Connecting Checked Bags

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Joined
Feb 20, 2016
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Traveling soon from El Paso to Milwaukee - Texas Eagle 422 (hopefully) connecting to Hiawatha 337. Will have a roomette & travel with one large suitcase and one airline carry-on sized. Thinking it would be really nice to check the larger bag so I do not have to lug on and off / between trains in Chicago and fight for baggage rack space. The proposed connection above is relatively short at 1 hour 23 minutes. I realize if the train is late I will likely end up on a later Hiawatha, in which case I'm sure my bag would make the connection. However, if the Eagle is relatively on time, or if I "just" make the connection, what are the chances my bag will make it?

The complicating factor is that my home is approx. 3.5 hours away from the MKE station in an area with no Amtrak service. I'm assuming should the checked bag miss the train but I make it, Amtrak would not be willing to deliver it to me at this distance and I would end up waiting for it? Just looking for some friendly advice which forum members have provided many times before!

Also, regarding the carry on in the roomette, it's been a while since I've traveled & never had a roomette to myself. Will there be room to store the carry on in the upper bunk and still fold it up to the ceiling a comfortable distance?

Thanks to all in advance.
 

amtrakpass

Service Attendant
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Jan 21, 2016
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118
Hey there. I did not realize the Hiawatha's offered checked baggage service but I do see now that is the case from looking at a timetable and doing a test booking. I also see you are able to book the connection between the Eagle and 337 together. Did you do that or did you book them separately? They will definitely get your baggage up to Milwaukee if you check it there and if you booked it in one ticket I have a feeling it will be on that train however tight the connection. But of course I can't say that 100% I would however say that they would view there responsibility is to get the baggage to the Amtrak station, not your house. So whatever happens you will have to wait there to pick it up. As far as your other roommette question I guess it would depend on the size of the carry on. I would usually just take out what I need for the room and put the rest downstairs in the baggage area but with only one person in a roommette you have a little extra space so it might work to keep it with you.
 

bratkinson

OBS Chief
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Aug 7, 2004
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810
30-40 years ago, I flew on business a couple times per month. Airline non-success putting bags on the same plane as I was prompted me to always carry what I could, and what I couldn't would go a couple days earlier via UPS or Fedex. I've used the same approach riding Amtrak for many years.

Given the size of the luggage storage racks on Superliners, I would likely put the 'big bag' there. On the Hiawatha, however, carrying a big bag up the steps into the train would be the biggest limitation, in my opinion. Boarding where there's a conductor to help hoist up the big one would be my choice.

Also, the odds of making an 83 minute connection from the Texas Eagle is very iffy, in my opinion. I'd plan on taking the next Hiawatha a couple hours later. And if, per chance, you actually COULD make the connection from a one hour late TE, odds are your bag wouldn't. So you'd be in Milwaukee waiting for your bag to arrive. Go ride the new street car line across the street from the station in Milwaukee!
 

jebr

Conductor
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The Hiawathas are unreserved, so it shouldn't matter much which one you're ticketed on. Since the 337 is a "peak" train, there shouldn't be any additional surcharge if you need to catch a later one.

As for baggage, it'll probably make the connection if everything's on time. If the connection is super tight, it may not, but in that case you could always poke around Milwaukee for a bit (so long as you aren't on the last Hiawatha of the day.) As for baggage delivery, I'm not sure if they'd deliver it 3.5 hours to your house. If there's an Amtrak station closer, you may be able to work something out to get it to that closer station (assuming it has baggage service.) Looking at the data from ASMAD, there's a few days where I'd consider it potentially pretty tight. Given the 3.5 hour drive, I'd recommend carrying it on if at all possible; the risk isn't terribly high, but it's in the 3-5% range, and the downfall is too great for me to feel comfortable recommending it.
 
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