BOARDING THE TRAIN IS AS EASY AS 1-2-3
Boarding the train is simple, but for the first-time train passenger, it might be somewhat overwhelming. These steps are designed to help you understand the process, so your trip will be as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. Boarding a train is similar in a lot of ways to boarding an airplane, but there are some distinct differences.
At an airport, you generally stand in line at a gate until it is time to board. When your boarding group is called, you hand a boarding pass to an airline attendant before being allowed to board the plane.
With Amtrak California, instead of a gate, you will go to a train platform. There are changeable message signs posted at all platforms indicating which trains are arriving and boarding. In addition, you may also hear an announcement that your train is “now boarding.”
STEP 1) BOARD THE TRAIN
Refer to your train ticket to determine your train number and departure time. When the train arrives at the platform, the train will stop and the access doors will open. Please allow arriving passengers room to de-board before you begin boarding. You may enter the train at any open door, unless directed otherwise by Amtrak personnel.
On San Joaquin and Capitol Corridor trains, look for an orange triangle near the doors. You may board anywhere you see an orange triangle adjacent to open doors (except for Cafe Cars). On Pacific Surfliner trains, you may board at any open door.
STEP 2) SELECT A SEAT
Amtrak California trains are comprised of bi-level cars. Once inside the rail car, take the stairway to the upper level. You may select any available seat. Most seats are equipped with tray tables and electrical outlets, while other seats include full tables. For those who are unable to navigate the stairs, limited seating is provided on the lower level for your convenience.
Be sure to store any carry-on baggage in overhead compartments or in designated on-board luggage racks located on the upper and lower levels of each car. As a courtesy to fellow passengers, please do not block nearby available seating with your personal items or baggage.
STEP 3) TICKET COLLECTION
Once the train begins moving, the conductor will come by, ask for your ticket, and place a seat assignment card above your seat indicating your destination station.
If you decide to change seats during the course of your trip, be sure to take this card with you. If you do not have a ticket, you may purchase one directly from the conductor. See Fares & Tickets for more information about purchasing tickets on board.
Pacific Business Class Passengers - Special cars, generally located at the front of Pacific Surfliner trains, are designated for Pacific Business Class customers and are available as an upgrade. Only those passengers who have purchased upgraded tickets may sit in Pacific Business Class. Pacific Business Class offers large reclining seats with power outlets for laptops and other electronics, free WiFi, extra leg room, along with complimentary snacks, beverages and newspapers.
BOARDING AN AMTRAK THRUWAY BUS
Amtrak Thruway buses are convenient, dedicated motor coaches designed exclusively for Amtrak train passengers. Bus loading areas are typically located near train platforms. The bus operator will ask for your ticket as you board the bus.
Remember to store carry-on baggage in overhead compartments. You may also store baggage in the lower baggage compartment. Ask your bus operator for assistance.
If you do not have a ticket, you may board the bus and purchase a ticket at the next open staffed Amtrak station. Except where indicated, reservations are required on all Amtrak Thruway buses.
For more information see Trip Planning.