Checked baggage questions

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Joined
Jul 31, 2021
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Schaumburg, IL
As long as the schedule has checked baggage icon. I should have to worry about my bags going missing and not showing up at my stop right?? lets say EMY to SBA...

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Moosejunky99
 
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I've rarely used it, but it doesn't seem like we see a lot of problems with baggage (not counting the lack of availability in so many places) brought up here. Checking bags does require getting to the station earlier to check in, and if you are connecting to a train that doesn't have bag service consider that you have to allow time to pick up your bags, which can be an issue if you are late.. A phone call is always a good idea to make sure nothing has changed.....
 

zephyr17

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You have to have the bags in Amtrak's hands a minimum of 45 minutes before departure.

They should not accept bags to a point without checked baggage service.

I don't know if I would trust the old PDF schedules any more for that. There are some services that used to have checked baggage that don't any more. I am thinking the Surfliners, which had checked baggage to all staffed stations pre-pandemic, but don't now despite the stations still being staffed.

If you put your points on the Schedules tab, it will tell you. I just did a test and SEA-KFS it showed checked baggage under amenities, but SEA-CMO it didn't, which is right. Klamath Falls has checked baggage service, Chemult does not.
 

Acela150

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I can give you an example of checked bag NOT going missing. :)

2 weeks ago before I came out to Chicago for my OBS training, I checked my bags to Chicago. Since I was starting in PHL and going through NYP on the Lake Shore I checked my bags on Friday afternoon. I was told what train they would be put on to NYP and that my bags would be on 49 Saturday and arrive with me on Sunday. My bags were in Amtrak's possession for ab out 36 hours. They made it to Chicago on 49 with me even though I checked them well in advance.

Bottom line... I don't think you have anything to worry about. :)
 

BCL

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You have to have the bags in Amtrak's hands a minimum of 45 minutes before departure.

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.
 

BCL

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I'll just say that for the most part they make sure to sort the baggage in the baggage car by destination. There's a chance that they miss a bag and it ends up at the end of the line, but I think they will try to make it right when a bag is lost.

Also - there's no guarantee of the actual route that the baggage takes. If you check it in early, it may actually arrive on a different train. I know that some of the complex trips with checked baggage and multiple trains can often end up on different trains depending on how they route them. They don't always guarantee that the check-in baggage will ride on the same train as the passenger. But if it's a single train and not checked in too early, that's probably a safe bet.

I've experienced it once and seen it a few times, where baggage was placed on a utility cart and the passengers were asked to claim them. When I rode on the Coast Starlight, they took it right to the thruway bus where they could load bags destined for SFC, while those waiting for their EMY tagged bags showed claim checks. But if it arrives early on a different train, it might need to be claimed at the ticket window or baggage claim.
 

neroden

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My favorite theoretical example: book the LSL from Boston to Chicago, the CZ from Chicago to Sacramento, and the CS from Sacramento to LA.

Check your bag from Boston to LA. It will go on #65/67 to DC, on the Capitol Limited from DC to Chicago, and on the Southwest Chief from Chicago to LA. Should arrive the same day as you do, actually... haven't tried it though.
 
Joined
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Schaumburg, IL
Ya i did check bags with Capital Limited.. Was simple and fine.. they had a guy asking for tickets when we got in too..

I got multi train ticket this trip..

first trip CZ (check bags on that train) -- Stay in Emeryville for a night

second leg is EMY to SBA... (i'll probably just carry on since i'm in business class that trip) should have room to store bags right?

third leg is SBA to OSD... (can't check bag because it is a surf liner which is fine too)

then back the same way..

OSD to SBA

SBA to EMY via Amtrak Bus (that will be a first haha (overnight to EMY)

EMY to CHI

Let's hope for a smooth trip and all... with everything going on lately lol...


OKAY FOLKS,

Thanks for the replies.. It is much appreciated...

