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First time traveling on train advice/help

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Manny

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 26, 2020
Messages
17
Next to the door of each car is a changeable sign with 4 digits. This is the car number. (Note this is totally different than the 5 digit car number painted on the car, which does not change.)

Thus if you have car 5000 or car 0530, you enter that car. There will also be employees at the door to assist you.
Thank you!
 

Manny

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 26, 2020
Messages
17
Check the PDF ticket you should have been emailed. There will be a car number and a room number there.

You can also go early and check into the Metropolitan Lounge. They should be able to tell you what the procedure there is. At least two hours prior to departure is good.
It just had the letter C and some numbers
 

joelkfla

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
183
Has *nothing* to do with their base pay; I have relatives who make half that, serving people who rarely tip for a service, not guaranteed to them, to do what that they cannot do themselves.

But that does not diminish what the RedCaps do.

Their tip is for the wonderful service the RedCaps provide - which is a GREAT service for those of us who have problems getting our stuff to the train. We rely on them completely.

The last time I was in San Jose I tried to tip the RedCap and he refused it. It wasn't an insignificant tip, someone here tried to tell me why he refused it, something having to do with California Corridor stuff I didn't understand. He totally deserved it.
I think the point was to differentiate them from the on-board employees, who make a living wage without tips.
 

Manny

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 26, 2020
Messages
17
My advice would be to just be sure to get aboard the train! You can locate your particular car and room once aboard.
I dont even know what train will be mine or how anything works lol this is my 1st time on a train and at a train station
 

Manny

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 26, 2020
Messages
17
Do you already have your ticket?

If so, it should have the train name and number on it
I do, but it just has the QR code and it says reservation # and it starts w the letter C and some numbers. And then the letter D and more numbers.
 

Manny

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 26, 2020
Messages
17
Be sure you know your train number. If you are leaving from a major station, there will be a first class lounge and/or waiting area for sleeper passengers. The lounge attendant will call your train when it is ready to board, and lead the sleeper passengers to the train. There are signs, similar to the departure signs at airports, which will list your train and what track it will be leaving on, and when it is ready to board. (The signs work for everyone, coach as well as sleeper passengers.) There will generally be PA announcements as well.

Along side the train, there will be a conductor or attendant who will check your ticket (either a paper ticket or an e-ticket on your phone, tablet, etc.) They will tell you if you are at the right or wrong train, and which car to board. Be sure to get to the platform with enough time to go back and find the right train if you are at the wrong one!

One advantage of trains over airplanes is you don't have to be at the station 2 or 3 hours early. Twenty minutes is plenty, but only if you are familiar with the station layout and there is no danger of getting stuck in a traffic jam on your way to the station. For a first-timer, I would allow at least an hour.

The sleeper lounge (Metropolitan Lounge in many cities, Acela Lounge on the NEC) will usually have coffee, tea, cold drinks and snacks available, with comfy chairs, WiFi, etc. so a good place to wait if you are too early. (The lounge in Chicago even has showers, though they may be closed due to Covid-19.)

The first time I took a long distance train (LSL BOS->CHI in a roomette), I didn't know about the lounge and had to hustle all my luggage through South Station among all the commuters and NEC passengers, and find the right platform (which was well-marked) but once I reached the train, they took really good care of me. The lounge attendant would have guided me to the right track and arranged a Red Cap to bring me and my luggage to the train if I had needed that service. The Sleeping Car Attendant (SCA) always asks if you are a first-time sleeping car passenger and gives a very thorough introduction to the room, car and services if you are. They are always happy to answer any questions, even for experienced passengers.
Thank you! Wish me luck!
 

Manny

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 26, 2020
Messages
17
The exception to the "you don't have to be there too early" advice is if you are checking a bag. Many sleeper passengers don't bother on the trains to LA, the cars have ample baggage racks on the lower level. Word from some recent travelers has mentioned certain things not out to eat or drink in the lounges during the current situation. Again, if we knew where you were departing, someone will give you the up to date scoop.
Alvarado Transportation Center, 320 1st St SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102
 

Manny

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 26, 2020
Messages
17
If it says something like 0330/C, that means car 0330 (Where 03 is train 03 and car 30 of that train - but not the 30th car) and room C in that car.
It says [redacted] so I am big confused. I just thought I'll figure it out b4 I actually have to go and get lost lol

Moderator note: removed potentially identifiable information.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

the_traveler

Conductor
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Messages
26,008
Location
Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
[Redacted] is your reservation number, that’s all. There should be another set of numbers.

You mentioned “D” and other numbers. That is bedroom D and the other 4 numbers is your car number on train 3 and 4, the Southwest Chief.

Moderator note: redacted potential reservation number.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

PVD

Conductor
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
4,819
Location
NYC/Queens
A wild guess is that is your reservation #, you should have received a pdf which you can open showing your e-ticket which will have a QR code that can be scanned by the conductor. It is always good to print it out and keep a copy in your pocket in case of a phone issue. Assuming no checked luggage you will have no problem....If I recall, ABQ is staffed, if anything is unclear, ask the station agent....
 
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Manny

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 26, 2020
Messages
17
[Redacted] is your reservation number, that’s all. There should be another set of numbers.

You mentioned “D” and other numbers. That is bedroom D and the other 4 numbers is your car number on train 3 and 4, the Southwest Chief.
*feels dumb*
I been looking at the ticket on the amtrak app and checked the pdf in my email and the app doesn't display all the information the pdf have. It says train 3, car-[redacted]. The app displays only the reservation #

Moderator note: redacted potentially identifiable information.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Rasputin

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
747
Alvarado Transportation Center, 320 1st St SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102
The train stops at Albuquerque for an extended period so there will be plenty of time to find the correct car and your sleeping car room. The sleeping car attendant for your car will direct you to your room. The sleeping cars are almost always at the front of the train just behind the locomotives. I would suggest that you pack a sleep mask for your trip which I find to be very helpful. Also some people like to use ear plugs. Take along a few snacks.

Once you board the train I suggest that you spend much of your time in the sightseer lounge cars which will provide you with good views on both sides of the train. The trip west from Albuquerque in the late afternoon and evening is remarkably beautiful and I always look forward to it.

Sorry about my suspicions and I hope you have a wonderful trip.
 

PVD

Conductor
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
4,819
Location
NYC/Queens
Do I remember correctly that there were people selling souvenir type stuff on tables on the platform or am I thinking of somewhere else?
 

AmtrakBlue

Conductor
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
11,795
Location
Delaware
I believe there are only two trains that serve Albuquerque, Amtrak & NM’s Rail-runner.


Amtrak’s does NOT look like the rail runner shown here:

 

noflyzone

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 22, 2019
Messages
15
If you live in ABQ, why not just pop over to the station, ask your questions and get the info you need? You will then know the process well in advance and be more confident in what is going to happen on your day of travel. No anxiety at the last minute and I'm sure your boarding will go smoothly. There are many opinions here and trying to sort through them and come up with a plan might be difficult.
 

joelkfla

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
183
Do I remember correctly that there were people selling souvenir type stuff on tables on the platform or am I thinking of somewhere else?
I believe somebody posted that they had been banned during the pandemic. That makes sense, as native American communities reportedly have been hard hit.
 

PVD

Conductor
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
4,819
Location
NYC/Queens
Last time I was on the SWC I was heading to Arizona for a stop in Flagstaff, and a visit to my sister and brother in law in the Phoenix area. I was supposed to go out this spring, for obvious reasons, that didn't happen. And right now, nothing could get me to go to Arizona.....
 
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