New Amtrak E-Tickets


Amtrak has rolled out new e-ticketing nationwide.  No more will you need to buy your ticket from a conductor or have it sent to you.  With the new system, you can just print out your ticket at home or show the conductor your phone with the e-mail from Amtrak and you are all set.

Here's how it works:

1. Purchase your eticket, either on the web (, by phone (1-800-USA-RAIL) or on the amtrak smartphone app.  Your barcode will be e-mailed to you.

2. Print your barcode anywhere and bring it with you.  If you smartphone can open a pdf, you can simply present the conductor the barcode on the screen without printing it.  If you loose it, you can print it again.

The new system enables a number of beneifts.  The principal one is there is no need to fuss over obtaining a physical ticket in advance and if your plans change, you can make changes over the phone or one the web without needing to worry about returning the physical ticket. 

There is one caution you need to know about: Do not no-show.  The new policy is that your entire reservation will be canceled if you no-show.  Including connecting trains and your return trip.  That means if your plans change for any reason call Amtrak and get that change reflected in your reservation.

What means no-showing?  Anything that causes your ticket not to be collected after the train is on it's way out of the station that you are booked from.  If you miss the train, call Amtrak.  If you decide to get on at a station further down the line, call Amtrak.  And make sure you aren't in the bathroom or something when the conductor comes around so you make sure you get counted.

The reason for this new policy is that now, thanks to electronic ticket collection, Amtrak can keep track in real time if a seat that had been sold is now empty -- so it can resell the seat to passengers that might board at stations further down the line.  This is good -- there is no sense denying passage to people when you have empty seats that have been made available.

It is still possible to purchase tickets from Amtrak stations, travel agencies and from the conductor if you want to use cash or have some other special circumstance.  You still need to make an advance reservation (say "agent" on the phone and make arrangements with the person who answers.)

Unlike before, you will now have a single bar code for the entire reservation, whether it's a simple one way, round trip or multi-segment.

If you have a previously issued paper ticket, it remains valid for travel.

New Amtrak Service?

The following Amtrak improvements in Vermont are under discussion but take money and your political support. 

Please sign up for e-mail updates, write to your representatives and a letter to the editor and consider volunteering to help make these enhancements reality.

Here's what you can do to stay safe around trains...

Never trespass on any railroad property or right of way!
Doing so is illegal and risks serious injury or death.

Cross only at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings!
Look for a train moving from either direction -- and then look for a second train from either direction.

Always expect a train!
Trains do not have set schedules and can approach from either direction at any time of day or night.
Trains do not take holidays.

Don't stand next to tracks!
Trains can overhang the tracks by three feet on either side, and straps and tiedowns can extend even further.

Never try to beat a train!
Because of their size, you cannot judge a train's speed or distance. Trains cannot make sudden stops. Remember that a locomotive weighs 200 tons. An automobile being hit by a train is equivalent to a soda can being hit by an automobile.