People tend to check in during these times:
Renaissance cars have storage under the seats if you are tight for space
Nice clean station. Lots of tickets for all trains but cheaper of you book a few days in advance.
FYI, in a pinch, you can pay for food onboard using a credit card... Though cash is much preferred.
If you don't have a ticket, the train isn't sold out, you have no checked bags, and you get there as it's pulling in, you can purchase your ticket onboard. Just ask first!
If you buy first class at the train station your meal is NOT guaranteed - for a veggie, not great!
The sandwiches at the little cafe are really good - they are grilled to order as well!
Make sure to book your train at least a month early around thanksgiving and the winter holidays. There are A LOT of students travelling around those times of the year
The massage chair is $2 for 4 minutes and helps your back muscles relax before your trip!