Chicago to Lakeland RT (concerned about connections)

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zephyr17

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Would this work if i miss a connection Amtrak has to find a way to get me there?

View attachment 29788
There wasn't a lot of that image, so I could not tell much.

If you enter CHI-LAK and LAK-CHI, any connecting segments that are returned are guaranteed. That does not mean trains will be held, although that is possible depending on how big the "miss" will be and how many passengers are making the connection. The connection can also be protected by a bus bridge, or by laying you over, covering hotel and some other expenses, and putting you on the next day's train.

With both the Star and Meteor running, there should be guaranteed connections available at WAS both directions from Florida. With just the Star, guaranteed connections are only there east/southbound. From Lakeland, which is on the Star's route, you might have to take a connecting bus for the Meteor (there was one for the Meteor from Tampa, don't know if it stopped at Lakeland). Otherwise, you might consider a return ticket from Winter Haven, relatively nearby on the Meteor's route.

Under no circumstances put the two trains on separate reservations. You lose the guarantee if there is one.
 
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zephyr17

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it is a multi train ticket... chicago to washington to lakeland to washington to chicago.. i probably lose it right?
Multi train is not a term I am familiar with. Multi-City is. Separate reservations are.

Connections forced through Multi-City might be guaranteed. Since not all connecting city pairs are in Arrow (each city pair must be manually entered into that antiquated system), you can check the guarantee by seeing if connections are offered by entering major cities on the route, in this case, the check would be TPA-CHI. Some connections can be made in Multi-City that are not guaranteed, but super close ones and absurd ones generally can't be.

However, I can save you the work. Connections between the northbound Star and the westbound Capitol are not guaranteed. If the Star misses, you are on your own.

Both trains have diners. The Star didn't have one for awhile in an experiment, but it has been back for a long time serving wretched flex meals just like the Meteor. The difference is the Star makes a detour over to Tampa and back each direction that the Meteor doesn't. And, of course, schedule.

The Meteor has been suspended for awhile, service to Florida being the "Super Star" extra long version of the Star with about as much capacity as the Star and Meteor combined. The Meteor is supposed to return to service on October 3rd, and all indications are it will, subject to a possible delay caused by Hurricane Ian.

Do not book a connection which is not guaranteed. If you have already booked, get it modified.
 
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zephyr17

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I just looked. There are guaranteed connections available LAK-CHI in late March. A LAK-CHI request returns bus LAK-ORL, Meteor ORL-WAS or NYP and either the Capitol or the Lake Shore to Chicago. The Meteor has guaranteed connections with both.

Stop trying to piece your trips together segment by segment. Put your endpoints in a see what comes up. Only fall back to Multi-City if it says no trains available, and even then verify guaranteed connections using the major city check I described in my prior post.

Modify your reservation.

Finally, under almost no circumstance book connecting trains under separate reservations.
 
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zephyr17

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whoever renamed the topic.. thanks mod! That is a good way to say it!! thanks again for the help! I'll book it your way.. and maybe just go to ORL so i can skip the bus madness lol..
If you are going to be in Lakeland and want to skip the bus to catch the Meteor, Winter Haven is a lot closer to Lakeland than Orlando. Kissimmee is another option.
 
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If you're taking the Meteor and the train is on time, you may have time to explore Wash DC a bit. There's a public DC Circulator bus that boards across the street from Union Station which runs frequently to the Smithsonian museums on the Mall, and on to some of the monuments. The cherry blossoms may be in bloom.

If you're in a sleeper, you can stash your carry-on bags in the Metropolitan Lounge at the station. But don't push it if the train arrives late. I would plan to be back at Union Station at least 45-60 minutes before the connecting train departs.
 
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