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Old 12-17-2011, 02:14 PM
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Default Amtrak Train - Requires 3 Reservations to check firearm !!!

Well I had a recent learning experience with the Amtrak train system...

I have never traveled on Amtrak, so I decided to try it for a trip to Tucson to visit my brother.

I called and made a reservation from Ontario to Tucson, round trip. And WOW, the cost was only $73.00 with my "senior" discount of 15%.

Now, I know that Amtrak allows you to check your firearm. So, I call back and ask what the procedure is. I am told that I cannot check the firearm at Ontario as it is only a pickup/dropoff stop, and is not maned. I would need to go to Los Angeles and check my firearm at the ticket window. I was also told that it had be be carried in a hard sided case and locked.

I thought about weather I wanted to go all the way to LA, and decided to try and do it right. I called back and changed my reserations from Ontario to LA, and mentioned that i was doing so to check my firearm.

So, I arrive two hours early because I know nothing ever goes as planned when trying to be a good guy and follow the rules.

When I go to the ticket window I give them my computer printed reservation, and advise the agent that I was also checking a firearm.

Now comes the problem. The agent ask for my reservation for the firearm, and if I am carrying on ammo too, he needed my reservation for the ammo. WHAT??? I had spoke to at least two persons when making and then when changing my reservations, and when I called back for the rules to check my firearm. NOONE told me anything about reservations for the firearm.

So, I complain all the way up the the station manager. NO WAY were they going to allow me to carry on without two additional reservations. And, these reservations had to have been made at least 24 hours prior to departure so that they could send my information to "big brother" and clear me to check the firearms.

Now, I had been dropped off at Amtrak, and had no transportation back to the Lake Arrowhead area. The agent supervisor suggested I try Grayhound, only 10 minutes away. I called and they do not allow any firearms period.

So, I made my Grayhound reservations, but in the confusion I forgot that I had a firearm. Oops... Now if there is anyway to travel where you feel the need for the comfort of a firearm, Grayhound is it. Shall we say, there are some very strange and alarming people on those buses...

When I got to Tucson, I called and made the proper reservations for my firearm and ammo for my return trip. At the station, they verified the firearm was in a locked case, the ammo was in it's original packaging and both were locked in my standard suitcase.

There was no additional security for the suitcase carring a firearm, and it was put in the pile with everyone elses baggage. When I arrived back at the Los Angeles station, my suitcase came down the turnstyle with everyone elses. Also, when you board the train, there is no check of the passangers other than to ask for their ticket. Anyone can carry on whatever they choose too, and noone is the wiser...

There is absoultly no serurity for the firearm other then Amtrak being notified and making reservations for the firearm and ammo.

I must say the ride on Amtrak was very pleasant. They had an observation car and a diner car, and you can walk around all you want. And it is cheap... I will definately take the train again. But the next time, I may have selective memory regarding my carry on items...

So a lesson learned. Anyone wanting to travel on Amtrak: You need three reservations - 1 for yourself, 1 for our firearm and 1 for your ammo. And, you need to make the reservation for the firearm and ammo on later than 24 hours before departure. Enjoy your trip...
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Old 12-17-2011, 02:54 PM
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Thanks for the info, sorry for your ordeal.
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Old 12-17-2011, 02:55 PM
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That is good to know. About 15 years ago when i was still in high school my family and i took amtrak from Redding, Ca to Spokan, Wa. It was nice being able to walk around and is much more pleasant than the 12 hour car ride. And now I have been wanting to take Amtrak with my wife since she has never been on a train.
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Old 12-17-2011, 07:44 PM
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It's all there in black & white.


