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I'm going to be moving cost country soon and I don't trust UPS with my dssktop PC since it's very expensive and I built it myself. On the Amtrak website I noticed there was smaller rooms that are ideal for 1 passanger and 2 suitcases so I have a few questions.

 

A. Are desktop computers allowed on the trains?

B. Can I bring my desktop into the room with me?

C. Do the rooms have locked doors when I'm eating?

 

Thanks guys, I appeciate it.

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There isn't anything that says they're not allowed.

 

As for can you bring it in your room. Sure. Just be aware that it may not fit in your room. Roomette's are very small, only meant to hold one very small suitcase. Bedrooms can hold a little more.

 

Rooms don't lock from the outside. Only the inside.

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Hi,

 

You may need to invest in a new keyboard for your computer, just saying. :D

 

The roomettes are small, but are designed for two persons to sleep in, so if you can put the computer on one berth and sleep on the other, that should work well.

 

The roomettes are in a separate part of the train to the coaches, so the only folk passing your compartment will be fellow sleeper passengers or staff.

 

I have traveled many thousands of Amtrak miles, but never heard of any theft issues. Not saying it cant happen, but it seems very rare in roomettes.

 

Keep your wallet and camera, etc, with you when you go to eat, and draw the curtains over the closed door of your roomette.

 

Anyone looking for a "quick opportunistic buck" is not likely to be tempted to steal and conceal a desktop computer, anyway.

 

Lastly, you can have your meals brought to your room if you prefer to stay with your items in the roomette.

 

Ed.

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A passenger across the aisle from me brought a small padlock for the outside of his roomette.

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I don't usually travel with much of anything worth stealing, but even so, I sometimes try to time my meals (and showers, etc.) so that I'm not out of my room while the train is stopped. That way, if I notice something missing when I get back, I know that it has to still be somewhere on the train.

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I don't see any reason whatsoever why a desktop computer wouldn't be allowed on a train. At all. And they can't look through your bags so how would Amtrak know if you have one anyway. And to be clear, anything you bring on the train, you can keep in your room. So you will be fine. Just so you know, the doors to the rooms to lock, but only from the inside, so it will be unlocked if you're out of the room. I have never had anything stolen from my room, and remember that only sleeper passengers are in the sleeper cars, so it's incredibly unlikely. Just leave the door closed with the curtains drawn, and I would be shocked if you have a problem.

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A. Are desktop computers allowed on the trains?

B. Can I bring my desktop into the room with me?

C. Do the rooms have locked doors when I'm eating?

A. Yes, as carry-on luggage or commercial shipment, but electronic items are generally not allowed as checked luggage accompanying a passenger.

 

B. Yes, so long as you can find someplace to fit it. If it's a consumer desktop from the last decade or so you're probably fine. If it's a full height server tower from the 1980's or a double width commercial workstation or liquid cooled gaming tower maybe not.

 

C. No, the rooms do not lock from the outside. There is a very simple latch and locking lever mechanism for when you are inside your compartment. When you are outside your compartment the door will remain unlatched and unlocked until you return. The movement of the train will often cause any unlatched door to eventually slide open leaving luggage and personal items on display for anyone passing by. This is one reason routine passengers will often close their Velcro curtains whenever they leave their room. There are a small number of rooms with a slightly different mechanism that can be latched (but not locked) from the outside, but these are few and far between in my experience.

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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I don't see any reason whatsoever why a desktop computer wouldn't be allowed on a train. At all. And they can't look through your bags so how would Amtrak know if you have one anyway.

I would hazard just a guess that if you are carrying a large 20” x 35” box that says “HP” on the side, that they can tell that it may be a desktop computer - even without looking through your bags!

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I don't see any reason whatsoever why a desktop computer wouldn't be allowed on a train. At all. And they can't look through your bags so how would Amtrak know if you have one anyway.

I would hazard just a guess that if you are carrying a large 20” x 35” box that says “HP” on the side, that they can tell that it may be a desktop computer - even without looking through your bags!

 

Unless it's a massive tower computer, I feel like any reasonably sized computer can fit into a suitcase, and most people aren't going to just lug a PC around without putting it into a bag of any kind. My point was that they can't reasonably or logically have a rule against bringing computers on board.

Edited by cpotisch

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But they do have baggage size/weight/number of carry-ons rules, which at worst will require you to pay the oversize/overweight fee if what you want to take/put on the train is oversize/overweight.

Amtrak baggage info - https://www.amtrak.com/onboard/baggage-policy.html

Edited by KmH

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I don't think there is a "pay for overweight" option?

 

Unless you are struggling yourself to carry the item, or it is noticeably oversize, you should be fine. Of course, you might meet an Amtrak employee who is not "user friendly", but strict adherence to the "rules" has not been a big feature of Amtrak baggage policy that I ever noticed.

