is not only due to the population’s density. It is also based on the length of the train ride. The Eastern routes are longer routes with fewer stops, while the routes on the other side of the country are filled with stops and have less unrestricted movement. The Viewliners are primarily used for long-distance trains because they have better wind resistance and maneuverability.

amtrak superliner
David Wilson

How Big Are The Rooms In The Sleeper Cars

You can find a few different size options within the Amtrak rail cars to sleep in. They range from family bedrooms and connected suites to small roomettes that can accommodate a few people but with very little room for anything else. Let’s look into the bedrooms, so you know what to expect before you get onto the train.

Rooms On the Viewliner Sleeper Cars

The Viewliner cars are much smaller than the Superliner ones by half. They only have one level to work with, so you will need to make double sure that you have a set reservation rather than showing up and hoping to get a room. These sleeper cars are mostly found east of the Mississippi River.

  • Roomettes – The roomettes are designed to hold a maximum of two adults, including sleeping accommodations. You will have a bathroom in the room, but no shower.
  • Bedrooms – The bedrooms are also rated for two adults, including the sleeping areas. With these, you will get a bathroom and a shower as well.
  • Bedroom Suite – The bedroom suites are two bedrooms connected by a door. It gives you sleeping room for four adults, which is also the maximum number of people allowed in them. As you may have guessed, you will have access to two bathrooms and two showers.
  • Accessible Bedroom – This is the final option that you will have. These bedrooms are also rated for two adults, including a bathroom and shower.

Those are the four options that you will have for a bedroom in the Viewliner sleeper cars. Keep in mind that if you take a trip to the eastern side of the nation, this will likely be the type of sleeper car available.

amtrak viewliner
Mark Levisay

Rooms On the Superliner Sleeper Cars

The Superliners are the bigger cars that have two levels built into them. You will find these west of the Mississippi River for the most part. They have more room than the Viewliner cars, but they are not that different when discussing room accommodations. Let’s take a look.

  • Roomettes – The roomettes are designed to hold up to two adults. You will have a bathroom attached to the room but no shower.
  • Bedrooms – As with the ones discussed above, the bedrooms are designed for two adults, and you will have a bathroom and a shower attached.
  • Bedroom Suite – If you go for this option, you will get two regular bedrooms attached by a door. This gives you room for four adults and two bathrooms and showers attached to the rooms.
  • Family Bedroom – This is the only difference between the Viewliner and the Superliner. This room is designed to hold two adults and two children, but you do not have an attached bathroom or shower in these rooms.
  • Accessible Bedroom – This bedroom is found on the bottom level of the sleeper car and can hold two adults. It does have a bathroom and shower attached to it.

The Superliner sleepers are roomier in the aspect of height, but the rooms are built the same size as the ones designed for the Viewliner bedrooms. The main difference is that they have accommodations for a family rather than obtaining two different rooms for a family of four.

superliner train
David Wilson

What Is Included with The Room?

No matter what size of the room you are getting, or the type of sleeper car you ride in, you will find that the room’s price includes everything that Amtrak has to offer. If you have never been on the train before. In that case, you will want to continue reading to learn about all the fantastic additions you get that are all considered to be part of the room.

  • Personal room attendant that turns down the room and brings coffee.
  • You have a sofa that folds down into a bed.
  • You have two chairs that fold down into beds.
  • You have electric outlets to use.
  • You get a table that folds down to get it out of the way.
  • You have reading lights to use.
  • You have climate controls for your room.
  • A garment rack is included for your clothes.

All of these amenities are included in the price that you pay for the room. You will also have access to the main lounges that offer more space, more views, and food if you are interested in it.

Final Thoughts

The difference between the Superliner and the Viewliner boils down to three things. It will mostly depend upon where you are taking your trip and the type of sleeper car you get. The critical thing to remember is that the rooms are all the same, except for the family bedrooms that are not usually available in the cars west of the Mississippi.

The bottom line is that the bedrooms are the same, designed and built exactly alike, except for those mentioned above. There is no need to stress about which type of sleeper car you get to ride in unless you want to be higher than usual. If that is your goal, you will need to go east and catch a ride there.


Lifelong Rail Enthusiast and Owner of Worldwide Rails

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