STL-CHI Conundrum: Which Train?

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ShiningTimeStL

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 23, 2019
Messages
61
My gal and I have tickets to see Guns N' Roses and Mammoth (Wolfgang Van Halen) next week. I greenlit this trip at the last minute over much financial anxiety, and I want to book a hotel room tonight before the prices go up yet again. We found a wonderful little hostel-type place, but me, a young fool with still not much solo travel experience, didn't realize most places have a 3p or 4p check-in time.

Therein lies the conundrum: do I take my chances with the Texas Eagle, or find some way to kill three hours lugging a bag around after arriving at 12:20p on 302?

If I were to gamble on the Teaglet, wake up 5am next Thursday morning, look at the online tracker and see that it's three and a half hours late (thanks Uncle Pete!), could I somehow scramble and change my ticket to 302? Not that I'm sure I would even want to go to such lengths... but... I want to believe!
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
5,159
Location
Washington State
Is your concert that same evening? If that is the case, I'd just go with 302 and not have to sweat it.

I don't know about hostels, but 12 noon is not ridiculously early for check in. Most hotels will go ahead and check you in if they've got rooms from early departures turned. Particularly if you notify them in advance that you'd like early check in if available. If not, many will hold your luggage so you don't have to drag it around while you go to lunch or wander around while waiting for your room.

Talk to your intended accommodation and see what they offer for folks in your situation. I guarantee you are not the first person they've encountered who wanted to arrive arrive around noon.
 
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Saddleshoes

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 12, 2015
Messages
68
I got this piece of info directly from the Amtrak site...


Temporary Bag Storage

Customers holding tickets for Amtrak travel may store their items in Parcel Check service when available for $10 per item for 24 hours. Check the station detail page for the stations you'll be visiting to see if they offer this service. Customers that don't have an Amtrak ticket may store items for $20 per item for 24 hours (valid photo ID required).


I might suggest talking with a red cap as soon as you arrive an let them handle the whole problem for a small tip.
 

ShiningTimeStL

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 23, 2019
Messages
61
Thank you both, I feel like a gooftard now because all I had to do was call and ask, and they have a fantastic early check-in policy. I will also keep Amtrak's policy in mind! That's why this forum rocks, I would have never really known about that otherwise.

I do think this could generate more interesting discussion though about the Texas Eagle as a STL-CHI train, especially in regards to its current sad state (I wonder how much availability there is in coach!) and the recent speed upgrade. It's the only train on the line with checked baggage. Has anyone here used the Eagle in this fashion?
 

Steve4031

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Messages
6,237
Location
Chicago
It’s better to check every detail. This is a pretty awesome experience seeing a Rock group live. You don’t want it to be messed up. I recommend the 6:40 A.M. train.

My GF, who is not a rail fan and generally oblivious to all things Amtrak, has made it a point to avoid the Texas Eagle because of delays when she travels to St. Louis.

So you are on target to ask questions and plan ahead.
 

Larry H.

Conductor
Joined
Dec 22, 2006
Messages
1,021
I think someone eluded to it already, but most hotels or motels will hold the reservation so long as you notify them in advance that your possibly going to be late. Either way I hope you have a good time. I used to live in St. Louis and took the trains frequently to Chicago, my take on it is the Eagle might be on time or it could be rather late. Going by the shorter distance trains usually is a better bet coming in close to the time its expected. Where I am now I used to like to go to Chicago on the City of New Orleans around Christmas for the day since it was due in at around 10 am, thus giving plenty of time for shopping before returning. But one year I had plans to go with friends and the train ran 9 hours late, so obviously that didn't work out. Now I usually only take the local trains if I want to have time to spend there.
 

Saddleshoes

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 12, 2015
Messages
68
I do think this could generate more interesting discussion though about the Texas Eagle as a STL-CHI train, especially in regards to its current sad state (I wonder how much availability there is in coach!) and the recent speed upgrade. It's the only train on the line with checked baggage. Has anyone here used the Eagle in this fashion?
While not quite the comments you were expecting, but still...

I like to travel around Illinois with my bike. I prefer the to check my bike on the Texas Eagle over the carry your bike on arrangement with the Lincoln Service trains. The conductors are in charge of how you store your bike on the Lincoln Service trains. Some conductors expect you to jam you bike into he overhead rack. (A sure way to break components!) Due to the Texas Eagle's on-time performance, I have learned to take my bikes southbound on the Texas Eagle and either ride my bike home or take the Illinois Service Northbound.
 

F900ElCapitan

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
443
So my take is the southbound 21 Teagle (I like that)? Is that it is as reliable as any of the Lincoln Service trains and does a good job to St. Louis. Northbound 22? Well, that’s the crapshoot! On-time to 5 hours late is a good range of reliability.
 

ShiningTimeStL

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 23, 2019
Messages
61
Good stuff everyone, thank you. Indeed I am taking the 6:40am out and after a brief sightseeing jaunt or so, taking the 5:15p back on Friday. Was tempting to take the Eagle back to get my girlfriend to experience a ride in a Superliner, but what the heck, we'll go to a museum or two, might as well. I also take it that the Eagle is usually on time leaving CHI unless there's another "late turn of equipment," though with only four cars they probably turn quicker than ever 😅
 

F900ElCapitan

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
443
Good stuff everyone, thank you. Indeed I am taking the 6:40am out and after a brief sightseeing jaunt or so, taking the 5:15p back on Friday. Was tempting to take the Eagle back to get my girlfriend to experience a ride in a Superliner, but what the heck, we'll go to a museum or two, might as well. I also take it that the Eagle is usually on time leaving CHI unless there's another "late turn of equipment," though with only four cars they probably turn quicker than ever 😅
Yep, then you might get the joy of Amtrak not washing your Texas Eagle train set in Chicago and have dirty window to go along with no SSL…🤬
 
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