Boarding/alighting from a car different from the car one is assigned to

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TheCrescent

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Out of curiosity, when you board an Amtrak train, why can’t you board a train through any car (in your class of service)? Why do you have to have to board only through the car for which you have a ticket?

For example, once I boarded the Acela through the car next to mine. The onboard staff pitched a fit and demanded that I get off and board through my car.

In addition, on a long-distance train with two sleeping cars, the staff will refuse to let you board through the other car, even if your room is at the end of the car and the door that you want to board through is right next to your room (through the vestibule).

I can see wanting people who don’t have assigned seats to board the car where the onboard staff will make them sit, but forcing a passenger on the Acela to get off because he boarded the car next to his?

Is this an Amtrak rule or is this just power trips by onboard staff?

Thanks.
 

AmtrakBlue

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Out of curiosity, when you board an Amtrak train, why can’t you board a train through any car (in your class of service)? Why do you have to have to board only through the car for which you have a ticket?

For example, once I boarded the Acela through the car next to mine. The onboard staff pitched a fit and demanded that I get off and board through my car.

In addition, on a long-distance train with two sleeping cars, the staff will refuse to let you board through the other car, even if your room is at the end of the car and the door that you want to board through is right next to your room (through the vestibule).

I can see wanting people who don’t have assigned seats to board the car where the onboard staff will make them sit, but forcing a passenger on the Acela to get off because he boarded the car next to his?

Is this an Amtrak rule or is this just power trips by onboard staff?

Thanks.
I've never encountered this. I ride the NERs mostly, but have ridden Acela's. Most of the time I try to board a car that I feel I'll find a seat in rather than trudge through a lot of cars. At my home station I'll walk to the area of the platform where the first coach will be as I find it easier to find a seat walking towards the back. And generally, for me, the 1st coach has seats available.
I boarded the LSL in the "wrong" sleeper and walked thorough to mine. As I recall, the SCA made the mistake of telling me that it was my sleeper, but I knew better since I knew my car (12) was a VLII and the car I boarded was a VLI. :p
 

AmtrakBlue

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For example, once I boarded the Acela through the car next to mine. The onboard staff pitched a fit and demanded that I get off and board through my car.
Curious. Did you happen to board the FC car? If so, that may be why they told you to exit and board the next car.
 
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MARC Rider

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I've never had anybody ask me for my ticket at the door when I've boarded an Acela. Of course, I'd rather board at my car than try to walk through others, being blocked while people find their seats. I've also never had my tickets checked when boarding the Regionals, where there's open seating and people definitely do pass through multiple cars trying to find seats. The only time I've had staff tell where to board when riding coach is on the long distance trains where they segregate passengers by destination, which is make sure that the people traveling through the night are in their own car where they're not disturbed by people getting off an on the train at those middle of the night stops.
 

MARC Rider

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Curious. Did you happen to board the FC car? If so, that may be why they told you to exit and board the next car.
You'd be surprised on the Regionals how common it is for coach passengers to be caught out in business class by the conductors. Most of them didn't realize they were in Business class, even though the conductors are at the door directing people into the appropriate car. They must have wandered in from the neighboring cars.
 

TheCrescent

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Curious. Did you happen to board the FC car? If so, that may be why they told you to exit and board the next car.
I had a first-class ticket.

I boarded the business-class car next to first class.

The onboard staff got all in a huff and insisted that I get off and board the first class car directly. They weren’t nice about it, either: almost yelling.
 

jis

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No one has ever checked my ticket at the door while boarding an Acela yet. However, being lazy, I voluntarily board the car in which my assigned seat is.

The reason they do not like First Class passengers to board in the adjacent car is that the First Class galley is at the BC end and they do not like passengers passing through there. Of course if the train was about to start they would have allowed since they would not delay the train for this.
 

TheCrescent

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Is it possible to get off from a car where you weren’t sitting or sleeping?

For example, if you’re in a sleeping car, can you walk through the diner or lounge and get off (at a station with low-level platforms) through a coach car?
 

