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Double Stroller Help!


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#1 Guest_Grandcircletour17_*

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 01:50 PM

Hey folks,

 

I'm entirely new to taking Amtrak anywhere...and I'm afraid I've booked a tall order here...

 

We're from Indiana.  We're planning on taking Amtrak from Ft. Wayne (Waterloo Station) to Chicago, and then on to the Grand Canyon, and then on to Disneyland in Anaheim, California...and then we're flying home. So, the majority of our time 

 

I called Amtrak, and they have informed me that our big double stroller will not be suitable (we have two kids, ages 1 and three) for travel. They're advising that we get an umbrella type (which fine). My question is this...who has experience with strollers and Amtrak?  What are permissible dimensions for a double umbrella stroller or how might I go about storing the thing for the duration of our trip?  

 

ANY pointers are helpful.  

 

Thanks,

Dustin



#2 KmH

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 02:28 PM

What type of accommodation are you planning to have - coach seats, Roomette, or a Bedroom?

 

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#3 ehbowen

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 02:53 PM

Since Grand Canyon does not have baggage service, you cannot check it. Baby paraphernalia is supposed to be exempt from the normal carry-on luggage limitation. I think that if Amtrak told you to bring an umbrella stroller then you should be able to bring anything reasonably compliant with that. Frankly, I think you'll have more difficulty with the airline for the flight back.


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#4 west point

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 03:37 PM

These fancy $1000 strollers are too heavy and cannot be easily folded up.  Get two lightweight strollers ( each less than 10  pounds ) that can be split apart.  Makes moving around with the kids much easier.  Wife made me do it and was I glad.



#5 zephyr17

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 03:38 PM

Even though there are checked baggage options going to the Grand Canyon (transfer point of Flagstaff instead of Williams Junction, Thruway ticketed bus services to South Rim available at Flagstaff), Waterloo itself does not handle checked baggage, so checking things is not an option.

 

Informally, the train crews generally allow you to carry on anything you can do in one trip (no going back to the platform for more).  So if you can handle the double stroller and your luggage while wrangling the kids, probably no problem with Amtrak.  At worst, you'll probably get hit with the relatively new excess carry-on fee of $20/piece.  The crew can generally find a place to stick things (these are not airplanes, after all), in coach in single level equipment, at the end of the car, in Superliners, the luggage rack downstairs, although in coach that can get pretty crowded.

 

You better not expect to carry that thing onboard an airplane, though.


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#6 Acela150

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 04:28 PM

I can give you my personal experience using my double stroller. 

 

I rode a Keystone Train from Paoli to 30th Street. Just to give my twins a ride on Amtrak. We have a Britax double wide and all it takes is the push of a button and then pull from the seats and it folds up. Took me all of 15 seconds to do it. On Superliner trains there is a large storage area for luggage. You should be able to fit the folded up stroller there. I think you'll be ok with a double stroller. :) 


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#7 Lonestar648

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 08:10 PM

You do not want to use a stroller on the train.  Too dangerous for all involved.  As far as storage, if it folds up compactly, it will not be a problem, but you need to board with it folded, so on the SUperliner baggage rack you can put it there immediately before its full if a sold out summer train.


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#8 Guest_Grandcircletour17_*

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 08:44 PM

Ok...so I've called again and now I have a person telling me that there's a way I can put the stroller in the baggage car if I put it in a large box...? I thought the southwest chief didn't have this?

As far as Grand Canyon goes...we were going to stay the night before...then get up in the morning and ride the Grand Canyon railroad to the south rim and do that bit...then return that afternoon and then catch the train the rest of the way to Anaheim...

What can I do with our luggage? Thoughts?

Thanks again, Dustin

#9 Guest_Grandcircletour17_*

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 08:46 PM

Oh...coach seats...were doing coach seats... and the hotel is the Grand Canyon hotel that's associated with the rail line...

#10 Acela150

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 09:09 PM

You'll be fine taking it aboard as is. Just fold it up and store it in the large luggage area. 


These posts are my views and opinions.

Donate your spare time! Be a Volunteer Firefighter!
 
"Mainline 66W Recrew On Board at Abrams ready to head east when you can handle us, Ok 66W, ok on signal indication at Norris, take it to the Falls to wait for the window"

#11 ehbowen

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 09:10 PM

 I would take that advice about the baggage car with rather a large grain of salt. At small stations with no baggage service, such as Williams Junction (for the Grand Canyon), the train stops only long enough for passengers to get on and off. You take a huge chance that they will leave before you can collect your stroller, especially because the operating crew in Arizona will not be the same crew which loaded your item into the baggage car in Chicago and they may not realize that they have a special item to deal with. I still recommend that you purchase a suitable and (hopefully!) affordable umbrella stroller, fold it up, and leave it in the downstairs luggage rack in your coach car along with the rest of your luggage. It's highly unlikely that any member of the train crew will so much as raise an eyebrow.

