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United-Amtrak Codeshare FAQ - Including ZFV (Philadelphia)

United-Amtrak Codeshare FAQ - Including ZFV (Philadelphia)

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Old Jun 28, 19, 3:50 am   -   Wikipost
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Overview

Amtrak operates a codeshare program with United. The codeshare program permits passengers to connect via Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) with train service to/from these train stations:
  • ZFV – Philadelphia 30th Street
  • ZTF – Stamford, CT
  • ZVE – New Haven, CT
  • ZWI – Wilmington, DE

(NB: Codeshare trains are not available from Washington, DC or Boston, MA.)

These destinations are all along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor (NEC) line. The most popular codeshare origin/destination is ZFV (30th Street Train Station in Philadelphia, PA) since fares that are valid to PHL are often also valid to ZFV, and they can be quite cheap.

The codeshare trains are regular scheduled trains on Amtrak's Northeast Regional service. The trains stop at the Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) rail link station, where passengers can board the AirTrain (monorail) to the terminals and proceed to your connecting flight. Passengers in possession of an Amtrak ticket, including through the codeshare program, travel on the AirTrain for free.

Earning Miles (PQMs/PQSs, PQDs, and RDMs) on Amtrak

Codeshare train segments earn 325/250 RDMs (depending on purchased fare class -- see link), 0 PQMs/PQSs, and 0 PQDs one-way. (Note: This is a change from the pre-merger days (Continental Airlines) where you would earn EQMs.) You will only earn these miles by actually riding the train.

You can also earn Mileage Plus RDM miles on Amtrak via Acela Express. See more details at the following URL:
http://www.united.com/CMS/en-US/Mark...es/Amtrak.aspx

Other General Pointers

Here are a few important points that have been mentioned in this thread:
  • The train tickets are for the coach section only.
  • United codeshare tickets operated by Amtrak are not valid on any other train (including Acela) besides your scheduled ticketed train as all trains on the NEC are reserved.
  • It takes approximately 10 minutes (once you board) to travel between the Newark Airport Rail Station and Terminal C via the Airtrain (monorail).
  • If you plan to do anything other than take the train exactly as ticketed (e.g., skip the train, pick up tickets at a different station, etc.), you need to be careful. Details on this issue are below.
  • Misconnections between Amtrak and Newark will be accommodated in the same manner as if you had taken a flight segment and were not able to make your connecting flight. Simply explain to the EWR agent that you're connecting to/from Amtrak.

Checked Luggage

Train to Plane
There is no luggage transfer service between the train and Newark Airport (EWR). You must take your luggage to the same check-in point you would normally use--skycap, ticket counter, etc. Your baggage will not be transferred from the train to your flight. (Amtrak trains serving EWR do not have checked baggage service, and so you'll need to carry your bags onto and off of the train anyway.)

Plane to Train
When your flight arrives at EWR, your bags will only be checked to EWR (airport) and you must claim your luggage at the baggage claim. Once you have claimed your bags, proceed to the airport train station via the AirTrain (last stop, after P4). There is no checked baggage service on Amtrak trains at the EWR train station, but overhead luggage racks offer generous amounts of space, and many cars have an oversized luggage rack at one of the ends of the car (near the restrooms).

Printing Your Ticket

Online check-in through United will give you a "fake" boarding pass for the train segments. This "fake" boarding pass is not valid for transportation on Amtrak. You must obtain your train ticket from the Amtrak Quik-Trak machine or Amtrak agent at the train station of your departure and at Newark Airport train station for your return.

ZFV, ZTF, ZVE, ZWI
To pick up your ticket, go to an Amtrak kiosk on the same calendar day as your departure (won't work on the day before, even if within 24h) and swipe your credit card/ID. Tap 'Pick Up Ticket' (Or something to that effect), then 'Codeshare', then 'United Air/Rail Customer' and input your train's UA-coded 'flight' number, usually a 66XX number. It will locate your record and spit out your train ticket and a receipt, if you wish.

