Amtrak & Alcohol

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Gin

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I've only been on Amtrak a few times, so I'm still unsure of some of their policies. My friends and I are taking a train into D.C., and while we all agreed that we really didn't have an interest in wanting to go to bars, we still did want to drink at our friend's place. I have bottles of liquor here at home leftover from New Year's, and I know Amtrak says on their site that you're allowed to bring your own alcohol if you like something specific, so would it be breaking any policies to bring a bottle, or two, with me in my carry-on? To clarify, we would not be drinking on the train at all and I'm 22, so there's no underage possession issues.

I really would like to double check this, especially since we're going into D.C. on Friday and I know there's probably going to be increased security. Amtrak already sent out an email warning me about that and possible random bag searches. Knowing my luck they'd probably search mine and I'd rather not deal with the whole liquor in my bag thing if it's not above board.

Thanks!
 

districtRich

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If the bottles have never been open you're fine. However, an open bottle of alcohol is usually illegal to carry in most public places in the country. Whether they actually check or care is another story.
 
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amtkstn

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The only place on the train you can drink your own stuff in a sleeper. Other places there is a good chance you will be removed from the train.
 

districtRich

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The original poster already said he/she didn't plan to drink it on the train. It sounded more of a concern of being bag searched at Union Station since it'll be a massive security event this weekend. If the seal is broken, it's illegal in DC, but will they care? It's such a common thing that happens. I think that's what the OP was trying to ask about.
 

KmH

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Is this heaven? No. It's Iowa.
There are no restrictions regarding bring private stock alcohol onto the train in your baggage.

Sleeper berth passengers are allowed to consume their private stock in the privacy of their sleeper berth.

According to Amtrak policies coach passengers are not allowed to consume private stock alcohol on the train in public spaces. Coach seats and SSL seats are in public spaces.

As a practical matter, and based on my personal experience on multiple trips on a couple western long distance trains, some coach passengers openly consume private stock alcoholic beverages (mostly beer) at their coach seats.

I have observed Amtrak personnel (Train Attendant-Coach, Conductor, & Asst. Conductor) see the private stock alcohol being consumed - and ignore it, because the coach passenger was discrete and not causing any problems.

Getting inebriated and/or being a problem in some other way will get you put off the train - even if you are a sleeper berth passenger.

You then get a chance to chat with some LEOs - Law Enforcement Officers - as they take you to their jail.

https://www.amtrak.com/personal-food-beverages-medication

Private stockYou may bring aboard your own private stock of alcoholic beverages subject to the following limitations:

  • You may consume private stock alcoholic beverages only in Sleeping Car accommodations for which you have a valid ticket.
  • You may not consume private stock alcoholic beverages in any public areas.
 
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BCL

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As a practical matter, and based on my personal experience on multiple trips on a couple western long distance trains, some coach passengers openly consume private stock alcoholic beverages (mostly beer) at their coach seats.

I have observed Amtrak personnel (Train Attendant-Coach, Conductor, & Asst. Conductor) see the private stock alcohol being consumed - and ignore it, because the coach passenger was discrete and not causing any problems.
One conductor specifically told me that she wouldn't enforce the rule unless someone was a problem. The rule obviously exists to keep people from becoming inebriated in common areas where they might affect other passengers. The onboard sale of alcohol can be cut off by the staff. I guess becoming plastered in a private room is another matter.
 

BCL

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If the bottles have never been open you're fine. However, an open bottle of alcohol is usually illegal to carry in most public places in the country. Whether they actually check or care is another story.
Really depends. I live in California where the state has two sets of open container laws. One is for motor vehicles, where any previously opened container can be placed in the trunk, and where trunk has a definition that could include the back of an SUV or even a minivan if it's behind the last row of seats.

The law on public places really kind of just punts to local governments. Honestly, the way it's written it might as well not exist since it doesn't set the law nor restrict local government in how they operate their own laws. The only thing it really does is set that having an empty container for recycling is OK.

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=BPC&sectionNum=25620

25620.

(a) Any person possessing any can, bottle, or other receptacle containing any alcoholic beverage that has been opened, or a seal broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed, in any city, county, or city and county owned park or other city, county, or city and county owned public place, or any recreation and park district, or any regional park or open-space district shall be guilty of an infraction if the city, county, or city and county has enacted an ordinance that prohibits the possession of those containers in those areas or the consumption of alcoholic beverages in those areas.

I can't really find anything on our city or county that would make open containers in a public place illegal. Our county has an ordinance that says that a place that sells alcohol only for consumption off-site (like a liquor or convenience store) must have a sign stating that an open container is not legal on the premises (including the parking lot) or adjacent sidewalks. It's specially illegal is someone does possess an open container in that situation. I think I might have even been guilty since I brought an open bottle once to ask if there was anything strange about a bottle of Scotch I had. A neighboring city does have a law that makes consumption of alcohol illegal in a public place, but not specifically having an open container.

And enforcement and intent of the law is important. These laws exist because drinking in public is considered undesirable. Enforcement on someone with a bottle of Jack Daniel's that's previously opened but screwed shut and in their luggage is a rather low priority I'd think. If someone is taking their opened bottle of wine from a party directly to their car parked down the street, that's got to be a low priority too.

I remember we had our National Night Out on the street in a parking space where vehicles were cleared by placing tables just off the sidewalk. We had some open wine bottles and cups. I think I even drank a little bit of it. We had a scheduled visit from our fire department followed by one by our police chief. Now I suppose he didn't care or perhaps there wasn't anything specifically illegal about it.

I guess carrying my growler is considered recycling, which is specifically allowed under California's law.
 

FormerOBS

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1. Keep it sealed --- No opened containers.

2. You say you don't plan to drink on the train.

3. You're above the legal age.

4. Keep it in your bags, out of public view.

5. You're good to go.

Actually, number 4 is probably just a matter of being on the safe side.

Tom
 

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I really would like to double check this, especially since we're going into D.C. on Friday and I know there's probably going to be increased security. Amtrak already sent out an email warning me about that and possible random bag searches. Knowing my luck they'd probably search mine and I'd rather not deal with the whole liquor in my bag thing if it's not above board.
In my experience Amtrak is surprisingly relaxed about alcohol so long as you're not creating any problems for them or anyone else. Normally I wouldn't think twice about the situation you describe. That being said, I have no idea what might happen if you were searched in DC during this particular transition. I was reading that the new head of the executive branch had apparently requested a big Red Square style victory parade, so you might want to include some extra Русский Стандарт to keep the security forces happy as they see you on your way.
 
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