Rail Reservations

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» Posted by on Oct 28, 2013 in Electronic Travel Systems, Government Traveler Comments, Payment Methods, Travel Management Centers | 0 comments

The number one question that we receive concerning rail reservations is how to identify the type of trains in the eTravel system.  The train number is the key in identifying the type of train selected.  When a traveler requests rail reservations in the eTravel system, the Travel Management Center (TMC) will book a courtesy reservation, which means the traveler will actually have to pay for the ticket at the kiosk.  Unfortunately, the TMC fee associated with rail reservations booked through GovTrip will always be a full service fee.  This isn’t the TMC’s fault but rather falls on Amtrak not allowing reservations to be booked outside of their own system.

There are three different types of Amtrak trains.  The Amtrak trains that make the most frequent stops are identified with 2 numerical digits (0056).  The Acela Regional trains will make more frequent stops than the Acela Express and is identified by 3 numerical digits (0678).  The Acela Express train is the fastest, has the fewest stops and is identified with 4 numerical digits (2134).  The Acela Express is the most popular train because of the quick travel time between the major cities along the corridor.  They offer reserved first class and business class seating only.  Amtrak offers a federal government fare in business class on the Express.  The peak travel and cost times are Monday-Friday with departures before 9:00am and between 2:00pm and 5:59pm.

Reservations made on the Acela Express will require payment for a reservation within 7 days of the reservation being made.  Amtrak calls this “the hold limit” for the reservation.  Shorter hold limit dates are required closer to the departure date.  Amtrak imposed the hold limit dates to reduce the high no-show factor on the Acela Express trains.  If the reservation is created 30-335 days prior to departure, payment must be made within 7 days to avoid cancellation.  If the reservation is made 7-29 days prior to departure, payment must be made within 3 days.  If the reservation is made 2-6 days prior to departure, payment must be made 1 day prior to departure.  If the reservation is made 0-1 days prior to departure, payment must be made no later than the day of departure to avoid cancellation.

By: Jason Caltrider

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