Trouble phoning Amtrak from UK

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Joined
Feb 12, 2022
Messages
2
Location
United Kingdom
Hello!

As I’ve emailed Amtrak about my query and I haven’t had a response, I thought I’d post on here to see if anyone has any advice for what to do.

I am from the UK currently in the USA for travel, and I booked a train from Washington DC to New Orleans which has been cancelled. When I attempt to modify the trip on the website it tells me to call the Amtrak phone line. However, when I call the phone line I cannot get through as the automated voice says the number has been suspended (and I have tried multiple times). I try calling the international visitor line and I have the same problem. Although my phone has a UK SIM card, I can usually do calls to the US no problem, so I find this pretty perplexing. When I gave up on calling the line and decided to apply for a refund directly without calling an agent — I stumbled into another problem. When I submit my phone number for the refund request (ticking the box to state it’s an international number) it refuses to accept that it’s a legitimate number and will not allow me to submit my request.

Does anybody have any advice for what I should do to either modify my trip or get a refund? I want to book the same route but ideally modifying the trip so I don’t have to pay again, and in general, I am just really confused about the functionality of the Amtrak website.

Any help would be much appreciated.
 

caravanman

Engineer
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Mar 22, 2004
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4,634
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Nottingham, England.
Hi,
I don't have any actual direct experience of this issue. You sound a pretty savvy person, so the only suggestions are these: Do you need to add or remove the No. 1 prefix code from the Amtrak number as you are already there, but using a UK phone?
There is a drop down box to select your +44 prefix on the booking site, as well as tick "international".
Can you visit a station? "you can also talk to an agent in‐station, or call 800‐USA‐RAIL. " ( (1-800-872-7245). There is an international email help at: [email protected]. They may help as you are from overseas?
Maybe if all else fails, just book another separate train as desired. I assume that as Amtrak cancelled your train, you would receive an automatic refund in due course?
Best advice, visit any Amtrak staffed station and deal direct with a human. Good Luck!
 

Arctifox

Train Attendant
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D.C.
When I was in similar situations (being outside the US trying to call US phone numbers) in the past, I used Google Hangout as they offered free calls to US phone numbers. I'm not sure if they still allow that or not, but if not: You could try to call the Amtrak phone number via Skype (or other similar services that allow calling phone numbers), but that usually costs a few cents per minute.
 

Arctifox

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He said was in USA. So call 800 872 7245. It may be the 1 in front will be needed or not?

Sorry, missed that. The suggestion might still be helpful though, as it doesn't matter from where one uses Skype & others to call US numbers.

If it is the phone number format I would also try the full international one (with a leading +1 or 001).
 

chickpea

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Sorry, missed that. The suggestion might still be helpful though, as it doesn't matter from where one uses Skype & others to call US numbers.

If it is the phone number format I would also try the full international one (with a leading +1 or 001).
Hi, I lived in the UK as an American for 15+ years and the whole freephone/toll free thing makes life tricky for sure!
I used to use Skype for both since it allowed free calls to free numbers, but not sure it still does? Regardless I have had so much trouble calling Amtrak (LONG holds or ask for a call back which comes pretty randomly and once I answered and *that* call - them calling me - no one was there and I had to hold for 15 minutes, ruining the whole idea of the call back thing! UGH.

I will reiterate the best way to fix a ticket is in person, if you can go to ANY Amtrak station, doesn't have to be your departure station.
Good luck!

p.s. I think "anna" is a she... fwiw! :)

Edit to add: a US phone can't call a UK freephone number and vice versa, so the recording you are getting is just that it won't allow the call, I suspect!
 
Last edited:

Just-Thinking-51

Very bored and cranky pundit
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USA
Since your here in the states, try calling from your hotel. Some hotel may try to charge you extra, so ask the front desk.

Or just use a phone from a US friend to make the call.

Hope your enjoying your stay. The New Orleans train is running 5 days a week right now, that what tripped you up.
 

joelkfla

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12 miles from Walt Disney World
Since your here in the states, try calling from your hotel. Some hotel may try to charge you extra, so ask the front desk.

Or just use a phone from a US friend to make the call.

