The Amtrak list of prohibited items includes the following:

Large sharp objects such as axes, ice picks and swords

Does this include small knives (such as a Victorinox SwissChamp, with a 2.5-inch long blade)?

  • I don't remember they searched any of my bags (either checked or unchecked), so if you don't show it too much, it should be totally fine. – Vince Aug 29 '12 at 12:16
  • Is this about "checked luggage" or "hand luggage"... if there is a difference with Amtrak, I don't know... – hippietrail Aug 29 '12 at 16:04
  • I did get screened for explosives on one trip, but my baggage was not subjected to a metal detector or x-ray scan. The way this restriction is worded would seem to exclude such small knives, covering large, potentially dangerous (in normal handling) sharp implements instead, but I'm not sure how this would actually be interpreted. I kind of remember reading an older Amtrak publication regarding restricted items stating that such small knives are excluded from these restrictions because they are considered "personal items," though... – bwDraco Aug 29 '12 at 17:10
  • See web.archive.org/web/20040604003609/http://www.amtrak.com/plan/… (emphasis added): "Prohibited items ... Guns, firearms, ammunition, explosives and weapons of any kind ... Some small personal items, such as scissors and pocket knives (which are not allowed on commercial airplanes), are permitted on board trains." This is an old document dating to June 2004, though, so I'm just not sure if this still holds today... – bwDraco Aug 29 '12 at 17:16
  • The gun restriction was later lifted, replaced with a set of regulations specifying how firearms may be transported in checked baggage, though – bwDraco Aug 29 '12 at 17:23

Note that the prohibition linked to only mentions checked or unchecked luggage, and not items you might carry on your person.

I do not know this for a fact, but am guessing the rule is not influenced by the airline's prohibition on knives and other sharp objects after 9/11, but instead because trains are subject to quick, sudden jerks and jolts, both laterally and less often, front and back, and any large sharp objects such as those listed could rip through and even exit whatever they are packed in and present a hazard to others.

So a knife blade contained within a so-called Swiss Army Knife should not be prohibited.


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