How to Get a Good Seat On a Crowded Amtrak Train

Photograph by Flickr user m01229.

Our expert: Andre Taylor, redcap at Union Station.

What a redcap does: “We’re there to help anyone preboard trains—especially senior citizens and people who are sight-impaired, plus anyone needing assistance with their luggage, like families with small children.”

will a redcap preboard someone who doesn’t need help with luggage but just wants to skip standing in line and sprinting past other passengers to find a good seat? “Oh, sure. That’s a very good reason to use a redcap.”

Where and when to find a redcap: “You can come up to any one of us inside or outside the station. It’s best to find us about one hour before departure, and we’ll board you about 30 minutes before.”

What to tip? “It’s a free service. We accept tips, but there’s no standard.”

Read more advice, tips, and tricks from Washington natives in our Secrets of the City package.

This article appears in our January 2016 issue of Washingtonian.