Question: is it possible to take Amtrak between Tampa and Lakeland?

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neroden

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I know it can't be booked online; the online booking system throws an internal error!

I'm wondering if it's actually possible at all.

This is for a timetable I'm preparing. If it's possible, I'll make a note about phoning Amtrak.
 

jis

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The only way to find out is by phoning Amtrak I suppose. It is the peculiar north/south at the same time singularity that the amateur designed reservation system is unable to resolve. Considering that even much simpler things throws it into a tizzy this is not surprising.
 

McIntyre2K7

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So when the Star makes the first stop at Lakeland it's drop off only. Then it goes to Tampa. On the way back from Tampa it lists Lakeland as Pick up only. I would like to take the Train to Lakeland for an afternoon and them come back home.
 

jis

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So when the Star makes the first stop at Lakeland it's drop off only. Then it goes to Tampa. On the way back from Tampa it lists Lakeland as Pick up only. I would like to take the Train to Lakeland for an afternoon and them come back home.
Yeah given the way that the R and D are in the timetable it is simply not possible to travel from Tampa to Lakeland or vice-versa apparently.
 

jruff001

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Yeah seems dumb.

Book Tampa to Kissimmee instead. I just did a dummy booking and got a quote of $11 each way. Ask to get off at Lakeland outbound and make sure the engineer sees you at Lakeland so s/he knows to stop inbound. I don't see why they would care; when I take the Star to DC I ticket to WAS just in case but often get off at ALX with no problem.
 

joelkfla

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Would you happen to know why Lakeland has this rule in effect?
I imagine it's the only station at which a train stops twice on the same run, and that Amtrak's systems simply can't handle that. So they gave it 2 different station codes, one for points north and another for points south. And then they probably added the receive/discharge restrictions to prevent booking the wrong station code. Tampa got stuck in the middle.
 

McIntyre2K7

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I imagine it's the only station at which a train stops twice on the same run, and that Amtrak's systems simply can't handle that. So they gave it 2 different station codes, one for points north and another for points south. And then they probably added the receive/discharge restrictions to prevent booking the wrong station code. Tampa got stuck in the middle.

I can see this being the most logical reason. I sent a direct message to the people running the Amtrak Twitter account and I asked about it and the person running the account said that they can not sell short distance tickets for these trains. I then replied saying that you can buy a ticket from Winter Haven to Lakeland and that is a shorter distance 14 miles vs Tampa to Lakeland which is over 30 miles.
 
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Yeah seems dumb.

Book Tampa to Kissimmee instead. I just did a dummy booking and got a quote of $11 each way. Ask to get off at Lakeland outbound and make sure the engineer sees you at Lakeland so s/he knows to stop inbound. I don't see why they would care; when I take the Star to DC I ticket to WAS just in case but often get off at ALX with no problem.
Only problem with that as you are a no show at Kissimmee the conductor might cancel your return ticket.
 

joelkfla

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Lakeland might not necessarily get stopped at in both directions. On May 31 the southbound train only stopped there after Tampa, not before, since we were already a few hours late.
Maybe they checked the manifest and determined that no one was getting off there. It would be cruel to fly past a station and make somebody stay on the train another hour and a half when they were already several hours late,
 

railiner

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Yeah given the way that the R and D are in the timetable it is simply not possible to travel from Tampa to Lakeland or vice-versa apparently.
My wife and I once wanted to travel together on the Star after arriving in Miami from our cruise. I was going to New York, but she was only going to West Palm Beach. Since Amtrak won't sell you a local ticket in that territory, one option would be for her to buy an open ticket to Okeechobee to join me in my roomette, and simply get off at the stop in West Palm Beach, paying a lot more than necessary for her ride. Instead we just took Tri Rail to West Palm Beach, and then I boarded the Star there...I had to modify my reservation to insure it wasn't canceled as a 'no show' at Miami. I don't think it could have been done going the other way, since it is 'discharge only'...

It would have been my wife's first ride in an Amtrak sleeper, so we were a bit disappointed, but she eventually got to ride one later that year on the CZ from Emeryville to Winter Park, CO.:)
 

bonzoesc

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Maybe they checked the manifest and determined that no one was getting off there. It would be cruel to fly past a station and make somebody stay on the train another hour and a half when they were already several hours late,
Right yeah :) and up until this thread I figured anyone going from Lakeland to Tampa would’ve found an alternate way to get there.
 

neroden

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OK, question answered. No local service. Timetable will reflect this. Some definite implications for Lakeland's campaign to get a Brightline station.
 
