Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Amtrak - liklihood of getting on without advance ticket?

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Amtrak - liklihood of getting on without advance ticket?

Old 09-20-20, 09:30 PM
  #1  
KC8QVO
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 896

Bikes: Surly Disk Trucker, 2014 w/Brooks Flyer Special saddle, Tubus racks - Duo front/Logo Evo rear, 2019 Dahon Mariner D8, Both bikes share Ortlieb Packer Plus series panniers, Garmin Edge 1000

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 291 Post(s)
Liked 58 Times in 50 Posts
Amtrak - liklihood of getting on without advance ticket?

Do any of you have experience with riding on Amtrak trains? My question is - if you show up at a stop when a train is coming through and you don't have a ticket - can you get on and purchase a ticket when you get on?

If it makes any difference on the route (I've heard different routes have different levels of accommodations, not necessarily "policies", but the staff seem to handle things differently) the trains that I may potentially be on are:
Cardinal
Capitol Limited
Lakeshore Limited

I've only rode Amtrak once and had a ticket in advance (had to change it as I showed up at the wrong station, but was a station on the route of the train I was going to transfer to anyway so Amtrak dropped a few bucks and I waited a few hours but still got on).
KC8QVO is offline  
Old 09-20-20, 09:57 PM
  #2  
LesterOfPuppets
cowboy, steel horse, etc
 
LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Valley of the Sun.
Posts: 36,744

Bikes: everywhere

Mentioned: 60 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7149 Post(s)
Liked 2,496 Times in 1,327 Posts
Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
Do any of you have experience with riding on Amtrak trains? My question is - if you show up at a stop when a train is coming through and you don't have a ticket - can you get on and purchase a ticket when you get on?

If it makes any difference on the route (I've heard different routes have different levels of accommodations, not necessarily "policies", but the staff seem to handle things differently) the trains that I may potentially be on are:
Cardinal
Capitol Limited
Lakeshore Limited

I've only rode Amtrak once and had a ticket in advance (had to change it as I showed up at the wrong station, but was a station on the route of the train I was going to transfer to anyway so Amtrak dropped a few bucks and I waited a few hours but still got on).
I haven't purchased an Amtrak ticket on the train. Only at ticket windows, kiosks, and on my phone.

Some trains do sell out so you must be prepared for that possibility when buying last minute Tix.
LesterOfPuppets is online now  
Old 09-20-20, 10:04 PM
  #3  
UniChris
Senior Member
 
UniChris's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Northampton, MA
Posts: 1,336

Bikes: 36" Unicycle

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 603 Post(s)
Liked 219 Times in 160 Posts
No mobile data service in the station area that you could use to purchase from a phone before boarding? No ticket window or machine at the station?

I can certainly see how some of these things could be true in certain areas, just wondering if they apply.

Note that bike accommodation on some routes is, if offered at all, an extra cost service at the time of ticket purchase.
UniChris is online now  
Old 09-20-20, 10:21 PM
  #4  
KC8QVO
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 896

Bikes: Surly Disk Trucker, 2014 w/Brooks Flyer Special saddle, Tubus racks - Duo front/Logo Evo rear, 2019 Dahon Mariner D8, Both bikes share Ortlieb Packer Plus series panniers, Garmin Edge 1000

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 291 Post(s)
Liked 58 Times in 50 Posts
Its not a matter of cell service or not, its a matter of scheduling. I am tossing around some other ideas on traveling and I am not going to know what I want to do or what is going to be a possibility. So my question is exactly that - if I show up at a train stop without a ticket would I be refused boarding? I'm not going to sit around for days killing time for the next train, so it would be an immediate plan changer if I got to that point with a "plan" that involved getting on the train. And thinking through things on the surface here with the root idea of where the train idea comes from - there is a 5 day window of getting to where I could pick up a train. Without knowing what day in that range would actually be "the day" I can't schedule a ticket in advance until I know "the day" for certain. And there may not be a train passing through that day, either, anyway.

