Baggage Racks

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Keith1951

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
48
Location
Ohio
I dont know how safe they would be if I just left them on the baggage racks for a 3 day trip, so can I lock my bags to the baggage racks instead of taking them upstairs to my roomette? I would not leave valuables in them.
 

Devil's Advocate

‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
12,805
Location
EOTL
If there are no valuables why would you need to lock them to the luggage rack? There's not an easy or obvious way to lock most luggage down and even if you could it would interfere with other passengers trying to add and remove their own luggage along the way. In all my travels the luggage has still been there when I was ready to disembark and the few times it was messed with it seemed to be children doing it. A few zip ties should be enough to keep curious hands at bay.
 
Last edited:

Keith1951

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
48
Location
Ohio
If there are no valuables why would you need to lock them to the luggage rack? There's not an easy or obvious way to lock most luggage down and even if you could it would interfere with other passengers trying to add and remove their own luggage along the way.
Because we have 2 large bags that would take up room in the roomette, so we need to leave them downstairs on the baggage rack. And I want them to be there when we get off the train, thats why we are locking them.
 

John Santos

Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 24, 2018
Messages
235
Never had any problem with anyone messing with, opening or stealing from my luggage on the rack. Nor have I ever heard of anyone else having such problems. There is really nothing to lock a piece of luggage to; the rack has solid shelves and sides. People need to move things around to get their own bags on or off at intermediate stops and it would be impolite to prevent this. Other than that, I don't think anyone has ever touched my bags.

Remember, a conductor or attendant is always standing on the platform or at the doorway checking tickets, helping people find the right car and helping people on and off. They would certainly notice someone stepping onto the train (without a ticket), grabbing a bag from the rack, and immediately getting off again. Someone with a ticket might grab a bag before getting off, but they have spent hundreds of dollars to buy a ticket. Grabbing a random bag seems to me a very poor investment in criminal strategy; they would almost always lose money on the deal. (Crooks are dumb, but I don't think many of them are that dumb.) If you are a diamond merchant or delivering ransom money in small, unmarked bills, I would keep the valuable stuff chained to my wrist. Otherwise, it is very low risk.

Make sure your bags are easily identifiable (distinctive color or pattern, brightly colored tags or stickers, etc.) so someone with similar luggage doesn't grab yours by mistake and leave theirs for you. I almost did that once (at an airport), when an identical bright yellow LL Bean large roller duffel came up the ramp and was deposited on the carousel right in front of me. But it was all bright and shiny and new looking, and didn't have my initials embroidered on it (they do this for free if you pay with an LL Bean Visa card) so I knew it wasn't mine. But that removed any temptation to clean my scruffy luggage!
 

Saddleshoes

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 12, 2015
Messages
80
I never gave thought to the idea of somebody stealing my bag. HOWEVER somebody mistaking their bag for mine --- Maybe! This would be an easy mistake given how many bags look the same. I try to make my bags stand out with bright duct markings to avoid that type of mistake.

After reading though this thread, in future I think, I may zip tie the handles of my wife's bag and my bag together, as we stow our gear in the storage bay.
 

Keith1951

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
48
Location
Ohio
Ok Saddleshoes. Thats a good idea. I have been told in this thread that its not good to lock my bags to the baggage rack because it would be inconvenient for others to get to their bags or for the conductor to move them around as people comeknife. and go. I was also told that there is nothing to lock them up to. But tying them together is an idea. Not with zip ties though, I can use a small chain that cant be cut with scissors or a knife. Its harder to carry 2 bags away than it is to carry 1. People may think I am overly cautious but I have traveled in coach, one time from Chicago to NYC and some of the people there were, I hate to say, less than desirable. I have seen drunks and homeless looking people walking around looking suspicious. Whats to say someone like that wont go to the sleeper cars at 3am and have a look around. A bunch of baggage sitting right there and everyones asleep. Whats to stop them from deciding to take one to a bathroom and go thru the bag . Just trying to be careful with my baggage and not ruin my trip.
 

Devil's Advocate

‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
12,805
Location
EOTL
It's rare to hear about significant theft on Amtrak. On the other hand we're all responsible for our own items so in the end it's on us to do what we feel is necessary to keep our things safe. I mainly try to keep valuable items out of sight and ensure I'm not the softest target in a given car. If I'm carrying something really expensive or hard to replace I will keep it hidden and lock it to something else that makes it a pain to carry off somewhere else. Chaining two suitcases together leaves them movable when necessary but more of a pain that a single suitcase. If the chain is hidden then it also draws attention to a sudden clumsy removal.
 