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I know it can't be booked online; the online booking system throws an internal error!

I'm wondering if it's actually possible at all.

This is for a timetable I'm preparing. If it's possible, I'll make a note about phoning Amtrak.
I actually was told by the station agent at Kissimmee that Amtrak does not sell Lakeland-Tampa or Tampa-Lakeland at all. I went to buy a round trip Kissimmee-Tampa-Kissimmee, just to ride down, have a drink, go in a taxi in Tampa to lunch somewhere, then come back to Kissimmee. The intent was 91 from Kissimmee at 11:11am arriving Tampa 12:55pm. Then return on 92 from Tampa at 5:20pm arriving Kissimmee 6:38pm. She advised me of the risk in buying this ticket (which of course I already knew) because 91 runs way late, way often, and I could actually miss the return of 92 out of Tampa if 91 was severely late. I decided not to buy the routing, and purchased an Orlando-New York trip instead. I happened to check later on, and sure enough, if I had taken the trip on that date, I would have been stranded at Tampa, because 91 was about nine hours late, and 92 was on time.
 

joelkfla

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I actually was told by the station agent at Kissimmee that Amtrak does not sell Lakeland-Tampa or Tampa-Lakeland at all. I went to buy a round trip Kissimmee-Tampa-Kissimmee, just to ride down, have a drink, go in a taxi in Tampa to lunch somewhere, then come back to Kissimmee. The intent was 91 from Kissimmee at 11:11am arriving Tampa 12:55pm. Then return on 92 from Tampa at 5:20pm arriving Kissimmee 6:38pm. She advised me of the risk in buying this ticket (which of course I already knew) because 91 runs way late, way often, and I could actually miss the return of 92 out of Tampa if 91 was severely late. I decided not to buy the routing, and purchased an Orlando-New York trip instead. I happened to check later on, and sure enough, if I had taken the trip on that date, I would have been stranded at Tampa, because 91 was about nine hours late, and 92 was on time.
I've done this, but not buying the ticket until the southbound was within the ORL area. Of course, there's always the possibility of the train getting stuck between KIS & TPA, but that's fairly unlikely.

The fare is so cheap that the difference between Value & Saver is negligible.
 

jis

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I've done this, but not buying the ticket until the southbound was within the ORL area. Of course, there's always the possibility of the train getting stuck between KIS & TPA, but that's fairly unlikely.

The fare is so cheap that the difference between Value & Saver is negligible.
I use the same approach when traveling on a day trip from Kissimmee (which is my station as the one closest to where I live) to Tampa. If anything happens to the train, it just becames a more expensive trip.
 

Qapla

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Back when the Star and the Meteor was running, we took a few day trips from PAK to TPA. We found we could get into Tampa early enough to walk to the TECO Line Streetcar stop nearest to Tampa Union Station, rode that to Ybor City for lunch, did the reverse trip back to Union Station and took the Star back to PAK. We never missed the train back.

We also did a couple day trips to the Orlando/Kissimmee area. Since both the Meteor and the Star stopped in Kissimmee, Orlando and Winter Park, we could take the earliest train out of PAK, use Sunrail to get around while in the Orlando/Kissimmee area, and still be able to catch the latest train back to PAK.
 

Amtrak709

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I think this Lakeland to Tampa quirk has existed since the Silver Star changed its route many, many years ago stopping twice in Lakeland on its way to/from TPA and on to MIA. There was a time when the Star was two sections south of JAX: 81/82 JAX to TPA via DLD, Lakeland on ending in TPA; 91/92 was JAX to MIA via Waldo, Ocala passing through Auburndale directly to MIA. My recollection of the year this change came about is unclear.
 