MARC Rider

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I once stepped off the Lakeshore Limited at Albany for fresh air, to go up to the station to use the restroom. while the power was off, and to watch the switching moves whole they attached the Boston Section. I went back on board the train in a coach, thinking I could walk through the dining car back to my sleeper room. However, the door to the diner was locked tight. I guess they don't open the connection until after the Boston section is attached so that people from the Boston sleeper can access the dining car. I had to hustle out of the coach and make my way down the platform to an open door on one of the sleeping cars.
 
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I've never ridden an Acela train before, so I have no experience with that.

However I do know that on at least some LD trains, the conductors and coach attendants try to group passengers by destination. Back in 2017, I rode the Silver Meteor from RVR to ORL and a conductor (or CA) directed me to the car I was to sit in because I was going to Orlando.
 

Widfara

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Sort of related. On my upcoming trip, I'm ticketed Sacramento to Chicago, but not desiring to spend two days in Chicago, I'm staying in Aurora, cheaper and safer. My plan is to get off at Naperville and backtrack by Metra to Aurora. Then I will come in on Metra on my next train day. Am I going to have trouble getting off at Naperville? I plan to tell the car attendant of my plan, and also check with the Train Chief for that leg, just in case I am the only one getting off there (which I cannot really imagine). But I'm hearing so many stories of power trips by train staff.
 

zephyr17

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Sort of related. On my upcoming trip, I'm ticketed Sacramento to Chicago, but not desiring to spend two days in Chicago, I'm staying in Aurora, cheaper and safer. My plan is to get off at Naperville and backtrack by Metra to Aurora. Then I will come in on Metra on my next train day. Am I going to have trouble getting off at Naperville? I plan to tell the car attendant of my plan, and also check with the Train Chief for that leg, just in case I am the only one getting off there (which I cannot really imagine). But I'm hearing so many stories of power trips by train staff.
No such thing as a "train chief". Let your attendant know. If really concerned, talk to conductor that comes on duty at Ottumwa.
 

bonzoesc

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Is it possible to get off from a car where you weren’t sitting or sleeping?

For example, if you’re in a sleeping car, can you walk through the diner or lounge and get off (at a station with low-level platforms) through a coach car?
Nobody would stop you if it’s a car passengers are allowed to get off from.
 

AmtrakBlue

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Is it possible to get off from a car where you weren’t sitting or sleeping?

For example, if you’re in a sleeping car, can you walk through the diner or lounge and get off (at a station with low-level platforms) through a coach car?
At Newark, DE, there are only 2 doors you can get off from. Usually the cafe car doors, though sometimes, due to where they spot the train, you might get off via a coach next to the cafe car.
 

EchoSierra

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Out of curiosity, when you board an Amtrak train, why can’t you board a train through any car (in your class of service)? Why do you have to have to board only through the car for which you have a ticket?

For example, once I boarded the Acela through the car next to mine. The onboard staff pitched a fit and demanded that I get off and board through my car.

In addition, on a long-distance train with two sleeping cars, the staff will refuse to let you board through the other car, even if your room is at the end of the car and the door that you want to board through is right next to your room (through the vestibule).

I can see wanting people who don’t have assigned seats to board the car where the onboard staff will make them sit, but forcing a passenger on the Acela to get off because he boarded the car next to his?

Is this an Amtrak rule or is this just power trips by onboard staff?

Thanks.

Acela - The galley is on the end of the First Class car that is coupled to the Business Class cars. Since First Class passengers would have no need to go to Business and vice versa, they don't want people passing through there, especially if they're preparing food.

Long Distance - If they won't let you board through the other car, then that means your sleeping car attendant is not the same one as the car you were trying to board. I'm not sure if they have one attendant per car, but the sleeping car attendant checks you in as you board, and hands the list to the conductor to mark your ticket as lifted without having to actually come to your room to scan it.
 