Hope your enjoying your stay. The New Orleans train is running 5 days a week right now, that what tripped you up.
I was going to say that, but then I thought maybe she's in something like an Airbnb without a landline. Then I thought of suggesting a payphone -- guess I'm showing my age. :)
 

Devil's Advocate

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Although my phone has a UK SIM card, I can usually do calls to the US no problem, so I find this pretty perplexing.
On some accounts calling an international number from home is handled differently from calling within a foreign country. It's also possible there could be issues with how the number is being dialed due to incorrect formatting, but modern phones are usually able to figure it out. You might want to buy a US based prepaid SIM card. You could also ask someone to borrow their phone since many people have unlimited voice plans or barely use voice minutes.
 

cirdan

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I don't know if this helps but I have found when travelling abroad that sometimes it helps if I actually type the + in the phone number rather than the 00 prefix. I have on occasions found the number did not work with the 00 but worked with the +.

Also some European phones may be restricted in the US as they have different technology / bandwidths. I think this affects especially older phone models. The recent ones are typically fine. Sometimes on such phones you need to manually select a network as if you leave it on automatic it won't connect reliably. This is an experience of mine from using an ancient Nokia some years ago.
 
Joined
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Thanks everybody for your advice! It is much appreciated.

I have tried calling again and changing my prefixes and unfortunately it didn’t work (I’m in an Airbnb) — so I’ll visit my nearest Amtrak station and hopefully that’ll work this ticket stuff out!
 

CaptPete 43

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+1-215-856-7924 will contact AMTRAK from anywhere in the world with phone service. Depending on your phone you may need to insert your international access prefix. Most of the commentary on phoning in this series of responses is by Americans who know zippo about making international phone calls.
 
Joined
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H Although my phone has a UK SIM card, I can usually do calls to the US no problem,
Do you mean no problem when calling the UK? Have you tried calling a non-Amtrak US number from here in the US? If you're successful. that would indicate the problem, is with Amtrak's system. If not, try contacting your UK mobile service provider by phone or chat or email to see: a) if your plan allows calls to foreign countries from outside the UK, and b) if so, what dialing procedures do you need to follow.

I do agree it might be easier to resolve your ticket issue in person at a station, but if it were me, I would also want to know if I'm going to be able to make other intra-USA calls during my visit.
 

Devil's Advocate

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+1-215-856-7924 will contact AMTRAK from anywhere in the world with phone service. Depending on your phone you may need to insert your international access prefix.
The opening post implies this was already tried here...
I try calling the international visitor line and I have the same problem.


Most of the commentary on phoning in this series of responses is by Americans who know zippo about making international phone calls.
How is this an international phone call? Is it bouncing off the UK on the way to Amtrak? No, it's a domestic call using international roaming. That seems to be where the failure is. Maybe international roaming is not setup correctly or the phone number was saved in the UK with a static prefix that is interfering with international roaming.
 

chickpea

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Thanks everybody for your advice! It is much appreciated.

I have tried calling again and changing my prefixes and unfortunately it didn’t work (I’m in an Airbnb) — so I’ll visit my nearest Amtrak station and hopefully that’ll work this ticket stuff out!
I feel pretty sure that - like I said - you usually cannot call an 800 or 0800 (etc) number from an international phone. It has to come from a domestic number.

That said, you are MUCH better off going in person. I had a bunch of weather cancels recently and this was the best way to resolve without holding for 30++ minutes.
 

chickpea

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How is this an international phone call? Is it bouncing off the UK on the way to Amtrak? No, it's a domestic call using international roaming. That seems to be where the failure is. Maybe international roaming is not setup correctly or the phone number was saved in the UK with a static prefix that is interfering with international roaming.

The 215 number he gave she'd probably (almost certainly) be able to call, but the 800 number would NOT work from a UK phone, roaming or not... trust me I have used both my US & UK phones in both (opposite) countries. You can only call from a domestic number in the same country. If I want to call a US 800 number from the UK, I have to turn on my US phone and pay roaming... if I want to call a UK 0800 (or other - like the US they have a lot of "free" prefixes) then I can usually do it from my UK phone. It does NOT always work though. Examples include needing to call the lost card number on a credit card or customer service (happily they often give a normal number too). But I cannot call on one country's phone (no matter where I am) to another country's free phone number. Hope that makes some sense! A normal landline or mobile number though, no probs :)
 