 

Ed.

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Yeah, the unofficial Amtrak baggage rule is that if you can bring it on without help, it's fine.

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The technical; (From the Amtrak website)

items being transported for business or resident relocation are not allowed. Contents must be necessary for wear, use, comfort, or convenience of the passenger for the purpose of the trip.

 

The reality: I'm on my way to a meeting where I will use this....

 

Again, as others have said, unless you overpack it, or it is really over sized and you struggle to get it on the train, it is extremely unlikely anyone will bat an eyelash. Keep in mind if you are upstairs on a SL if it difficult to carry, the stairs (and roomette space) may be an issue.

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The question for you will be how are you carrying this computer. I am presuming you are leaving the monitor and the keyboard. If you are traveling by yourself, then there should be room for the box. I would suggest a non-descriptive box so only you know what you are carrying. When you leave the room, close the curtains, but having a plain box isn't something anyone would be interested in investigating/stealing. I have never heard of any theft in the Sleeping cars in all my travels on Amtrak since the 80's. Hording, yes, a few people feel the need to take anything the SCA puts out for all in the Sleeper. I have never seen anyone go into another's room, except by accident, like coming back from the DIning Car and be in the wrong sleeper. People are generally very nice in the Sleepers.

 

Again, plan ahead how you are carrying this box. Do a trail run carrying everything, you may need to make some adjustments. Better to find these out before the trip.

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I wouldn't worry at all about it being stolen. My main concern would be to make sure it's packed tight with a lot of padding, because a desktop probably isn't designed for the amount of vibration there can be on a train.

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A VL sleeper (East Coast, or LSL NYP to Chicago) occupied by a single person offers the upper berth as a very convenient storage shelf, and no stairs to contend with. . That is somewhat less pleasant in a SL roomette because of the way the upper operates. The SL has a pretty good baggage area downstairs, if you have a locking case and a cable lock that is another possibility. If you had a lower roomette, it would be right by, but not in your room.

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I actually wouldn't bother with a box and such. Too bulky.

 

My tower is "normal consumer size" (i.e. not a cooled gaming rig), and I see no reason why I couldn't put it in my larger suitcase and bundle a bunch of clothing or bubble wrap around it. My monitor (flat) and peripherals would fit in there too.

 

Considering I'm going to have my hands on the suitcase the entire time, there's little chance it'll get banged about. It's a rolling suitcase, so the most movement it would incur would be lifting it onto the train.

 

So, my suggestion is: pack it into a suitcase and get a lower-level roomette (if it's a Superliner car) to minimize the lifting. You can lower the top bunk and keep the suitcase up there. Use a backpack for whatever things you might need during the trip - change of clothes and whatnot. Your backpack will fit on the step for the upper bunk.

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If the computer is more than 5 years, give or take, I'd either donate it or sell it on ebay (packing is difficult due to size, costs a fortune to send 15 pounds cross country, and is probably better off being packed and shipped by your nearby UPS store. UPS will charge perhaps $20 for packing, plus shipping costs. Shipping costs at the UPS store are about 3-5% higher than you can get it directly off your Paypal screen. Ebay only offers USPS and Fedex as shipping options.

 

However, if I had a bunch of purchased software on the computer like Photoshop, etc, donating/selling the computer would be costly in terms of getting new software. That's a problem I had when I built a new computer to replace (augment, actually) my XP computer. The costs of replacing/upgrading the software to Windows 7 made it impractical to ditch the XP computer. So, I still have it and uses it regularly for a couple of programs that either the upgrade is very pricey or they cannot be made to operate on 64-bit Win 7. One of my friends had a JV Mcgee Bible study program that was originally written to run on Windows 3 and could not be tricked to run on his 64-bit Win-7 laptop like I did to make it run on his XP computer about 7-8 years ago. So, I 'swapped' Win-7 versions with my own 32-bit laptop, and managed to trick the antique software to run on Windows 7, although printing has to be accomplished rather oddly.

 

If you 'watch' Walmart and other 'store bought computer' retailers, you'll find that every couple of months, what was a $500 desktop computer is now on sale for $200-250. The manufacturers come out with a new model or two every 4-6 months so the retailers drop the price to 'closeout' sales. I found what's usually a $500 laptop for $185 about 2 years ago for a friend. Knowing the on-sale laptop was at my local Walmart, I hustled over there and and to convince the clerk that according to their website, they have 3 in stock. His screen at the work station didn't show it. But he went to another computer 75-80' away that could access the internet, went to the website, saw the computer, got the Walmart stock number, went into the back room and found it there after 4-5 minutes of searching.

