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Baggage help, California Zephyr

Baggage help, California Zephyr

Old Jan 24, 22, 4:39 am
  #1  
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Baggage help, California Zephyr

My wife and I are taking this train in Early March. Our booking is Chicago - Winter Park, with a 2 night break there (it was going to be 3 but Amtrak cancelled our booked train so we managed to move to the previous day), Winter Park to Reno,( 3 nights there) and Reno to SF including the bus from Emeryville. We're going to have a couple of biggish suitcases plus carry-ons each, as we have a few days in Chicago and then in SF before flying back to the UK. I'm trying to make sense of the checked baggage information on the Amtrak website but it just gives details on trackside baggae and says that it depends on the train whether baggage an be checked. It would seem to make sense to just take the carry-ons into the roomette and check in the cases, if we can. Can we?

As a supplementary question, does the bus to SF stop in various places? We're staying near Union Square.
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Old Jan 24, 22, 6:44 pm
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Ypu can store your larger bags in a luggage compartment on the lower level ot Superliners and take the smaller ones with you.

Bob H
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Old Jan 24, 22, 7:37 pm
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Deleted. (I mistakenly thought that the OP was traveling to Winter Park, Florida (WPK), rather than Fraser-Winter Park, Colorado (WIP).)

Last edited by guv1976; Jan 24, 22 at 10:15 pm
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Old Jan 24, 22, 9:15 pm
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Winter Park (WIP) does NOT have checked baggage service. You cannot check bags to or from Winter Park.

The station is not staffed, has no agent, no one to deal with baggage.

https://www.amtrak.com/stations/wip.html

The OP will have to carry all baggage on destined for Winter Park. Larger items can go on the downstairs rack.

Reno and Emeryville have checked baggage service. You may be able to check items you do not need at Winter Park through to Reno or Emeryville.
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Last edited by zephyr17; Jan 24, 22 at 9:22 pm
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Old Jan 24, 22, 9:44 pm
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Originally Posted by zephyr17 View Post
Winter Park (WIP) does NOT have checked baggage service. You cannot check bags to or from Winter Park.

The station is not staffed, has no agent, no one to deal with baggage.

https://www.amtrak.com/stations/wip.html

The OP will have to carry all baggage on destined for Winter Park. Larger items can go on the downstairs rack.

Reno and Emeryville have checked baggage service. You may be able to check items you do not need at Winter Park through to Reno or Emeryville.
You're right -- about Winter Park, Colorado. I was thinking about Winter Park, Florida (WPK), which does offer checked-baggage service. That's why I mentioned the fact that Amtrak would transfer any checked baggage at stations where the OP would be changing trains, since there are no through trains between CHI and WPK.

Amtrak actually refers to WIP as "Fraser-Winter Park," which may be why I did not realize there were two Winter Park stations. But I guess that CHI-WIP-RNO-EMY makes a lot more sense for an itinerary than criss-crossing the country with CHI-WPK-RNO-EMY. And, of course, the California Zephyr does not serve Florida.

Sorry for the error. To avoid any possible confusion, I have deleted my previous post, with an explanation.

Last edited by guv1976; Jan 24, 22 at 10:16 pm
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Old Jan 24, 22, 10:29 pm
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I think you have two strategies.

First, if you only need some of your things in Winter Park and you can arrange your luggage accordingly, check what you don't need in Winter Park to Reno when you check in at Chicago; it will be stored until you actually arrive in Reno on the second leg of your trip. Carry what you will need in Winter Park with you on the train. As others have said, larger suitcases can be stored in the public luggage rack on the bottom level of the Superliner car. Since you mention staying in a Roomette, there's very little room for two people plus any amount of luggage beyond a backpack each, you will probably be storing your luggage in the public rack anyway. Even when I'm by myself in a Roomette, I only take what I need for the night with me to the Roomette and leave my other luggage in the public rack downstairs because maneuvering a suitcase up/down the stairs isn't all that elegant or easy.