Looking at schedules online just for the heck of it here - I see some trains at 25% capacity, yet they show "sold out" for coach and business class. How is that possible?

When I rode the train the one time one of the cars was very empty, and they moved me out of that car to the next one behind that had a lot more people. I forget what the reasoning was and why they were trying to keep the one car more empty - even though I was getting off and not staying on the whole route.
KC8QVO is offline  
Old 09-20-20, 10:28 PM
  #5  
UniChris
Senior Member
 
UniChris's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Northampton, MA
Posts: 1,336

Bikes: 36" Unicycle

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 603 Post(s)
Liked 219 Times in 160 Posts
Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
Its not a matter of cell service or not, its a matter of scheduling. I am tossing around some other ideas on traveling and I am not going to know what I want to do or what is going to be a possibility. So my question is exactly that - if I show up at a train stop without a ticket would I be refused boarding?
But why couldn't you have a ticket purchased from your phone while standing on the platform while waiting for the train to pull up, or from a ticket counter or machine in the station? (There are select cases where none of these may be available, but that doesn't sound like what you are talking about)

Not having a ticket feels like a red herring, the real question should probably be, would there be tickets still available to purchase... and that would depend on the route and time and which seat classes you were willing to pay for.

Looking at schedules online just for the heck of it here - I see some trains at 25% capacity, yet they show "sold out" for coach and business class. How is that possible?
Possibly a reduced capacity for COVID? Possibly those seats are sold for another part of your trip?

Also they often split what are basically the same fare classes and only sell so many at a cheaper price, which can sell out up to a week or more before the trip. After that they'll only sell the more expensive version of that same seat.

When I rode the train the one time one of the cars was very empty, and they moved me out of that car to the next one behind that had a lot more people. I forget what the reasoning was and why they were trying to keep the one car more empty - even though I was getting off and not staying on the whole route.
The conductors may not want to supervise nearly empty cars and prefer to limit the number with passengers in them so they don't have to walk as far up and down the train, or not open cars until a later major stop, let couples boarding at a later segment have a chance of getting seats together, etc; of course currently the argument is for keeping people spaced out so hopefully they're using all the cars actually in the train.

And then there's the question if you want to get on a train at all. Used to rely on them; literally picked up and moved so in this world I wouldn't have to (which has actually meant riding to things far more than it has meant driving - though yes, that now has a role)

Last edited by UniChris; 09-20-20 at 11:14 PM.
UniChris is online now  
Old 09-21-20, 04:09 AM
  #6  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 8,206

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2255 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 517 Times in 424 Posts
In Ohio? That means some of the trains that normally ran might not run now with Covid, they cut back on schedule for long distance routes.

With a bike? Full size bike might be the deal breaker if you need roll on/roll off service if the bike racks are already booked. Folding bike could be one of your two allowable carry ons to avoid booking a space for full size bke.

Some stops do not sell tickets, have to buy on line.

Are your stops luggage stops or not?

You are asking lots of generic questions but answers depend on which stops you get on and off and whether or not they are luggage stops, whether or not they sell tickets at those stops, etc.

I used to use Amtrak a lot for touring, but have not used them for six years, thus I have no experience with roll on and roll off bike service.

I think you need to put together your list of questions with specific stops in mind and call Amtrak. They should be able to give you accurate answers for generic questions, however the phone operators probably are not up to speed on obscure information like folding bike policies.
Tourist in MSN is online now  
Old 09-21-20, 06:57 AM
  #7  
John N
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Tulsa, OK
Posts: 286

Bikes: Co-Motion Americano Rohloff, Thorn Nomad MkII, Robert Beckman Skakkit (FOR SALE), Santana Tandem, ICE Adventure FS

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 75 Post(s)
Liked 14 Times in 12 Posts
Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
My question is - if you show up at a stop when a train is coming through and you don't have a ticket - can you get on and purchase a ticket when you get on?
Why not just call Amtrak? Unless if someone has done this in the past few months, Covid may have changed the actual answer.

