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Baggage On LSL Form CHI To BOS

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niemi24s

Conductor
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Feb 11, 2015
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The Nov 11, 2019 schedule for the LSL indicates checked baggage is available at both CHI and BOS, but Arrow tells me checked baggage is not available between ALB (where the train splits) and BOS.

Contemplating a 1½ week cruise out of BOS and will be getting there all the way in a Roomette on the LSL from CHI, so am wondering where our two big suitcases for the cruise can go aboard the train even if we carry them on.

Tnx in advance for any info.
 

Rasputin

OBS Chief
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Jan 17, 2019
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759
There is no checked baggage on 448 and 449 Chicago-Boston. There is checked baggage on 48 and 49 between Chicago and New York.. I understand that you can check baggage between Chicago and Boston but the baggage goes via New York City on 48 and 49 and is then taken to or from Boston on the overnight DC - Boston regional which has a baggage car. The baggage arrives in Boston the next day instead of travelling on the same train as the passenger.

However I understand that the overnight Boston - DC regional is not operating during the virus crisis (I haven't looked at the schedule myself.) I would advise calling Amtrak to inquire about the current baggage service but it is not user friendly.

If you carry luggage on 448 or 449 it will be stored by the attendant in either 1) an unoccupied roomette; 2) the outer shower room; or 3) in the luggage section in the business class car.
 

bratkinson

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Once COVID-19 has been brought under control, I think I'd book the LSL to NYP, then a regional or Acela to BOS.

If you check it all the way to BOS, your bags will be put on #66 about 2AM at NYP and arrive at BOS about 8AM. One option would be to spend an evening 'on the town' in New York and then board #66 and spend the night trying to sleep in coach or BC. Alternatively, take a train to BOS and find a nearby hotel. Finding a hotel at any place along the way such as PVD or RTE might save you some dough, too. Then take MBTA or Amtrak the rest of the way to BOS.

At this point, my bigger concern re Amtrak is what trains will be restored and when, and what their schedules may be. It wouldn't make sense, for example, to instantly return all NEC trains to 1/1/2020 schedules in one day. I would expect a step-by-step approach and let ridership return (slowly, I expect), on schedules then add extra trains as ridership rises. Why run 7 Hiawathas MKE-CHI per weekday, for example, when only 300-400 passengers per day ride each way? Maybe reduced consists could 'support' 7 Hiawathas/weekday?

It's not for us to decide how or when Amtrak will start restoring trains and what schedules they will follow.
 

Palmetto

Conductor
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The poor baggage service has been a bugaboo for decades out of Boston. You can't check bags to Florida either without going to South Station the day before your trip. Amtrak thinks that most people on the NEC are business travelers with briefcases. Apparently, they do not take their trains, cuz if they did, they'd see full baggage racks over the seats. And if you get on at a midpoint stop, good luck with your bag and finding a spot for it.
 

niemi24s

Conductor
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Feb 11, 2015
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If you carry luggage on 448 or 449 it will be stored by the attendant in either 1) an unoccupied roomette; 2) the outer shower room; or 3) in the luggage section in the business class car.
So (provided we book a sleeper on 448 from CHI to BOS) our luggage will end up in BOS on the same train with us and we won't have to fiddle with it in ALB. That's good to know.

Thanks
 

Skyline

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 19, 2016
Messages
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There is no checked baggage on 448 and 449 Chicago-Boston. There is checked baggage on 48 and 49 between Chicago and New York.. I understand that you can check baggage between Chicago and Boston but the baggage goes via New York City on 48 and 49 and is then taken to or from Boston on the overnight DC - Boston regional which has a baggage car. The baggage arrives in Boston the next day instead of travelling on the same train as the passenger.

However I understand that the overnight Boston - DC regional is not operating during the virus crisis (I haven't looked at the schedule myself.) I would advise calling Amtrak to inquire about the current baggage service but it is not user friendly.

