Tuesday, I opened a series of safe holiday travel blogs by offering some simple steps passengers can take to stay safe while flying this holiday season. And yesterday, I shared some advice on safe bus travel. Today, I've got a few tips for those planning a train trip during the next six weeks.
The first thing you should know is that you won't be alone. It's been a banner year for Amtrak, with another new ridership record--more than 30 million passengers--achieved. On top of that, Amtrak’s heaviest travel day of the year is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving--last year's ridership on that day set a single-day record of 134,230 passengers.
So, if you’re getting on a train next week or any other day this holiday season, following these suggestions from Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration can make your travels safer and less stressful:
- Allow plenty of time at the station prior to your departure; allow at least 45 minutes if you need to pick up tickets.
- If you haven’t booked your trip yet, consider that suburban stops and stations are often less crowded than downtown locations.
- Tag all luggage with your name and address, and never leave your bags unattended. There is a limit of two carry-on bags per person aboard Amtrak.
- If you see or hear something suspicious or unusual, say something. As part of a planned increased security effort, additional police will be available at stations, so talk to an officer or call Amtrak Police at (800) 331-0008.
- Whether you're traveling on Amtrak or a commuter rail line, always stand back from the edge of the platform and watch your step when boarding and exiting the train.
And if you’re driving, please stay alert near railroad tracks and be sure to obey railroad crossing signals and stop when trains are approaching.
Our passenger rail system will be at its busiest these days, but Amtrak and other regional rail providers are well-prepared to accommodate holiday passengers. If you're a frequent train traveler, be sure to double-check the schedule for changes.
I hope you'll follow these easy steps to make your journey easier. But most of all, I hope you have a safe, enjoyable trip this holiday season and whenever you travel.