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Six hour ride in Roomette, meal and other question

Six hour ride in Roomette, meal and other question

Old Jun 2, 12, 9:07 am
  #1  
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Six hour ride in Roomette, meal and other question

I just booked a ticket with Amtrak from Austin to Dallas with a Roomette. The trip is scheduled to depart Austin at 9:30am and arrive in Dallas at 3:20pm, it will be just under a six hour trip.

This is my first ride on Amtrak in 35 years so I have no idea what to expect. For a train ride of a six hour duration and with a Roomette ticket would a meal be included? Would I have a choice of having breakfast or lunch?

Which car would I walk to for a meal or are there different cars to choose from?

Beverages or snacks, are they expensive on Amtrak should I get thirsty or the munchies?

I have two large duffel bags that I would like to check, if my train is scheduled to depart at 0930 what would be a reasonable time to be at the station to get checked in?

Thank you in advance
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Old Jun 2, 12, 12:27 pm
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Hi Bruadair - I hope you enjoy your trip on amtrak!

You will most definitely receive lunch in the dining car. All dining car meals are included with the price of a roomette. I am not familiar with this particular route, but there is a chance that you might receive breakfast in the dining car upon boarding at 9:30 am. This is unlikely if the train is late, though. However if you run into delays and you are still on board during dinner, you will also receive dinner.

You will take all of your included meals in the dining car. If you wish to get anything from the cafe or lounge, you must pay for that on your own. There will be free coffee, juice, ice and water available in your sleeper car.

The price of snacks/drinks on the train are like you would find from an expensive vending machine.

I believe all bags must be checked at least 30 minutes before departure, so I would suggest arriving 45 minutes before departure.
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Old Jun 2, 12, 3:16 pm
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Thank you!! that's exactly the info I was looking at.
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Old Jun 2, 12, 3:48 pm
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Originally Posted by bruadair View Post
Beverages or snacks, are they expensive on Amtrak should I get thirsty or the munchies?
This is the menu for the Acela cafe car (the only one I could find) but the prices you see here are representative of the whole system.

http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/BlobSe...-Menu-2012.pdf
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Old Jun 2, 12, 5:33 pm
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Using the Amtrak website and searching for info on the Austin station http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Conten...earch_code.y=9 , it says check-in with service (i.e. checked bags) 60 minutes.

From that same page, there is a link to the Texas Eagle that then links to the National Cafe Car Menu http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/BlobSe...afe_201101.pdf .

That's not to say any of these items could change, but it is what Amtrak has published.
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Old Jun 2, 12, 6:51 pm
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Why check bags? In a sleeping car--at least in ones on Eastern single-level trains (i.e., not yours), there is a storage space in the compartment near the ceiling, and the upper bed can be used for storage as well; neither impacts your space.
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Old Jun 2, 12, 9:15 pm
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Originally Posted by RogerD408 View Post
Using the Amtrak website and searching for info on the Austin station http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Conten...earch_code.y=9 , it says check-in with service (i.e. checked bags) 60 minutes.

From that same page, there is a link to the Texas Eagle that then links to the National Cafe Car Menu http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/BlobSe...afe_201101.pdf .

That's not to say any of these items could change, but it is what Amtrak has published.
I arrived in Austin last month and would lean toward the 60 minute rule, Austin has a minimal staff and at train time it was all hands on deck (un)loading passengers and bags. I also would not go out of your way to make this deadline as there should be plenty of space in the lower level of your sleeper for self storage of the bags.

Should you check bags, they are collected outside the station in Dallas.
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Old Jun 3, 12, 12:03 pm
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I'm open to taking my two large bags into the Roomette with me but that brings up another question. I'll have my backpack (small school type) on my back, my two larger bags are rolling duffel bags that weigh 50 pound each. There's no way I can handle both at the same time.

Does the train stop long enough to throw one bag up onto the train and then the next? And when getting off in Dallas is there enough time to get both bags off? Or is the stop short where I would be rushed for time? I like the idea of keeping the bags with me as I'm leaving the following day out of Dallas for India, loosing a bag if it was checked would really not be good.

As I have a disability moving fast may be an issue, if there are porters to help with the bags what would be a reasonable tip? Though I suspect I should be able to handle the bags myself.

And one more question. I have my confirmation number and plan on going to the Kiosk at Austin (or agent if no kiosk is available) to get my ticket. Once I have my ticket how will I know which car to board and where to stand on the platform?

Sorry if they all seem like silly questions, I haven't been on Amtrak since I was a little boy.

thanks again.

Last edited by bruadair; Jun 3, 12 at 12:05 pm Reason: adding another question
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Old Jun 3, 12, 1:16 pm
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I would not bring those bags to my room, especially in light of your disability. I highly recommend leaving them in the luggage rack on the lower level of the car. This will make it much easier to get them off the train. Generally the better sleeping car attendants will help with getting the luggage off the train. However, don't count on that.

