Baggage checking pros and cons

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zephyr17

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Yes, the Sunset handles checked baggage between LA and New Orleans. At most stations, Amtrak will accept checked baggage up to 24 hours in advance. LA will not having a problem accepting checked baggage for the Sunset around noon or even earlier the same day.

Note you will not have access to any checked bags during the the trip. If you want to lighten yourself of any carry ons and you are in a sleeper, you can leave your carry ons with the staff at LA's Metropolitan Lounge. They will either keep it behind the desk or put it in conference room they have. If you aren't in a sleeper you can day check your carry ons with the baggage room for $10/bag.
 

AmtrakBlue

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Delaware
Or, if your hotel is not too far from the station, they will most llkely hold your bags for you till you’re ready to pick them up.
 

glensfallsse

Train Attendant
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Apr 22, 2017
Messages
60
Thanks for the replies. This information is helpful.
I've used the hotel bag-drop option before, but if you google-map the Hilton Garden Inn on the last Green Line stop in Redondo Beach, I think you can see why it wouldn't work for me this time. :)
 
Joined
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BTW, it is the individual stations (rather than the route) that determine the availability of checked baggage. In your case, both Los Angeles and New Oleans have checked baggage availability. If you look up stations on the website or the app that will be indicated.
 

moosejunky99

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Jul 31, 2021
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Schaumburg, IL
I'm taking the Cardinal train from Chicago to Washington because i already been on the Capitol limited. Does the sleeper cars have room to store luggage like by the stairs?
 

zephyr17

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I'm taking the Cardinal train from Chicago to Washington because i already been on the Capitol limited. Does the sleeper cars have room to store luggage like by the stairs?
No stairs on the Card and no common luggage racks, the sleepers are single level Viewliners.

Viewliners have a luggage cubby over the sink that occupies space over the aisle. It can hold a good size, but not huge piece of luggage. It can be a struggle to wrestle a heavy-ish bag up there. Best method I have found is to lower the upper berth, put my bag on it, raise the berth to the middle detent, then slide the bag from the berth over to the cubby (the berth middle detent is on the same level). I understand from reports here that the cubby on the Viewliner IIs, now in service on the Card, are somewhat shallower than the Is.
 

joelkfla

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Oct 16, 2018
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12 miles from Walt Disney World
has anybody had a problem with check bags not showing up? since i'm only going to Washington. I don't really want my bag to go to NYC lol..
Not personally. On my recent trip on the Silver Star, there was some chatter on the scanner about a missing bag shortly after leaving a smaller station. The conductor said he found it, and arrangements were made on the spot to send it back on the next train in the opposite direction. So it happens, but nothing near to the current lost luggage epidemic on the airlines.
 

saxpower

Train Attendant
Joined
May 26, 2022
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39
Location
Wilmington, DE
has anybody had a problem with check bags not showing up? since i'm only going to Washington. I don't really want my bag to go to NYC lol..
I have. Checked bag in Chicago 7/16. Not on train when I got to destination (Wilmington, DE). Long story short, Amtrak said I needed to fill out a "lost and found" form - the same one I'd fill out if I left it on a bench on Chicago instead of left it at baggage check. I don't have much confidence finding it will be a priority. Have e-mailed Office of Customer Relations, only recieved the "we recieved your e-mail and will get back to you in the order emails are recieved." Tried to call my local station to see if it showed up- only number available is the general 800 number. Putting info together for claim and have letter to congressperson/senators in draft.
 

Eric in East County

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East San Diego County
If you live near the departure station, you can also check baggage a day ahead of your departure, which should greatly increase the chances that the bags will make the connecting train.
When we first started traveling by train, we took full advantage of Amtrak’s liberal luggage allowance and packed like movie stars or visiting royalty, with two or more large suitcases that needed to be checked. We eventually got this down to a single large suitcase, but even this proved an inconvenience on last year’s trip when the Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego wasn’t accepting checked baggage. We ended up having to lug that large suitcase with us onboard the Pacific Surfliner and check it in LA.

