Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Test of Amtrak bike roll-on service from Pittsburgh to DC - Update

According to Bike Maryland, as reported by the WashCycle, today Amtrak tested roll-on bike service between Pittsburgh and DC. This is great news for cyclists who want to ride the Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal Trail. Most people ride one way and must figure out how to transport their bikes and gear to the either the start or the end of their ride. Being able to roll your bike onto Amtrak is a great solution:
Bike Maryland reports:
Bike Maryland continues to work with a number of advocacy groups and leaders to bring bicyclists access to bring their bikes aboard Amtrak. Amtrak, working with the Virginia Bicycle Federation, has agreed to a test of roll-on bike service on the Capitol Limited from Pittsburgh to DC this Tuesday. Please note: all of the available bike racks have been filled on the test train but if you would like to see how the racks work, please join for the demonstration at Union Station. The Capitol Limited arrives at approximately 1:10 p.m. Champe Burnley, President of VA Bicycle Federation and a leader spear-heading this initiative states, "We're excited to have this opportunity to work with Amtrak to test roll-on service and look forward to increasing travel options for our citizens."
Kudos to Virginia Bicycling Federation for taking the lead on this effort. In August they circulated a letter to FABB and other bicycle advocacy groups asking for their support. Most groups, including FABB, signed on to the letter. VBF's hard working is starting to pay off.

Great Allegheny Passage
Here is more information on the test, from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Amtrak tests bicycle roll-on service on Capitol Limited route between Pittsburgh and D.C.
Amtrak today allowed 20 bicyclists to roll their two-wheelers onto the Capitol Limited train from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C., in what enthusiasts hope will be a step toward full implementation of roll-on service.

"It went lickety-split," said Linda McKenna Boxx, president of the Allegheny Trail Alliance. "I don't think we cost Amtrak a second in dwell time."

Amtrak placed a baggage car with racks for six bicycles on the Capitol Limited for the one-day trial. Six cyclists got on in Pittsburgh and off in Connellsville, where six others with bikes boarded. Four bicyclists were to replace them in Cumberland, Md., and four others were to ride the leg from Harpers Ferry, W.Va., to the nation's capital.

Amtrak spokesman Craig Schulz could not offer a timetable for making the roll-on service permanent. He said the railroad will seek feedback from participants in the experiment and from train personnel, then try to identify a funding source to retrofit baggage cars with racks.

"Part of our mission is to be energy-efficient and a green mode of transportation," he said. "It's something we absolutely want to do."
Update: VBF participated in the test. See their report Bike Test on Amtrak’s Capitol Limited to DC.

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