Whats the earliest you can board the train?

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Steveschoey

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We're looking at going from San Antonio to Tucson. The train arrives in San Antonio at 9.55pm then leaves at 2.45 am. If we book a sleeper, can we get on the train before midnight to get some sleep, or do we have to wait?
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
19,958
We're looking at going from San Antonio to Tucson. The train arrives in San Antonio at 9.55pm then leaves at 2.45 am. If we book a sleeper, can we get on the train before midnight to get some sleep, or do we have to wait?
Not to sound like a Lawyer, but it depends.

Are you riding in the #421 or #1 Sleeper?

If you are on the # 1 Sleeper ( NOL-LAX, Front of the Train between the Transdorm and Diner) you CAN board upon arrival soon as the arriving passengers are off the Train.( #1 is often Early into SAS)

If you're on the #421 Sleeper ( CHI-SAS-LAX), it has to be switched along with the CHI-SAS-LAX Coach from #21 to the rear of the #1 consist upon artival into SAS. They also change Crews including the #421 SCA upon arrival into SAS with a SAS-LAX SCA replacing the CHI-SAS attendant.

Some thru passengers stay on the Train during the Dwell and Switching, some get Off and visit the Riverwalk and Dennys close to the Station during the 2-3 Hour Dwell.( the Small SAS Station is NOT a very Comfortable place to hang out! awaiting boarding)
 

Devil's Advocate

Conductor
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,420
We're looking at going from San Antonio to Tucson. The train arrives in San Antonio at 9.55pm then leaves at 2.45 am. If we book a sleeper, can we get on the train before midnight to get some sleep, or do we have to wait?
In my experience sleeper car passengers departing San Antonio can board almost anytime (assuming arrivals have disembarked first). That being said, there's always a chance to get turned away if the train is running late with rushed staff or you encounter a disagreeable sleeper attendant. I've also boarded between shifts with nobody checking my ticket, in which case you'll want to make sure you tell someone you're on board before the train leaves.
 

tomfuller

OBS Chief
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
829
Don't count on your train arriving at 8PM in Tucson. Last month I turned in my rental car in Tucson at 5PM and waited in or near the station until it arrived at 2AM.
 

ehbowen

Conductor
Joined
Mar 22, 2011
Messages
2,314
If you book the 421 sleeper and make a short drive up the road to San Marcos, you can most definitely sleep through the long stop in San Antonio...

Edit To Add: If you change your ticket to San Marcos-Tucson, of course. And, also, an on-time or even close to on-time departure from San Marcos is not guaranteed.
 

Devil's Advocate

Conductor
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,420
If you book the 421 sleeper and make a short drive up the road to San Marcos, you can most definitely sleep through the long stop in San Antonio...
The problem with this is (1) it's a bit too far for a casual drop-off, but if you bring your car you'll need to leave it in a lot that (2) doesn't look that safe and (3) requires you to put a "burgle me" sign up saying how long it will be until you return.
 
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