Author Topic: Amtrak roll-on in Seattle  (Read 2137 times)

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Offline dayjack119

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Amtrak roll-on in Seattle
« on: July 06, 2017, 12:18:26 pm »
Just took a ride from Seattle to Sacramento via Amtrak with my touring bike a roll-on.  The system had a few bugs that one has to adapt to.
1.  Most people buy their tickets on-line these days and therefore don't use the ticket counter.  One is suppose to get a tag there for one's bike before he boards the train.  I waited a half hour in the check-in line before someone told me.
2.  The baggage car where one's bike is stored is just behind the engine.  One is expected to remove all bags and attachments from the bike before storage and carry them to your passenger car, which in my case was 13 cars back.  I held up the train just to get this done.  One wonders who came up with that process.  The next train that I am transferring to in a few hours may go smoother, now that I know what to look for.  I will up-date.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Amtrak roll-on in Seattle
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2017, 12:21:48 pm »
Yeah, no matter how you get your bike on the train, whether in a box or "roll-on", you have to remove your bags. I doubt that will ever change, since Amtrak has a 50 pound per item limit, and in the case of the Coast Starlight, the bike needs to be lifted several feet in the air.

To avoid some of the bag hauling, you could check the bags at the baggage counter. This is providing you are boarding and unboarding at stations with baggage service. You won't have access to the bags until you get off, but you don't have to haul them.

indyfabz

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Re: Amtrak roll-on in Seattle
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2017, 02:21:58 pm »
Buy a second hand duffel bag and put all your equipment in it. Makes transporting the lot easier. Toss it when you are done with it. Or you may be able to give it away like I did when I got off the Vermonter in Brattleboro, VT with my bike for the start of a tour.

Was there something that prevented you from boarding the first coach behind the baggage car and walking on the train to your particular car?

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Amtrak roll-on in Seattle
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2017, 05:14:19 pm »
Was there something that prevented you from boarding the first coach behind the baggage car and walking on the train to your particular car?

If I remember correctly, on the Coast Starlight the cars behind the engine and baggage are first class (sleepers), so they won't let you on there if you aren't in first class.

Offline dayjack119

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Re: Amtrak roll-on in Seattle
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2017, 10:30:16 am »
Update:  From what I learned on the initial train of my trip, first pick up a tag for the bike at the ticket counter.  Then my plan for getting me and my bike onto the second train that I transferred to was to pile my gear (panniers) at the entry door of my designated passenger car door and then ride down to the other end of the train to the location of the baggage car where they would store my rig.  That's when I learned something that makes all the difference.  The Conductor is the overall designator where people and bicycles go on HIS train.  This boss of my train said that he was putting my bike in an unused crew room on a passenger car and I would be riding the same car.  That made it a whole new ball game.  I even had access to the bike during the trip.  He also explained that the reason some stops don't allow deboarding your bike is that the platform is too short for the train.  The baggage car is down the tracks a ways so they can't get anything off.  So what I get from this is to try to sweet talk the conductor when getting on the train.  He's the one that determines whether it is going to be a positive experience or not.

Offline alessandra

Re: Amtrak roll-on in Seattle
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2017, 10:12:22 am »
Hello,

this subjects is very interesting to me. I plan to visit WA National Parks and then go down towards south OR or CA to visit Redwood and Yosemite, but I probably won't have the time to ride all the way down.
So if I understand well (sorry, I'm Italian):

'roll-on' means you don't have to put your bike in a cardboard box or bag?
That would be great!

Do you know other ways to transport your bike in the area?
Last year I used Greyhound from SLC to Saint George and it was not very easy.
But from Meab to Provo I took an Elevated bus and it was extra-confort: they had a sort of 'drawer' that came out from the baggage store, to put your bike on, I didn't even need to pack it

Offline dayjack119

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Re: Amtrak roll-on in Seattle
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2017, 11:09:17 am »
Hey Alessandra:  Yes, roll-on means one does not box up his bike.  He only has to present it to the baggage person and that man takes care of the rest.  The only other way I have shipped my bike is through BikeFlights.com.  It was inexpensive and fast.  Jack Day