Another Chicago baggage question

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me_little_me

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We will be arriving one day on the Cardinal and staying overnight in Chicago before heading on to Colorado. To avoid lugging one big bag to/from the station, I'm hoping baggage service will accept checking one bag a day early and we'll carry the rest. Now, I know their rules say 24 hours ahead is acceptable, this would be a day and a half.
If it goes out on that day's Zephyr, it will sit at our destination for a day. We don't mind. If they hold it in CHI overnight for our train, that's fine too. But will they take it early?

I'm thinking about just not saying anything and just handing in the bag hoping they don't notice the day of travel being a day later.

Any better suggestions?
 

MARC Rider

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I don't know how they do it on Chicago, but I advance-check my bags from Baltimore all the time with no problem.
 

me_little_me

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I don't know how they do it on Chicago, but I advance-check my bags from Baltimore all the time with no problem.
How far in advance? I have done it the night before but I'm talking about 10AM one day, not for that evening's train but for the following evening's train.
 

MARC Rider

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When I was doing my ski trips to Boston, I would check my stuff on Tuesday so that I would be sure it was there on Thursday. Train 67 with the baggage car leaves Wendesday night for a Thursday morning arrival. I started doing that during the last days of the Heritage baggage cars, when there was a good chance of there not being a baggage car on 67.

I also took a couuple of trips out west through Chicago, including a couple where i stayed overnight to ensure my connection. No problem with checking all the way through in advance.
 

me_little_me

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When I was doing my ski trips to Boston, I would check my stuff on Tuesday so that I would be sure it was there on Thursday. Train 67 with the baggage car leaves Wendesday night for a Thursday morning arrival. I started doing that during the last days of the Heritage baggage cars, when there was a good chance of there not being a baggage car on 67.

I also took a couuple of trips out west through Chicago, including a couple where i stayed overnight to ensure my connection. No problem with checking all the way through in advance.
The problem is I can't check it all the way through. The Cardinal has no checked baggage at my boarding point so it's carry-on to Chicago then either lug it to hotel and back or check it early.

In the way back, I'm hoping I can just not pick it up in Chicago until the day after I arrive from Colorado so I again can avoid another double lug. I think Amtrak will hold it for a day without charging a fee.
 

John Santos

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I wonder if it is possible to check luggage at a later point in the trip? If you are boarding at a smaller station with no checked baggage, but another station en-route does have checked baggage, if you could arrange to hand off your bag at that station to the baggage attendant and check it the rest of the way?

Unless it was somewhere like San Antonio or Spokane with a multi-hour stop, you wouldn't be able to meet the 45 minutes before departure deadline, but maybe this would be a service Amtrak could offer; you board and put your bag on the storage rack, then arrange with the attendant to tag the bag through to your destination. At the next checked baggage stop, either they move it for you or you grab your bag and take it up to the baggage car and hand it to the attendant who is loading the car, tears off your half of the tag, and loads it. Then you get back on the train. (Any station that handles checked baggage has to have a stop that is long enough to load and unload it, so you should have time.) Or maybe hand it off to a Red Cap if the station has Red Cap service.
 

AmtrakBlue

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I wonder if it is possible to check luggage at a later point in the trip? If you are boarding at a smaller station with no checked baggage, but another station en-route does have checked baggage, if you could arrange to hand off your bag at that station to the baggage attendant and check it the rest of the way?

Unless it was somewhere like San Antonio or Spokane with a multi-hour stop, you wouldn't be able to meet the 45 minutes before departure deadline, but maybe this would be a service Amtrak could offer; you board and put your bag on the storage rack, then arrange with the attendant to tag the bag through to your destination. At the next checked baggage stop, either they move it for you or you grab your bag and take it up to the baggage car and hand it to the attendant who is loading the car, tears off your half of the tag, and loads it. Then you get back on the train. (Any station that handles checked baggage has to have a stop that is long enough to load and unload it, so you should have time.) Or maybe hand it off to a Red Cap if the station has Red Cap service.
Cardinal doesn't have luggage racks ;)
 

me_little_me

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I wonder if it is possible to check luggage at a later point in the trip? If you are boarding at a smaller station with no checked baggage, but another station en-route does have checked baggage, if you could arrange to hand off your bag at that station to the baggage attendant and check it the rest of the way?

Unless it was somewhere like San Antonio or Spokane with a multi-hour stop, you wouldn't be able to meet the 45 minutes before departure deadline, but maybe this would be a service Amtrak could offer; you board and put your bag on the storage rack, then arrange with the attendant to tag the bag through to your destination. At the next checked baggage stop, either they move it for you or you grab your bag and take it up to the baggage car and hand it to the attendant who is loading the car, tears off your half of the tag, and loads it. Then you get back on the train. (Any station that handles checked baggage has to have a stop that is long enough to load and unload it, so you should have time.) Or maybe hand it off to a Red Cap if the station has Red Cap service.
Better yet, they have a remote kiosk in the building with a video connection.
  1. You press a button
  2. An agent's face appears on screen
  3. The agent tells you to hold up your ticket to scanner
  4. You hold up ticket so scanner and agent see and record your reservation and arrival city
  5. The agent tells you to put one bag on the scale
  6. The agent sees the weight remotely and sees that the bag meets requirements
  7. If your bag qualifies, the agent presses a button and a baggage ticket is printed with your name, date, time, city pair and a receipt for you to hold. Picture of bag is also recorded.
  8. The agent does this with your other bags
  9. The agent then tells you a specific location to place your bag. That location is monitored to insure nobody picks up bags before train arrival.
  10. The agent signs off
  11. Your bag is loaded when the train arrives.

That agent can serve many stations and prioritize those with least time before train arrives.

Voila! No need for agent all day to service one train. Few agents. Many more stations with baggage loading service.

Something like what I described would solve my problem but I still have it because Amtrak doesn't have the brains to even test out such a system.
 
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