Posts Tagged ‘Bikes aboard Amtrak’

Bike Racks Added to Michigan Amtrak Trains

March 18, 2020

Amtrak is providing limited onboard bicycle storage on three routes linking Chicago and cities in Michigan.

The passenger carrier is allowing passengers to store bikes in an open area at end of a coach. No reservation is needed.

The cars have been assigned to the Chicago-Grand Rapids Pere Marquette, the Chicago-Port Huron Blue Water, and the Chicago-Detroit (Pontiac) Wolverine Service trains.

“We are receiving lots of requests from the cycling community, both the consumers and the advocacy community, and we’ve been wanting to be able to accommodate that,” said Derrick James, Amtrak’s senior manager of state government affairs.

Jeff Martin of the Michigan Department of Transportation said new cars on order for Midwest corridor services will come with bike racks that will increase the number of bikes that can be carried per train.

Checked Bikes Now Allowed on Pennsylvanian

October 16, 2019

It took awhile but Amtrak has formally announced the offering of checked baggage and bicycle service aboard the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian.

The service is available at New York, Newark, Philadelphia , Lancaster, Harrisburg, Altoona, Johnstown and Pittsburgh.

The fee for a checked bike is $20. Passengers are allowed to check two bags for free.

In news release, Amtrak said only standard bicycles will be handled.

In the case of bikes with a large seat/saddle bags, handlebar bags or panniers, those items must be removed from the bike, consolidated, and checked or carried on the train.

To make a bike reservation, passengers should select “add bike” when booking travel on Amtrak.com, calling 800-USA-RAIL or visiting a staffed ticket office.

Limited space is available for checked bicycles. No box is required.

Passengers connecting in Pittsburgh with the Capitol Limited (Chicago-Washington) can check bikes and bags through to or from their destination.

Amtrak said passengers checking bikes  must arrive at the station 45 minutes before a train’s departure time to allow enough time to purchase a ticket and obtain a baggage tag and transport the bike to the baggage car.

LSL Cafe Car Tables Removed for Bike Racks

April 13, 2019

Amtrak has removed two of the six café car tables from the Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited in order to accommodate bicycles.

The space where the tables had been located in the Amfleet I café cars has been replaced by four bike racks.

Bicycles on the train had been stored in baggage car, but that car was removed earlier this year.

The café car operates between Chicago and Boston. The New York section of the Lake Shore continues to have a baggage car.

A report on the website of the Rail Passengers Association reported that one table was being used for a condiment display while another was reserved for the operating crew.

That left just eight seats for the six coach car passengers.

Trackside Checked Bicycle Service Now Available on Most Amtrak Long-distance Trains

September 19, 2016

Amtrak has begun checked trackside bicycle service on most long-distance trains.

Amtrak logoThe service is available only at stations that have checked baggage service.

Passengers with bikes must check in with a station agent, obtain a claim check/baggage tag for their bike, and then give that to a crew member inside the baggage car of their train.

Passengers must retrieve their bikes from the baggage car from a crew member once they reach their destination.

The new procedure has ended the need for passengers to break down and box their bikes on long-distance trains. Checked bikes also require payment of a $25 fee.

The service is not yet available on the Portland section of the Empire Builder, the Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited or on the Coast Starlight.

Amtrak said checked bike service will begin on the Seattle-Los Angeles Coast Starlight at a date to be announced.

Amtrak’s 70 new Viewliner II baggage cars have racks to hang bicycles.

Checked Bikes Offered on Pere Marquette

May 10, 2016

Amtrak is now offering walk-up checked bike service aboard the Chicago-Grand Rapids Pere Marquette.

The service began on May 6 and is available at all stations served by the train. Passengers must make a reservation and pay a $10 fee.

Amtrak 4Bike tickets must be presented to the conductor when boarding the train. To reserve a space for a bike, click on “add bike” when booking a reservation at Amtrak.com or by calling 800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).

Bike reservations can also be made at Amtrak ticket offices and at Quik-Trak ticketing kiosks in Chicago, St. Joseph-Benton Harbor, Holland and Grand Rapids.

Bike reservations cannot be made through Amtrak mobile apps. Only one bike is permitted per person.

