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Guest Tess

Carry on luggage

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Guest Tess

I would like to know what to expect when boarding the train. I will be catching a train at the Toccoa, Ga train station to Greensboro N.C. station. Is the carry on luggage check in the same process and restrictions as it is like going through the Atlanta, Ga airport? Are there limitations on liquids, are the TSA requirements the same? Do they search your bags, do you have to take off your shoes, any advice would be welcomed. I am traveling for the first time via train, I want to be as prepared as possible due to a few disabilities I have, like short term memory loss, and extreme anxiety issues. I am 25 and a survivor to brain cancer and I so want to travel and live. SO draw me a picture if you can, I would greatly appreciate any tips to help relieve my concerns. Like if I get lost or need help with directions are there people or staff around to help direct me. Do I need medical papers stating my disabilities? Thank you all for your time, and hope you all can cheer me on in this grand adventure I am about to partake. Living life daily!!!

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There are no TSA requirements of any kind. They do not check your bags, you do not have to take anything off. There is absolutely no security process involved. You do not need medical papers, and I've found that staff are usually very good about understanding passengers' particular needs and limitations. If you get lost or are having difficulty finding your way or anything like that, just ask an employee for help and I'm sure they will.

 

I would plan to arrive no less than 30 minutes in advance. When you get to the station, just hang out in the waiting area or on the platform until your train arrives, then when it does arrive, you'll show the conductor your ticket, and he/she will direct you to your car, where you'll board. I'm sure you'll be fine, especially since Toccoa is a very small station with easy access to the platforms.

 

Have a great trip!

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My advice, Pack as light as possible. You may need to find a laundromat or pay an arm an a leg at your hotel for laundry but it will be far less stressful than hauling a lot of luggage around.

 

 

Also if you need any meds pack double. This is what I do. I put all the meds I need in my personal carry on item and backups in my regular carry on. That way if I suffer from memory lose (and I often do ;) and leave my meds someplace I know I have backups. You might want to triple that up with a script from your doctor tucked in your wallet.

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The official rule for carry-on bag allowance is 2 per person. The unofficial rule is if you can carry it easily by yourself, it is allowed within reason. (This is not a hard and fast Rule though.)

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You really have nothing to worry about. The limits and permissible sizes are noted. Amtrak's carry-on limits are rather generous. If traveling alone, it might not be a great idea to max out carry-on since that's up to 150 lbs. For the most part you need to be able to handle your baggage yourself, including being able to place it on the overhead luggage rack. However, I suspect for the length of your trip you probably don't need anything more than a typical airline-style carry-on.

 

There's a whole list of stuff that you're not supposed to bring into the passenger compartment or in your carry-on baggage.

 

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

 

However, it would be rare for you to be searched. Amtrak has its own police, but sometimes they may enlist the aid of local law enforcement. They occasionally have sniffing dogs coming through, but they're well trained.

 

For the most part given one station doesn't have checked-baggage service, you would simply arrive at the platform and board the train. If you're just riding coach, there will likely be one door opened where a coach attendant will come out and give you a seat check (to place on a clip above your seat) with your assigned car/seat and destination. You just need to present your ticket, and possibly identification. I've personally never been asked for ID, but they do reserve the right to ask for it.

 

At your times (including a possible return trip on Amtrak) there won't be any meal service. I think the cafe might also be closed. If you need anything to eat, you can bring your own food.

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Here's what we take on. Only thing they've ever "confiscated" = we brought on 2 vases with flowers for the rooms! No big deal - told to leave them in the back of the SUV. Didn't the dining car once have live carnations???

post-13270-0-80974200-1531403943_thumb.jpg

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RichieRich,

 

To answer your question, yes. Once upon a time, I remember live flowers in silver-plated (probably) vases gracing the tables of the dining cars.

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Here's what we take on. Only thing they've ever "confiscated" = we brought on 2 vases with flowers for the rooms! No big deal - told to leave them in the back of the SUV. Didn't the dining car once have live carnations???

 

I don't believe the OP can see the photo as a guest. But for the OP, it's a photo that looks like two Amtrak station (airport style) carts carrying an Igloo Island Breeze 28 cooler, two carry-ons, a backpack, a wine-bottle tote, and a bottle of Champagne with flute (wine glass). And along the edge someone has a Champagne flute.

 

What station is this?

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To answer your question, yes. Once upon a time, I remember live flowers in silver-plated (probably) vases gracing the tables of the dining cars.

