Apparently Amtrak has a policy of reporting anyone with some combination of the following characteristics to the Reno police:
- Unusual nervousness of traveler
- Unusual calmness or straight ahead stare
- Looking around while making telephone call(s)
- Position among passengers disembarking (ahead of, or lagging behind passengers)
- Carrying little or no luggage
- Purchase of tickets in cash
- Purchase tickets immediately prior to boarding
Because I satisfied almost all of these criteria, except that I paid for my tickets with a debit card, I was woken up by two Reno police officers on the last morning of the journey. They wanted to see my ticket and ID, where I was going and why, if I was transporting large sums of cash, etc. He asked to search through my stuff, which I let them do. He proceeded to comment on what I chose to pack and not to pack for my trip. By the time the train was about to leave they were doing a pretty bad job of catching bad guys, finding anything valuable to confiscate, or making decent conversation with me. So they abruptly disembarked. Overall they were polite and didn't take any of my stuff.
The rest of the trip the Amtrak employees were visibly nervous around me. I continued my admittedly poor attempts to socialize with the other passengers and tipped the staff as best I could. The next day I found out that this regularly happens to anyone who satisfies some of the above criteria or anyone that gets reported on the ubiquitously posted "see something say something" Amtrak police phone number.
If you're around 30, white, traveling alone (in a sleeper), don't check any baggage (because you're traveling alone in a sleeper), and have some kind of autism, then make sure you book your tickets well ahead of time and don't interact with any passengers or Amtrak employees. Actually I'm sorry to say better to just not go with Amtrak at all if you can help it.
Reservation No 48B13D
Product or Service Mentioned: Amtrak Customer Care.
Reason of review: Unreasonable treatment.
Monetary Loss: $917.
Preferred solution: Price reduction.
I liked: Getting off.
I didn't like: Being treated like a criminal.