Amtrak 2018, You are my Friend! :-) ...... choo choo!

Discussion in 'Surfing' started by Bruce Fowler, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. Bruce Fowler

    Bruce Fowler Active Member

    Jul 28, 2018
    In the Stoker V Machine thread the subject of using Amtrak came up for the best bang for the buck. Back during the 80's i used Amtrak quite a bit when I was prominent in sending sailboards to the SF Bay and Columbia River Gorge. I found it more economical to put them on the train where customers could pick their orders up at Oakland Station, Portland, or Seattle depending upon which was most convenient for them.

    I also sent some surfboards for the Vancouver guys to p/u in Seattle, as this is as far north as Amtrak would send them w/o going over the border. All in all, things worked pretty well back then, so I decided to revisit this option since, even with my 45% volume shipping discount using Fed Ex, their recent price hikes have prompted me to look elsewhere.

    I operate out of SBA (Santa Barbara) and was told that I could send any surfboard, carefully packed, up to a total of 120" (10 ft.) to any East Coast station for $105. I can insure them for $1/$100 up to $2K. Once the surfboard arrives, the station calls the recipient and you have 48 hrs. to pick up then they charge $10/day storage.

    The first two board orders I've rec'd thru guys that are members here, went off w/o a hitch. A 7'6" went to a member in Philly but he told me to send it to wilmington D.E. as it is closer to his home. The good news was SBA charged $85 not the $105 the toll free Amtrak had quoted. The people in SB were super friendly and the manager told me his uncle "thru a marriage, is Paul Strauch".

    I'm including a good quality 5mm board bag at my cost for these orders and after packing the boards in a bubble wrap board bag of it's own with extra strips along nose, tail, & rails, I slip it into the board bag and she's ready to go. I just got confirmation the first one arrived in 5 days - not a scratch on it. He liked the board bag too.

    Next up will be a V8 heading to San Jose station ($65) and three balsa boards to Miami. I snet a "Volan Special" to an Aussie customer visiting his brother in Portland OR for $85. That went smoothly too.

    So I'm sharing this info for everyone, yes this is my business and this stuff is business related, but it is also helpful to anyone trying to get a surfboard safely from coast to coast or elsewhere. It's working for me, so I'm spreading the word.

    From SBA:
    $65 South Santa Ana, Oceanside, San Diego. (I was told they don't take boards over 7 ft. south of L.A. - but I will have to confirm whether that is true or not).

    $65 San Jose, Oakland, CA.

    $85 Portland, Seattle, San Antonio TX.

    $105 East Coast: i.e. Manhattan, Newark (Penn stations) Providence RI, Philadelphia, Wilmington DE (& NC), Miami, pretty sure they can get boards to Jamaica NY for the Long Island/Montauk set. Many other cities near you.

    If you want to get a quote, try your local station or call Amtrak Express Shipping for General Info: 1-800-872-7245.

    .....sure is a lot easier than building board boxes, bomb proofing them only to have some idiot from Fed Ex throwing them because he didn't get any last night. IKE.jpg

    Share the knowledge!
    Share the Stoke!
  2. estcstsurfer

    estcstsurfer Active Member

    Aug 25, 2009
    USA Massachusetts
    Hey Bruce,

    Great information. I have had luck with Amtrak going from Boston to California etc. Only had one problem when I brought a board boxes up and the guy at the counter fought me to take the board, which was in the dimensions limit.

    Just sent a 6ft board out to California bubble wrapped in a bag for $85 this past monday. Waiting to hear when it arrives and how it looks
  3. Bruce Fowler

    Bruce Fowler Active Member

    Jul 28, 2018
    The whole appeal to me was they DIDN'T want boxes. I get sick of building boxes for everywhere I send. Sure if they're going to HI, OZ, France, Sweden, Japan, Italy, Greece, etc....... but IF I can avoid it, it's music to my ears.

    I have bubble wrap tubing 24" wide that I slide them in, I use extra length @ nose & tail to create bumpers on each end. I then have 6' wide "Bubble Mask" strips I get on rolls from U Line - one side has adhesive backing and you just wrap the perimeter of the board with it. I put extra bubbles on the bottom & into the bag it goes.

    Since these surfboards are going as Baggage vs Freight, it's a whole different deal. I s'pose I could nix the board bag and just put cardboard in a surfboard shape deck & bottom once I did my bubble wrapping, & tape it so nothing comes loose, but so far, everyone would rather just get the board bag @ cost to use for the new sled.
  4. Surfnfish

    Surfnfish Well-Known Member

    Feb 6, 2015
    Devils Lake, Oregon Coast
    Have used Amtrak twice in the past few years to ship sold boards, one to SF Bay Area, other up to Seattle...if seller and buyer are reasonably near a station (hour drive for me), good way to go.

    And very impressed with recent experience using Dayight Transport. A 9'3 and 9'6 in a 10' box, delivered in 5 days from SoCal to driveway on the upper Oregon coast for $125, a very reasonable cost

    Conversely, Ekim and I ordered two Andreini's couple years back, Marc chose to ship them up together to PDX airport via air freight, and cost us $400 ...ouch
    hankster and Thunder Chicken like this.
  5. michael

    michael Well-Known Member

    Apr 19, 2017
    Eek. I have two andreinis coming. $400. Gosh.
  6. applekat

    applekat Well-Known Member

    Jul 31, 2007
    I'm chiming in only because I adore the thread title.

    Roadmaster and michael like this.
  7. DanSan

    DanSan Well-Known Member

    Jun 7, 2012
    USA California
    Downsouthslida in jupiter area and i(2010-16)
    When i lived in jax bch..area
    ..would ship
    Each other boards back and forth
    All the time...$.25-35....
    Usually 6-8.6 boards..
    With the easy.
    We never had a board dinged..ever.
    My bro in sf area shipped my 7'
    Fineline microant to me in jax bch..
    Recently, i shipped an 8' liddle hull back to
    McQuad in jax bch....from san jose...$115.
    Fyi...that V8 heading north..san jose is me..
    So psyched...killer board..killer bag...killer price.
    Thanks bruce.
  8. ekim

    ekim Active Member

    Oct 14, 2015
    It was actually $480 for one box with two boards in it. $240 each. Crazy expensive
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
    Thunder Chicken likes this.
  9. michael

    michael Well-Known Member

    Apr 19, 2017
    That makes more sense honestly, given Pilgrim's price for a base Vaquero w/ no color... Anyone wanna buy a manic moon monster
  10. applekat

    applekat Well-Known Member

    Jul 31, 2007
    You just cant beat the countless opportunities to kill time on Amtrak...


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