Other Stations
Call Amtrak at 1-800-USA-RAIL with your time/date and train number that you will be traveling to obtain your Amtrak Passenger Name Record (PNR). Keep in mind that this is not the same as your United reservation number! You must call to get the Amtrak PNR. Once you have that information, you may go to any Quik-Trak machine (such as Penn Station) to print your Amtrak ticket.

Skipping ZFV-EWR/EWR-ZFV Segment

The purpose of the Amtrak codeshare is to provide service for those who are traveling to or from the codeshare-eligible cities. Frequently abusing the Amtrak codeshare program to travel to or from EWR while skipping the Amtrak segment puts one at risk to you (like losing your MileagePlus account) as well as jeopardize the continuation of the program.

All of that said, sometimes there are situations where you might not end up wanting to take the train. If you do so, you will almost certainly want to book the trip as two one-ways. Fares to/from ZFV are usually one-way fares, so this will not make your trip more expensive.

The scenarios below are categorized as low-risk, medium-risk, or high-risk.
  • Low-risk scenarios are unlikely to result in cancelled segments; the risks here include UA coming after you if you do it frequently, and the possibility of being routed directly to PHL in IRROPS.
  • Medium-risk scenarios are those where some people have reported cancelled segments, particularly if there is enough lag time between the Amtrak segment and one or more of the United segments for the systems to sync up; sometimes you can get an agent to reinstate canceled segments/trip for no charge but seating assignment and upgrades will probably be lost.
  • High-risk scenarios are those where some segments are almost certain to be cancelled.
Here are the scenarios:
  • Booking One Way or Round Trip: ZFV-EWR-XXX, boarding ZFV-EWR downline (e.g. at TRE or MET) - No risk (subject to obtaining your train ticket--see below)
  • Booking One Way: ZFV-EWR-XXX, Skipping ZFV-EWR only - Medium-risk
  • Booking One Way: XXX-EWR-ZFV, Skipping EWR-ZFV only - Low-risk
  • Booking Round Trip: ZFV-EWR-XXX, Skipping ZFV-EWR only - High-risk
  • Booking Round Trip: XXX-EWR-ZFV, Skipping ZFV-EWR only - Medium-risk
  • Booking Round Trip: ZFV-EWR-XXX, Skipping EWR-ZFV only - Low-risk
  • Booking Round Trip: XXX-EWR-ZFV, Skipping EWR-ZFV only - High-risk
  • Booking Round Trip: ZFV-EWR-XXX -OR- XXX-EWR-ZFV, Skipping ZFV-EWR and EWR-ZFV - High-risk

Frequently Asked Questions


Can I benefit from a schedule change?
If there is a schedule change, you can ask United to drop the ZFV-EWR segment. For example: I'm EWR based, but was "flying" ZFV-EWR-XXX. Originally, I had a 1 hour, 40 minute layover @ EWR, which got changed to a 1 hour 10 minute layover. I said I wasn't comfortable with that short of a connection time (since you have to take the monorail and clear security). I was able to drop the first segment (ZFV-EWR) without any trouble (and thus avoiding a "re-position" to ZFV).

Why would I want to book a train segment instead of just ticketing from Newark?
The best reason is that you actually want to get to one of the codeshare cities! Of course, there are also less straightforward reasons. Due to the competitive airline markets -- especially Philadelphia -- the ticket prices are often much less expensive using the train segments and a “connection” at the Newark Rail Station. Often times, other rail station ticketing points have fares that are less expensive than ticketing directly from EWR.

Can I obtain my Amtrak ticket at another location – say NY Penn Station?
According to the official rules, no. Quik-Trak machines not at codeshare stations (ZFV, ZWI, etc.) will not natively print codeshare tickets. Members here have reported mixed success in obtaining their Amtrak tickets from Amtrak ticket offices.