Amtrak709

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I just had this random thought: what if you went out to the Lakeland Amtrak station and got on the train without a ticket-- destination TPA. Back in the days when to conductors sold tickets he would just get out his fare book collect your money write you a receipt and move on. Nowadays with the eticket requirements and calling the reservation centers, etc.--not quite so simple. I suspect chaos would reign. Worse case--the conductor would just have to put you off the train at the next stop--which, guess what, is Tampa. I apologize for the distraction.
 

neroden

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I just had this random thought: what if you went out to the Lakeland Amtrak station and got on the train without a ticket-- destination TPA. Back in the days when to conductors sold tickets he would just get out his fare book collect your money write you a receipt and move on. Nowadays with the eticket requirements and calling the reservation centers, etc.--not quite so simple. I suspect chaos would reign. Worse case--the conductor would just have to put you off the train at the next stop--which, guess what, is Tampa. I apologize for the distraction.

Hah. Eastbound, I guess you could buy a ticket from Tampa to "next stop after Lakeland" and ask the conductor to let you off at Lakeland.

Westbound, the problem would be that they might check for tickets before letting you on the train at all -- once you're on the train, you're right, they'd put you off at Tampa, mission accomplished!
 

RebelRider

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I know it can't be booked online; the online booking system throws an internal error!

I'm wondering if it's actually possible at all.

This is for a timetable I'm preparing. If it's possible, I'll make a note about phoning Amtrak.

Would you happen to know why Lakeland has this rule in effect?

I imagine it's the only station at which a train stops twice on the same run, and that Amtrak's systems simply can't handle that. So they gave it 2 different station codes, one for points north and another for points south. And then they probably added the receive/discharge restrictions to prevent booking the wrong station code. Tampa got stuck in the middle.

Lakeland might not necessarily get stopped at in both directions. On May 31 the southbound train only stopped there after Tampa, not before, since we were already a few hours late.


1) There are two distinct station codes. LAK is for all service to/from north of Lakeland. LKL is for all service to/from south of Lakeland. Part of this is rooted in an Arrow limitation. A train number cannot be scheduled to stop at the same station more than once per calendar day. Hence why some trains are renumbered during the biannual time change.

2) The D and R restrictions also makes more seats available for Tampa and reduces passenger's travel times. For example, if someone books the last available seat on train 92 WPB-LAK, they would spend an extra 1.5 hours onboard AND prevent someone from booking TPA-WAS, etc. By booking to LKL, that seat is freed up for boarding in TPA going north. It has the same effect in both directions.

3) The work around is to buy tickets from KIS-TPA for train 91 and WTH-TPA for train 92. You could also do a round-trip from Lakeland to Tampa and back on the same train with just one ticket. If traditional dining ever returns for coach passengers, this would be a cheap way to try lunch on train 91.

4) I've personally never seen the Star have no one to discharge at Lakeland. While not impossible, it'd be very rare. It won't skip the stop simply because the train is late. Going back to point 2, the seats that should be vacated at the first Lakeland stop will probably be filled with passengers boarding at Tampa. If you are boarding at Lakeland with a Kissimmee or Winter Haven ticket, just let the station agent know. They're aware of this work around. Tickets will not cancel during these short legs before Lakeland, either.
 

AmtrakBlue

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1) There are two distinct station codes. LAK is for all service to/from north of Lakeland. LKL is for all service to/from south of Lakeland. Part of this is rooted in an Arrow limitation. A train number cannot be scheduled to stop at the same station more than once per calendar day. Hence why some trains are renumbered during the biannual time change.

2) The D and R restrictions also makes more seats available for Tampa and reduces passenger's travel times. For example, if someone books the last available seat on train 92 WPB-LAK, they would spend an extra 1.5 hours onboard AND prevent someone from booking TPA-WAS, etc. By booking to LKL, that seat is freed up for boarding in TPA going north. It has the same effect in both directions.

3) The work around is to buy tickets from KIS-TPA for train 91 and WTH-TPA for train 92. You could also do a round-trip from Lakeland to Tampa and back on the same train with just one ticket. If traditional dining ever returns for coach passengers, this would be a cheap way to try lunch on train 91.

4) I've personally never seen the Star have no one to discharge at Lakeland. While not impossible, it'd be very rare. It won't skip the stop simply because the train is late. Going back to point 2, the seats that should be vacated at the first Lakeland stop will probably be filled with passengers boarding at Tampa. If you are boarding at Lakeland with a Kissimmee or Winter Haven ticket, just let the station agent know. They're aware of this work around. Tickets will not cancel during these short legs before Lakeland, either.
@neroden, did you get all of that? Can you fit it all on your PDF Schedule? :D
 
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