Devil's Advocate

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The 215 number he gave she'd probably (almost certainly) be able to call, but the 800 number would NOT work from a UK phone, roaming or not... trust me I have used both my US & UK phones in both (opposite) countries. You can only call from a domestic number in the same country. If I want to call a US 800 number from the UK, I have to turn on my US phone and pay roaming... if I want to call a UK 0800 (or other - like the US they have a lot of "free" prefixes) then I can usually do it from my UK phone. It does NOT always work though. Examples include needing to call the lost card number on a credit card or customer service (happily they often give a normal number too). But I cannot call on one country's phone (no matter where I am) to another country's free phone number. Hope that makes some sense! A normal landline or mobile number though, no probs
When you read the following portion of the opening post what number do you think this refers to?

I try calling the international visitor line and I have the same problem.
1644950777906.png
It sounds like the OP already tried the regular long distance number intended for international callers.
 
Last edited:

CTANut

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 29, 2019
Messages
171
Location
USA
Hello!

As I’ve emailed Amtrak about my query and I haven’t had a response, I thought I’d post on here to see if anyone has any advice for what to do.

I am from the UK currently in the USA for travel, and I booked a train from Washington DC to New Orleans which has been cancelled. When I attempt to modify the trip on the website it tells me to call the Amtrak phone line. However, when I call the phone line I cannot get through as the automated voice says the number has been suspended (and I have tried multiple times). I try calling the international visitor line and I have the same problem. Although my phone has a UK SIM card, I can usually do calls to the US no problem, so I find this pretty perplexing. When I gave up on calling the line and decided to apply for a refund directly without calling an agent — I stumbled into another problem. When I submit my phone number for the refund request (ticking the box to state it’s an international number) it refuses to accept that it’s a legitimate number and will not allow me to submit my request.

Does anybody have any advice for what I should do to either modify my trip or get a refund? I want to book the same route but ideally modifying the trip so I don’t have to pay again, and in general, I am just really confused about the functionality of the Amtrak website.

Any help would be much appreciated.
I tried calling the regular and international numbers from my cell phone (usa). The international number seems to be broken as well.
 

CTANut

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 29, 2019
Messages
171
Location
USA
Hello!

As I’ve emailed Amtrak about my query and I haven’t had a response, I thought I’d post on here to see if anyone has any advice for what to do.

I am from the UK currently in the USA for travel, and I booked a train from Washington DC to New Orleans which has been cancelled. When I attempt to modify the trip on the website it tells me to call the Amtrak phone line. However, when I call the phone line I cannot get through as the automated voice says the number has been suspended (and I have tried multiple times). I try calling the international visitor line and I have the same problem. Although my phone has a UK SIM card, I can usually do calls to the US no problem, so I find this pretty perplexing. When I gave up on calling the line and decided to apply for a refund directly without calling an agent — I stumbled into another problem. When I submit my phone number for the refund request (ticking the box to state it’s an international number) it refuses to accept that it’s a legitimate number and will not allow me to submit my request.

Does anybody have any advice for what I should do to either modify my trip or get a refund? I want to book the same route but ideally modifying the trip so I don’t have to pay again, and in general, I am just really confused about the functionality of the Amtrak website.

Any help would be much appreciated.
Try this site: Free Texting & Calling App | Free Phone Service | TextNow
I was able to call Amtrak successfully through this site
 

DonNewcomb

Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 11, 2019
Messages
107
At one time, long, long ago, all US toll-free lines had a regular toll counterpart with a different area code. So, +1.800.123.4567 could be called by calling +1.200.123.4567 (where I just used 200 as an example) This was specifically so that toll-free lines could be called from abroad. I can't find any information on this, so NANPA may have just chucked the whole mess years ago. I don't know. I'll keep looking.
 

chickpea

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 5, 2022
Messages
69
Location
East Coast
When you read the following portion of the opening post what number do you think this refers to?
It sounds like the OP already tried the regular long distance number intended for international callers.

Sorry it was unclear - I wasn't addressing the OP as much as the folks not understanding the int'l mobile phone thing. (Oddly only just saw this.) Hope the OP got everything sorted out! I'd reiterate for me phoning is tedious and in-person is infinitely better. :)
 
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