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Amtrak Policies

These are the Amtrak policies that were in effect in December of 1995. For more current information, check Amtrak's own web page at or call Amtrak toll-free at 1-800-USA-RAIL.



1-800-USA-RAIL * 1-800-872-7245 * or your travel agent

Amtrak makes every effort to run trains on time. As in all transportation systems, delays sometime occur. If you are being met at your destination, or are boarding at an intermediate point, Amtrak suggests calling the above number to determine if the train is running on schedule.

For the safety and comfort of everyone on board, carry-on baggage is limited to two pieces, of reasonable size and weight, per person.

Baggage And Special Services

Checked Baggage Service: At stations and on trains with baggage checking facilities, fare-paying passengers with valid tickets may check free of charge up to three pieces not exceeding 50 pounds each. Baggage in excess of the free allowance (maximum of three additional pieces per ticketed passenger) is subject to a surcharge. Sturdy boxes and cartons securely fastened, able to withstand normal handling, not exceeding 50 pounds, may be accepted. Baggage checked less than 30 minutes prior to departing may be delayed. Passenger's name and address must be attached to each piece. Consult agent for list of prohibited items.

Checked Baggage Service Liability: Amtrak's liability for checked baggage is limited to $500 per ticketed passenger. Additional value up to $2,500 may be declared and paid prior to checking baggage. Claims must be submitted within 30 days of tavel.

Carry-On Baggage Amtrak trains have limited room for carry-on baggage. Passengers are encouraged to use checked baggage whenever it is available. For the safety and comfort of everyone on board, passengers should bring no more than two pieces of carry-on baggage per person. Sleeping car passengers may bring additional baggage but only two or three average size suitcases will comfortably fit in the largest rooms. Only carry-on baggage of reasonable quantity, size, and weight is permitted. Amtrak disclaims liability for loss or damage to carry-on baggage.

Baggage to/from Canada Checked baggage to or from Canada will only be accepted for carriage on the train on which the passenger is traveling. Customs regulations prevent unaccompanied baggage being handled across the border.

Redcap Service
Baggage assistance is provided free of charge by Redcaps at many major stations. All baggage handled by Redcaps is protected by a claim check. Amtrak recommends that passengers accept assistance only from a uniformed Redcap and that they demand claim checks for each piece. Items handled by Redcaps are not checked baggage and passengers are responsible for them once loaded onto trains. Maximum liability is $50 per bag.
Special Assistance
Mobility impaired, elderly and other passengers needing special seating or special assistance, such as a wheelchair, special food service (72 hours advance notice needed) or baggage assistance, must call Amtrak at 1-800-USA-RAIL as much in advance of travel as possible. This applies to unreserved as well as reserved trains.

More Amtrak Travel Information

Passengers are not permitted to consume their private stock of alcoholic beverages in a public area. Only sleeping car accomodations for which a passenger has a valid ticket are considered non-public areas.
Auto Train
Auto Train travelers should plan to arrive at the station two hours before the scheduled departure time. Automobiles will not be accepted less than one hour before scheduled train departure. Oversized vehicles must have a special reservation and will not be accepted less than 2 hours before departure.
Boarding Times
Passengers should be at their boarding stations at least 30 minutes prior to departure (Auto Train passengers should arrive at the station 2 hours prior to departure). If a train should arrive late, every effort is made to depart as soon as possible. In such cases, the amount of time the train remains in the station may be less than shown in the timetable. Since schedules are subject to change, passengers should reconfirm departure times one day before travel, particularly if tickets have been purchased in advance.
Credit Cards
Amtrak accepts American Express, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, Discover, Japan Credit Bureau (JCB), MasterCard, Visa and Air Travel Card (ATC), at all ticketing locations. These cards (except JCB) are also accepted on board for the purchase of tickets costing $25 or more. Fares less than $25 purchased on board must be paid in cash. These cards (except ATC and JCB) are also accepted on board for dining car meals (no minimum).
First Class Lounge
Amtrak's Metropolitan Lounges are available in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Portland, Miami, and New Orleans for passengers holding same-day tickets with First Class accommodations. These quiet havens feature such amenities as complimentary beverages, television, conference rooms, and telephones..
Food Service
Diner and lounge/cafe cars will be open for service consistent with the operational characteristics of individual trains. In most cases, lounge/cafe cars will be open from 6:00am until midnight; dining cars will be open: breakfast 6:30am until 10:30am; lunch 11:30am until 2:30pm; diner 4:30pm until 9pm. Meal service in dining cars is available to passengers who board at their originating station by 10:00am for breakfast, 2:00pm for lunch; and 8:45pm for diner.
The schedules and services shown in timetables is not guaranteed, are subject to change without notice, and form no part of the contract between Amtrak and a passenger. Amtrak disclaims liability for inconvenience, expense, or damage resulting from errors in timetables, shortages of equipment, or delayed trains, except that when such a delay causes a passenger to miss a guaranteed connection, Amtrak will provide alternate transportation on Amtrak, another carrier, or overnight hotel accommodations at Amtrak's discretion.
Lost, Stolen or Destroyed Tickets
Amtrak disclaims liability for lost, stolen or destroyed tickets. Refunds will not be authorized.
Luggage Carts
Many stations have free luggage carts. However, at some major stations luggage carts are available for $.75. Deposit $1.00 in the cart vending machine and $.25 is refunded upon return of the cart to a vending machine.
Passengers requiring medication en route must carry it with them. Do not put medication in checked baggage or leave it in your car or Auto Train.
Overnight Travel
On overnight trains, sleeping car passengers are provided with all necessary bedding for the journey. Coach passengers may want to bring blanket and pillow for added comfort.
Personal Checks/Money Orders
Amtrak does not accept personal checks in California, except from customers age 62 or older. In all other states, Amtrak accepts personal checks of $25.00 or more from customers who provide a valid photo identification and one of the credit cards noted under section entitled "Credit Cards". Checks must be for the amount of purchase only, and contain a current address (P.O.Box addresses and mailing service addresses not acceptable) and pre-printed name. To obtain a refund at a station on tickets purchased by check, please provide a copy of both sides of the cancelled check. Tickets purchased with money orders will not be refunded until 21 days from the date purchased. Consult Amtrak for details about acceptable money orders.
Certified guide or service animals accompanying passengers with disabilities are the only animals permitted on Amtrak trains. Documentation is required.
To maintain a pleasant atmosphere for all passengers, Amtrak requires that earphones be used when listening to radios, tape players, etc., and that the volume be kept low.
Smoking is no longer permitted on most Amtrak trains, including all non-overnight trains. In addition, some overnight trains are no smoking. Consult timetable for applicable trains. On the remaining long distance overnight trains, smoking is permitted in the lounge during certain hours.