For the first couple years that I was riding LD trains (starting in 2011), I think they still had real flowers in the dining cars. It actually hasn't been that long, but nonetheless I still doubt they'll ever return. :(

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To answer your question, yes. Once upon a time, I remember live flowers in silver-plated (probably) vases gracing the tables of the dining cars.

For the first couple years that I was riding LD trains (starting in 2011), I think they still had real flowers in the dining cars. It actually hasn't been that long, but nonetheless I still doubt they'll ever return. :(

 

 

I found a photo of I took in late 2012 in the dining car. Definitely a thin stainless steel vase with one red and one white carnation, baby's breath, and a sprig of ferns.

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I found a photo of I took in late 2012 in the dining car. Definitely a thin stainless steel vase with one red and one white carnation, baby's breath, and a sprig of ferns.

 

I touched the flowers in 2012 or so (to smell them) and noticed they were fake. It may have just been on the SWC and may have been after a certain year, but I don't recall seeing live ones on any of my trips.

 

They were nice fakes, though. :) I could hardly tell.

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Prior to Amtrak, flowers on your dining room table was SOP. Chicago & North Western's Dakota 400, Rochester 400, and Twin Cities 400 Dining Car service established a service precedent that lives large in my memory.

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Prior to Amtrak, flowers on your dining room table was SOP. Chicago & North Western's Dakota 400, Rochester 400, and Twin Cities 400 Dining Car service established a service precedent that lives large in my memory.

I take it you quite liked the Dakota 400? ;)

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Back to your original question, you might let us know if you are taking a sleeper or traveling coach.

 

For the sleeper, you will have a car attendant who should show you how things work in your room, have the room set up for you (bed set up going north, seat set up going south). There will be a button you can press to call the attendant if needed and you should tell him/her if you have any special needs. You have the run of the train and can go to the cafe car to relax or stay in your room, have meals in the diner or brought to your room. You may not even be asked to show an ID (we have rarely been asked) much less go through any kind of security. Don't be afraid to ask others as well as asking the attendant. In the diner, you will be seated with strangers who will likely be willing to talk about anything with you. You will be assigned to a private room in a particular car and the attendant or conductor will tell you which one.

 

For coach, travel is a bit more self-serve. There will be an attendant who is likely busier but they should answer your questions. You will be assigned a seat or told to just look for one. Seats are bigger and have more leg room than domestic first class air. You will have space above your seat to store far more than on a plane. You can go any time to the cafe car to buy sandwiches, microwaved food, snacks and beverages. At night it may or may not be noisy depending on whether you are near any kids and how quiet they are. Bring ear plugs if you need solitude. You may get meals in the diner if space is available but you pay for those meals. Since you are going northbound, do go to the diner for breakfast as space is always available and prices are not bad.

 

Your train, the Crescent, has free wi-fi good enough to read Google news but not download movies. Either spend your time enjoying the scenery, sleep, or bring along your own entertainment (and earphones for listening). There will be a number of "smoke stops" where any passenger can get off and stretch his/her legs but stay near your car door so you don't miss the call to reboard. I believe Charlotte is the only long stop and that will be well past midnight but if you can't sleep, do step off the train.

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I'm a 6-8-times-a-year AutoTrain'er, So, Lorton, VA and Sanford, FL. Bring plenty of liquor and picnic fixin's for the pre-boarding wait. Invite anyone nice over to share. Was "told" someone once took some flowers full of some sorta bugs on board and they had to fumigate the car (?!?!?). Now...they tell me a lot of "stories" too! LOL Oh OH - bananas are OUT again. They "say" that they just don't keep. Funny...they seem to last a long time at Giant and have been OK on the AT for decades!!! Sounds like another "story".

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I found a photo of I took in late 2012 in the dining car. Definitely a thin stainless steel vase with one red and one white carnation, baby's breath, and a sprig of ferns.

 

I touched the flowers in 2012 or so (to smell them) and noticed they were fake. It may have just been on the SWC and may have been after a certain year, but I don't recall seeing live ones on any of my trips.

 

They were nice fakes, though. :) I could hardly tell.

 

 

Mine was Nov 2012 on CS #14. My cell phone photo does get a little bit blurry when I enlarge, but they look real enough. I'd think it would be hard to get the baby's breath that tiny. But it may have just been something on that particular route or from that particular crew. I also got the shot in right at the time we were passing by the Emeryville Post Office.

 

post-6829-0-19852100-1531447627_thumb.jpg

 

There's more to the photo, but I'm not big on posting public photos of my kid. I also miss the dining car breakfast where all beverages are included. My kid asked for both milk and juice, which were included in the $3.50 kid's breakfast price.

