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Forwarding unaccompanied luggage from Vancouver to LA

Melbourne, Australia
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Forwarding unaccompanied luggage from Vancouver to LA

In June, I will be travelling from Vancouver (Canada) to Los Angeles, mainly by Amtrak trains and buses. However, I am not planning to do the journey in one trip, but intend making stopovers in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and San Luis Obispo, over 8 days. Prior to this I will have been on a 3 week tour of Canada and Alaska, and will have a rather large suitcase. I don't fancy having to lug that suitcase from the train station to wherever my hotel is in each city. Is it possible to forward the suitcase direct from Vancouver to LA (e.g. on the Coast Starlight) and have it waiting for me at the LA station when I arrive 8 days later? Would there be a charge in sending unaccompanied checked luggage?

Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Forwarding unaccompanied luggage from Vancouver to LA

As with airplanes, you have to travel with your luggage. You go through airport-like TSA security in Vancouver BC to cross the boarder. All the US side stations you note have checked baggage, redcap service plus taxi service at the front doors, with the exception of SLO. There is no checked baggage on Amtrak buses. The stations, with the exception of SLO, have baggage rooms but you have to check your bags in person.

You might want to email Amtrak with your question. That way you don't get an "I think" answer from those of us who tote. They have package freight service but I don't think that it allows personal luggage.

Another service that you might try, once you reach Seattle, is UPS or Fed Ex and ship your extra bags to your Los Angeles hotel. Make advanced arrangements for them to hold your luggage for your arrival. That will not help you in Portland SF or SLO because affordable ground takes 5 days between points.

Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: Forwarding unaccompanied luggage from Vancouver to LA

This makes sense - I didn't think of the security aspect. I had to Google 'red hat' but I think I understnad who that is now. One question.... you wrote:

"There is no checked baggage on Amtrak buses".

Can you clarify? Where do I put my suitcase when I am travelling on the bus? I've got several sections where I will be using a bus (1) from Vancouver to Seattle, (2) from San Francisco to Emeryville, and (3) *maybe* from SLO to Santa Barbara.

(1) because the Coast Starlight and Cascades leave Vancouver way too early

(2) because the train doesn't go into SF

(3) except for the 6.55am train, the only other Surfliner that arrives in LA in daylight hours (or at least before 7pm) requires the first part of the journey to Santa Barbara be done by bus.

Unless I have read the schedules wrong?

Perhaps I had better outline my proposed schedules. I haven't quite settled on dates yet as I don't know if I will leave Vancouver the same day I arrive back from the Alaska cruise. But here goes:

Vancouver to Seattle: Bus leaves at 11.30am, arrives at 3.30pm

Seattle to Portland: Cascades leaves at 11.25am and arrives 3.15pm OR Starlight leaves at 9.35am and arrives at 1.50pm

Portland to San Francisco: I will fly this section.

San Francisco to SLO: Starlight leaves at 8.10am and arrives at 3.07pm OR bus leaves at 8.00am and arrives at 1.20pm

SLO to LA: Bus leaves at 10.30am and arrives in Santa Barbara at 1.45pm, then Surfliner leaves at 1.50pm and arrives in LA at 4.55pm. I don't know what time it gets dark in LA in June, but another possibiility is to catch the Surfliner in SLO at 1.35pm (1.55pm on Sat) which arrives in LA at 7.10pm (7.15pm Sat).

I tried to put all this info into the multicity ticketing page on the Amtrak website, but it appears to only allow you to enter 3 sections, and I have four.

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: Forwarding unaccompanied luggage from Vancouver to LA

It's redcap. = train station porter.

1) It's a short ride. On a "Motor Coach" aka Bus, you pick up your baggage from the baggage claim area at the station and carry it to the bus. You will be assisted in putting your luggage in the luggage compartment under the bus BUT you cannot put a bag on the bus unless you claim it at the time and have a ticket. We don't want to have a bus blow up here.

2) SF is a peninsula: there never has been through service. Only commuter trains travel the Peninsula between SF and San Jose. The Amtrak coach will be waiting in front of the Emeryville station (which is at the east side of the Oakland/SF Bay Bridge) and your checked baggage will be taken on a luggage cart by the station attendant to where you will claim it and put it on the bus. The bus driver will assist you.

3) In June, sunset should be 8:30ish. Catch the afternoon Pacific Surfliner. You do want to leave before the Coast Starlight comes through SLO. That's the last scheduled train for scenery.

If you fly Portland to SF you miss the Cascade mountains but since you would sleep the rest of the way, it's the missable section of the Starlight. If you fly that portion you can easily travel chaircar the other sections. However, The Coast Starlight is the only Amtrak train that has a private lounge (The Pacific Parlour [sic] Car) for sleeping car passengers and this is a plus.

4. Re: Forwarding unaccompanied luggage from Vancouver to LA

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