Call Amtrak at 1-800-USA-RAIL to ensure your reservation is in their system before attempting to obtain your ticket at an Amtrak ticket office. United train segments are generally placed in the Amtrak system 24-48 hours in advance of your travel (the official policy is 36 hours, but others have reported that conflicts with reality and is often less than a day in advance). When you call Amtrak, you will need to know your train number and date of travel. The Amtrak phone agent can give you the Amtrak confirmation code (PNR, different from your United PNR), which may be helpful when picking up your ticket--you might be able to get non-codeshare-station Quik-Trak machines to print your ticket using this confirmation number.

When dealing with a human ticket agent, most Amtrak ticketing personnel are not familiar with these type of tickets and will need the “assistance” of the Amtrak support desk, generally, to issue your ticket.

If you cannot obtain your paper ticket in advance, you may have luck having the conductor search for you by name after you board the train. You can also give the conductor the Amtrak PNR you obtained by phone, but conductors seem to prefer looking by name anyway. Note that at some staffed stations (like Philadelphia and New York Penn), gate agents will not let you onto the boarding platform without a valid ticket. Additionally, when you arrive at EWR, you won't be able to proceed through the gate to board the AirTrain without either a valid Amtrak ticket or a New Jersey Transit AirTrain Access Fee ticket, which can be bought inside the EWR station for $5.50.

I want to drive/taxi/walk to the airport, do I actually have to obtain my ticket in Philadelphia and ride the train?
Technically, you are supposed to ride the train. If you fail to print your train ticket from an Amtrak kiosk prior to the train's scheduled departure from ZFV, your UA reservation will be cancelled. (Note: this may have changed since Amtrak's changeover to e-ticketing, since printing a paper boarding pass no longer affects the reservation's ticketed/unticketed status.) If you pick up your ticket but then fail to have a conductor scan your ticket, the remainder of your United flight reservation will likely be canceled within 24 hours and possibly sooner.

Can I board the train at a different point than PHL if I have my train ticket?
YES! You can board the train at any station along the way – Metropark, Princeton Junction, or (if you are traveling from points North) even New York Penn Station.

Can I pay the difference in Amtrak fare to travel beyond the point to which I am ticketed?
No. (Confirmed as no longer true by FlyerTalk's Amtrak lurker, AGR Insider, in this thread.)

Much of the information in this wiki was originally put together by FlyerTalk user martig4. Some of the FAQ information dates back to 2004 and could be no longer applicable, so please feel free to edit this wiki and help ensure its contents contain the most up-to-date information!

Known Issues

The Amtrak codeshare is pretty great. But there are certain aspects that make taking the train-plane tougher than your garden-variety connecting flight. In hopes that some of these might be able to get fixed, here's a short list of them:
  • The eTicket for the Amtrak segment must be retrieved from a QuikTrak machine or a knowledgable Amtrak station agent, close in to the train trip.
  • The Amtrak confirmation number (which is useful for picking up the train ticket) is not provided by United.
  • Certain electronic reservation functions (like app boarding passes and automated SDC) are disabled when there is a remaining unused Amtrak segment in a reservation.
  • Occasionally, the Amtrak ticket disappears entirely, and neither Amtrak nor United admit that it's their fault. At its worst, this means getting on the train with the risk that the conductor won't accept whatever documentation you have.
  • Sometimes, the ticket shows up in Amtrak's system as unpaid.
  • Amtrak agents (except station agents at the high-traffic codeshare stations) and United agents (even at EWR) are often ignorant about the program.
  • The red phone at the EWR Amtrak station, which can be used to contact a good agent if the EWR ticket desk is unmanned, has a 10-minute call cut-off.

Archive thread United-Amtrak Codeshare FAQ - Including ZFV (Philadelphia) {Archive}
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Old Nov 4, 15, 9:28 pm
  #1  
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I have read a good deal of this forum and would just like to confirm I can pick up tickets and board at Metropark as long as it is same day and before the train departs ZFV?

