November 17, 2014 Amtrak Thanksgiving Travel Tips

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Extra trains and more seats in Northeast, Pacific Northwest, California and Chicago

WASHINGTON – The Thanksgiving travel season will soon be underway and Amtrak is prepared to accommodate additional passengers during the busiest travel week of the year. America’s Railroad® is working to meet holiday travel needs and offers several helpful travel tips for new or experienced passengers.

Amtrak is scheduling extra trains and adding more seats on routes in the Northeast, Pacific Northwest, California and the Chicago hub. Passengers in the Northeast Corridor should be aware that “Holiday Extra” trains, which operate on Sunday, Nov. 30 (trains with numbers in the 1054-1099 range), use borrowed commuter train equipment and may have fewer amenities than regular Amtrak service.

Many regularly unreserved trains will require reservations during the holiday travel period, including Keystone Service (New York-Philadelphia-Harrisburg), Empire Service (New York-Albany-Syracuse-Niagara Falls) and Shuttles (New Haven-Springfield). In the west, the Pacific Surfliner (San Diego-Los Angeles-San Luis Obispo) will also be an all reserved service during this period. Make sure to check train schedules prior to arriving at the station.

Last year, Amtrak carried a record 754,000 passengers during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period. Higher passenger counts are anticipated this year.

Passengers will find these additional travel tips helpful during this busy time:

  • Avoid the Rush: The busiest travel days are the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after the holiday. Other than Thanksgiving Day, morning trains typically have more availability than those in the afternoon and evening.
  • Purchasing Tickets: eTicketing is enabled on every train route throughout the nation. Travelers may purchase tickets early using, Quik-Trak or ticket windows at staffed stations (where available), or the Amtrak iPhone app, Android app or Windows app or by calling 800-USA-RAIL.
  • Arrive at the Station Early: Allow plenty of time at stations prior to departure – at least 45 minutes before if tickets need to be picked up. Arrange for pre-boarding if you need extra time or assistance and use Amtrak Red Cap agents to help you with your baggage.
  • Carry photo ID: Passengers are required to show valid photo identification when purchasing tickets. Make sure to carry valid photo ID at all times, as it may be requested aboard trains.
  • Be Safe: Be aware of your surroundings, stand back from the edge of the platform, do not leave your bags unattended, and watch your step when boarding and leaving the train or when walking between cars while the train is in motion.
  • Listen Carefully for Boarding Announcements: Be sure that the train you are boarding will stop at your destination. Extra trains added for the Thanksgiving holiday may not go to all stations. If you are in doubt, check with the conductor before you step onto the train.
  • Security Matters: If you see something suspicious or unusual, say something and call Amtrak Police at (800) 331-0008. Passengers may also report suspected criminal or suspicious activity by sending a text to APD11 from a smartphone or to 27311 from a standard cell phone. Amtrak will have a heightened security presence in our stations and on board trains.

Visit for more Thanksgiving holiday travel trips.

About Amtrak®

Amtrak is America’s Railroad®, the nation’s intercity passenger rail service and its high-speed rail operator. Amtrak and its state and commuter partners move people, the economy and the nation forward. Formally known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak is governed by a nine member board of directors appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Anthony R. Coscia is board chairman and Jeffrey R. Moreland is vice chairman. In FY 2014, nearly 31 million passengers traveled on Amtrak on more than 300 daily trains – at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) – that connect 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces. Enjoy the journey® at or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares and more information. Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter (@Amtrak) and check out our blog at