 

Since you are staying overnight at the (very nice!) Grand Canyon Railway hotel, the front desk will hold your luggage while you take the ride to the Canyon and back.


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#12 KmH

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Posted 30 June 2017 - 10:09 AM

Once back from the canyon they will also let you hang out in their lobby until it's time for their shuttle to take you back to the platform where you disembark and board the train.

 

The trains stops at Williams Junction which is some 3.6 miles from the hotel and seems to be in the middle of nowhere.

The hotel shuttle meets the train and takes you to the hotel.


1963U. S. Congress - underground trolley system • Disneyland train (1968/various other dates) • Old Tucson steam train (1969)

Amtrak: California Zephyr Coast Starlight •  Southwest ChiefSunset LimitedTexas Eagle • Illinois Zephyr

. . . . . . . Amtrak miles - 16,383, so far.

 

 

 

 

 


#13 ehbowen

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Posted 30 June 2017 - 10:34 AM

The trains stops at Williams Junction which is some 3.6 miles from the hotel and seems to be in the middle of nowhere.

 

It IS in the middle of nowhere. Up through the 1950s, the transcontinental main line of the Santa Fe Railway ran through downtown Williams (the BNSF branch line to Phoenix still does), using the same station which Grand Canyon Railway does today. In the 1959-1960 timeframe the ATSF completed a major line relocation (video here) which, unfortunately, bypassed Williams, AZ. As at the time they still had significant passenger business to the Grand Canyon and Phoenix they built a new station 3-1/2 miles east of Williams where there was a stretch of the new line which was suitable for a platform. By 1968 service to the Grand Canyon and Phoenix had ended, and a few years thereafter the new station was demolished to save the cost of upkeep and property taxes.

 

When the Grand Canyon Railway began operations in 1989 and Amtrak was persuaded to restore service to Williams, a new platform was built at the site of the demolished 1960 passenger station. The platform/"station" is not publicly accessible, but the Grand Canyon Railway operates a shuttle service for all passengers (not just those using the GCR hotel and facilities) to and from Williams with passengers waiting in the hotel lobby until it is time to leave for the platform. The hotel keeps in contact with Amtrak and will send out the shuttle when required, so you don't have to cool your heels for hours in the wilderness if the train is delayed. The shuttle meets ALL trains whether passengers are expected or not, so if as a passenger on the train you make up your mind at the last minute to take a stopover in Williams, you won't have to hike the four miles into town.


Edited by ehbowen, 30 June 2017 - 10:35 AM.

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#14 BCL

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Posted 30 June 2017 - 11:02 AM

Amtrak isn't really all that clear on this, but in my experience I took aboard a larger folding stroller on the Coast Starlight.  It was stored on the lower level of a Superliner coach car with other larger items.

 

It won't county towards your carry-on/personal item limit if you bring it onboard, but it will count against your checked-in limit if you check it in.  They also give a maximum 100 linear inches if you check it in, although I don't know of any stroller that big.  They say that they reserve the right to ask someone to check in "multi-child strollers" although I don't think you'll have a problem if there's space to stow it.

 

https://www.amtrak.c...arry-on-baggage

https://www.amtrak.com/special-items



#15 zephyr17

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Posted 30 June 2017 - 12:29 PM

Ok...so I've called again and now I have a person telling me that there's a way I can put the stroller in the baggage car if I put it in a large box...? I thought the southwest chief didn't have this?

As far as Grand Canyon goes...we were going to stay the night before...then get up in the morning and ride the Grand Canyon railroad to the south rim and do that bit...then return that afternoon and then catch the train the rest of the way to Anaheim...

What can I do with our luggage? Thoughts?

Thanks again, Dustin

You can't put anything in the baggage car at Waterloo since Waterloo doesn't have checked baggage service, and you can't take anything out of the baggage car at Williams Junction because it doesn't have checked baggage service, either.  The Southwest Chief does have a baggage car, but you can only use it if you are at a station offering checked baggage service.  You can't just put things in there yourself.  Amtrak phone agents can be pretty clueless about how things work in the field on long distance trains.

 

Frankly, you carry it.  Given your itinerary, it is the only option.  Make sure you only have enough that you can handle it all.  Amtrak crews generally are not into enforcing technical baggage limits, at worst you'll have the $20 fee.  If you have enough that you have to shuttle it between the platform and train in multiple trips, that would be a problem.  While you would probably be allowed to board, you certainly would not be endearing yourselves to the crew.


