First trip ???'s

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scrollmaster

Service Attendant
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Wife & I leaving in May on Amtrak for first ever train trip and have a couple questions. In a nutshell we are going from Longview,TX→Chicago→Seattle→LosAngeles→SanAntonio→Longview,Tx. We will be riding Texas Eagle 22, Empire Builder 7, Coastal Starlight 11 & Texas Eagle 422.

1)We have a bedroom on each train. Are we allowed to sit in other passenger cars as well such as coach etc?

2)Are bedrooms available on either side of the sleeper car? If so is one side better for viewing on a particular train?.. such as Pacific Ocean side on the Coastal Starlight and can I request a particular side for a bedroom?

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LookingGlassTie

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Disclosure: I haven't ridden in a sleeper before, so I'll be going off of what others have said on other threads.

I'm not sure whether a sleeper passenger can sit in a coach seat (if one is available), but I do know that he/she can spend some time in the Sightseer Lounge (I think all three trains have that). And of course the diner or cafe car.

As far as views go, part of that depends on which direction a sleeper car is facing in the consist. Also, some here have said that views aren't that great in the bedrooms due to the locations of the windows. When you make your reservations, you will be (or should be) assigned a room number. You may be able to ask for a specific room, but as I haven't done that before myself, I can't guarantee anything.

I'm sure that my fellow posters can help you with your questions as well.
 

Lonestar648

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It is impossible to know which direction the Sleeper will be headed, which determines which side of the car your room is on. For scenery, I strongly suggest spending time in the Sightseer Lounge Car.. The Dining Car is also a great place to see the sights outside. If your room is the "Bedroom" and not the "Roomette", you will be able to look out the window in your door to see what is on the other side of the train. When you enter the Sleeper, the SCA (Sleeping Car Attendant) will guide you to your room. The SCA will acquaint you with all the features of your room and the Sleeping Car, and the train. You will need a reservation for Dinner, so if reservations have already been made when you board in Longview, your SCA should have made one for you. In Chicago and LA there are Metropolitan Lounges for the Sleeping Car Passengers.

Hope you have a great trip and feel free to ask other questions.
 

the_traveler

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You can request a specific room by calling to make your reservation. (When booking online, the computer assigns the room.) Bedrooms only face one direction. Roomettes can be on either side of the center aisle. However, since sleepers can be attached in either direction, you will not know until you board if you are on the good side or the other side.

Technically, you can not also sit in a coach seat (as they may all been sold), but you may be allowed to sit in an unoccupied one (it does not have a seat check above it) for a short time. However, you are always free to go to the Sightseer Lounge!

I also recommend booking each segment from when you start to where you stop as separate reservations. The reason is that if you are not checked in by the Conductor on 1 train, you will be marked as a no-show and ALL future reservations on that specific reservation will be cancelled!

Example: You book everything on 1 reservation. For some reason, your ticket is not checked on your departure from Chicago. You may be marked as a no-show, and you future reservations will be cancelled - and could be resold. Then you board #422 in LA and find your room was sold - because you were a no-show from Chicago to Seattle.

If you book separately, there are no future reservations to get canceled since it is another reservation altogether.
 
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JRR

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There have been s couple of times (on the NER) where my ticket wasn’t checked and I had the Conductor do it when I was exiting to make sure that I got credit for the points.

Checked. My experience is that when you are in a sleeper, they always have you checked, even if you don’t see them do it.

You can also check on the train if you think it may not have been

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Bob Dylan

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Nice trip,were envious!And as was said, please be sure your ticket is scanned by the Conductor each time you board the train.

The Regular Superliner Bedrooms are all Upstairs (A-E) and the H and Family Rooms are downstairs.Most of us prefer the E Bedroom, with A being the least favored due to being Smaller and on the end of the Car over the trucks.

A few tips that might help ( please read the First Time Rider thread on AU), make your meal reservations for the Diner when the LSA comes around @ your room. Breakfast is always first come, first served, but if you wait too late there is usually a wait list.

Lunch is First come/first served on some trains, by Rez on others.Dinner is always by a Rez.You can request meals in your room delivered by your SCA, but meeting people in the Diner and Lounge is a major part of traveling on Trains. ( Remember to tip your attendant if they provide this service to your room/ see the many threads about tipping here on AU)

You can take your personal adult beverages into your room along with preferred snacks. ( the choices and quality are limited and pricey aboard)

The Shower downstairs is much larger than the combo shower/Toliet in your room, and there are plenty of regular restrooms located by the Shower along with the Luggage rack for your large bags.

Lastly, you can use the Metro Lounges in Chicago and LA while waiting on your Train and you might want to request a Redcap to help you detrain/board in Chicago and LA since you aren't familiar with the Large,Busy Stations.
 

Don Newcomb

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You'll need to decide which, if any, of your luggage you want to check and which you want to have with you. I don't know much about bedrooms but luggage space in roomettes is pretty limited.

In the dining room you wait to be seated by the attendant. Parties of two or fewer will normally be seated with another party. Most passengers in the dining car are fairly decent people who have some interesting stories but you may have to suffer through some meals with some "interesting" characters.

Always use the handholds when moving between cars. The route is mostly on freight trackage, so the ride may not be as smooth as trains in Europe or Japan. Lateral movement is maximum at the ends of the cars.
 
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Lonestar648

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Breakfast is usually started at 6:30 so we are always seated by 7:00 otherwise soon after it is the waitlist. We enjoy the sunrise will having breakfast. If you let your SCA know, they will make up your room while at breakfast.

Use the service stops to get outside for fresh air and a walk. Do not stray away from the train, so you can hear the boarding call. We all the length of the train a couple times, so can board any when the call is made. This is also an opportunity to talk with other passengers,some you may have met in the Diner or SSL.

