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Amtrak, South Station and Track numbers

Cambridge...
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Amtrak, South Station and Track numbers

Here’s a very specific question about train travel.

I live in Metro Boston. I take the Amtrak to New Jersey for Thanksgiving. I love taking the train. Since Thanksgiving travel is kind of crazy, I like to get on board, stow the luggage and claim good seats for the long ride. Anyway… There are 13 tracks on the platform at South Station, so when we arrive, my girlfriend and I will stand, staring up at the display board and waiting for our train’s TRACK number to change from “TBD” to a number. Anticipation builds, and when the display refreshes and our TRACK number is finally listed, we go immediately to the platforms only to find a sizeable amount of people have already lined up to board the train.

HOW did those other folks know which TRACK to go?

Does my train arrive on the same track every time, and I’ve just never noticed? Or… is there a smart phone app telling all these other folks the track number before it appears on the board or in the boarding announcement? Can someone tell the app or website where they get this information? We don’t have smart phones, but I might have a friend or relative keep an eye on the website, then text me the track #. This is not really a big deal, more a nagging curiosity.

Boston...
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1. Re: Amtrak, South Station and Track numbers

You can ask at the information desk inside South Station, or you can ask one of the red caps just to the right of the information desk. Generally they come in on the same track numbers, but one little glitch with the commuter rail and/or Amtrak and all that goes out the window.

Last night, the Acela that is normally on Track 9 at 5pm was on Track 11, for example.

Also, if you utilize the red cap service, you can usually board the train before it is announced and before the people queued up on the platform.

Dallas, Texas
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2. Re: Amtrak, South Station and Track numbers

Also at times you can see the train back into the station on one of the tracks and then the people will line up outside the door where the train is also most of the time Amtrak uses gates 5-9,thats why it good too get to South Station early.

Boston...
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3. Re: Amtrak, South Station and Track numbers

Go outside and look, see what the possibilities are (ie where the Amtrak trains are). Also look for security dog. They typically screen pax and will be in the area.

Cambridge...
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4. Re: Amtrak, South Station and Track numbers

Thanks for the suggestions, folks. I'll definitely try them out. I doubt we'll use red cap service, though. We are two able-bodied people with a medium-size rolling bag each. It seems like a the service is designed for people who are more in-need, but I'm glad you mentioned it. I never knew that existed & its very useful to know.

Boston...
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5. Re: Amtrak, South Station and Track numbers

Red cap has its advantages in larger stations. They're privy to the track info in advance. As far as a small station like Boston, there is no need.

Cambridge...
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6. Re: Amtrak, South Station and Track numbers

Post-Thanksgiving follow-up:

Using powers of deduction worked pretty well: We made observations, assessed all the evidence, and took our best guess which track was our train.

Again, thanks to all for your contributions.

Baltimore, Maryland
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7. Re: Amtrak, South Station and Track numbers

But if your train is on track 9 3/4, then you have a whole other set of issues.

Boston...
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8. Re: Amtrak, South Station and Track numbers

Glad it worked out zippy. Would you agree that it takes longer to write a post on how to find one's way around south station then to actually find one's way around south station ?

Philadelphia...
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9. Re: Amtrak, South Station and Track numbers

>>Would you agree that it takes longer to write a post on how to find one's way around south station then to actually find one's way around south station ?<<

I would agree with that.

10. Re: Amtrak, South Station and Track numbers

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