Tailwinds, John
John N is offline  
Likes For John N:
Old 09-21-20, 09:53 AM
  #8  
robow
Senior Member
 
robow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,558
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 433 Post(s)
Liked 126 Times in 88 Posts
One thing for sure is that I would never just show up with my bike in hand and expect there to be room aboard for my bike. I have seen far too many times when the bike allotment for that specific train was full and they would not make an exception. A friend attempted that once on the Katy Trail and was turned away which forced him to change his planned tour significantly.
robow is offline  
Likes For robow:
Old 09-21-20, 10:15 AM
  #9  
timdow
Pie Smuggler
 
timdow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 452

Bikes: 2010 LHT (Blue), 2018 Trek 520, 2005(?) Fuji Club LE, 1998 Schwinn Moab (converted for commuting).

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 52 Post(s)
Liked 32 Times in 24 Posts
I have been told by an Amtrak ticket agent that my ticket allowed me to travel with the ticket on any date not specifically the date on the ticket. I also have seen many people purchase a ticket while already on-board, so as long as there is room no problem. But... the bicycle is an issue. Best to plan ahead if possible. If not possible, you will still probably be able to board with your bike (as long as it is a station that accepts baggage and there is space). If it is a manned station, best to visit the ticketing agent. I don't know what Amtrak's COVID policies are. They may have an impact also.
timdow is offline  
Old 09-21-20, 11:59 AM
  #10  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 8,206

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2255 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 517 Times in 424 Posts
Can anyone comment on whether or not Amtrak trains stop at stations were nobody is getting on or off and there are no staff there to sell tickets at the station? I remember looking out the window at this station thinking that there was only a roof over a concrete slab there. That is the kind of station that I don't know if Amtrak stops at if nobody is getting on or off.
https://www.amtrak.com/stations/wgl

If the stop is not a luggage stop, then there might not be any staff at that stop. And if you are the only person getting on the train at that stop but have not yet bought a ticket, I do not know if the train would stop there or go past at 30 mph while you wave to them. That would be my concern about not getting a ticket in advance if there are no staff at that stop.

If you have no cell service but have a pay phone, I assume you can verbally buy a ticket, I have bought tickets verbally from Amtrak years ago by phone.
Tourist in MSN is online now  
Old 09-21-20, 01:19 PM
  #11  
timdow
Pie Smuggler
 
timdow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 452

Bikes: 2010 LHT (Blue), 2018 Trek 520, 2005(?) Fuji Club LE, 1998 Schwinn Moab (converted for commuting).

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 52 Post(s)
Liked 32 Times in 24 Posts
For the routes I have used (mainly out West), the train always stops (sometimes very briefly) if it is a designated stop. For Amtrak travel with a bike, on many trains it must be a "baggage stop" to be able to load the bike. This is true on the Coast Starlight where a conductor has to receive the bike to hang it in the baggage car. Conversely, on the Pacific Surfliner a bike can be loaded at any stop because the passenger loads it into the bike racks. But... policies differ....At the minimum, I think it would be a good idea to review the train's policies in advance for the route you may have to use.

It truly would be a "perfect storm" of an unmanned baggage stop, no knowledge of the trains policies, and not Internet access - but I could see it happening.


Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Can anyone comment on whether or not Amtrak trains stop at stations were nobody is getting on or off and there are no staff there to sell tickets at the station? I remember looking out the window at this station thinking that there was only a roof over a concrete slab there. That is the kind of station that I don't know if Amtrak stops at if nobody is getting on or off.
https://www.amtrak.com/stations/wgl

If the stop is not a luggage stop, then there might not be any staff at that stop. And if you are the only person getting on the train at that stop but have not yet bought a ticket, I do not know if the train would stop there or go past at 30 mph while you wave to them. That would be my concern about not getting a ticket in advance if there are no staff at that stop.