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I'm a 6-8-times-a-year AutoTrain'er, So, Lorton, VA and Sanford, FL. Bring plenty of liquor and picnic fixin's for the pre-boarding wait. Invite anyone nice over to share. Was "told" someone once took some flowers full of some sorta bugs on board and they had to fumigate the car (?!?!?). Now...they tell me a lot of "stories" too! LOL Oh OH - bananas are OUT again. They "say" that they just don't keep. Funny...they seem to last a long time at Giant and have been OK on the AT for decades!!! Sounds like another "story".

 

Really? I've had issues at the US-Canadian border. I do remember pre-clearance on the ferry ride from BC to Washington state a US Customs officer said that our fruit was fine as long as it had some sort of identification that it was from the US. My wife had already washed several Washington apples and cherries we'd bought in BC. The stickers on the apples were gone, but they told us we could finish them on the boat. The cherries were back in the identifying bag they came in. I wonder if there are any similar concerns on the Amtrak trains/buses. I have dealt with the automotive crossing, and have some interesting stories (on both sides).

 

California has agricultural inspection stations on the border with other states, but there are lots of ways in that don't go by one. I'm guessing the CZ doesn't stop for an agricultural check.

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Yep. The CZ doesn't stop for an agricultural check.

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I've ridden the Crescent from New Orleans twice in last couple years and both times they do check ID's for all passenger as part of the boarding process. You line up inside the station at a certain door to the boarding track and your ID is checked and conductor processes your ticket before going through the door to the track. I have ridden the City of New Orleans and Sunset Limited departing New Orleans and as best I remember they do check ID's and tickets prior to boarding the train similarly.

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I've ridden the Crescent from New Orleans twice in last couple years and both times they do check ID's for all passenger as part of the boarding process. You line up inside the station at a certain door to the boarding track and your ID is checked and conductor processes your ticket before going through the door to the track. I have ridden the City of New Orleans and Sunset Limited departing New Orleans and as best I remember they do check ID's and tickets prior to boarding the train similarly.

 

I've heard about it, but I've never been checked for ID by any Amtrak employee except when I was buying a ticket.

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Prior to Amtrak, flowers on your dining room table was SOP. Chicago & North Western's Dakota 400, Rochester 400, and Twin Cities 400 Dining Car service established a service precedent that lives large in my memory.

I take it you quite liked the Dakota 400? ;)

 

 

 

How did you ever guess? I rode all 3 trains several times in the '50's and early '60's with my family.

 

Once, due to a late PRR train's arrival in Chicago, we missed the Dakota 400, was placed on the Twin Cities 400 and connected and transferred to our train at Wyeville.

 

I don't recall the reason, but once on either the Rochester 400 or the Dakota 400, we were seated, as coach passengers, in the Parlor Car. As a teen-ager, that made quite an impression on me.

 

C&NW's Dining Service was top notch. Attractive menu covers, a nice selection of food, excellent service: there was a Dining Car Steward who handled the "business end" of the diner, seating guests, settling bills and the Dining Car Waiters--don't remember how many, but their service was excellent and friendly.

 

I even rode that route to Rapid City and return once on a train that I recall was named as The Rochester and Black Hills Special. No diner, but a cafe/lounge car as well as a Pullman sleeper. (We were in coach, however.)

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I've ridden the Crescent from New Orleans twice in last couple years and both times they do check ID's for all passenger as part of the boarding process. You line up inside the station at a certain door to the boarding track and your ID is checked and conductor processes your ticket before going through the door to the track. I have ridden the City of New Orleans and Sunset Limited departing New Orleans and as best I remember they do check ID's and tickets prior to boarding the train similarly.

I have encountered that local "security" person in NOL a number of times. The conductor looked bored having to be involved with an ID check. Probably the brother of a local politician.

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I've ridden the Crescent from New Orleans twice in last couple years and both times they do check ID's for all passenger as part of the boarding process. You line up inside the station at a certain door to the boarding track and your ID is checked and conductor processes your ticket before going through the door to the track. I have ridden the City of New Orleans and Sunset Limited departing New Orleans and as best I remember they do check ID's and tickets prior to boarding the train similarly.

 

Until this past April, I hadn't been to, through, or from New Orleans in at least 15 years...perhaps longer. I was stunned when passengers for the Sunset Limited I was leaving on were lined up and IDs checked. In more than 40 years of riding Amtrak, and for 20 years before that, I have NEVER been 'carded' when boarding a train until this April. These days, I'm on perhaps 60-70 trains per year and never get carded...not even by the legendary gate dragons of NY Penn Station!

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