If you carry luggage on 448 or 449 it will be stored by the attendant in either 1) an unoccupied roomette; 2) the outer shower room; or 3) in the luggage section in the business class car.
Good point. There are likely plentiful unoccupied roomettes these days.
 

Rasputin

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
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So (provided we book a sleeper on 448 from CHI to BOS) our luggage will end up in BOS on the same train with us and we won't have to fiddle with it in ALB. That's good to know.
Yes you would take your luggage as carry-on luggage when you board the Boston sleeper in Chicago. Your luggage will have to meet the requirements for carry-on luggage in terms of size and number of pieces. The sleeping car attendant will then take whatever luggage does not fit into your roomette and find a place for it as I have previously mentioned. So the luggage should be stored someplace in your sleeping car or in the next car (the business-cafe car) in the place where carry-on luggage for business class passengers is stored.

Note that this is not the same as checked baggage and you are not given a receipt or luggage check. I imagine that Amtrak's liability for your carry-on luggage is limited or none at all in the event of theft or inadvertent loss but I would think that these events would be rare in the Boston sleeper.

We rode the Boston sleeper in May 2019 shortly after the Chicago-Boston baggage car was discontinued. The luggage that we did not (or could not) keep in our roomette was stacked in an empty roomette along with 6 or 8 other bags. This worked out well.
 

niemi24s

Conductor
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Feb 11, 2015
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BTW, this trip is planned for the later part of October this year, so things might be getting back to sorta kinda normal by then - good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise.

But I'm not surprised this schedule error has escaped notice of the IT wizards at Amtrak for over 5 months:
LSL Sked.jpg
After all, who in their right mind would even think about checking luggage to or from Boston. Pffft!!
 

Rasputin

OBS Chief
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Jan 17, 2019
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I don't think the Amtrak timetable has ever fully explained that Boston passengers on the Lake Shore can check baggage but the baggage will be delayed until the following day.

The timetable also claimed that there was checked baggage at Springfield when there was not. I don't know if this has been corrected.

Just further confirmation that the Boston section of the Lake Shore gets no respect.
 

bratkinson

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QB 101
For what it's worth, I've seen unusually large rolling suitcases in the shower in Viewliners multiple times. It happens in all the Viewliner sleepers. I simply put them in the aisle when I want to take a shower. Usually, the attendant will be able to find SOME place for larger luggage...even if it's in the next car. I wouldn't hesitate to give the attendant an extra $5 for each bag that he/she has to find some place for.
 

B&Ofan

Train Attendant
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Jul 17, 2009
Messages
58
I've also lamented the Boston section loosing it's baggage car as I have taken my bicycle on it before. On one trip (post baggage car loss) the conductor showed me that they were renovating the lounge car for some bicycle storage, but I have yet to here any space being made available. They did indeed have such a converted car on my train. Does anyone know anymore about this? Was the project started and dropped?
 

bratkinson

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I was aboard the Boston section of the LSL in April 2019 and posted a picture of the 'disaster' in the cafe section 448 Cafe car thread

I suspect there was a large uproar shortly after they replaced the booths with bike racks and they put back the booths, as I have not seen a rack the 5 times I've ridden that train since then. Has anyone seen the racks since, say, June 2019?
 

Rasputin

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I think bike racks belong in a baggage car or baggage section and not taking up needed space in a café car which has inadequate available seating to begin with.
 

B&Ofan

Train Attendant
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Well I wish they would then bring back the baggage car or find some space on the train asnow my only travel option is 66/67 to NYC and Washington, but that train doesn't have sleeping accommodations. State run Amtrak trains can figure this out, why can't NEC operations? Sorry about the rant, but now that I discovered how nice it is to travel with my bicycle, and now I can't!
 

Skyline

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Messages
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Some (many?) people look with disdain upon people who ride bicycles -- whether for pleasure or commuting or anything else. They don't want to share the road, and apparently they don't want to share a sliver of a pax train's real estate. Sad that they feel so entitled to decide that they and only they have their ideal methods of travel all to themselves, and further, they they can block others from theirs.