The Toledo train station is now only open at night and is closed during the day. If our SWC No. 4 train had arrived in Chicago too late for our checked suitcase to have made it on board our CL No. 30 to Toledo, we’d have been obligated to wait around the station until 4:00 a.m. in the morning for it to arrive on the next scheduled train.

Also on last year’s trip, our SWC No. 3 train was running 7 hours late and we detrained in Fullerton and caught the next southbound Pacific Surfliner there. Had not an obliging conductor helped us to retrieve our large suitcase from the baggage car in Albuquerque, we would have had to continue on to LAUS to retrieve it (and would have arrived back in San Diego hours later than we did.)

By not having any checked luggage, we’ll be able to detrain at the Old Town Transit Center (which is closer to where our car will be parked) rather than having to continue on to downtown San Diego in order to retrieve our checked suitcase.
 

Qapla

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I have checked baggage on the Silvers from Florida to NY (and back) without any problems ... but then, that is a "same train" trip and when leaving JAX or PAK you can see them putting your bags on the train.

I did take one trip that was ticketed to NWK and asked the conductor if I could stay on to NYP since someone was picking me up at that location. She asked me if I had any checked baggage. When I told her I did not - she said it was fine to stay one since the ticket price is the same for either destination coming from Florida.
 

moosejunky99

Train Attendant
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Jul 31, 2021
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Schaumburg, IL
In June I took the Cardinal to Washington and my checked bag beat me to DC. It went on the Capitol Limited.
That is crazy... because I'm doing that. I bet my bags will ride that way (i guess i could put in a GPS in my bag and track it LOL) Maybe i'll give it a go again. I know it was fine on the Capitol Limited and i did not check my bags in on the California Zephyr since i wanted to catch a metra train back home and if i had to wait. I would have been screwed lol..
 

zephyr17

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It really isn't crazy, Amtrak routes bags on the most direct route to the city they are tagged for, unless a specific route is marked on the tag. With just a WAS tag and no other information, a bag in Chicago is routed via the most direct route, which is the Cap. Unless noted on the tag, the baggage handler has no way if knowing whether the passenger is on the Cap, the Card, or the Lake Shore and a regional.

Just before COVID, I traveled from NYP to SEA via the SW Chief and the Starlight. I checked a bag. It went direct on the Builder and arrived the day before I did (which I expected, BTW).
 

moosejunky99

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 31, 2021
Messages
85
Location
Schaumburg, IL
It really isn't crazy, Amtrak routes bags on the most direct route to the city they are tagged for, unless a specific route is marked on the tag. With just a WAS tag and no other information, a bag in Chicago is routed via the most direct route, which is the Cap. Unless noted on the tag, the baggage handler has no way if knowing whether the passenger is on the Cap, the Card, or the Lake Shore and a regional.

Just before COVID, I traveled from NYP to SEA via the SW Chief and the Starlight. I checked a bag. It went direct on the Builder and arrived the day before I did (which I expected, BTW).
That does make senese though when your talking about bags where they route to the most easy way to get to final dest.. unless your bags train has some sorta delay.. then you will maybe be in trouble.


Man.. this site has such great information on it and great people that are willing to respond to an old thread LOL

thank you all for the information!
 

Tom Booth

Lead Service Attendant
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Jul 5, 2019
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Jersey City
Not that I think it's a good idea to rely on it, but the 45 minute requirement can be a soft requirement depending on the station. I've been in a station when I heard last call for baggage check-in, and it could be as late as 10 minutes before scheduled arrival. I was there in plenty of time when I checked on the CS #14, but there was a clear last call about 12 minutes before departure from King St Station. I've also seen the baggage cart being sent just a few minutes before the train arrived.

But in the end there's always the possibility of just carrying it on. So if a passenger isn't maxing out the carry-on limits, it can be carried on in a pinch. I know they have supposed size limits, but I hear that as long as the passenger can handle it, they don't care. I've seen guitars and all sorts of items that didn't seem to have any special handling tags on them.
Same here. Last month I checked bags in Emeryville 20 minutes before departure. No problem.
 
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