Moosejunky99
 

basketmaker

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Visited family on Boston like 20 years ago. Well a Nor'easter was heading in so we took a corridor train from Boston to New York. Checked 2 large bags but were failed to be notified that we would have to transfer them from Penn Station to Grand Central to catch the LSL there instead of Boston. Well they didn't arrive at Chicago. That was when I was advised that somebody slipped up and failed to brief me on the transfer in New York. Apparently someone else had the same thought of getting out of Boston before the storm. And they too were not advised. Well, Amtrak stepped up and said they would deliver the bags to my home. I explained one of the bags contained frozen seafood packed in wet ice. Well they came through and the bags were delivered to my door in Nashville the next morning. They had even packed some dry-ice in the bag. Only one package of seafood was iffy. I still wonder if Amtrak (or their baggage recovery/delivery service) reported the dry ice to the airline (I think it was US Air) when they shipped the bags. Being in the air industry I know dry-ice is considered haz-mat. Though it was minimal and probably not enough to be declared. Overall I commend Amtrak on excellent customer service. Oh BTW, glad we left when we did as my uncle said the storm was a nasty one. Couldn't get out of the house and down the hill for almost week. Also, the Boston-Albany leg of the LSL hit a car stuck on the tracks in the snow somewhere along the way killing 3 young people trying to beat the train. We sat in Albany for about 4 hours until it arrived and was switched to us. Oh just remembered did meet and chat with Maureen Stapleton on this trip too.
 
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BCL

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I wonder what happens if one misses last call for baggage, but they allow it anyways.

I've been to airports where I was bringing someone late and they still had check-in because it was too big to carry on (i.e. not Amtrak). They ended up with a "late check-in" tag placed on the handle and if it didn't make in on time, it would be transported on the next plane to the same destination. I wonder if Amtrak might do it that way.
 

Cal

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Visited family on Boston like 20 years ago. Well a Nor'easter was heading in so we took a corridor train from Boston to New York. Checked 2 large bags but were failed to be notified that we would have to transfer them from Penn Station to Grand Central to catch the LSL there instead of Boston. Well they didn't arrive at Chicago. That was when I was advised that somebody slipped up and failed to brief me on the transfer in New York. Apparently someone else had the same thought of getting out of Boston before the storm. And they too were not advised. Well, Amtrak stepped up and said they would deliver the bags to my home. I explained one of the bags contained frozen seafood packed in wet ice. Well they came through and the bags were delivered to my door in Nashville the next morning. They had even packed some dry-ice in the bag. Only one package of seafood was iffy. I still wonder if Amtrak (or their baggage recovery/delivery service) reported the dry ice to the airline (I think it was US Air) when they shipped the bags. Being in the air industry I know dry-ice is considered haz-mat. Though it was minimal and probably not enough to be declared. Overall I commend Amtrak on excellent customer service. Oh BTW, glad we left when we did as my uncle said the storm was a nasty one. Couldn't get out of the house and down the hill for almost week. Also, the Boston-Albany leg of the LSL hit a car stuck on the tracks in the snow somewhere along the way killing 3 young people trying to beat the train. We sat in Albany for about 4 hours until it arrived and was switched to us. Oh just remembered did meet and chat with Maureen Stapleton on this trip too.
I wonder if Amtrak would still do that today...

I've been to airports where I was bringing someone late and they still had check-in because it was too big to carry on (i.e. not Amtrak). They ended up with a "late check-in" tag placed on the handle and if it didn't make in on time, it would be transported on the next plane to the same destination. I wonder if Amtrak might do it that way.
If you're on a western LD train that means it might not arrive till 24 hours later! Or on a tri-weekly train it could be 2-3 days!
 

BCL

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If you're on a western LD train that means it might not arrive till 24 hours later! Or on a tri-weekly train it could be 2-3 days!
It was my in-laws flying OAK-SEA on Southwest. The tag was just to make sure that they ignored the flight number and just got it to the destination ASAP. I recall that they had to wait at the airport for it to show up and I think they might have even needed to show their claim tag, which most bags don't require these days.

Not sure it really matters for Amtrak. I've only checked in baggage once, and I don't remember how much info there was written on the tag. I do recall the destination station (EMY) was preprinted but I guess some stations may need to be hand written.
 
