First time questions

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Rowen

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Hi All!

I am taking an Amtrak train from Pittsburgh to Chicago then on to Little Rock in April. I've never been on a train before (part of the reason I wanted to take this trip). I'm travelling coach, no sleeper, and have a couple questions. I know this may sound stupid but, hey, I've never been here before...

1) Is baggage carryon or checked for coach trips? I'm not taking much but do I have one large suitcase, probably a camera case and a backpack.

2) Do trains have restrooms or do you have wait for the stops in between destinations?

3) Do you have any kind of meals and, if so, do you pay for them?

Thanks!

Rowen
 

AlanB

Conductor
Honored Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2002
Messages
28,406
Rowen,

First off I'm a firm believer that no question is too stupid, if you don't know the answer. So ask away! :)

Now to answer your current questions. Amtrak does offer checked baggage to some stations. Unfortunately, Little Rock is not one of them. You could if you wanted check your bags from Pittsburgh to Chicago, but that would be all you can do. That really serves no purpose either, as you'd have to pick up the bag in Chicago. You might as well carry it the whole way.

Amtrak has luggage racks over the seat, plus you can store bags at the ends of the coach. You may wish to make sure that you have a lock on the bag, although problems with things being stolen are rare. Keep your camera with you at all times or locked in the suitcase. Don't leave it unattended or it might just disappear.

Toilets are available in each and every car; most cars have at least two if not more.

The train from Pittsburgh to Chicago will only have a lounge/cafe car. You can buy snacks, sodas, chip, liquor from there, and yes you must pay for them. Meals are only included when you stay in a sleeper. They also offer a breakfast egg mcmuffin type of sandwich, plus micro-wavable pizza's, cheeseburgers, along with a selection of sandwiches. The attendant will heat anything that you request when you buy it from him. He won't heat things that you bring on board.

You can indeed bring your own non-perishable food with you. Now on the train from Chicago to Little Rock, you will find both a cafe car and a full-fledged dining car. The diner is more expensive, but the food is better and prepared to order for you just like a restaurant and is waiter served. If money is tight, try a breakfast in the diner as it's the cheapest meal. However eating in the diner is one of the more unique experiences for train riders.

You can check out both the diner menu and the cafe car menu by clicking here to open a page on Progidy's On Track On Line (OTOL). You may also wish to check out some trip reports filed by people having taken an Amtrak trip to get a feel for train travel. They can be found here, also on OTOL.

Last but not least you may wish to check out this OTOL page that is chocked full of hints and tips for train travel.

I hope that this helps some, and please don't hesitate to come back should you have more questions. :)
 

EmpireBuilderFan

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Aug 24, 2002
Messages
412
Rowen,

Just to add one recommendation: since you're going to be travelling overnight, I would highly recommend bringing a pillow and blanket with you. Amtrak only provides a small, airline-style pillow for coach passengers, and it can get a little cold in the cars at night, so a blanket and full sized pillow will make the trip much more comfortable.
 

Superliner Diner

Conductor
Joined
Aug 23, 2002
Messages
1,055
The train from Pittsburgh to Chicago will only have a lounge/cafe car.
True if we're talking about the Three Rivers. However if Rowen happens to catch the Capitol Limited, then there will also be a, how do I say this, a Superliner Diner. It's probably only useful for breakfast the next morning though, because of the late night boarding time. But in the eastbound direction, dinner is served.
 

AlanB

Conductor
Honored Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2002
Messages
28,406
Superliner Diner said:
The train from Pittsburgh to Chicago will only have a lounge/cafe car.
True if we're talking about the Three Rivers. However if Rowen happens to catch the Capitol Limited, then there will also be a, how do I say this, a Superliner Diner. It's probably only useful for breakfast the next morning though, because of the late night boarding time. But in the eastbound direction, dinner is served.
You're quite right, I don't know why I forgot about that train running through Pittsburgh. Maybe it was that nice wine that I had for dinner. :)
 

Steve4031

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Messages
5,643
Rowen,

Take a look at your ticket. If you are booked on the Capitol Limited, the train number will be 29 or 30. This train has the diner with full meal service.

If the train number is 40 or 41, you will be on the Three Rivers, which only has the snack car.

Have a good trip.
 

sutton8596

Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 12, 2003
Messages
107
call me odd, but some of that lounge car food is pretty tasty. I don't remember what soup I had, but it was excellent (though doubtfully healthy) :D

Enjoy your trip.

Scott
 
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