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Amtrak at Penn Station

Olney, Maryland
Level Contributor
86 posts
4 reviews
Amtrak at Penn Station

Does anyone know if you have a check in counter for Amtrak at Penn Station or do you just board the train and show your ticket to the conductor? Just wondering how much time we need at Penn Station from when we walk in to actually getting on the train as I haven't by in Penn Station in many years but know it's huge?

Thanks.

7 replies to this topic
Brooklyn, New York
Destination Expert
for Brooklyn
Level Contributor
4,508 posts
20 reviews
1. Re: Amtrak at Penn Station

No check in counter - you just board when your train is called. I’m pretty comfortable showing up 15-20 minutes before my train (and have never missed one). If you want to play it safe and get there a bit earlier, there’s a waiting area for ticketed passengers only. (I think they call it a lounge, but that’s a bit of an exaggeration - aside from a place to sit down, there are no amenities.)

Queens, NY
Level Contributor
9,190 posts
16 reviews
2. Re: Amtrak at Penn Station

They check your ticket in front of the escalator as you go down to the tracks. You just need to be there 15 minutes in advance - they won't even tell you what track until then.

Destination Expert
for Orlando, Walt Disney World
Level Contributor
24,592 posts
20 reviews
3. Re: Amtrak at Penn Station

There is usually just one escalator to the train for the Amtrak trains (different than NJ Transit) and they visually check your ticket there. It gets VERY crowded. No reason to be there more than 15 minutes early since they don't post the platform until then. If you want to be ahead of the game, get a RedCap;they know which platoform is in use ahead of time and will take you down on an special elevator and get you seated before the crowds arrive. We usually tip $10

Olney, Maryland
Level Contributor
86 posts
4 reviews
4. Re: Amtrak at Penn Station

Great, thanks so much. We won't bother getting there extra early (the Amtrak site recommends 45 minutes ahead).

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
19,129 posts
5. Re: Amtrak at Penn Station

No you just need to a low enough time to get to the Amtrak portion of the station - LIRR and NJTransit are each in other parts of the station.

And be aware that trains may come in quite full - so if you have a group wanting to sit together it may pay to have the Red Cap take you down early so you have the best choice of seats.

Flushing, New York
Level Contributor
7,549 posts
86 reviews
6. Re: Amtrak at Penn Station

The only check in is if you are traveling to Canada and they want to examine your travel documents. That is done by a mobile podium usually parked by the southern end of the Amtrak area. Otherwise, you just display your ticket to the attendant at the top of the escalator when going down to the platform. They will also check your ticket when the train is in motion. The platform location is not announced until about 10 min. prior to departure, though regular passengers may know the likely track number.

Rowe, New Mexico
Level Contributor
747 posts
42 reviews
7. Re: Amtrak at Penn Station

There's always an annoying scrum before the departure of an Amtrak train, usually a big crowd waiting for the screens to show which track for the train. I always have a RedCap, even if I don't have much luggage. You completely avoid the big crowds and get on your train ahead of all the other passengers. Yes, tip at least $5-10.

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