I get the feeling that some of this mindset would be happy if bicycles were relegated to their own roadways, and that special pax trains and buses be developed just for bicycle riders. BUT only if they don't have to pay for them of course.
 

IndyLions

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Brownsburg IN
Well I wish they would then bring back the baggage car or find some space on the train...State run Amtrak trains can figure this out, why can't NEC operations?
With bicycles and Amtrak, it’s all about want to. It’s not that difficult.

I have brought my bike on trains many times now. In a couple of cases, there were last minute equipment changes and so the original plan for where the bicycles were supposed to go had to be modified by the crew.

The crew had a can-do attitude and just found a safe place for the bike and everybody was happy. In one case it was a deadheading sleeper, and another it was an unoccupied handicapped area in coach.


I think bike racks belong in a baggage car or baggage section and not taking up needed space in a café car which has inadequate available seating to begin with.
As a bicycle rider, I have used those racks in the lounge car several times. I also agree that it’s not the best use of space.
 
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PVD

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They still show BC on the Boston section. If that is correct, the split car losing space would really be tight if it has to give up space for a bike rack. It does become the food service cr for Albany-Chicago, and the dining car option has been removed for coach passengers.
 
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daybeers

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Jan 6, 2016
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HFD
I am considering a trip HFD-SPG-CLE on 449/49 and would really like to bring my bike. I called Amtrak and the agent said they didn't know when the baggage car would be restored and it's not like checked baggage where you can send it on an earlier train, for example the Night Owl NER NHV-NYP and then transferred to 49 NYP-ALB, they said you have to ride with the bike.

Any news on the baggage car being added back?
 

Rasputin

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
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I am considering a trip HFD-SPG-CLE on 449/49 and would really like to bring my bike. I called Amtrak and the agent said they didn't know when the baggage car would be restored and it's not like checked baggage where you can send it on an earlier train, for example the Night Owl NER NHV-NYP and then transferred to 49 NYP-ALB, they said you have to ride with the bike.

Any news on the baggage car being added back?
I have not heard of any plans to restore the baggage car to 448/449.

Since 448/449 seem to get the least respect of any trains in the Amtrak system, it would probably be contrary to management philosophy to restore the baggage car to those trains.
 

tgstubbs1

Service Attendant
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Mar 3, 2020
Messages
150
Do you take a regular full size bike, or one of those folding jobs?
Some of them have electric assist. They would be a bit heavier.
 

cocojacoby

Lead Service Attendant
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May 13, 2014
Messages
391
Some (many?) people look with disdain upon people who ride bicycles -- whether for pleasure or commuting or anything else. They don't want to share the road, and apparently they don't want to share a sliver of a pax train's real estate. Sad that they feel so entitled to decide that they and only they have their ideal methods of travel all to themselves, and further, they they can block others from theirs.

I get the feeling that some of this mindset would be happy if bicycles were relegated to their own roadways, and that special pax trains and buses be developed just for bicycle riders. BUT only if they don't have to pay for them of course.
Did you check out the picture? Not a very pleasant space for relaxing and grabbing a bite to eat. More like eating in a baggage car. I have always felt that if the bicycle was a modern invention (e.g., Segway) it would be prohibited from traveling on public roadways.
 

IndyLions

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Nov 6, 2016
Messages
339
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Brownsburg IN
Did you check out the picture? Not a very pleasant space for relaxing and grabbing a bite to eat. More like eating in a baggage car. I have always felt that if the bicycle was a modern invention (e.g., Segway) it would be prohibited from traveling on public roadways.
The bicyclists are not the enemy here. I doubt it was a bicyclist who suggested removing booths in the lounge car for a bicycle rack.
If there is an enemy of Lounge Car booths - its Amtrak. Lazy crew members hogging booth space for their paperwork, LCAs using booths for food staging areas and inventory space - and HQ specifiers designing out seating altogether in new lounge car designs - all a much bigger culprit than a customer looking to combine their hobby with a convenient form of travel.

Next let’s go after those inconsiderate handicapped folks hogging too much space in the coaches!
 
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