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I have a 4:32am train from a station that opens at 4am. I wish to check my bags, and the train and station ostensibly support this; however, Amtrak's stated policy is that bags must be checked at least 45 minutes before the train is scheduled to depart.

I can't get a clear answer from Amtrak how checking bags is supposed to work when the station isn't available at the required time.

Should I expect Amtrak to check my bags when the station opens? Is there anything I can do to ensure I don't have any trouble getting my luggage checked so I don't have to bring it aboard myself?

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    I don't know the answer to your question, but keep in mind that Amtrak is a lot less strict about its luggage policy than airlines are; if you're unable to check your luggage at the boarding station, probably nobody will stop you from just carrying it on the train.
    – mlc
    Nov 28 '21 at 3:06
  • Not all stations support "checked luggage". Ensure both arrival and departure station allows for checked luggage Nov 29 '21 at 14:40
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  1. Call Amtrak and ask. You aren't the first person to be in this situation.
  2. If that doesn't yield an answer, show up at the station at 3.45am. It's likely there is someone at the station before it officially opens. Ask them. Try to check the bags as soon as you can. I doubt the station is extremely busy at 4am, and they will probably let you check them "late".
  3. If that fails, take the bags on the train with you. It's no worse than an inconvenience.

If practical you might consider asking if you can check the bags the night before.

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  • All good, except I don't see how it would be practical to check the bags the night before. Amtrak isn't like airlines - there is no huge back office for storing the bags waiting for a train, so if they allowed checking bags the night before (which I doubt, but could be OK), then the bags would just be sitting behind the ticket counter, which isn't terribly secure. Unless they stick them in the manager's office - and then forget to put them on the train. Plus that would require a second trip to the train station. And while trains (for a lot of reasons) are not as worried about unattended Nov 28 '21 at 17:25
  • luggage as planes are, that would really open up possibilities for "train goes with luggage but without passenger". Nov 28 '21 at 17:26
  • I think they key is ask if you can check luggage the night before. It might not work. But it might. Nov 28 '21 at 17:32
  • @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact "there is no huge back office for storing the bags waiting for a train": where then do they keep them between the time you check them and the time they load them on the train?
    – phoog
    Nov 28 '21 at 17:43
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    My hunch is the 45-minute time is a ballpark, catchall thing to (a) be sort of like the airlines (people ask the question, thinking train is like plane, so they need to provide an answer) and (b) to provide a reasonable time for the few places (e.g., New York City) where they really do have a lot of trains and need to have enough time to sort bags. Nov 28 '21 at 18:04

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