If you need Red Cap assistance in Chicago, let your SCA know in adavance so they can arrange this for you.

If you have several electrical items (cell charger, kindle, iPad, etc.) bring a surge multi plug in strip. There is only a one plug outlet in the room. I also carry an extension cord just in case. Though bottled water is provided on the train, we always carry an extra bottle just in case.

I always enjoy having my window open at night to see the passing towns, the moon lit woods or fields, etc.

Plan ahead, have a terrific trip. Your route is similar to one we took two years ago, just going the opposite direction.
 

scrollmaster

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I certainly appreciate all the information and I am making notes.

Another question...

We depart from Longview TX on the Texas Eagle and ride overnight to Chicago and then stay in the hotel overnight till we can catch the Empire Builder for another overnight to Havre Montana and will rent a car and stay in Montana for a week to visit my wife relatives. Longview and Havre both show on the website that they accept checked baggage. Is it possible to have my checked baggage go all the way to Havre without me having to handle them in between and I could just pick them up when we arrive in Havre? If so is there an extra fee for doing this?

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trainman74

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Is it possible to have my checked baggage go all the way to Havre without me having to handle them in between and I could just pick them up when we arrive in Havre? If so is there an extra fee for doing this?
Yes, just show your ticket to Havre when you check your luggage in Longview. No extra charge.
 

scrollmaster

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Do I need to tell the ticket agent at Longview, TX that I want my baggage to continue to Havre, MT and not get unloaded for our overnight stay in Chicago?.. and there is also a train change in Chicago from the Texas Eagle to the Empire Builder if that makes any difference.

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Bob Dylan

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Just show your ticket to the friendly Longview agents and they'll check it all the way to Havre.

When you arrive in Montana it will be waiting on you.

Be sure and take everything you'll need aboard since you can't access the checked bags between Longview and Chicago!
 

scrollmaster

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Appreciate it everyone. After this trip I should understand a lot more about Amtrak travel for our next trip late this year.

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the_traveler

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As stated, you can check your bags right from Longview to Havre, but you will not have any access to them until you reach Havre and claim them. That means you can not get things out of them (like clothes or medicines) while on the Texas Eagle, Empire Builder OR while in Chicago!so be sure they are in your carry on bag!
 

scrollmaster

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As stated, you can check your bags right from Longview to Havre, but you will not have any access to them until you reach Havre and claim them. That means you can not get things out of them (like clothes or medicines) while on the Texas Eagle, Empire Builder OR while in Chicago!so be sure they are in your carry on bag!
That's what we plan to do is keep enough with us carry on. We rent a vehicle at Havre and spend a week visiting wife's family in Montana and a day and night in Yellowstone.. I've never been there. Then drive back to Havre to continue Empire Builder to Seattle and cruise to Alaska.
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scrollmaster

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Appreciate it everyone. After this trip I should understand a lot more about Amtrak travel for our next trip late this year.

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S8+
What are your plans for that trip?
We are thinking December trip. Not as long as the upcoming trip in May though probably week to ten days. Not sure where just yet but more eastward this time. We will have a mass of travel points by then.

BTW Rail Freak, you were born exactly 2 months ahead of me.

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cpotisch

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You're technically not allowed to spend time in coach if you're in a sleeper. There might be a seat open, but it could possibly be occupied if a passenger was moved or something. I also don't really see why you would want to spend time in coach. The SSL has better views, and your room has more privacy, so I think you'd just be opening yourself up to a problem, without any real benefit. Just my opinion, though,
 

Rail Freak

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You're technically not allowed to spend time in coach if you're in a sleeper. There might be a seat open, but it could possibly be occupied if a passenger was moved or something. I also don't really see why you would want to spend time in coach. The SSL has better views, and your room has more privacy, so I think you'd just be opening yourself up to a problem, without any real benefit. Just my opinion, though,
DITTO!!!
 

zephyr17

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Basically, you are not entitled at all to sit in coach. You might be able to sit in an empty seat for awhile (if it doesn't have a seat check above it, meaning it is occupied) but I am sure you'd be questioned by the conductor and/or coach attendant and politely asked to move back to your assigned space.
 

PVD

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If the train is fairly empty, and you let them know, they are usually ok with it, but it is a favor on their part, not something you are entitled to....coming up on a stop where they might need the seats, different story.
 
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An interesting topic. I was told at one point that your sleeper ticket entitles access to the entire train. Obviously you can't take up a coach seat that is needed for a coach passenger, though.

I remember reading a trip report some years ago where a sleeper passenger used a pair of coach seats in the daytime and only used the sleeper at night to sleep and shower. That was in the days when each coach had a car attendant. Neither the CA nor the conductors said anything to him about it. However, his trip was in the winter and there were plenty of empty seats. I wouldn't even think of doing that when the passenger load is high.

I do see the advantages of riding in coach even if you have a sleeper compartment. The seats are more comfortable and recline more than the seats in the sleeper or the lounge car, you can get a better view out of both sides of the train depending on where in the coach you are sitting, there are people around to chat with if you wish, and if you have a pair of seats to yourself you are sitting pretty indeed. The lounge car is the best place to view the scenery in mountainous terrain because of the high windows but is of no particular advantage in open country where being able to look up is far less important.
 

PVD

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You are not entitled to coach seating as a sleeper passenger. However, if the seats are mostly empty, nobody usually cares. It's like upper vs lower coach on a SL car. If you did not reserve LL you are technically not entitled to it, but if the manifest shows it is going to be empty to your destination, they can (and usually will) let you stay.
 

KmH

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Part of the charge for a sleeper accommodation is a lowest bucket Value rail fare for each person using the sleeper accommodation.

Wouldn't that make it OK for a sleeper passenger to sit in an unassigned coach seat between station stops?
 
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