You should have more than enough time at both stops to get everything on/off the train provided that you are ready, which is to say downstairs as the train arrives into Dallas.

All that said, Amtrak is very good about checked luggage. Not saying that they haven't lost a bag or two over the years, but it doesn't happen often.

As for where to stand, generally they will make an announcement at most stations regarding that. I can't say for sure that they do that at Austin, but it would surprise me if they didn't.
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Old Jun 3, 12, 2:47 pm
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Originally Posted by bruadair View Post
I'm open to taking my two large bags into the Roomette with me but that brings up another question. I'll have my backpack (small school type) on my back, my two larger bags are rolling duffel bags that weigh 50 pound each. There's no way I can handle both at the same time.

Does the train stop long enough to throw one bag up onto the train and then the next? And when getting off in Dallas is there enough time to get both bags off? Or is the stop short where I would be rushed for time? I like the idea of keeping the bags with me as I'm leaving the following day out of Dallas for India, loosing a bag if it was checked would really not be good.

As I have a disability moving fast may be an issue, if there are porters to help with the bags what would be a reasonable tip? Though I suspect I should be able to handle the bags myself.
I too suggest you leave your bags in the luggage racks near the car door. There should be a car attendant at the door to direct you to your room and might help board your bags and if not will notify the conductor if extra time is needed to complete the boarding.
And one more question. I have my confirmation number and plan on going to the Kiosk at Austin (or agent if no kiosk is available) to get my ticket. Once I have my ticket how will I know which car to board and where to stand on the platform?
AUS does have QuikTrak machines (according to the station info, working? That's another question) and all you should need is the CC used to purchase the tickets. Although having backup documentation just in case is a good idea. Your ticket will have the car number printed, but asking any conductor or car attendant will point you to the right car. So far all my LD trips the car number is the train number, followed by a 3 (for the sleepers), and then the number of cars from the dining car. So 1431 is the first car past the dining car on train 14.
Sorry if they all seem like silly questions, I haven't been on Amtrak since I was a little boy.

thanks again.
Not a problem, that is what FT is all about. Enjoy your trip.
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Old Jun 4, 12, 4:37 pm
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Good replies so far. Your sleeping car should be either next to or one more car further away from the dining car. Yes, you will have to walk 1-2 cars to get to the dining car.

You get free meals in the dining car, but wine or other alcoholic drinks cost extra. You should tip in cash an appropriate amount based on what you ordered, but the food is free. As stated by other posters, snacks or drinks in the cafe or observation car are not free.

I always bring my own drinks and snacks on an Amtrak trip, since I don't like the Pepsi products they serve on the trains. There is a little bar at the top of the stairs in the sleeping car with coffee, tea bags, small water bottles, and juices. Some car attendants keep a foam cooler with ice nearby, some keep the ice chest in roomette #1, just ask the attendant where to get ice.

Since you state you have a disability, do check your two large bags. When the train pulls in and the personnel get out on the platform, state that you're disabled and might need additional help. I've always found Amtrak people very helpful with any physical infirmity.
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Old Nov 27, 12, 7:53 pm
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I've travelled Amtrak on many routes through the years, lucky enough to be able to travel in roomettes for overnight trips. I'm going to TPA from WPB in a few weeks (3.5 hours, midday) and usually just travel coach, but am considering a roomette...just because. I've always been curious...does train staff dislike short trips in roomettes, since they have to re-make the room? Just curious if anyone had any insight.
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Old Nov 28, 12, 2:05 pm
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Originally Posted by PBIGuy View Post
I've travelled Amtrak on many routes through the years, lucky enough to be able to travel in roomettes for overnight trips. I'm going to TPA from WPB in a few weeks (3.5 hours, midday) and usually just travel coach, but am considering a roomette...just because. I've always been curious...does train staff dislike short trips in roomettes, since they have to re-make the room? Just curious if anyone had any insight.
I have taken many short trips in Florida in a roomette and never had an attendant get annoyed about making up the room. My guess is that they are happy that the room is occupied so that they may receive an additional tip. When traveling south from Orlando, almost every time I traveled, a prior passenger was just getting off, and my room was not immediately available. In those cases, I usually went to the dining car and had lunch. In my opinion, there is very little to "making up" the room after a passenger departs, when that passenger has not used the beds. I am pretty sure that after my short trips, my room was cleaner when I departed than when I arrived. (I clean my own room with clorox wipes).
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Old Nov 29, 12, 2:44 pm
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Thumbs up

Originally Posted by pennyk View Post
I am pretty sure that after my short trips, my room was cleaner when I departed than when I arrived. (I clean my own room with clorox wipes).
Youd make a Great SCA Penny!
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