If you have no cell service but have a pay phone, I assume you can verbally buy a ticket, I have bought tickets verbally from Amtrak years ago by phone.
timdow is offline  
Old 09-21-20, 07:23 PM
  #12  
KC8QVO
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 896

Bikes: Surly Disk Trucker, 2014 w/Brooks Flyer Special saddle, Tubus racks - Duo front/Logo Evo rear, 2019 Dahon Mariner D8, Both bikes share Ortlieb Packer Plus series panniers, Garmin Edge 1000

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 291 Post(s)
Liked 58 Times in 50 Posts
Thanks for the comments.

As to whether or not the train stops at the small "stops" - I rode the Cardinal and the time I rode it the train stopped in every little town it seemed. The quickest stops were no more than 20-30 seconds, max, with no one getting off or boarding. So that is a good point to make - if you are scheduled to get on a train somewhere you better be early so you are THERE when the train stops or else it could be gone in a flash.

However, that is a good point - those open gazebo type stops are what I would try to utilize. I am having a hard time finding them down south. The one I picked up the Cardinal on was just a hair south of Gary, IN. That one shows up on Google Maps but does not show up on the Amtrak map.

For example, one idea is to get down to western GA/eastern AL. The only 2 stops in that area are the full blown "train stations" in Anniston, AL and Atlanta, GA. I can't imagine that the train doesn't stop anywhere in between, but Google Maps, that I have found yet, does not show any stops in between there, nor does the Amtrak map.

But that is a different topic than the subject of the thread. As to calling Amtrak - I can certainly do that. However, the ticket office isn't the train crew on any given train. You know, the saying that the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing? So I was hoping to get some better input from those who have been in what may potentially be my shoes.
KC8QVO is offline  
Old 09-21-20, 07:48 PM
  #13  
timdow
Pie Smuggler
 
timdow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 452

Bikes: 2010 LHT (Blue), 2018 Trek 520, 2005(?) Fuji Club LE, 1998 Schwinn Moab (converted for commuting).

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 52 Post(s)
Liked 32 Times in 24 Posts
I believe the information you need is on the Amtrak website. For example the schedule for the Cardinal is here:
https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/p...ule-031620.pdf

And the link below shows that the Cardinal accepts bikes at only designated (bagggage) stops using "Trainside Checked Bicycle Service," indicated by a suitcase next to the stop in the schedule above:
https://www.amtrak.com/bring-your-bicycle-onboard
And also that bicycle reservations are required.

I believe one could research in-advance to know the policies, and even download the .pdf schedule to a phone in case no coverage.




Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
Thanks for the comments.

As to whether or not the train stops at the small "stops" - I rode the Cardinal and the time I rode it the train stopped in every little town it seemed. The quickest stops were no more than 20-30 seconds, max, with no one getting off or boarding. So that is a good point to make - if you are scheduled to get on a train somewhere you better be early so you are THERE when the train stops or else it could be gone in a flash.

However, that is a good point - those open gazebo type stops are what I would try to utilize. I am having a hard time finding them down south. The one I picked up the Cardinal on was just a hair south of Gary, IN. That one shows up on Google Maps but does not show up on the Amtrak map.

For example, one idea is to get down to western GA/eastern AL. The only 2 stops in that area are the full blown "train stations" in Anniston, AL and Atlanta, GA. I can't imagine that the train doesn't stop anywhere in between, but Google Maps, that I have found yet, does not show any stops in between there, nor does the Amtrak map.

But that is a different topic than the subject of the thread. As to calling Amtrak - I can certainly do that. However, the ticket office isn't the train crew on any given train. You know, the saying that the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing? So I was hoping to get some better input from those who have been in what may potentially be my shoes.
timdow is offline  
Old 09-21-20, 08:40 PM
  #14  
KC8QVO
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 896

Bikes: Surly Disk Trucker, 2014 w/Brooks Flyer Special saddle, Tubus racks - Duo front/Logo Evo rear, 2019 Dahon Mariner D8, Both bikes share Ortlieb Packer Plus series panniers, Garmin Edge 1000

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 291 Post(s)
Liked 58 Times in 50 Posts
Originally Posted by timdow View Post
IAnd the link below shows that the Cardinal accepts bikes at only designated (bagggage) stops using "Trainside Checked Bicycle Service," indicated by a suitcase next to the stop in the schedule above:
Case-in-point to this whole thread - when I talked to the staff on the train about the subject of bikes they had no problem at that time (I was not traveling with a bike at the time). There is space in the front and back of the cars on that train (cardinal) where luggage goes. Thats where they would put my bike also.

