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Luggage Issue - California Zephyr


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#1 LIA131

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 04:03 PM

OK - So we depart tomorrow (10/12/08) on our trip from Mount Pleasant, Iowa to Emeryville, CA on the California Zephyr.

http://discuss.amtra...?...1&hl=LIA131

I called Amtrak today to ascertain the procedure for checking luggage, and was informed there is no luggage checking between Chicago and Omaha.

My mother planned on checking 2 full size suitcases (26"x17"x12", or thereabouts), plus having 2 decent sized carryons for the luggage bin in our roomette/sleeping car. I planned on checking 1 full size suitcase plus 1 set of golf clubs in a travel bag, plus 1 decent sized carryon for the luggage bin. I've now spoken with 2 Amtrak agents on the phone, and my sister in California spoke with 1 agent, and we are hearing conflicting versions on the physical dimensions of the 2 pieces of luggage we can each put in the unsecured luggage bin, although it now seems certain I'll need to pay about $80.00 to ship the golf clubs by UPS for arrival in 5 business days, and about $55.00 for at least 1 of our necessary "extra" suitcases.

We are at an impasse in our packing - Can someone provide reliable advice on the dimensions and quantity of luggage that will be enforced when we board the Zephyr?

I'll be out running some errands, but will be checking back to the forum in maybe 90 minutes.

Much thanks.

Russell

#2 spot1181

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 04:53 PM

You shouldn't have a problem with the luggage as I've seen some pretty large bags in the downstairs rack. I would save the hassle and rent clubs or have a nice tip ready for the attendent when boarding. You can see about checking the clubs in Omaha. Good luck, Spot
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#3 LIA131

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 06:34 PM

Spot,

Thanks for the advice - I'm fearing the worst.

#4 sechs

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 10:14 PM

Can someone provide reliable advice on the dimensions and quantity of luggage that will be enforced when we board the Zephyr?

How about the Amtrak website?
http://www.amtrak.co...d=1080080553878

Each person can bring two carry-ons of no more than 50 pounds and no more than 28x22x14 in size. "Not included in this limit are personal items such as purses, briefcases, laptop computers, baby items such as strollers, diaper bags and car seats, and equipment required for a passenger's medical condition such as breathing assistance devices and oxygen tanks."

In my experience, enforcement is a question of whether it causes someone else a problem. As long as you can handle your own luggage and there is some place to stick it, then no one cares how heavy or big it is. Keep in mind, however, that, if you break the rules, and it causes a problem, the problem is yours.

#5 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 11:19 PM

Omaha, Nebraska has checked luggage. Who told you otherwise?

Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#6 PRR 60

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 11:24 PM

Omaha, Nebraska has checked luggage. Who told you otherwise?

The OP is boarding in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. The Amtrak agent was saying that no stations in between Chicago and Omaha offer checked baggage service.

#7 RobertF

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 11:29 PM

You shouldn't have a problem with the luggage as I've seen some pretty large bags in the downstairs rack. I would save the hassle and rent clubs or have a nice tip ready for the attendent when boarding. You can see about checking the clubs in Omaha. Good luck, Spot

Sometimes those racks fill up (often I've seen). I would not count on that downstairs rack being available.

#8 PRR 60

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 11:40 PM

By my count you and your mother are bringing on six suitcases plus a set of golf clubs and bag with a single Roomette reservation. With two adults in a Superliner Roomette, there is not much room left for storage, so you will have to count on the attendant and conductor not enforcing the carry-on luggage rules and there being room in the lower level luggage storage area. Neither of those is a given (particularly with how far over the carry-on limit you will be). If there is no storage left or the crew goes by the book, you literally could be left standing at the station. I hate to say this, but you either have to pack less, ship some of your things ahead, or drive to Omaha where you can check baggage and board the train there. Otherwise you run a real risk of being denied boarding.

Edited by PRR 60, 11 October 2008 - 11:43 PM.


#9 LIA131

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 03:59 AM

Thanks again for the advice and experienced insights.

It's the the inability to "check through" our 4 large pieces of luggage that has caught us "totally unawares". We were expecting to board the train with 3 fairly small pieces of luggage between the 2 of us for a 47 hour adventure.

We will have someone waiting with us at the station to take any "refused" luggage and ship it by UPS on Monday. We are "pairing up" so that we have 1 less piece than originally planned.

It just seems crazy that we are the crazy ones for thinking there was a routine procedure for checking luggage. I would put knowing that piece of travel advice ahead of Duct Tape (which we have had on our list from the beginning).

I was so turned upside down by the news when I called Amtrak yesterday, that I never got around to asking the mundane question I had planned on asking, which was to confirm we would be missing out on dinner reservations by boarding at 5:59 p.m. (or thereabouts, I don't have my itinerary in front of me).

I have to run. I had pretty much planned on posting a report on our trip after our return at the end of October, and now I'll definitely be providing an update.

All Aboard . . .

