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Amtrak charges excess baggage fees

Effective October 1, Amtrak started charging $20 for passengers who exceed limits for carry-on and personal items. Compare to what airlines are charging, what Amtrak is asking is not that high. Amtrak says each passenger may bring two personal items, 25 lbs. (12 kg) and 14 x 11 x 7 inches each, and two carry-on items, 50 lbs. (23 kg) and 28 x 22 x 14 inches each, onboard.

A $20 excess baggage fee will be charged for each carry-on and personal item above the quantity and size limits. A maximum of two excess bags are permitted per passenger. Fees will be collected at the station or onboard the train if the station is unstaffed. If checked baggage is available, you can check two bags through to your final destination free of charge.

Overweight bags must be repacked so they are under 50 lbs. Boxes may be purchased at staffed stations to aid in repacking.

Passengers traveling with infants under the age of two may bring an additional infant item onboard (strollers, diaper bags), which does not count towards the carry-on baggage or personal item limit.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the fees will help preserve space on crowded trains and reduce safety concerns created by items that are too heavy.

Magliari said the fee was aimed at a small percentage of the company’s 31 million passengers who exceed limits for what they can bring onboard for free.

Passengers can avoid the fee by checking their bags through to the final destination, if that service is available on their train. So on longer trips — like the nearly cross-country Empire Builder — even those bringing lots of luggage will not be impacted.

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