Edited by zephyr17, 30 June 2017 - 12:32 PM.

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#16 Guest_Grandcircletour17_*

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Posted 30 June 2017 - 03:20 PM

Ok....

 

So...

 

I'm getting a lot here.  So, we can all agree it might be best to go to an umbrella style simply because it'll be more portable by me...which...then means I'll have a lot less trouble with this whole thing? Right? 

 

Next...what's exactly going on with the Grand Canyon...?  Where do I need to book Amtrak to take us to?  Right now, because Amtrak can't offer me first class seats...I have to book the hotel/train excursion with the grand canyon hotel and railway.  So, I was planning on getting us to Williams (which station do I need to get us to?) and camping out for the night at the Grand Canyon Hotel.  Then we'd get up and catch the 10:30 train to the National Park and then return to catch Amtrak back out of town...after the Grand canyon railway brings us back...

 

So, what do I need to book?  How do I get our circus everywhere it needs to be? Can someone give me a rundown of what they would do for the requirements I've set for this trip?

 

Again, to all of you, thank you!  

 

Dustin



#17 ehbowen

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Posted 30 June 2017 - 03:32 PM

It's best to just book the Amtrak with Amtrak. Just make your reservations to Williams Junction, Arizona for the day before your GCR train trip, then make a reservation on from Williams Junction to California for the next day. Then call Grand Canyon Railway directly and book your package for the hotel night and the train ride to and from the Canyon. Mention to them that you will be arriving and departing on Amtrak and they'll note your reservation accordingly.

 

I do recommend that you book at least "First Class" service on the Grand Canyon Railway; when I took the trip in 2007 their cheapest class of service used converted commuter cars with very cramped and uncomfortable seats. They would have been fine for a half-hour commute, but after a couple of hours I was miserable. Fortunately, I requested and was upgraded for the return trip.


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#18 the_traveler

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Posted 30 June 2017 - 03:47 PM

Dustin - To get to the Grand Canyon, you have a choice of 2 stations.

If you plan on taking the Grand Canyon Railway AND you plan to stay overnight at the Grand Canyon Railway hotel (since Amtrak arrives late and the train to GC leaves early you must stay overnight), you book to Williams Junction. Otherwise, book to Flagstaff - where you can rent cars, more hotel & restaurant services, tours, etc...

You Could depart that same night to CA, but you may want to stay overnight and leave late the next evening.

Edited by the_traveler, 30 June 2017 - 03:51 PM.

Take it easy .......

Take the train instead and enjoy the ride!

The view is much better at 3 feet than it is at 30,000 feet!

#19 BCL

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Posted 30 June 2017 - 03:49 PM

Ok....

 

So...

 

I'm getting a lot here.  So, we can all agree it might be best to go to an umbrella style simply because it'll be more portable by me...which...then means I'll have a lot less trouble with this whole thing? Right? 

 

Next...what's exactly going on with the Grand Canyon...?  Where do I need to book Amtrak to take us to?  Right now, because Amtrak can't offer me first class seats...I have to book the hotel/train excursion with the grand canyon hotel and railway.  So, I was planning on getting us to Williams (which station do I need to get us to?) and camping out for the night at the Grand Canyon Hotel.  Then we'd get up and catch the 10:30 train to the National Park and then return to catch Amtrak back out of town...after the Grand canyon railway brings us back...

 

So, what do I need to book?  How do I get our circus everywhere it needs to be? Can someone give me a rundown of what they would do for the requirements I've set for this trip?

 

Again, to all of you, thank you!  

 

Dustin

 

Amtrak give no guidance as to permissible size for a stroller carried on.  The only caveat is that it should be under 50 lbs, which is unlikely to be an issue.  Of course it would depend on what can reasonable fit.  I've seen people with guitar cases, so a stroller should present almost no problem as long as it's folded.



#20 Guest_Grandcircletour17_*

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 08:47 AM

Ok...

 

So, I've booked the tickets.  I have everything arranged so that we get a lift to the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel from the Thru-way buses.   I have also double checked with the ticketing agent again about our stroller.  She took a good twenty minutes to check with their "helpdesk" that responded that the big tandem (in line seating) stroller we have should be fine and that there shouldn't be any need to buy any kind of box at any station.  She said we can place it in the luggage storage between the wall and the luggage storage area .  

 

Now for more questions.  I keep seeing that there is a baggage car on the Southwest Chief. Can anyone confirm this?  Is there typically one?  Then, of course...I get that there's no checked baggage. And that we handle it ourselves..and that we're to carry it on...how and can we just place our stuff in the baggage car or what's the situation with that?

 

You're all wonderful help.  Thanks in advance!

 

Dustin





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