My point is - you can't go off of the information on the website or that the ticket office tells you over the phone.

However, I have not had reason to try to catch a train on a bike trip and if that comes up the question of the thread was if I would be able to get on at a stop somewhere without an advance ticket. That seems to be a wildcard and dependent on the train + how busy it is.
KC8QVO is offline  
Old 09-21-20, 08:51 PM
  #15  
UniChris
Senior Member
 
UniChris's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Northampton, MA
Posts: 1,336

Bikes: 36" Unicycle

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 603 Post(s)
Liked 219 Times in 160 Posts
Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
My point is - you can't go off of the information on the website or that the ticket office tells you over the phone.
If your implication is that the crew might let you do something outside of official policy, the problem is, what if a different person is working that day?

And how would you even know what the usual person would allow on a train you don't usually take?

Sure, if you're stranded it doesn't hurt to ask. But it also doesn't hurt to see if you can buy a ticket for yourself and your bike, even just minutes before the train arrives.

In either case the worst outcome is that you can't.
UniChris is online now  
Old 09-22-20, 04:45 AM
  #16  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 29,881
Mentioned: 199 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13106 Post(s)
Liked 5,587 Times in 2,874 Posts
Originally Posted by timdow View Post
I have been told by an Amtrak ticket agent that my ticket allowed me to travel with the ticket on any date not specifically the date on the ticket. I also have seen many people purchase a ticket while already on-board, so as long as there is room no problem. But... the bicycle is an issue. Best to plan ahead if possible. If not possible, you will still probably be able to board with your bike (as long as it is a station that accepts baggage and there is space). If it is a manned station, best to visit the ticketing agent. I don't know what Amtrak's COVID policies are. They may have an impact also.
I donít think thatís correct, at least not these days with limited seating capacity.

From my recent Amtrak ticket:
  • Changes to your itinerary may affect your fare. Refund and exchange restrictions and penalties for failure to cancel unwanted travel may apply. If your travel plans change, contact us before departure to change your reservation. If you do not board your train, your entire reservation from that point will be canceled. If you board a different train without notifying us, you will have to pay for it separately; the conductor cannot apply the money paid for your prior reservation. For more information please visit Amtrak.com/changes.

As for showing up without a bike reservation, I wouldnít risk it, especially on popular services like the Capitol Limited during busy GAP riding season. And the Vermonter has only 3 bike spaces.

Last edited by indyfabz; 09-22-20 at 04:52 AM.
indyfabz is online now  
Old 09-22-20, 05:03 AM
  #17  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 29,881
Mentioned: 199 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13106 Post(s)
Liked 5,587 Times in 2,874 Posts
Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post

Looking at schedules online just for the heck of it here - I see some trains at 25% capacity, yet they show "sold out" for coach and business class. How is that possible?.
I believe the 25% figure means the train is only accepting 25% of its normal capacity and thus if no tickets are available for a certain date the train is at capacity.

I would not wing it with Amtrak these days, especially with a bike. Make a firm plan and stick to it or risk getting stuck. Also note that you cannot pay with cash on board.
indyfabz is online now  
Old 09-22-20, 08:03 AM
  #18  
timdow
Pie Smuggler
 
timdow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 452

Bikes: 2010 LHT (Blue), 2018 Trek 520, 2005(?) Fuji Club LE, 1998 Schwinn Moab (converted for commuting).

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 52 Post(s)
Liked 32 Times in 24 Posts
Makes sense that they would want you to stick to the reservation. I can't imagine a scenario where I would just show up without making ro changing a reservation.

Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I donít think thatís correct, at least not these days with limited seating capacity.

From my recent Amtrak ticket:
  • Changes to your itinerary may affect your fare. Refund and exchange restrictions and penalties for failure to cancel unwanted travel may apply. If your travel plans change, contact us before departure to change your reservation. If you do not board your train, your entire reservation from that point will be canceled. If you board a different train without notifying us, you will have to pay for it separately; the conductor cannot apply the money paid for your prior reservation. For more information please visit Amtrak.com/changes.

As for showing up without a bike reservation, I wouldnít risk it, especially on popular services like the Capitol Limited during busy GAP riding season. And the Vermonter has only 3 bike spaces.
timdow is offline  
Old 09-22-20, 10:58 AM
  #19  
mev
bicycle tourist
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
Posts: 1,879

Bikes: Trek 520, Lightfoot Ranger, Trek 4500

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 284 Post(s)
Liked 74 Times in 60 Posts
Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
However, I have not had reason to try to catch a train on a bike trip and if that comes up the question of the thread was if I would be able to get on at a stop somewhere without an advance ticket. That seems to be a wildcard and dependent on the train + how busy it is.
A few thoughts from my experiences:

1. Different Amtrak trains are slightly different.
a. Some you have spots in the cars themselves to put bikes.
b. Some have a roll-on/roll-off service where bikes go in the baggage car but you bring them there without a box as long as you have reserved a spot.
c. Some may still have bikes in baggage car in box.

Most of the trains I've ridden, are in category c but have moved to category b. In both cases, you only get access to the baggage car at designated baggage stops. At those stations, you also have an attendant available before the train arrives who can sell tickets - so there isn't as much a notion of buying a ticket on the train.

I've used Amtrak to keep my options flexible but haven't specifically waited to show up at the station to buy a ticket. Instead, I've:
- Bought a ticket a few days in advance via the internet, since at that point it was pretty predictable when I was leaving.
- Called Amtrak before to change dates of my reservations. While I haven't done that right before a trip, I have assumed I could try this if necessary and be subject to whatever was available. Similarly, I've assumed I might change the station by cycling to a further station. Many years ago when there was a train up the east coast, I did a variation of this. I wasn't sure if I was going to end up in Jacksonville, FL, Savannah, GA or Charleston SC. So I bought a ticket from Jacksonville back north. When I ended up in Savannah instead, I changed the ticket.
mev is offline  
Old 09-22-20, 11:12 AM
  #20  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 8,206

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2255 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 517 Times in 424 Posts
My data is from over a half decade ago, so could have changed since. Amtrak worked on a bucket approach for ticket pricing on the long distance trains, the first bucket of tickets were cheap, when they sold out the next batch of tickets cost more, but when sold out the third bucket of tickets cost even more. That way if people were willing to adjust their travel plans, they were enticed with savings to switch to trains that were less full. I can't imagine that you could buy a cheap ticket and then show up on a busy day to claim a seat.

When I and a friend rode Amtrak from near Chicago to Portland OR six years ago to start our Pacific Coast tour, by changing our travel date by a few days were got a Roomette for about half the price of other days, so we changed plans and got the cheap Roomette instead of riding in a coach seat for a long time.

When three of use rode from DC to Chicago several years ago, we bought all three tickets at the same time, two of the three tickets cost more, in other words the first ticket we bought emptied that bucket so we started buying out of the next bucket.
Tourist in MSN is online now  
Old 09-22-20, 01:37 PM
  #21  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 29,881
Mentioned: 199 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13106 Post(s)
Liked 5,587 Times in 2,874 Posts
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
My data is from over a half decade ago, so could have changed since. Amtrak worked on a bucket approach for ticket pricing on the long distance trains, the first bucket of tickets were cheap, when they sold out the next batch of tickets cost more, but when sold out the third bucket of tickets cost even more.
Believe it still works that way. Iíve made reservations where the lowest price fare was no longer available. Had to pay more for the same class of seat.
indyfabz is online now  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.