Also how long in advanced could I try to pick up tickets in a different location?
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Old Nov 5, 15, 2:08 am
  #2  
 
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Originally Posted by patriots12 View Post
I have read a good deal of this forum and would just like to confirm I can pick up tickets and board at Metropark as long as it is same day and before the train departs ZFV?
No such confirmation is possible. It may or my nor work. You'll only now for sure on day of departure. In any case, if you can't get the ticket out of the QuikTrak kiosk you will not get any help from the ticket agents at Metropark. Be prepared to go to ZFV if the QuikTrak machine does not cooperate.

Originally Posted by patriots12 View Post
Also how long in advanced could I try to pick up tickets in a different location?
You said it above: same day.

Last edited by goalie; Nov 5, 15 at 12:45 pm Reason: please quote the member's name when quoting multiple parts of their post
CaptainMiles is offline  
Old Nov 18, 15, 9:12 pm
  #3  
 
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I'm sure this question has been asked a dozen times so I apologize for the redundancy.

I'm PHL-based and taking advantage of a SEA - ZFV segment for legitimate purposes. My flight arrives around 2:30 PM and the ticketed train is for 6:47 PM. There is a 4:28 PM NE Regional that would save us over two hours. Does Amtrak allow any flexibility in trying to hop on the earlier train? Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
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Old Nov 19, 15, 10:49 am
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Originally Posted by tnm5041 View Post
I'm sure this question has been asked a dozen times so I apologize for the redundancy.

I'm PHL-based and taking advantage of a SEA - ZFV segment for legitimate purposes. My flight arrives around 2:30 PM and the ticketed train is for 6:47 PM. There is a 4:28 PM NE Regional that would save us over two hours. Does Amtrak allow any flexibility in trying to hop on the earlier train? Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
You can ask at the Amtrak ticketing booth. Alternatively, ask the conductor when the train pulls in - as long as your coupon is lifted, it doesn't really matter which train you're riding.
PVDtoDEL is offline  
Old Nov 19, 15, 11:03 am
  #5  
 
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Originally Posted by PVDtoDEL View Post
You can ask at the Amtrak ticketing booth. Alternatively, ask the conductor when the train pulls in - as long as your coupon is lifted, it doesn't really matter which train you're riding.
I thought that the NE Regional are "reserved" trains and a proper reservation are needed on them. I would ask the Amtrack agent if they are there or use the quicktrak macine and phone. If available it should not be an issue.. Please correct my theory if I am wrong.. Thanks and Safe Travels
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Old Nov 19, 15, 11:00 pm
  #6  
 
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I m newbie to this..any help is appreciated.

I have an upcoming flight ZFV > EWR > SFO and return.
I stay around Trenton,NJ equal commute to amtrak station philly and to Newark international airport. The problem is the train to newark is night before to the flight at 8 am next day. If I were to take the train I will have to stay at the airport overnight and same while coming back.
If I don't take the train then I am breaking the trip and the tickets will be cancelled.

I am trying to figure out my best possible options without to stay 12 hours at the airport. Can you please advise on what if

1) I go to philly, park my car, get on amtrak and have it scanned by conductor and get off in trenton. Does this count as train trip? Then go home and in the morn take the car. For return exclude the train leg and just drive back in the car.
2) go to philly and take train all the way to Newark international stato on but not take monorail and stay in the hotel overnight.
3) skip the train leg and go to the airport directly.
4) just get the tickets from kiosk and not have conductor scan it.
5) Any possibility to call united to remove train segment from the trip.
6) if I were to do first leg as required and don't finish the second leg train journey, any issues with united?

Thank you much in advance.
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Old Nov 20, 15, 5:17 pm
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Originally Posted by aadivasi View Post
1) I go to philly, park my car, get on amtrak and have it scanned by conductor and get off in trenton. Does this count as train trip? Then go home and in the morn take the car. For return exclude the train leg and just drive back in the car.
This should work, provided the conductor scans your ticket before you get off at Trenton. Should be no problem.