Passengers will be provided a bike tag by station employees in Chicago and by the train crew at St. Joseph-Benton, Harbor, Holland and Grand Rapids.

Passenger must present their bike tag at the baggage car to retrieve their bike from the train crew at their destination.

Amtrak said passengers checking bikes should arrive 30 minutes prior to train departure to allow sufficient time to obtain their ticket and baggage tag, and to get their bike to the baggage car.

Only standard size bikes will be permitted. Large seat/saddle bags must be removed from bikes. These items can be carried on the train and will count as a carry-on item.

Passengers must be physically capable of lifting their bike up to shoulder height to an employee standing in the baggage car. Passengers are not permitted in this car. Amtrak personnel will store and secure the bike to the bike racks.

Roll Your Bike Onto a Hiawatha Service Train

May 5, 2016

Amtrak will allow bicyclists to roll their bikes onto a Hiawatha Service train, thus ending the need to disassemble a bike and place it in a box.

The bikes must be stored in one of 15 bike racks located in the control of the train and passengers must pay a $5 fee.

Hiawatha trains operate between Chicago and Milwaukee.

Hiawatha 2To reserve space for a bike, a passenger should select “add bike” when booking travel at Amtrak.com, by calling 800-USA-RAIL, using the staffed ticket offices in Milwaukee or Chicago or by using the Quik-TrakSM kiosks at both stations.

In a news release, Amtrak said it developed the bike program in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, which helps fund the service.

A past requirement of each passenger having to partially disassemble a bike and ship it in a carton is now optional, instead of mandatory.

“This will make bringing your bike along on these trips more welcoming and get you on your wheels and pedaling away immediately after arrival,” said Jim Brzezinski, Amtrak senior regional director, state corridors.

The Hiawatha Service carried nearly 800,000 passengers last year aboard its seven daily roundtrips that operate Monday through Saturday and six roundtrips on Sunday.

More information is at AmtrakHiawatha.com

Amtrak 6 Months Late Getting Bicycle Racks Installed on Board the Capitol Limited

July 29, 2015

Want to take your bike aboard Amtrak? No problem says the nation’s rail passenger carrier. Bike racks will be ready by the end of the year.

Uh, that was the end of last year. Despite announcing June 2014 that baggage cars “equipped with built-in luggage racks that will be able to secure unboxed bicycles” would be available by year’s end.

But six months after that deadline passed, Amtrak is still working to install the bike racks.

Among the trains that were slated to get them were the Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited.

Although it won’t commit to a new deadline, Amtrak says that is aiming to get the racks installed and ready to use by the end of summer.

“That’s a process we’ve been working on for quite some time,” said Craig Schultz, an Amtrak spokesman. “We’re very eager to get it off the ground.”

Schultz said that finding the right racks and figuring out how they can fit in a baggage car while also keeping a train on schedule has taken longer than expected.

He said Amtrak wants to ensure that loading and unloading bikes doesn’t add time to boarding or de-boarding and that the baggage cars fit with varying platform heights at en route stations.

The bike racks were to be tested on the Capitol Limited and the Vermonter between New York and St. Albans, Vermont.

Amtrak will solicit feedback from riders who use the service, Schultz said.

Nos. 29 and 39 are expected to have racks to fit eight bikes, something that some bicycle advocates say won’t be enough.

New Amtrak Baggage Cars to Have Bike Racks

June 28, 2014

Amtrak’s new baggage cars will come with bicycle racks on all of its long-distance trains.

“This is a service and amenity that we want to make sure we can offer,” said Amtrak spokesman Craig Schulz.

Amtrak plans to place into service 55 new baggage cars on all 15 long-distance routes. Amtrak offers roll-on service on a few trains, but for now, those who want to travel with bicycles on trains with baggage cars must box them as checked baggage.

The policies for bicycles at stations with checked baggage service are still are being worked out,. Schulz said.

Last October, Amtrak allowed 20 bicyclists to take their bikes onto a Capitol Limited train in Pittsburgh in a one-day trial of roll-on service that participants said was successful.

Amtrak said it has begun field-testing the baggage cars in Chicago, New Orleans, Miami and the Northeast Corridor. Testing will continue into October.