Posts Tagged ‘checked baggage’

Checked Bikes Now Allowed on Pennsylvanian

October 16, 2019

It took awhile but Amtrak has formally announced the offering of checked baggage and bicycle service aboard the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian.

The service is available at New York, Newark, Philadelphia , Lancaster, Harrisburg, Altoona, Johnstown and Pittsburgh.

The fee for a checked bike is $20. Passengers are allowed to check two bags for free.

In news release, Amtrak said only standard bicycles will be handled.

In the case of bikes with a large seat/saddle bags, handlebar bags or panniers, those items must be removed from the bike, consolidated, and checked or carried on the train.

To make a bike reservation, passengers should select “add bike” when booking travel on Amtrak.com, calling 800-USA-RAIL or visiting a staffed ticket office.

Limited space is available for checked bicycles. No box is required.

Passengers connecting in Pittsburgh with the Capitol Limited (Chicago-Washington) can check bikes and bags through to or from their destination.

Amtrak said passengers checking bikes  must arrive at the station 45 minutes before a train’s departure time to allow enough time to purchase a ticket and obtain a baggage tag and transport the bike to the baggage car.

Baggage Car Now Operating on The Pennsylvanian

October 2, 2019

Amtrak has added a baggage car and checked luggage service to the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian.

The service, which began on Oct. 1, provides checked luggage service at Pittsburgh, Johnstown, Altoona, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Newark and New York.

The baggage car also has space to carry up to six bicycles, which can be checked for a $20 fee to any of the aforementioned stations.

Checking of bikes and luggage is only available at stations that still have a station agent.

An online reported indicated that the baggage car was added at the insistence of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which helps to fund the Pennsylvanian.

Boston LSL Section to Lose Check Baggage Service

December 22, 2018

Checked baggage service will end on the Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited on Jan. 7, 2019.

That will leave Northeast Regional Nos. 65, 66 and 67 as the only trains serving Boston South Station with checked baggage service.

Affected by the change to Nos. 448 and 449 will be passengers traveling to South Station and stations in Massachusetts in Worcester and Springfield.

Amtrak’s national carry-on baggage policy limits passengers to two bags not exceeding 50 pounds each plus two personal items not exceeding 25 pounds each.

The New York section of the Lake Shore Limited will continue offering checked baggage service between Chicago and New York and at select intermediate stations.

Vanishing Sight

January 23, 2018

All of Amtrak’s long-distance trains carry baggage cars. Given that these cars are new Viewliner equipment that went into service in the past few years, it is likely that Amtrak trains will continue to carry baggage cars and offer checked baggage for the foreseeable future.

But rapidly vanishing at intermediate stations is the practice of the local station agent wheeling a baggage cart out to the platform to load and unload bags on the train’s baggage car.

Shown is an Amtrak agent at Minot, North Dakota, loading a box aboard the westbound Empire Builder in May 2014.

As Amtrak tells the story, it has pulled its agents from many stations because most passengers are buying their tickets online. Many passengers are using their smart phones for their tickets rather than using paper.

So, the story goes, there is less need to have agents at stations that sell few tickets. With the disappearance of agents have also come the end of check baggage at those stations.

In some instances, an Amtrak conductor can check items, such as bicycles. But in most towns served by Amtrak, checked luggage has become another relic of history.

Columbus WI Ticket Office to Close April 28

April 3, 2017

The Amtrak ticket agent will be removed from the station in Columbus, Wisconsin, effective April 28.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said passengers will continue to have access to the station waiting area for all train arrivals and departures during normal station hours from 10:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.

Boarding assistance will be provided by Amtrak on-board personnel while a station caretaker will be available at the station approximately 30 minutes before and after train departures to answer questions about Amtrak service.

Trainside checked baggage and bike service will be available in Columbus, but Amtrak Express Service is being discontinued.

Baggage tags will be available inside the station and passengers will check and retrieve their baggage and bike from an Amtrak on-board crew member at the baggage car.

Amtrak said that passengers using cash can pay for tickets on the train, but tickets paid for in cash on the train will be priced at the highest fare and subject to availability.

Unaccompanied minors will not be permitted to travel to or from Columbus.

The closest Amtrak station to Columbus that will continue to provide agent service will be Milwaukee, 64 miles to the east.

Columbus is served by the daily Empire Builder between Chicago and Seattle/Portland.

Amtrak Looks to Boost Checked Baggage Revenue

August 18, 2015

Having seen how the airline industry annually rakes in $3.3 billion from checked baggage fees, Amtrak is trying to boost its own baggage revenue.

Effective Oct. 15, Amtrak will begin charging $20 per bag for luggage that exceeds the carrier’s weight and size limitations.

Amtrak allows passengers to bring aboard without charge two personal items that each must weigh no more than 25 pounds or exceed the dimensions of 14-by-11-by 17 inches.

Passengers are also allowed two carry-on items, each of which must not exceed 50 pounds or the dimensions of 28-by-22-by-14 inches.

Under the new policy, bags over 50 pounds must be repacked in a box to be provided at a station if checked baggage is available or, if possible, on onboard the train.

If checked baggage service is available at the passenger’s origination and destination point, the passengers must check baggage that exceeds the size and weight limitations.

A post on Trainorders.com, contained internal Amtrak documents showing that airlines make an average of $8.75 per bag.

Amtrak, which handles 4 million checked bags annually, earns an average of 29 cents per bag

The report cited U.S. Department of Transportation statistics that showed that during the first nine months of 2015 Southwest Airlines, which markets itself with the slogan “Bags Fly Free,” earned $117 million in checked baggage fees.

Amtrak earns $693,000 a year in checked baggage revenue.

The DOT statistics said that 83 percent of all airlines charge for all checked bags.

By its projections, Amtrak believes that if 10 percent of checked bags were charged, the potential revenue would be $8 million. If 25 percent of checked bags were charged, the potential revenue would be $20 million.

Currently, Amtrak charges for just 0.9 percent of the checked baggage that it carries.