Take your bike to the train: Amtrak

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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With the arrival of long-awaited new baggage cars from CAF USA, Amtrak has expanded its trainside checked bicycle service to several long-distance trains as well as Northeast Regional trains with baggage service. The service is available at staffed stations that offer checked baggage.

Bicycle service is now available on the Cardinal, Sunset Limited, California Zephyr, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, City of New Orleans, Lake Shore Limited and Texas Eagle, and on Northeast Regional trains 65, 66 and 67 between Boston and Newport News, Va. Passengers can hand a standard full-size bicycle to an Amtrak crew member, who then hangs it on a specially designed bike rack that has been incorporated into each of its new baggage cars.

Amtrak launched trainside checked bicycle service in 2015. During June, July and August of this, Amtrak carried more than 15,000 bicycles.

1003 CAF 0471Amtrak said that passengers traveling with bikes should arrive at the station 45 minutes before the train’s scheduled departure to allow time to check in with the customer service representative, obtain a baggage tag and prepare for boarding. If equipped with large seat/saddle bags or panniers, these items must be removed from the bike, consolidated, and checked or carried on the train. Reservations are required and customers must have a travel document (ticket) for their bike. A bike service fee will be applied; the cost varies, depending on the route. Passengers can reserve their bikes by selecting “add bike” when they book travel on Amtrak.com, by calling 800-USA-RAIL, or by visiting a staffed ticket office.

Amtrak stations with ticketing and baggage service that currently provide boxed bike service will continue to offer this service. Standard bike policy and charges apply on these trains where applicable.

“Expanding bike service to other Amtrak routes creates more opportunities for customers to explore the nation by combining cycling with train travel,” said Amtrak Vice President of Sales Distribution and Customer Service Deborah Stone-Wulf. “We now offer customers a number of different services to travel with their bikes across our national network.

“People traveling with bicycles will be thrilled to see the expansion of trainside checked service to these Amtrak lines, many of which go through major cities and scenic destinations,” said Amtrak Bike Task Force member Virginia Sullivan, Director of Travel Initiatives for the Adventure Cycling Association. “The service will give cyclists the ability to load or unload their bikes without having to box them and will make train travel easier with a bicycle.”






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