TheCrescent

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Long Distance - If they won't let you board through the other car, then that means your sleeping car attendant is not the same one as the car you were trying to board. I'm not sure if they have one attendant per car, but the sleeping car attendant checks you in as you board, and hands the list to the conductor to mark your ticket as lifted without having to actually come to your room to scan it.
Thanks. The attendant at the other car was a different attendant, but on the Crescent, every time, including this trip, the conductor (another person) has knocked on my door and scanned my ticket. And tickets are scanned again (by the conductor knocking on your door and asking for your ticket) after the train leaves Washington.
 

Gary Behling

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I have been riding passenger trains since the 1950s. I don't think I have heard of this ever being a problem. But I guess on modern day Amtrak, maybe it is a problem for some unknown reason.
Can you imagine all the foot traffic in the narrow aisles if people got on any car they wished, hauling their luggage through several cars, dining cars, lounge cars etc just to get to the cars they THINK they belong in and asking Amtrak employees if this was their car? NO-- you proceed to the car you belong in and board there.
 

TheCrescent

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Update

I was getting off my sleeping car this morning. I saw a passenger in the vestibule, so I stood at the entrance to the vestibule, a few moments before arriving (at a station with low-level platforms).

The car attendant saw me and started yelling, “Your attendant is in the other car! Get out of here and you have to get out from the other car!”

I hadn’t said anything to him, so I started recording it. I said, calmly, “May I have your name, please?” He turned away from me, but I stood there for a moment, and finally saw his name tag and he yelled again, “Yeah, you got my name!” and yelled a few other things.

So, no, apparently you not only can’t leave the train from any exit but you will get yelled at if you try to.

Even if requiring boarding and leaving from your car is a policy- if so, that’s fine- my complaint is yelling at passengers like that.
 

AmtrakBlue

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Can you imagine all the foot traffic in the narrow aisles if people got on any car they wished, hauling their luggage through several cars, dining cars, lounge cars etc just to get to the cars they THINK they belong in and asking Amtrak employees if this was their car? NO-- you proceed to the car you belong in and board there.
Unless you don’t belong in any particular car and are looking for an available seat.
 

Gary Behling

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Update

I was getting off my sleeping car this morning. I saw a passenger in the vestibule, so I stood at the entrance to the vestibule, a few moments before arriving (at a station with low-level platforms).

The car attendant saw me and started yelling, “Your attendant is in the other car! Get out of here and you have to get out from the other car!”

I hadn’t said anything to him, so I started recording it. I said, calmly, “May I have your name, please?” He turned away from me, but I stood there for a moment, and finally saw his name tag and he yelled again, “Yeah, you got my name!” and yelled a few other things.

So, no, apparently you not only can’t leave the train from any exit but you will get yelled at if you try to.

Even if requiring boarding and leaving from your car is a policy- if so, that’s fine- my complaint is yelling at passengers like that.
Yelling, huh! pure exaggeration.
 

railiner

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Update

I was getting off my sleeping car this morning. I saw a passenger in the vestibule, so I stood at the entrance to the vestibule, a few moments before arriving (at a station with low-level platforms).

The car attendant saw me and started yelling, “Your attendant is in the other car! Get out of here and you have to get out from the other car!”

I hadn’t said anything to him, so I started recording it. I said, calmly, “May I have your name, please?” He turned away from me, but I stood there for a moment, and finally saw his name tag and he yelled again, “Yeah, you got my name!” and yelled a few other things.

So, no, apparently you not only can’t leave the train from any exit but you will get yelled at if you try to.

Even if requiring boarding and leaving from your car is a policy- if so, that’s fine- my complaint is yelling at passengers like that.
That is incredibly unacceptable behavior. You should definitely report that. Someone behaving that way most likely has a history of similar, and should be removed from their position.
 

railiner

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Is it possible to get off from a car where you weren’t sitting or sleeping?

For example, if you’re in a sleeping car, can you walk through the diner or lounge and get off (at a station with low-level platforms) through a coach car?
In sleeping cars in particular, it is customary to tip your attendant when getting off the train at the end of your trip....so attendants will be anxious for you to get off from your assigned car, and not "miss" them....;)
 
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