Luggage

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
3
My wife and I are going to be taking our first big trip on Amtrak in August. We will be taking the California Zephyr from Chicago to California, driving up the coast, then taking the Empire Builder (keeping our fingers crossed) from Portland to Minneapolis. Roomettes both ways. We've always wanted to take the train over the Rockies, and are really looking forward to it.

My questions here have to do with luggage. We will likely each have one large bag and a smaller carry-on type bag. I have seen references to a baggage area on the sleeping car (down below?). Should we check our bags at the station? If we do, where do the bags go? Will they be accessible on the trip? If we don't check them, can we load them ourselves into the baggage area on the sleeper car?

If it's possible, I like to do the work myself, and make sure the bags get onto the train with me.

One of these is a transdorm car, if that makes a difference.
 

Ryan

Conductor
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,158
Location
OTN
If you check your luggage, you won't have access to it. However, you won't have to deal with it getting on and off the train either.

If you choose not to check it, you should probably be able to store it in the in-car luggage rack, where they will be accessible on the trip.

I'd take everything that you want on the train in the small bags and check the others. It'll save some of the limited space in the baggage rack for people that have a greater need for it (not all stations offer checked bags, so they have to store their stuff down there).
 

the_traveler

Conductor
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Messages
26,008
Location
Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
As Ryan says, you can also put them in the lower level luggage racks. (I'm not sure if the trans-dorm also has one.) But because it is also accessible by others in the car, I would take any valuables (like computers, GPS, purses, etc...) to your room(s) with your carry-on(s).

Also remember that the only other passengers allowed in the sleepers (and thus those racks in the sleepers) are other sleeping car passengers!
(And they would have the same issues as you would!) Although that area can get full, I have never seen it so full (in the sleepers) that there was not more room!
 

Lakeshore

Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 8, 2010
Messages
165
Location
AKO
We did almost that exact trip back in May. You will love it! You can read about it in the trip report section, probably on the second page now.

Anyway, we had one suitcase and 3 gym-bag sized bags. We were actually able to stuff everything under the seats in the roomette on the way out, but we checked two bags with dirty clothes on the way back, which was very easy. If you don't want to check them, you could probably fit the smaller bags in the room, but the bigger ones would have to go on the rack.

Enjoy the trip. We loved going on ours.
 

Pat Harper

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 8, 2011
Messages
276
Location
Louisiana
The transdorm does indeed have a luggage storage area, and it can hold quite a bit. We had to make use of it on the SL on our way to AZ. It's just to the left as you enter the car from the platform, directly across from the stairs.
 

MeisterEric

Train Attendant
Joined
Dec 2, 2010
Messages
31
We've always taken our luggage right onto the train, without checking it....My wife and I usually leave any excess bags on the lower level luggage rack.

also, below you can see the layout of the train (both upper & lower level).

The 'roomettes' are 1 thru 14......the Deluxe rooms are A thru E.......the Family room is F....and H is the hadicapped room.

T = Bathroom, and of course you can see where the baggage and Shower is.....i love having access to a shower on a long train trip!!

 

Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
12,277
Location
Texas
How long does it take to get your baggage back upon arrival? It's been a while since I checked anything but I seem to remember it taking an awfully long time. Maybe things have sped up since then.
 

Ryan

Conductor
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,158
Location
OTN
It depends on the station.

When we checked things to Portland, they were there within 5 minutes or so. LA, I seem to recall the bag was actually there before we got there (but I'm not sure). WAS took about 20 minutes, which kind of sucked.

At the smaller stations, I think that they just pass out the bags from the cart on the platform, so you can pick up them pretty much right away.
 

ehbowen

Conductor
Joined
Mar 22, 2011
Messages
2,431
Location
Houston, Texas
Do make sure that you keep your baggage checks, though; every Amtrak station I've visited in the last few years has been very strict about not releasing baggage without a matching baggage check.
 

the_traveler

Conductor
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Messages
26,008
Location
Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
If you check bags - yes they do check the tags! And it does not matter if it's at a large station (like NYP, CHI, WAS or LAX), a medium station (like PVD, PDX, DEN or SLC) or a small station (like Grand Junction, CO - where you get it right from the cart)!
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
3
Thanks for all your replies! Looks like there's some diversity of opinion here, but I think I have a better idea of what to expect now.
 

Exiled in Express

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 9, 2010
Messages
326
Location
Saint Paul, Minn
If you check bags - yes they do check the tags! And it does not matter if it's at a large station (like NYP, CHI, WAS or LAX), a medium station (like PVD, PDX, DEN or SLC) or a small station (like Grand Junction, CO - where you get it right from the cart)!
Now that I read this, I recall MSP does not check claims, the bags come out on a little airport style baggage belt. Exception to the rule certainly.
 
Top