How strict is the weight on checked baggage?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by inspiration100, Jun 7, 2012.

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  1. Jun 7, 2012 #1

    inspiration100

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    inspiration100

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    Will be leaving from Seattle train station, as well as Chicago train station. How strict is Amtrak on weight? If it is 55 lbs for example, will it get rejected? Do they actually put it on a scale? Can you pay a fee for baggage that is over? I presume that is a no, but still worth asking. Is it as strict as the airport?
     
  2. Jun 7, 2012 #2

    inspiration100

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    Also another question. We booked a 1 day layover in chicago after the empire builder and then will catch the next train to cleveland. Because of that 1 day delay, is it not possible to have the luggage shipped directly to cleveland? Will this make a mess? Or can they hold it at the other end?
     
  3. Jun 7, 2012 #3

    Acela150

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    They do have a scale, My bag weighed 51 pounds at SEA and the guy told me to take something out. I asked him because it's just one pound could he let it slide. He didn't even reply. Amtrak doesn't have an overweight fee like VIA Rail does.

    You can have the bags shipped to CLE. Show your tickets for the EB and CL/LSL. They will send it straight through. So make sure you have enough clothes and all the other essentials. They will be held at CHI or CLE overnight and you won't be charged for it if your bags are held at CLE for more then three days, then there will be a charge.
     
  4. Jun 7, 2012 #4

    EB_OBS

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    In most cases if it weighs over 40lbs. it will be weighed. If it's over 50lbs. you will very likely be asked to reduce it to 50lbs.
     
  5. Jun 7, 2012 #5

    zephyr17

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    Yes, they'll weigh it at SEA. Remember that you can check 3 bags for free, so you can break it up.
     
  6. Jun 7, 2012 #6

    Shanghai

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    I've seen passengers checking luggage in New York removing items to reduce

    the weight at or under 50 pounds.
     
  7. Jun 7, 2012 #7

    Ispolkom

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    I've had to repack luggage in St. Paul to reduce a suitcase's weight from 53 lbs. to 50. The agent would not accept an overweight bag. Fortunately, they aren't so strict with overweight passengers.
     
  8. Jun 7, 2012 #8

    yarrow

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    the 50lb rule does seem pretty hard and fast. yarrow and i watched with some amusement in flagstaff last winter as a poor woman had to keep removing items to get to 50lb. i think the agent reweighed her bag 3 times. very friendly agent but evidently no latitiude is allowed. makes sense to me as the agent's backs get a workout as it is
     
  9. Jun 7, 2012 #9

    the_traveler

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    if one bag weight say 54 pounds and the other weighs 25 pounds, you will be asked (told) to rearrange the bags to get each under the limit![​IMG] I have seen many passengers doing just that.

    If you carry the bags on, they do not weigh them or size them at all!
     
  10. Jun 7, 2012 #10

    saxman

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    In my experience, yes, they are strict with checked bag weight. When I help out in at my home station, sometime I'll assist with baggage, and making sure there are name tags on each. I've gotten pretty good just lifting a bag, and seeing if it's too heavy or not. If it is, I warn the passenger, that is might be too heavy, and to be prepared to have to take a few things out. Even if it's 51 lbs, they'll make you take something out.
     
  11. Jun 7, 2012 #11

    benjibear

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    They basically have to set a number and stick with it. If they let somebody go with a 51 pound bag because it is just 1 pount over, the next person comes with a 52 pound bag. It keeps going on and on. Like speed limits around here. Posted 55 but now everybody goes at least 70 and many much higher.
     
  12. Jun 7, 2012 #12

    fairviewroad

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    I must be in the minority because I did "get away" with an overweight bag last winter on the EB, boarding at a station mid-route which shall

    remain nameless to protect the identity of the agent. It's not a terribly exciting story: Basically I was checking two bags...one was about 45

    pounds and the other clocked in at 53 pounds. I offered to do some rearranging and the agent just shrugged and said "Don't worry about

    it." End of story. So it's not a 100% hard/fast rule. Just don't assume they'll let you get away with it.

    A footnote to the story is that about 15 minutes later, someone came in with a suitcase that weighed a whopping 75 pounds. Of course that

    wasn't going to slide through. But the very same agent that allowed our 53 pound bag made them get it all the way down to exactly 50

    before he'd allow it. So you can probably figure out the lesson there.
     
