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Guest Roger Cole

Getting off one stop early

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Guest Roger Cole

In August, my wife and another couple are planning a cross-country trip on AMTRAK. I have done this two other times albeit almost 20 years ago. We are taking the Capitol Limited to Chicago and transferring to the Southwest Chief. We then are transferring to the Coast Starlight to Emeryville where we are scheduled to get off. We will be staying at a hotel near the Oakland Airport. Four days later, we are departing on the California Zephyr which originates in Emeryville. Would AMTRAK have a problem if we detrained in Oakland (Jack London Square) station even though we are ticketed one stop further to Emeryville? I realize now that getting off at Oakland would get us to our hotel earlier and save on the taxi fare. If so, I guess we should have checked baggage tagged for Oakland and not Emeryville. Since we're starting in Cumberland, MD which has no checked baggage, we'll have to stow our bags downstairs in our Superliner Sleeper and check them with AMTRAK when we get to Chicago.

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I routinely get off one stop early when traveling home to Orlando. Depending on ride availability or SunRail schedule, I detrain in Winter Park instead of Orlando. However, I never check luggage. When I inform my attendant that I want to get off in Winter Park, the first thing I am asked is if I have any checked bags.

 

Since I do not check bags, I am not sure if you could check bags to Oakland, when you are ticketed to Emeryville. You may have to modify your tickets, which may result in a fare increase or decrease.

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You can get off a stop earlier, but you have to alert your SCA so they can open the car door and notify the Conductor that you are getting. Very routine. The big issue is checked baggage. Your bags will be checked to your destination based on what your ticket states. If you do not want to modify your tickets then you would need to keep the bags with you, which can be stored on the luggage shelves on the lower level of the Superliners.

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That's what I would suggest. Since you can't check your bags at your origin, don't check them in Chicago either. Instead,store then in the lower level luggage racks on the Southwest Chief and Coast Starlight. Use a Red Cap during your connections in LA and Chicago if necessary.

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It shouldn't be too difficult to do that. You can walk through the train and figure out where everyone getting of in Oakland are located to know which car should have an open door. Heck - when you board you can probably request that you be marked to exit in Oakland. In my experience, at least one car is going to have a combination of Oakland/Emeryille passengers.

 

You baggage is going to be hand tagged, so they could send it to any location along the way if you request it and tell them that you plan of exiting early.

 

For a hotel near Oakland Airport, a better way might be if you can somehow get off at OAC, although I'm not sure how that would work with your reservation - if you can arrange a short trip from OKJ or SJC.. You could take AC Transit 73 to the airport, and most hotels near the airport have shuttles. There's also the new Oakland Airport BART connector.

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I was booked to EMY once and later had a reason to get off at SJC (2 stops early?) so I just told my SCA that I would be detraining at SJC.

I did not have checked baggage though.

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Once, during Thanksgiving season back in 2014, when I was traveling from Klamath Falls to Portland on the Coast Starlight, I was requested to get off at Salem rather than Portland by the person picking me up that day. After asking the conductor, I was able to get off the train in Salem. Since I did not have checked bags, it was no problemo. However be noted that you will not be refunded for the untraveled segment unless in the event of disruption.

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