In less than a week, my daughter and I are traveling from Baltimore (BAL) to Chicago (CHI) on the Cardinal in a roomette; after spending one night in Chicago we are traveling to Emeryville (EMY) on the California Zephyr in a bedroom. We'll fly back from San Francisco to Baltimore. We'll be gone about 1.5 weeks. We'll take two suitcases - both would fit in an airplane overhead bin. While preparing to pack, I'm noticing that I'm trouble fitting everything in a suitcase for myself. I could use a different (larger) suitcase (dimensions 28in x 18in x 12 in), but then we probably wouldn't be able to put both suitcases in the over-the-corridor storage area I remember on Viewliners. I've thought about just using the larger suitcase and therefore checking it on the Cardinal. I've never checked baggage on a train, and I imagine that because there are no connections involved it is less likely that it would be lost or left somewhere by accident. I do worry about the suitcase being mistakenly taken off the train at an intermediate stop. On the California Zephyr I'll just use the downstairs luggage area, and would check the suitcase back to Baltimore on the airplane. I guess because this would be my first time checking a suitcase on a train, I feel a little leery. What should I concern myself with? Checking the bag in BAL? Picking it up in CHI? How long after we get off the train in CHI would the checked bags be ready for pickup by passengers? Does Amtrak track checked suitcases electronically (as the airlines do)? Maybe I need some hand-holding here!