  13. Jun 7, 2012 #13

    fillyjonk

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    I'm always a little surprised they don't at least guess the weight of carry on bags...at least in the sleeper car the attendant has to move and place the bag, so if the 50 lb weight limit is to save the backs of the Amtrak workers...

    I once saw a family get on a in Mineola with a giant trash can (like one of the roll carts you put out to the curb) full of clothes. I'm sure it was pretty heavy as it took both the adults to lift it. Don't remember if they were sleeper or coach pax but I'd be annoyed if I got on after them and couldn't find any more room to stow my bag. (Mineola is a stop where they do not do checked baggage....)
     
  14. Jun 7, 2012 #14

    Mackensen

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    At least in Chicago, and this may be true at other major stations, Amtrak will sell you an Amtrak Express box (for $5) if you don't have another piece of luggage and are over the limit. It's a nice sturdy box.
     
  15. Jun 7, 2012 #15

    me_little_me

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    Same thing in Atlanta. Friendly, patient, but insistent agent made the customer keep moving things after reweighing multiple times.
     
  16. Jun 7, 2012 #16

    hello

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    Every station we have checked luggage at has adamantly adhered to the 50 pound rule.

    The Bellingham agent also said that Amtrak will be changing the dimension of luggage that will be accepted, in the near future. Our luggage was under 50 pounds and "barely" under the dimensions that are listed on Amtraks website -- this was in May of this year.
     
  17. Jun 7, 2012 #17

    Swadian Hardcore

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    The Amtrak agent would probably be disciplined if he/she let somebody take over 50 pounds, otherwise they would not be so strict.
     
  18. Jun 7, 2012 #18

    saxman

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    Except there is not really a way to tell which agent tagged and accepted the bags in the first place. Nor can you really tell where the bags were check from, once they are loaded. Some tags might be stamped or written on where the bag came from, but most agents do not write that in.
     
  19. Jun 7, 2012 #19

    pennyk

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    I have seen the same thing many times in Winter Park, FL.
     
  20. Jun 9, 2012 #20

    EB_OBS

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    Amtrak expects all employees to be able to lift 50lbs. All employees must demonstrate this whenever they take a physical, or at least they are supposed to. Employees are trained and expected to use correct lifting techniques to prevent injury.

    Amtrak adheres to a strict policy for checked, as well as carry-on baggage, because back injuries are costly in addition to potentially permanent. From the baggage counter until it is returned to you, your bag has had to be lifted by an employee as many as five or six times.

    As someone else stated, you have to pick a number and enforce it. Amtrak decided on 50lbs. as the limit in order to hopefully prevent work related injuries.

    It's human nature when given an inch to try to take a mile. 53lbs. might not sound like much but try doing baggage work for a busy station for eight hours shifts. The extra pounds can take a toll on you.
     
  21. Jun 9, 2012 #21

    Railroad Bill

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    And in Cleveland as well. Our agents are nice people, but they weigh everything on the scales when it is checked and if not the proper weight, you must take something out :lol: We seldom check baggage, but make sure the bag gets a session on the bathroom scales before we leave :p
     
  22. Jun 11, 2012 #22

    Ana

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    My bags have always been weighed. On the plus side, the scales being there were very handy for me, I was flying back to Australia the day after I arrived in Chicago on Amtrak and I asked the ticket agent if she would weigh my bags for me (it wasn't busy) so I knew which one I could cram some of my carryon on into and which one I had to make sure didn't get anything added to it. At least at that point I still had the option to post stuff, once you get to the airport and find out, you're completely screwed. And airline overlimit amounts are painfully expensive. She was very helpful.
     
  23. Feb 6, 2014 #23
    I have a guitar amp going on with me tomorrow..It WILL get on the train. Wether 50 pounds or 70
     
  24. Feb 6, 2014 #24

    John Bobinyec

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    Super. Please let us know how you make out.

    jb
     
  25. Feb 6, 2014 #25

    lionelhoguy

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    Don't take a chance! We had some pretty heavy bags and we made it on at our home station, and never had a problem. When we were returning the bags were weighed (at SEA) and the agent was very rude when I mentioned they weighed more on the way out. We ended up having to ship some stuff home. It all depends on the agent and his/her mood for the day.
     

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