From an Amtrak press release:
Thanksgiving is the busiest travel period of the year for Amtrak and it is prepared to accommodate additional passengers with extra capacity and trains scheduled in the Northeast Corridor, the Chicago hub, the Pacific Northwest and in California. Other than Thanksgiving Day, morning trains typically have more available seats than those in the afternoon and evening.
New this holiday season is the Track a Train system on Amtrak.com. It provides near real-time train status of more than 300 daily trains, estimates of arrival times and station information – all in the context of the Amtrak national system map. This travel resource is an excellent tool for those planning the arrival or departure of family and friends. Users can search for information by train number or name, city name and station name or code.
Amtrak also is working to make the holiday travel experience as pleasant as possible and is offering passengers the following holiday travel and safety tips to help ensure a smooth trip:
Avoid the Rush: The busiest Amtrak travel days are the Wednesday before and Sunday after Thanksgiving.
Purchasing Tickets: eTicketing is enabled on every train route throughout the nation. Booking a trip, making reservation changes and boarding the train are more convenient than ever with eTickets. Print your eTicket whenever and wherever, or simply present the eTicket on your smartphone/tablet screen to the conductor. Travelers may purchase tickets early using Amtrak.com, Quik-Trak or ticket windows at staffed stations (where available), or the Amtrak iPhone app or Android app or by calling 800-USA-RAIL.
Arrive at the Station Early: Allow plenty of time at stations prior to departure – at least 45 minutes before if tickets need to be picked up. Arrange for pre-boarding if you need extra time or assistance and use Amtrak Red Cap agents to help you with your baggage.
Carry photo ID: Passengers are required to show valid photo identification when purchasing tickets. Make sure to carry valid photo ID at all times, as it may be requested aboard trains.
Be Safe: Be aware of your surroundings, stand back from the edge of the platform, do not leave your bags unattended, and watch your step when boarding and leaving the train or when walking between cars while the train is in motion.
Listen Carefully for Boarding Announcements: Be sure the train you are boarding will stop at your destination. Extra trains added for the Thanksgiving holiday may not go to all stations. If you are in doubt, check with the conductor before you step onto the train.
Help with Baggage and Directions: Amtrak Red Caps are available to help with baggage. Customer Service reps will be around in stations to assist passengers with questions on gate assistance, train schedules and directions.
Set a Meeting Place: If you are planning to meet someone at the train station, inform your party not only of your expected arrival time, but also the train number. Set a meeting place away from the immediate gate area to avoid congestion with passengers going to and from the platforms.
Security Matters: If you see something suspicious or unusual, say something and call Amtrak Police at (800) 331-0008. Passengers may also report suspected criminal or suspicious activity by sending a text to APD11 from a smartphone or to 27311 from a standard cell phone. Amtrak will have a heightened security presence in our stations and on board trains.
Visit blog.amtrak.com for more Thanksgiving holiday travel trips.