Amtrak - Plan - Policies - Firearms in Checked Baggage

Quote:
Firearms in Checked Baggage
Effective December 15, 2010, Amtrak will accept reservations of firearms and ammunition for carriage between Amtrak stations and on Amtrak trains within the United States that offer checked baggage service. Thruway Bus Services will not be included in this service change. The following policies are in effect:

Notification that the passenger will be checking firearms/ammunition must be made no later than 24 hours before train departure by calling Amtrak at 800-USA-RAIL. Online reservations for firearms/ammunition are not accepted. The passengers must travel on the same train that is transporting the checked firearms and/or ammunition. All firearms and/or ammunition must be checked at least 30 minutes prior to scheduled train departure. Some larger stations require that baggage be checked earlier. Please contact your departure station for more details. All firearms (rifles, shotguns, handguns, starter pistols) must be unloaded and in an approved, locked hard-sided container not exceeding 62" L x 17" W x 7" D (1575 mm x 432 mm x 178 mm). The passenger must have sole possession of the key or the combination for the lock to the container. The weight of the container may not exceed 50 lb/23 kg. Smaller locked, hard-sided containers containing smaller unloaded firearms such as handguns and starter pistols must be securely stored within a suitcase or other item of checked baggage, but the existence of such a firearm must be declared. All ammunition carried must be securely packed in the original manufacturer's container; in fiber, wood, or metal boxes; or in other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition. The maximum weight of all ammunition and containers may not exceed 11 lb/5 kg. The passenger is responsible for knowing and following all federal, state, and local firearm laws at all jurisdictions to and through which he or she will be travelling. All other Amtrak checked baggage policies apply, including limits on the number of pieces of checked baggage, the maximum weight of each piece (50 lb/23 kg). Firearms/ammunition may not be carried in carry-on baggage; therefore, checked baggage must be available on all trains and at all stations in the passenger's itinerary. At the time of check-in, passengers will be required to complete and sign a two-part Declaration Form. BB guns and Compressed Air Guns (to include paintball markers), are to be treated as firearms and must comply with the above firearms policy. Canisters, tanks, or other devices containing propellants must be emptied prior to checking and securely packaged within the contents of the passenger's luggage. Passengers failing to meet the above-mentioned requirements for checking firearms will be denied transportation.

Passengers wanting to inquire about or begin the firearms reservation process should use the Contact Us page to select "Checked Firearms Program" as the subject and follow guidance.




It is also my inderstanding that Amtrack performs spot inspections of persons & cargo. They use dogs to discover things like weapons & bombs, so if a person were to "forget" that he has a firearm in his luggage they just may find it.

Amtrak - Inside Amtrak - Amtrak Difference - Amtrak Safety & Security
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Last edited by EM2 : 12-17-2011 at 07:45 PM. Reason: added hyper link
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Old 12-17-2011, 08:27 PM
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well, at least it is better than the way it used to be.

but it sure could be a lot easier

Thanks for posting, hopefully someone can benefit from

your experience
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Last edited by mark : 12-17-2011 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 12-17-2011, 10:39 PM
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You never mentioned, is there a cost associated with the firearm and ammo reservations?
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Old 12-18-2011, 08:54 AM
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Are there signs in the terminal or on the train advising of limitations to firearm carry?
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Old 12-18-2011, 05:57 PM
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There is no cost for the reservations for the firearm or ammo.



OTE=IAmASensFan;268122]You never mentioned, is there a cost associated with the firearm and ammo reservations?[/QUOTE
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Old 12-18-2011, 05:58 PM
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I did not notice any signs at all.


[/b]
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchg View Post
Are there signs in the terminal or on the train advising of limitations to firearm carry?
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Old 12-18-2011, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Guy Rules View Post
There is no cost for the reservations for the firearm or ammo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmASensFan View Post
You never mentioned, is there a cost associated with the firearm and ammo reservations?
Ok, that makes it a PITA, but livable...I thought they were charging more money to travel with a gun.
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Old 12-23-2011, 01:52 AM
jn-emt jn-emt is offline
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On the subject, did anyone ever determine if an Amtrak train qualifies as a "Federal Facility" for purposes of CCW? I know that if you ask Amtrak, their policy states that even LEOs must have permission to carry on their trains, but it's not clear to me if they fall under some special Federal statutes. Considering that there is an Amtrak police force, this isn't out of the question.

Anyone know?

JN-EMT


Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmASensFan View Post
Ok, that makes it a PITA, but livable...I thought they were charging more money to travel with a gun.
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Old 12-25-2011, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Guy Rules View Post
There is no cost for the reservations for the firearm or ammo.



OTE=IAmASensFan;268122]You never mentioned, is there a cost associated with the firearm and ammo reservations?[/QUOTE

*like* It's almost like declaring firearms at the airline check-in.
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