2) go to philly and take train all the way to Newark international stato on but not take monorail and stay in the hotel overnight.
This should work too, but the only way to not take the monorail is to take another Amtrak or NJ Transit train out of the same station.

3) skip the train leg and go to the airport directly.
You answered this yourself:
If I don't take the train then I am breaking the trip and the tickets will be cancelled
4) just get the tickets from kiosk and not have conductor scan it.
Your flight segments will be cancelled. You have a chance of getting them reinstated by pleading with an airport agent and show your "proof" that you took the train (your train ticket and hotel bill for the overnight) but there is no guarantee that you will succeed. Depends on agent and whether there are seats left on the flights. At the very least you will lose your seat assignments, and probably end up in a middle seat to SFO.

5) Any possibility to call united to remove train segment from the trip.
Only if there is a serious Amtrak irop.

6) if I were to do first leg as required and don't finish the second leg train journey, any issues with united?
This is called throw-away ticketing and prohibited by the CoC. However, there is no history reported here of UA ever taking action against a pax for this infraction. An occasional throw-away is probably okay, but I would not make a habit of it. An immediate consequence is that you would not earn miles (RDM and PQD) for the train segment.
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Old Nov 20, 15, 6:36 pm
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I would do option #2, except do take the monorail to a terminal to pick up a hotel shuttle. Keep your Amtrak ticket and they will let you through.
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Old Nov 22, 15, 9:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Flying Machine View Post
I thought that the NE Regional are "reserved" trains and a proper reservation are needed on them. I would ask the Amtrack agent if they are there or use the quicktrak macine and phone. If available it should not be an issue.. Please correct my theory if I am wrong.. Thanks and Safe Travels
Thank you, I will come back here to share results first week in December.
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Old Dec 3, 15, 11:55 am
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by tnm5041 View Post
Thank you, I will come back here to share results first week in December.
So I ended up touching down at EWR at 2:10 yesterday, with the EWR - ZFV Amtrak codeshare not assigned until 6:30 or so. My girlfriend and I both had poor flight experiences from SEA and were not going to wait that long (The gentlemen in 27C took all of her 27B legroom, and I had some enormous baby carrier wedged in the seat behind me).

Anyways, we were exasperated to the point I was fine paying for the next train. I spoke to the 3:05 Keystone conductor that rolled in, explained that my tickets weren't for another 3.5 hours and asked if I could hop onboard. He told me to call Amtrak customer service once I was onboard and request a change (train was fairly empty). Once we got going, the customer service rep told me that she successfully made the change on her end and that the conductor would see the adjustment when he scanned my ticket. I can't confirm if that was the case, but regardless I was at 30th St by 4:15 and on my couch by 5:00 without any additional fees.
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Old Dec 3, 15, 12:08 pm
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Originally Posted by tnm5041 View Post
So I ended up touching down at EWR at 2:10 yesterday, with the EWR - ZFV Amtrak codeshare not assigned until 6:30 or so. My girlfriend and I both had poor flight experiences from SEA and were not going to wait that long (The gentlemen in 27C took all of her 27B legroom, and I had some enormous baby carrier wedged in the seat behind me).

Anyways, we were exasperated to the point I was fine paying for the next train. I spoke to the 3:05 Keystone conductor that rolled in, explained that my tickets weren't for another 3.5 hours and asked if I could hop onboard. He told me to call Amtrak customer service once I was onboard and request a change (train was fairly empty). Once we got going, the customer service rep told me that she successfully made the change on her end and that the conductor would see the adjustment when he scanned my ticket. I can't confirm if that was the case, but regardless I was at 30th St by 4:15 and on my couch by 5:00 without any additional fees.
Excellent. ^

I was just thinking how much I would love for UA to start ticketing these out of Trenton as well. The drive is actually a little longer for me, but it's less time on the train plus the parking is like half the price of Philadelphia/30th Street station.....
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Old Dec 3, 15, 8:28 pm
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I "flew" this recently, and had some issues with the train segment actually being recognised as used (ZFV-EWR-LAS-SFO).