Reserved Trains
Tickets MUST be reissued if reservations are changed. An additional fare may be required if your revised itinerary no longer qualifies for the fare originally paid.
Unreserved Trains
Your ticket may be used on any unreserved train serving the points shown on your ticket, provided travel on that train and date qualifies for the fare originally paid. If you have questions about your unreserved ticket, please contact Amtrak or your travel agent. Seats cannot be guaranteed on unreserved trains.
Open Tickets
If you have purchased an "open" ticket for any segment of your itinerary, for which reservations are required, please be sure to make reservations and have tickets reissued prior to your travel. Additional collection may be required if a fare change has taken place. Be sure to check with Amtrak or your travel agent regarding blackout dates or other conditions applying to the fare paid. Open tickets cannot be issued on All Aboard America Fares or on certain other discount fares.
Special Fares
All tickets issued at a reduced fare, for example, special one-way or round-trip excursion fares, contain certain restrictions which may apply. These restrictions limit travel to certain dates, departure times or duration of stay. Some reduced fare are not available for all seats. Special fare tickets, if partially used, may have limited or no refund value.
En Route Upgrading Of Accomodations
Sleeping car, Club Service and Custom Class accommodations may be purchased on board trains if unsold space is still available. Passengers wanting to purchase an upgrade of accomodations should consult the Conductor or Cheif of On Board Services.
Refund Policy
Most Amtrak tickets are fully refundable as long as the ticket is unused. However, certain fares are sold with the condition that they are non-refundable. Most round-trip tickets, and All Aboard America Fare tickets, become non-refundable once travel begins. In most cases, partially-used tickets puchased at regular one-way fares may be returned for partial refund. Amtrak will refund the value of the accomodation charge paid for Club or Sleeping Car space which is not used, with the following exceptions. For Sleeping Accommodations (including Auto Train), if tickets are not cancelled at least 48 hours prior to departure, a substantial penalty will be assessed against the refund due. For Club Service seating accomodations, if tickets are not cancelled at least one hour prior to departure, a penalty of 50 percent of the accomodation charge will be assessed against the refund due. The penalty will not be assessed in the event a passenger choses to cancel travel on account of the train being delayed two hours or more at the boarding station. Passengers who downgrade accomodations or reduce number of their party on board the train must obtain a Refund Authorization of original tickets but exceptions do exist; consult Amtrak. Tickets purchased at a travel agency must usually be returned to the agency; however, if a refund is required because of a service disruption or downgrade, Amtrak will process tickets issued by travel agencies. Cancellation/change of reservations does not generate a refund. The actual unused/partially used ticket must be submitted. Amtrak will refund your tickets through the mail. Please send original tickets (photocopies not acceptable) via certified mail with return receipt to: Amtrak Customer Refunds-East, 30th Street Station, 30th & Market Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19104 or Amtrak Customer Refunds-West, 210 South Canal Street, Chicago, IL 60661.
Comments On Service
We encourage you to give us the benefit of any comments, compliments, or suggestions you may have regarding Amtrak service. Send comments to Amtrak, Office of Customer Relations, Washington Union Station, 60 Massachusettes Avenue, N.E., Washington, DC 20002. (Note: include your ticket receipt).
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