#10 had8ley

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 07:23 AM

Thanks again for the advice and experienced insights.

It's the the inability to "check through" our 4 large pieces of luggage that has caught us "totally unawares". We were expecting to board the train with 3 fairly small pieces of luggage between the 2 of us for a 47 hour adventure.

It just seems crazy that we are the crazy ones for thinking there was a routine procedure for checking luggage. I would put knowing that piece of travel advice ahead of Duct Tape (which we have had on our list from the beginning).

I was so turned upside down by the news when I called Amtrak yesterday, that I never got around to asking the mundane question I had planned on asking, which was to confirm we would be missing out on dinner reservations by boarding at 5:59 p.m. (or thereabouts, I don't have my itinerary in front of me).


I shutter to think what it would have cost you at an airport to get on board. If you fear missing diner eat an early one in town.

#11 Joel N. Weber II

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 02:03 PM

It's interesting that Mount Pleasant appears to have a full time ticket selling staff, and the California Zephyr has a baggage car, but there's still no checked baggage there. It makes me curious why there's no checked baggage service.

#12 zoltan

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 02:43 PM

The Adirondack cannot have baggage checking, because baggage needs to be in a position to be inspected by border officials. Result? I have never seen anyone turned away from the Adirondack with too much baggage; all restrictions are effectively waived where there is no checking, as far as I have seen.

I stayed with a friend from Calgary in New York, and I saw her given no trouble with her two suitcases and three other various bags when boarding the Adirondack in Penn Station. In fact, she hastened to explain her baggage situation to the staff at the cross-border baggage tagging desk at Penn Station, and the staff were shocked that she should think it any problem; and simply asked a red cap over to help her with the bags.
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#13 PaulM

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 02:57 PM

It's interesting that Mount Pleasant appears to have a full time ticket selling staff, and the California Zephyr has a baggage car, but there's still no checked baggage there. It makes me curious why there's no checked baggage service.

This is one of several of my Amtrak pet peeves. Mt. Pleasant had baggage service until a cutback about 2 years ago. I believe they no longer have baggage service because now there is only one agent, who works only 5 days a week and takes vacations. Amtrak.com confirms that the ticket office is closed Saturday and Sunday.

This theory doesn't explain Galeburg's situation. With 8 daily arrivals and departures, you would think they have more than one agent. Amtrak.com confirms that the ticket office is open 7 days a week.

I believe this is an example of the business management principal that in order to INCREASE profit, or in Amtrak's case reduce lost, YOU REDUCE service.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the carry on baggage restriction, and the ubiquitous warnings about it, appear not long after the above mentioned reductions in baggage service.

While I'm on this rant, one of these days, I'm going to do an analysis of the EB's baggage service vs. the CZ. My unscientific observation is that may small ND and MT towns have baggage service whereas many larger ones on the CZ do not.

#14 wayman

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 03:35 PM

While I'm on this rant, one of these days, I'm going to do an analysis of the EB's baggage service vs. the CZ. My unscientific observation is that may small ND and MT towns have baggage service whereas many larger ones on the CZ do not.


Well, this would make sense... Amtrak puts more money into the EB than the CZ since it's one of their "flagship trains". That's evident from the increased dining car staffing, higher quality dining car china, and the almost-always refurbished Superliner consists. Thus I wouldn't be at all surprised if Amtrak also puts extra money towards EB station staffing and services compared to other routes.

No checked bags at any station between Chicago and Omaha seems extreme, though. I wonder if that's the greatest mileage between baggage services on an LD Amtrak route (~500 miles!).
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#15 p&sr

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 09:50 PM

No checked bags at any station between Chicago and Omaha seems extreme, though. I wonder if that's the greatest mileage between baggage services on an LD Amtrak route (~500 miles!).

Salt Lake City to Reno (also on the CZ) is 594 miles, with no baggage service for any points in between.
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#16 Guest_Susan Mascorella_*

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 07:53 PM

Having never been on an Amtrak train . can someone tell me what kind of luggage storage is available for coach carry on?

#17 sttsxm

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 03:27 PM

Having never been on an Amtrak train . can someone tell me what kind of luggage storage is available for coach carry on?


there are compartments overhead and IIRC there should be racks on the lower level (the coach cars are b-level. the restrooms are downstairs and seating is upstairs, along with access to other cars such as the diner and lounge. in some cases, there are lower level coach seats as well..)

#18 the_traveler

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 03:57 PM

The above is only on Superliner trains. On single level trains, there is a oversized (not small like on a plane) luggage rack above your seat, and also room for baggage at the ends of the cars. Also the carry-on limit is almost never enforced! (I never have seen it!Posted Image)

Plus, there are many exceptions not included in the limit. These include
  • Coats
  • Sweaters
  • Purses
  • Computers
  • DVD players
  • Baby items
  • Strollers
  • Car seats
  • Pillows
  • Etc, etc...

Edited by the_traveler, 28 April 2011 - 03:58 PM.

Take it easy .......

Take the train instead!



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