Last edited:

flitcraft

Conductor
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
1,109
You are correct that there is nothing to stop someone from doing that. But people here have thousands of trips' worth of experience and no one has experienced anything like that. And this is not really a surprise--who would chance going to jail to steal somebody else's traveling wardrobe? People keep anything of any value at all in their bedrooms, and even with that, theft from the bedrooms--which cannot be locked from the outside--apparently seems to be freakishly rare.

Your solution to what is a non-problem is inconsiderate in the extreme. Linking your bags together with a chain will make them difficult, perhaps impossible, for the staff to move around if they need to, and will inconvenience other passengers who may need to move your bags slightly to get to their things. I would be furious if, at a stop, somebody had made it impossible for me to quickly retrieve my luggage and get off the train at my stop.
 

Devil's Advocate

‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
12,805
Location
EOTL
Your solution to what is a non-problem is inconsiderate in the extreme. Linking your bags together with a chain will make them difficult, perhaps impossible, for the staff to move around if they need to, and will inconvenience other passengers who may need to move your bags slightly to get to their things. I would be furious if, at a stop, somebody had made it impossible for me to quickly retrieve my luggage and get off the train at my stop.
If the bags contain items like clothes and are stowed on their sides against a wall I don't see chaining them together as a major problem in and of itself. In my experience the main exception to this are holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas when the luggage area seems to get really jammed up and needs more tending than usual. If the OP is traveling during the holidays or is carrying heavy items in chained bags then I would agree it would be a problem.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cal

alpha3

Train Attendant
Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
34
Yeah, I have to agree, never had any issues with bags on Amtrak. And you should always keep valuables with you. Funny - when I was a baggage agent at a major airline, we always had 'bag swaps' where people took similar looking bags that weren't theirs. Never have seen that on Amtrak......
 

JayPea

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
4,152
Location
Colfax, WA (CFX)
I've mentioned this before, but in cases where people have taken the wrong bag by mistake, I think I'm safe. My bag is turquoise, and adorned with a luggage tag with a blue Amtrak tag holder and another tag in the shape of a tiger shark, a free gift I got in an aquarium on Maui. I don't think anyone will be mistaking my bag for theirs!!🤣
 

flitcraft

Conductor
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
1,109
If the bags contain items like clothes and are stowed on their sides against a wall I don't see chaining them together as a major problem in and of itself.
I respectfully disagree. Two full-sized suitcases, chained together, would be extremely awkward and challenging for me to move, even if they weren't particularly heavy. A lot of Amtrak sleeper passengers are elderly, or have disabilities, or both. Given that theft from suitcases in the baggage storage area of the cars appears to be virtually non-existent, I stand by my assertion that doing that would be pointlessly inconsiderate of one's fellow passengers.
 

Cal

Foamer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
3,182
Location
Socal
I respectfully disagree. Two full-sized suitcases, chained together, would be extremely awkward and challenging for me to move, even if they weren't particularly heavy. A lot of Amtrak sleeper passengers are elderly, or have disabilities, or both. Given that theft from suitcases in the baggage storage area of the cars appears to be virtually non-existent, I stand by my assertion that doing that would be pointlessly inconsiderate of one's fellow passengers.
True, and calling the attendant won't always work since some of them love to play the disappearing act.
 

caravanman

Engineer
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
4,373
Location
Nottingham, England.
People may think I am overly cautious but I have traveled in coach, one time from Chicago to NYC and some of the people there were, I hate to say, less than desirable. I have seen drunks and homeless looking people walking around looking suspicious. Whats to say someone like that wont go to the sleeper cars at 3am and have a look around. A bunch of baggage sitting right there and everyones asleep. Whats to stop them from deciding to take one to a bathroom and go thru the bag . Just trying to be careful with my baggage and not ruin my trip.
Oh dear, I think he has seen me in coach! Don't worry Keith, you sober folks with a home are safe from us less desirables on Amtrak!
 

Keith1951

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
48
Location
Ohio
OMG. What have I started. All I originally asked was can I lock my bags onto the baggage racks. Then I explained why I wanted to lock them up. The answer everyone gave me was no. The sarcasm is uncalled for.
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
5,364
Location
Washington State
I do not think anyone is interested in stealing your underpants.

Take your valuables up to your room and stow the large items in the rack in a way that does not impede access for other passengers that must share the space

If you don't feel safe doing that, either check the items or take them to your room and work around them.