 

Plan B: would be to remove everything from the computer (motherboard with processor, etc), disk drive(s), CD/DVD burner, and whatever else you want to carry. Pack it all tightly in a box which could be not much bigger than the mother board and perhaps 4-5" high. Remember to build crush protection around the CPU and its fan on top of it. Put the now-empty computer case at the curb and someone will likely pick it up. Then, all you'll need at your new home would be a new computer case ($50-150, generally). I'd probably take the power supply, too. But...

 

If you have a 'store bought' computer such as a Hewlett-Packard or Dell, you'll have to buy an identical box somewhere. The mass-produced computer companies don't use a 'generic' case, power supply, and motherboard, and may even have built-in side-of-case fans that are a fraction of an inch above the CPU fan to keep it cool. I just added RAM to a friends' 6 month old DELL computer a couple weeks ago and there's a plastic 'tube' protruding from the inside of the removable panel that comes close to the CPU fan to get that hot air directly out of the case rather than its' wondering around in the box, heating up other things, etc.

 

As a former package handler for Fedex, know that there's no such thing as 'fragile'. Everything gets unloaded/handled/sorted/loaded the same way. IE, all small packages go on one conveyor, 'regulars' on another, and overweight/large/hazmats go on another conveyor. I learned there to make sure everything I ship can withstand a 20' drop to a concrete floor, and can be at the bottom of a 'wall' of packages in a trailer with a bunch of 50+ pound packages on top. When the truck hits a bump, that 'jolt' to the trailer effectively multiplies the weight of the packages 300-500%, so those five 50 pounders on top of your package suddenly 'weighs' 750-1000 pounds!

 

Lastly, if you do carry the tower on Amtrak, not only custom-make the box for it, but create a 'handle' using shipping tape by putting 3-4 strips of tape across the topmost narrow edge with an extra 4-5 inches of each strip of tape to create an 'arch'. Be sure to put 5+ inches of tape down the sides of your 'handle'. Or, buy a cheap collapsible hand truck like those sold in an airport for $50 but at Walmart for $20 and tape the cart to the box. It'll make a world of difference if you don't have to carry it, but only wheel it.

 

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The OP has already stated that they have a valuable home built computer. They don't need advice about donating it and buying another one. I get the impression that the main reason for the train trip is to safeguard that computer. Let's not micro manage a few simple questions!

 

Always good to know that a "fragile" label on good sent by Fedex is just for decoration.

 

Ed

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It is hard to advise without knowing the size of the home build unit.

 

Labels on Fed-X, UPS, or USPS mean nothing. The insurance value is what sometimes makes the difference.

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A. Are desktop computers allowed on the trains?

B. Can I bring my desktop into the room with me?

C. Do the rooms have locked doors when I'm eating?

A. Yes, as carry-on luggage or commercial shipment, but electronic items are generally not allowed as checked luggage accompanying a passenger.

 

As far as I can tell, they don't really care other than disclaiming liability if anything is damaged, lost, or stolen in checked baggage. The category include all fragile and valuable items, including money.

Edited by BCL

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Always good to know that a "fragile" label on good sent by Fedex is just for decoration.

 

The same is true for UPS and USPS. I've seen packages marked fragile thrown and dropped in their sorting centers, too. The automatic sorters for regular sized packages can be very brutal, especially to items not adequately boxed up. I've seen flat screen TVs with feet attached, put in a box and no packing materials, 36-count rolls of toilet paper right off the shelf from Walmart, and even packages of moose scent (for the hunters) break open. I've seen it 'rain' from the overhead belts everything from water to bleach to paint to wine! If you're old enough to remember the 'savage baggage handlers' commercials featuring a gorilla, the gorilla was too slow in destroying the competitor brand suitcase.

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Always good to know that a "fragile" label on good sent by Fedex is just for decoration.

 

The same is true for UPS and USPS. I've seen packages marked fragile thrown and dropped in their sorting centers, too. The automatic sorters for regular sized packages can be very brutal, especially to items not adequately boxed up. I've seen flat screen TVs with feet attached, put in a box and no packing materials, 36-count rolls of toilet paper right off the shelf from Walmart, and even packages of moose scent (for the hunters) break open. I've seen it 'rain' from the overhead belts everything from water to bleach to paint to wine! If you're old enough to remember the 'savage baggage handlers' commercials featuring a gorilla, the gorilla was too slow in destroying the competitor brand suitcase.

 

And true for checked luggage when flying by air. The luggage distribution system in an airport can be similar to a sorting center. There are some baggage handlers who read "fragile" to mean "throw me!"

 

Another advantage of Amtrak: your checked luggage doesn't have to travel anywhere by conveyor.

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