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I have had 3 noticeable experiences with Amtrak baggage:
  • Trip to Wilmington. We got off and went to get our bags. Clerk with an attitude said there were no bags for Wilmington on our train. I showed them the claim tags and they were very embarrassed. Bags were pulled off at PHL and put on next return train. We got them delivered to our hotel a few hours later. Because our train was many hours late, we had to stay at local hotel because rental car place was closed and we could not get to our reserved room (money down the drain) in NJ shore. Email to Amtrk documenting both lateness and baggage problem got me a nice voucher.
  • Trip to ABQ from Portland, Or via Los Angeles. Got off train. Went to pick up bags. They were not there. Showed them our claim checks. Portland office had put ALB (Albany) instead of ABQ (Albuquerque) tags on bags, but had specified routing through Los Angeles (or they would have gone direct to CHI on Empire Builder). Clerk rushed to train which hadn't left yet and pulled off the bags.
  • Trip to ELP with overnight in NOL. While we were on the Crescent to NOL, I realized I had put something important in my bag checked through from ATL to ELP. When we arrived in NOL, I saw the handler with bag cart and told him the problem. He stopped, pulled off my bag and waited for me to remove the item, then put bag back on cart and drove on. Great service.
Other than those, I have never had baggage issues other than slow service in NYP. I have no hesitation about checking bags. Lots of trips with checked bags.
 

Qapla

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Gator Country Florida
Here are two experiences I had with checked baggage:
  1. I was traveling to NY from Florida to do some volunteer work. I had booked a few months in advance with a "value Fare" on a Silver to NWK (Newark) where I was to be picked up. My pickup plans got changed and I needed to stay on the train till NYP. I called to see about changing my destination and was told that, if I made the change, I would have to cancel and rebook at the current rate - she then suggested that I just ask the conductor if I could simply stay on the train to NYP and not to check any bags. I did this and the conductor told me that, since both destinations cost the same from JAX it would not be a problem if I didn't check my bags. All went well
  2. On the return trip of this trip my tickets were NWK-JAX. My ride let me off at a PATH station in NYC and I rode to NWK. This was around 9AM and my train home was not till 3:30PM. I went to check my baggage for the trip home and asked the man there what I could do with my carry-on since I wanted to ride PATH back to NYC to do a few things before catching the 3:30PM train without having to lug my bag with me and there are no longer lockers in the stations. He told me I could leave them with him and he would "Red Cap Tag" them so there would be no charge for the bags to stay with him and I could just pick them up when I got back. That all worked worked well and I picked up my bag to carry-on and my checked baggage made it to JAX with me. Of course, the clerk did get a nice tip.
 

ja5151

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Jan 17, 2021
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southern Illinois
Anyone know if sleeping bags are acceptable as a checked baggage item? (Ours would either be in their own sleeves or simply tied up in a roll.)
 

Explore

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Oct 11, 2005
Messages
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My local Amtrak station allows checked bags to be dropped off up to 24 hours before train departure time, and picked up to 24 hours after train arrival without a storage fee. This is very convenient if you have bulky items that require a special trip to or from the station.

Is this Amtrak’s policy nationally? If other stations have more restrictive policies, what do they tend to be?
 
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My local Amtrak station allows checked bags to be dropped off up to 24 hours before train departure time, and picked up to 24 hours after train arrival without a storage fee. This is very convenient if you have bulky items that require a special trip to or from the station.

Is this Amtrak’s policy nationally? If other stations have more restrictive policies, what do they tend to be?
I've checked bags 48 hours before departure, but that was a few years ago, and I was taking an Acela and needed to send my bags to Boston on the overnight train. That was back right before they got the new baggage cars, and sometimes the old baggage cars were bad-ordered, and there was no baggage service. I also checked early for a trip from Baltimore to Havre, including an overnight layover in Chicago, and the bags were in Havre waiting for me. Then I checked early for a trip from Baltimore to Lamy, and there was an issue with a snowstorm messing up the Cap Limited that evening, but they sent it on the Cardinal the next day, but I had to pick up the bags in Chicago and re-check them to Lamy. They came into Chicago a day early, so they moved them to storage, and I got a tour of the baggage room in the underground level of Union Station. But there was no charge for the storage. Again, I did an overnight layover in Chicago, and the bags were waiting for me in Lamy.
 

jebr

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My local Amtrak station allows checked bags to be dropped off up to 24 hours before train departure time, and picked up to 24 hours after train arrival without a storage fee. This is very convenient if you have bulky items that require a special trip to or from the station.

Is this Amtrak’s policy nationally? If other stations have more restrictive policies, what do they tend to be?

I've found this to generally be the case as well. There's been times where it's just been easier to drop off my bag the night before at the station, or pick it up the next day, and it's never been a problem. I guess I haven't stress tested the limits of it, but I would have no hesitation in relying on being able to check in baggage early (as long as it's within 24 hours of departure.)
 
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