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Can you buy a ticket from an earlier station, and board at a “discharge only” stop?

Can you buy a ticket from an earlier station, and board at a “discharge only” stop?

Old Jan 29, 18, 2:05 pm
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Can you buy a ticket from an earlier station, and board at a “discharge only” stop?

Bearing the risk the train won’t stop (it will stop in Sacramento), and making sure to get there in enough time?
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Old Jan 30, 18, 1:10 pm
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What train?
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Old Jan 30, 18, 9:34 pm
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Originally Posted by hi55us View Post
What train?
I'm guessing the westbound California Zephyr. All stops from SAC on are discharge only: https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/p...ule-072017.pdf. I'm guessing the OP wants to travel from somewhere like Davis back to his or her home (Richmond or Emeryville?).

I think the risk that it won't stop at Davis, Martinez, and/or Richmond is pretty small. (They're discharge-only stops, not flag stops.) However, the staff knows that it's a discharge-only stop and will likely question why you're boarding and/or outright refuse to let you on. You might be able to feign being out of breath and running to the train and telling them that you missed the train in SAC but had a friend rush and catch you up to it in wherever you board (sort of believable if you board in Davis; less believable if you board in Richmond).

The biggest risk is that the Zephyr, being a long-distance train originating in Chicago, will be running hours late. That's actually a very real risk, and so while the OP may be considering the Zephyr because its time slot is ideal for his/her needs, that's not really something to rely on, because by the time the Zephyr is an hour and twelve minutes late for its 2:44pm departure at Davis, by that point, the 3:55pm Capitol Corridor would have already passed through Davis. (Also worth noting is that if the Zephyr is running on-time, it may end up leaving early--for example, the Zephyr's timetable has Sacramento-Davis booked for 31 minutes, but it's actually a 15-minute run, so if the train leaves SAC on-time, it may pass through Davis as early as 2:28pm, only 3 minutes behind the 2:25pm Capitol Corridor. In short, you really can't rely on the Zephyr's time, and there are two perfectly valid Capitol Corridor trains just before and just after the Zephyr's scheduled run.

Unless you have some absolutely compelling reason to book the Zephyr and a willingness and ability to act a part that might get you on a train that the staff is actively trying to keep you from getting on (and a fallback plan if it fails), it's not worth the bother.
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Old Jan 31, 18, 4:46 am
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If the OP is looking to board the all reserved WB Zephyr at SAC, how does he get purchase a ticket? Since the stop is made to discharge passengers only, I am pretty sure that he not be able to make a reservation nor buy a ticket.
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Old Jan 31, 18, 10:37 am
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I’d buy a ticket from Roseville, and board in Sacramento. The reason for doing it is that I have a business meeting in Sacramento that morning, and following the meeting I’d like to link up aboard the train with a family member who’ll be finishing a transcontinental trip. I need to return to the Bay Area anyway that afternoon.
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Old Jan 31, 18, 1:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Explore View Post
I’d buy a ticket from Roseville, and board in Sacramento. The reason for doing it is that I have a business meeting in Sacramento that morning, and following the meeting I’d like to link up aboard the train with a family member who’ll be finishing a transcontinental trip. I need to return to the Bay Area anyway that afternoon.
That sounds plausible, and if you approach a conductor or an assistant, and explain the situation, he/she might let you board, especially if the train is late and the crew just wants.to get to EMY ASAP.

Your only concern would be that the reservation and ticket might be cancelled if you are a no-show at Roseville. I really can't give you any advice on this point.

Good luck!
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Old Jan 31, 18, 1:21 pm
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I took that train from Reno west in early December.
It was 3 hours late into Reno and a little more than 3 hours late pulling into Sacramento.
If you book this train, use the Amtrak Status Checker - often - and certainly before you head to the station.
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Old Jan 31, 18, 4:51 pm
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Originally Posted by SCEflyer View Post
That sounds plausible, and if you approach a conductor or an assistant, and explain the situation, he/she might let you board, especially if the train is late and the crew just wants.to get to EMY ASAP.

Your only concern would be that the reservation and ticket might be cancelled if you are a no-show at Roseville. I really can't give you any advice on this point.

Good luck!
This is why details on the specific situation are useful when posting a question on FT.

They do not restrict boarding at SAC. The train has a layover there that is long enough to allow passengers on the train to detrain and enter the station if they wish. You should have no trouble getting back on the train. If there is an agent at the entrance to the platform, simply show him/her your Roseville ticket and they will not have any idea you didn't board in Roseville and just detrain in SAC to stretch your legs for a few minutes.

The risk of being marked a no-show after Roseville is present but I believe small and easily excused.
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