I have probably traveled over 100,000 miles in Superliner sleepers since they were introduced in 1980, always use the common rack, and never had a problem. I use replica SP Daylight baggage stickers to distinguish my bags, so they are easy to identify and hard to mistake.

PS, if security is that much of a concern, you need to be aware the rooms cannot he locked when you go to the diner, lounge or step off for a breath of air.
 

Keith1951

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
48
Location
Ohio
I do not think anyone is interested in stealing your underpants.

Take your valuables up to your room and stow the large items in the rack in a way that does not impede access for other passengers that must share the space

If you don't feel safe doing that, either check the items or take them to your room and work around them.

I have probably traveled over 100,000 miles in Superliner sleepers since they were introduced in 1980, always use the common rack, and never had a problem. I use replica SP Daylight baggage stickers to distinguish my bags, so they are easy to identify and hard to mistake.

PS, if security is that much of a concern, you need to be aware the rooms cannot he locked when you go to the diner, lounge or step off for a breath of air.
Already can lock my room.
 

Devil's Advocate

‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
12,805
Location
EOTL
OMG. What have I started. All I originally asked was can I lock my bags onto the baggage racks. Then I explained why I wanted to lock them up. The answer everyone gave me was no. The sarcasm is uncalled for.
I wouldn't take it personally since our forum is located on the rough side of the tracks. 🛤🏚🏭
 

niemi24s

Engineer
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
2,772
There is absolutely nothing anybody can do to prevent a determined thief from getting into or making off with any standard piece of luggage no matter how its secured to the baggage rack.

As others have mentioned, your only concern should be to conspicuously mark your luggage so nobody will mistake it for theirs. Mine are boldly marked on the top, sides and ends with my last name in large capital letters - primarily to make them easier to spot at those luggage carousels at airports.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cal

Barb Stout

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
966
Location
Albuquerque, NM
1). Don't pack anything valuable in those bags.
2). Relax.
I have packed my flute in my luggage with some, but not a whole lot, of worry. I have found that criminals are either not interested in musical instruments and/or don't know their value. Back in what I guess were my stupid days, I had left my flute in my car at a park in San Francisco and returned to find my car windows were broken and evidence of rifling through the car, but the flute was still there! I was so amazed and relieved. The cops said that it was probably someone who was looking for cash.
 

me_little_me

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
4,637
I also agree that locking one's bags to the rack or to each other is not a good idea. I used to do it. I used a pistol lock.Then I realized what a problem it would cause.
  • If I went down to the baggage area and unlocked them ahead of time, I might find my bags were at the bottom of the pile because people couldn't move them and so just piled theirs on top.
  • If I went down when ready to disembark, it created a nightmare for me and everyone else as I tried to dig out the bags enough to unlock them while everyone else is crowding the space trying to get off or reaching for their bags.
  • The act of picking them up and unlocking them caused me more back pain than the bags were worth.
  • It was a waste of time. You can't lock them together on top or lock them to the rack as it makes it impossible for people to move them to get theirs underneath and you can't lock them on the bottom as you have to unlock them before moving or be able to lift two independent bags at once.

If you can't check them, put them into your room or spend a few bucks and ship them on ahead.

It doesn't make sense. It is very inconsiderate to others. It could get you in trouble if your locked bags cause a delay at a stop where others are taking theirs off but you are not and your bags are the cause of a delay. The conductor may get ticked off and decide that this stop is now yours and has you and your bags removed.
 

joelkfla

Conductor
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
1,053
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
I have packed my flute in my luggage with some, but not a whole lot, of worry. I have found that criminals are either not interested in musical instruments and/or don't know their value. Back in what I guess were my stupid days, I had left my flute in my car at a park in San Francisco and returned to find my car windows were broken and evidence of rifling through the car, but the flute was still there! I was so amazed and relieved. The cops said that it was probably someone who was looking for cash.
Of course, no one would know that your flute was in your bag. If someone was desperate enough to be stealing baggage, they'd first have to randomly select your bag out of all those on the rack to carry off and rifle. So adding that to the extremely rare (nonexistent?) theft of bags on Amtrak, the odds are very low.
 

Barb Stout

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
966
Location
Albuquerque, NM
Of course, no one would know that your flute was in your bag. If someone was desperate enough to be stealing baggage, they'd first have to randomly select your bag out of all those on the rack to carry off and rifle. So adding that to the extremely rare (nonexistent?) theft of bags on Amtrak, the odds are very low.
That was my calculation also.
 
Top