Amtrak Will Now Start Enforcing Baggage Limits

If you’ve been hopping on trains with big loads of luggage and gleefully stowing it Amtrak’s baggage compartments, you’re going to need to curb your tendency to over pack: starting Oct. 1, Amtrak will start enforcing its baggage weight limits, handing out fees to those hauling more than their fair share onboard.

As Amtrak’s rules state, passengers are allowed two small personal items and two standard carry-ons for free. But because some people just can’t pack light, Amtrak has decided to crack down on those exceeding their allotment, handing out a $20 surcharge per bag to people with too many bags or luggage that exceeds 150 pounds. There’s also a maximum of two excess carry-ons.

It’s understandable to have such limits — people with too many bags could be keeping others from fitting theirs in the luggage areas, and super heavy bags aren’t safe for train workers to lift, Amtrak says.

But why now? Amtrak has had these baggage restrictions on the books for a decade, but conductors and train staff weren’t really sure how to deal with rule breakers. The time has come to change that, an Amtrak spokesman told

“The crews were in a difficult position because they couldn’t give anyone an option,” he explains. “They had to decide, well, do we allow people to continue to ride?”

The other reason it’s taken so long for Amtrak to enforce the rules is that there actually aren’t too many people breaking them, the spokesman notes, which is a good thing and means that it’s likely many passengers won’t notice any difference when they travel.

Conductors and train crew will have their eyes peeled for you over-packers, Amtrak’s spokesman says.

“If someone at the station notices this and thinks that [a bag is] overweight or oversized … they will intercept them.”

Amtrak Will Start Charging Passengers Who Have Too Many Bags. Great Call. []

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.