Amtrak to begin charging excess baggage fees to “preserve space on crowded trains”

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Amtrak

MILWAUKEE — Amtrak passengers, don’t fret about those new excess-baggage fees.

Unless you’re moving your entire apartment via train, they should not apply to you.

Travelers are still allowed two small personal items, each wearing no more than 25 pounds each, and two pieces of luggage, each weighing no more than 50 pounds. That means you can bring your purse or backpack, a laptop bag and two suitcases — weighing a total of no more than 150 pounds — and not be charged anything extra.

For those of you who need to haul more, Amtrak will start charging a $20 excess-baggage fee for each carry-on and personal item above those limits. And each passenger can bring no more than two excess carry-on bags weighing no more than 50 pounds each.

Passengers traveling with children under the age of 2 are allowed an additional item for the kids, such as a stroller or diaper bag.

It’s not about making money, Amtrak officials say. It’s about safety and space.

“The fees will help enforce Amtrak’s established policies, preserve space on crowded trains and help to reduce safety concerns created by bags that are too heavy,” Amtrak spokeswoman Chelsea Kopta wrote in an email.

In contrast, the major U.S. airlines made more than $2.6 billion in baggage fees in 2014, according to federal government figures.