Survival Guide: Amtrak Coach Travel.
I may have been too negative about Amtrak coach travel in the previous post. Maybe I’m just too old and too cranky to put up with what are only minor issues. Most of the time.
That said, here are a few of the things you should know before embarking on any overnight Amtrak coach travel.
* For trains that have assigned seats in coach (many do not), get to the station and into the line early if you have a preference; i.e.: window or aisle; near the restrooms or far from them. Even early, and especially if you board at a station along the route, you might not get your preference.
* Bring one or two small blankets and a pillow. If you’re traveling in cold weather, bring a heavy overcoat instead of the blankets.
* Consider bringing an eye shade and ear plugs.
* Breakfast in the dining car is usually served starting at 6:30 in the morning, and is first come, first served, because there are no PA announcements from the diner until 7:30 a.m.
* The dining car steward goes through the train to give out specific seating times for lunch and dinner. However, if he or she doesn’t get to the coaches, you must go to the dining car and get a seating time.
* You are permitted to bring your own food aboard, but Amtrak employees cannot heat or refrigerate or prepare it.
* Conductors have absolute authority. Be advised that they can and do put (a) smokers and (b) unruly passengers off the train.
* For minor problems, work with the car attendant. If the problem is not resolved, especially if Amtrak employees have been unwilling or unable to help, telephone Customer Service at (800) 872-7245.