Information about showers on Amtrak trains. How many there are, where they are, how they work, and how to stop the water when the directions don't work!
The Superliner Sleeper Cars are configured with 10 Economy Bedrooms (renamed to "Standard Bedrooms") and 5 Deluxe Bedrooms on the upper level plus 4 more Economy Bedrooms, 1 Family Bedroom and 1 Handicapped Bedroom downstairs. The 5 Deluxe Bedrooms, numbered "A" through "E" each have their own combination toilet/shower. The 10 Economy Bedrooms on the upper level are numbered 1 through 10 with Room 1 being the Car Attendants room and closest to the center of the car. Room 10 is nearest the end of the car and the door that goes to the next car. Downstairs, the Economy Bedrooms are numbered 11 through 14. The Family Room is numbered 15, but is also called "Room F". The Handicapped Bedroom is called "Room H".
Each Economy Bedroom can hold up to 2 people which theoretically means that up to 28 people from those rooms, up to 5 from the Family Room, and up to 2 from the Handicapped Room for a total of 35 people compete for the same 4 toilets and 1 shower. Don't panic! This isn't as bad as it seems. First, seldom is every room booked, and even when they are all booked, most rooms are have less than maximum occupancy. Also, a large portion of those travelers will not be on the train long enough to need to take a shower on the train and several others just avoid using the shower on the train. As far as the bathrooms are concerned, in over 50,000 miles of travel over 2 years, only once was I not able to immediately walk into one of the 4 toilets in my Superliner Sleeping Car. Even then, the wait was less than one minute.
Taking a shower on the train is certainly a unique experience!
Amtrak recommends that you take your shower sitting down, but you certainly can do so standing up with little fear of having anywhere to fall! The instructions tell you to push the button and water will flow out the shower head for 20 seconds. During this first 20 second burst, the instructions tell you to adjust the water temperature to the desired level. Well, I gave it a shot and things didn't seem to work exactly according to the directions. A push of the button did start the water and I was able to adjust the water temperature. But ... the water did not stop after 20 seconds. At that point I was in fear that I would have to run down the hall stark naked to get a Car Attendant before all the water in that Sleeping Car was gone! I saved myself that embarassment when I discovered an "OFF" position on the "Warm/Cold" adjustment. I was able to turn the water off, but I still haven't gotten the hang of it. It seems to me that "Warm" is synonymous with "Low Pressure" and "Cold" with "High Pressure". Maybe it is intentional on the part of Amtrak that you can get Cold water to pour out fast while Warm water will only pour out slowly. I'll have to examine this matter further on future trips.
When I do occassionaly travel in the Deluxe Sleeping Accomodation, I definitely appreciate the fact that I have a private toilet, shower and sink to myself and don't have to worry if anyone is standing outside the door waiting to use the shower. Though, as mentioned above, you really don't have to worry about anyone waiting to use the toilet except maybe for the one and only toilet that is on the upper level of each sleeping car.
Personally, I did not mind using the toilets, sinks and showers on the train once I became familiar with them. They were always very clean and stocked with paper towels and other supplies. Your Car Attendant also makes sure you have plenty of towels, face cloths, soap, shampoo, tissues and other amenities in your private sleeping accomodation before you ever step into it!
You will also find mirrors and electric outlets for use of shavers in both the restrooms and your private sleeping accomodations. They do warn you, however, that these outlets are for shavers only. In this age of notebook computers and personal electronics, that warning is a bit outdated. For further information, see the web page about Electric Outlets On The Train.