You're reading about boarding Amtrak trains. To jump elsewhere on the train, see the list of Amtrak pictures and pages below.
Just like airports, every Amtrak station is different. Finding your way is a snap, though. Use the Amtrak.com
website to find the station at which you'll be boarding, its address, directions, and an interior station map. You can find lodging accordingly, too: New York's Penn Station, for instance, is near New York's Chelsea Hostel
, where I stayed before boarding the Lakeshore Limited for Chicago.
Inside the station, you may be able to find a place to store your bags (sometimes called "left luggage"); costs vary and aren't included in your ticket price
-- at Penn Station, for instance, this service costs $4 per bag.
When your train is called (anywhere from half an hour to five minutes before it actually arrives), a PA system will tell you which at which track number your train will be boarded. The tracks are outside central sets of doors; you'll be going outside, although the area may be covered.
Outside, you'll find platforms that may be marked by letters (note the inset view of a platform sign in the picture above). Your letter is determined by the car in which you'll be riding. Coach seats and sleepers have separate cars.
The word "platform" doesn't denote a differing level -- you'll be on one long slab, like concreate or asphalt. In small stations, there will be no "platforms."
may offer to help with your bag (read more on tipping on Amtrak
), or will be at the door to direct you to your sleeper compartment
or coach seat
If you're in a sleeper, you can take your bags into your room or stash them in the luggage area just inside the lower level doors through which you'll board the train. (Learn more about baggage and Amtrak
Go on to the next page to find out what happens to your ticket on the train
, or jump to another train information page in the list below.