Second option is to carry all of your luggage on the train with you but do know that there is only so much public rack space in each Superliner car and it is first come, first served, so to speak. If you go this route, I'd arrange for red cap assistance to get you from the Chicago Metropolitan Lounge to the train with all of your luggage, which may get you to the car ahead of others who aren't requesting red cap assistance. If the red cap attendant is particularly helpful in the endeavor, remember to offer a nice tip.
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Old Jan 24, 22, 10:39 pm
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
Amtrak actually refers to WIP as "Fraser-Winter Park," which may be why I did not realize there were two Winter Park stations. But I guess that CHI-WIP-RNO-EMY makes a lot more sense for an itinerary than criss-crossing the country with CHI-WPK-RNO-EMY. And, of course, the California Zephyr does not serve Florida.
Amtrak has four different "Winter Park" stations:

WIP is the California Zephyr stop for Winter Park, Colorado, which is actually in Fraser, Colorado. The California Zephyr does not stop at the ski resort.
WPR is the Winter Park Express ski train stop at the Winter Park resort.
WPS is the shuttle bus stop at the Winter Park resort. You can take the shuttle bus from the Winter Park resort to the Amtrak stop in Fraser (WIP) if you are arriving or leaving the resort on a day the Winter Park Express doesn't run, or are going beyond Denver or points west on the California Zephyr.
WPK is Winter Park, Florida.
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Old Jan 25, 22, 5:49 am
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Thanks all. This is very useful.
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Old Jan 25, 22, 6:14 am
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Originally Posted by timbeaux View Post
. If the red cap attendant is particularly helpful in the endeavor, remember to offer a nice tip.
Good suggestions. What would be a 'nice tip'? We're always worried about tipping; how much / when / who in the States.
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Old Jan 25, 22, 12:01 pm
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Originally Posted by garethmorgan View Post
Good suggestions. What would be a 'nice tip'? We're always worried about tipping; how much / when / who in the States.
For Red Cap service, $5 per bag is a typical amount. I tip at the end when the bags are delivered.

On Amtrak, Red Caps, car attendants, dining car attendants and cafe attendants are tipped. Conductors ("guards") are never tipped.
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Old Jan 25, 22, 2:06 pm
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Thanks again
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Old Jan 29, 22, 4:23 pm
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Originally Posted by BobH View Post
Ypu can store your larger bags in a luggage compartment on the lower level ot Superliners and take the smaller ones with you.

Bob H
It should be noted that Amtrak does publish carry-on limits, but in practice, they are not enforced--you can carry on whatever you can reasonably manage. If you show up as a solo traveler with 6 giant suitcases plus 6 cardboard boxes...yeah, the conductor might want to have a word for you, but if you have one large and one small suitcase each plus a purse or a backpack or something--i.e., you can carry everything trackside in one trip--no one will even give you a second glance, much less stop you.

As noted above, you can leave the larger items in the downstairs luggage rack and take the smaller items up to your room. While the lower luggage rack is technically unsecured, I've never had any qualms about leaving things down there (obviously, remove any valuables just in case, though)--think about the situation: the car attendants hang out next to the train at all stops, preventing unfamiliar/non-ticketed passengers from entering the train and everyone on the train in your car paid hundreds/thousands of dollars for tickets and accommodations. These are not people very likely to want to swipe a suitcase full of dirty underwear.

When you board the bus in Reno, you'll bring your suitcases to the bus and set them next to it, where the driver will load them in a locked compartment underneath and then unload them at your stop. You can bring smaller personal items onto the bus (purse/backpack/etc.) but they'll want to stow even smaller suitcases underneath as storage on the coach itself is tight.

There won't be a Redcap at Winter Park but there will be at Reno if you need a little assistance hauling everything from the train to the station hall.
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Old Jan 31, 22, 6:17 pm
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
There won't be a Redcap at Winter Park but there will be at Reno if you need a little assistance hauling everything from the train to the station hall.
Reno does NOT have Red Cap service. Relatively few stations do.
https://www.amtrak.com/onboard/bagga...-services.html

You have to manage your own carry ons at most stations except the largest terminals.
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Old Jan 31, 22, 11:43 pm
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Originally Posted by zephyr17 View Post
Reno does NOT have Red Cap service. Relatively few stations do.
https://www.amtrak.com/onboard/bagga...-services.html

You have to manage your own carry ons at most stations except the largest terminals.
Doh. I read and even typed Reno but I was thinking of and even had a picture of Sacramento in my head. Dunno why there was a disconnect between my brain and eyes/fingers.

The Reno station is pretty small, so it isn't a huge walk from the tracks to the front of the station (to catch an Uber or cab or whatever). The tracks are below ground level but there's both an elevator and an escalator up from the tracks to the station house. Pretty easy-peasy.
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Old Feb 3, 22, 3:58 pm
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Originally Posted by garethmorgan View Post
Good suggestions. What would be a 'nice tip'? We're always worried about tipping; how much / when / who in the States.
There is no required "tip" on Amtrak according to their literature. The service employees are well paid union employees with good benefits. In America you are free to give your money away as you like. Tip if you want to, but don't be intimidated by supposed guidelines found on the internet.

Last edited by dicksboat; Feb 3, 22 at 4:00 pm Reason: spelling
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