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Train to Philadelphia

Newcastle, Australia
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412 posts
108 reviews
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Train to Philadelphia

I am looking at booking a train for our family of 4 from Penn Station to Philadelphia on 14 September this year. As we are international visitors, we will have 4 large bags. On the Amtrak site, it states no checked luggage for both the Acela Express and Northeast Regional service for that morning. How do you travel with a family with luggage on such trains? I find this most peculiar! Our other options appear to catch an early Carolinian service, which has checked luggage, or take a bus. I would prefer to take a train, but not arrive with two small children + luggage at 8 in the morning and unable to check in to our hotel until 3pm!

DC
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1. Re: Train to Philadelphia

No checked bags means you carry everything on yourself. There are large overhead bins and racks at the end of each car. If you have too much to carry yourselves, use a redcap.

Flushing, New York
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2. Re: Train to Philadelphia

There is probably no reason to take the more expensive Amtrak Acela train to Philadelphia unless you are concerned about the 15 mins. shorter travel time. The Regional Express takes about 1.5 hrs. and is satisfactory for most people.

There is an even less expensive train trip using New Jersey Transit to Trenton, NJ, then transferring there to the SEPTA train to Philadelphia. However, this might be inconvenient with small children and luggage and takes about 3 hrs.

Be advised that the 30th St. Amtrak station is not in the center of Philadelphia and you would likely have to take a taxi to your hotel.

Newcastle, Australia
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412 posts
108 reviews
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3. Re: Train to Philadelphia

Thanks for the prompt response. I was considering the the Regional Express Fox and yes, we are going to get a taxi from 30th St. to our hotel. Forgive my ignorance EricH_DC, but what is a redcap? If we were to use the overhead bins, are they of sufficient space to put large rigid travel cases?

DC
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4. Re: Train to Philadelphia

A redcap is a guy who helps you. Redcaps can pre-board you, which is a nice advantage at the dump that is NY Penn Station. They work for tips, so plan on that. You may be able to guess how to identify them.

Edited: 05 July 2014, 12:48
Flushing, New York
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6,140 posts
83 reviews
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5. Re: Train to Philadelphia

A "Red Cap" is a porter who carries luggage at the train station. They are employees of Amtrak and wear a hat as a uniform. Amtrak says:

"Red Cap - Free Baggage Handling Service

In addition to self-service handcarts in a number of Amtrak stations, you can count on uniformed Red Caps to provide free baggage-handling assistance at many major stations. We recommend that you accept assistance from only uniformed Red Cap agents. All baggage handled by Red Cap is protected by a claim check."

While there is no fee, a tip is expected, the amount depending on the number of bags.

Newcastle, Australia
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607 posts
94 reviews
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6. Re: Train to Philadelphia

Use a Red Cap. Best deal money can buy. They'll take you and your bags down before they let others down to the platform and help you all sit together. I did it with my family of 4 in April. Tipped the guy 20 bucks but I had zero stress.

Philadelphia...
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for Philadelphia
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3,351 posts
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7. Re: Train to Philadelphia

Amtrak trains have overhead racks, not bins like planes, and the racks can accommodate large bags. There are additional racks at the ends of the cars. People take enormous suitcases onto Amtrak trains with no problem.

Newcastle, Australia
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412 posts
108 reviews
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8. Re: Train to Philadelphia

Thanks guys for your responses. I will certainly make use of the redcap!

9. Re: Train to Philadelphia

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