First off I couldn't use the Quik-Trak machines because they need a credit card (which I couldn't do, since the tickets were paid for using Paypal - long story there to do with foreign banks...). Luckily I could collect it with my name+ID at the ticket counter.

On getting to EWR, the machines didn't want to accept my checked luggage, telling my itinerary started in ZFV, and proceeding to printing boarding passes (including the "This is not a boarding pass" for the Amtrak segment). One of the agents seemed to override the system and checked my bag. I also didn't get any SDC options at the kiosk, or on the App, and couldn't get boarding passes on the app at any point during the trip.

My LAS-SFO segment was upgraded while I was on the EWR-LAS segment, but the kiosks at LAS wouldn't let me get a new boarding pass, and also no seat selection was possible either (the GA at the main podium told me I didn't need a new BP, meaning my BP then got flagged when actually boarding - that GA then wrote my new seat by hand onto the BP).

2 days later my EWR-LAS + LAS-SFO segments posted, but no sign of the ZFV-EWR (I have all the boarding passes + amtrak ticket saved, so can send them in in a few days...).

Overall rather annoying because of the IT issues, other than that I liked the connection.
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Old Dec 12, 15, 8:21 am
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by Flying Machine View Post
There is an agent and Quik Trak Machine at EWR and ZFV.
As of October 1, 2015, EWR is no longer staffed. Ticketing via Quik-Trak kiosk only ( http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Conten..._Page&code=EWR ).

This can make the code share more difficult when connecting from United to Amtrak at Newark. Less experienced travellers or travellers with a complication arising must either call Amtrak customer service or hope for the best when speaking with the conductor on board.

I was recently able to easily switch to an earlier train by printing my original ticket, calling Amtrak customer service with the Amtrak ticket's reservation number, and having my ticket re-printed at the kiosk.

Note that with the new pet policy, the staff cancellation also means pets can't technically board at EWR, and customer support recently told me they could not add a pet to a code share ticket (or at least not one with Amtrak service originating at EWR; I have not tried ZFV-EWR). If you occasionally fly into Newark with small, furry mammals, their accommodation on the Northeast Regional will be at the discretion of the conductor.
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Old Dec 18, 15, 8:21 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
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Amtrak seems to not be relaying my ticket use to United

FWIW, I've used ZFV-EWR (and back) extensively, and United seems to think (almost 100% of the time) that I didn't use the ticket. I know this because my return ticket often has the red letters of death on it online (that the ticket needs to be reissued and to call them about it). I call, they ask if I took the train, I say yes, they fix it. But it seems pretty weird how they almost never get the message that I'm taking the train, given that I always do.
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Old Jan 1, 16, 8:45 pm
  #15  
 
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Now that EWR Amtrak station is no longer staffed, there are 2 steps that are mandatory for anyone venturing the Amtral codeshare via EWR to Philadelphia 30th St Station:

1) Prior to traveling, call Amtrak to obtain your Amtrak confirmation number. The phone agent can get this from name and UA confirmation number. This is needed since the only way to get train ticket at EWR is via Fastrak machine, and the Fastrak machine can only do this by inserting credit card to "unlock" and then entering Amtrak confirmation number. Of note, Amtrak confirmation number is not printed on train coupon.

2) It is nearly certain that the Amtrak system will not relay that you actually took the train trip ex-EWR to UA. Therefore, it will be necessary to call United prior to return to argue that you were on the train and did not miss the segment. If I ever do this codeshare again, I actually plan to call United from the train to tell them that I am indeed on the train. Why wait? Time-stamped selfies from the train could also be useful, I suppose.

In summary, this is a very problematic connection. Use at your own risk.
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