Friday, August 28, 2015

Amtrak to allow Walk-On Bicycle Service between DC and PIttsburgh

Amtrak will soon offer Walk-On Bicycle Service on the train between Washington and Pittsburgh. This will allow cyclists to walk their bikes onto the train in DC, ride to Pittsburgh, then return to DC via the Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal towpath.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article Amtrak ready to allow roll-on bike service between Pittsburgh, D.C. (thanks to bikes@vienna for posting this info on Facebook):
With two premier bike trails parallel to the route, enthusiasts and bicycle organizations have long pressed the railroad to add the service. Currently, bikes must be dismantled and packed in boxes and can only be loaded on and off trains at staffed stations, of which there are none between here and Washington, D.C.

 “The expansion of bike service will take place as early as next week,” Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods confirmed on Thursday.

Reservations will be required and the railroad will charge a $25 fee for the service, even though passengers will be responsible for rolling their bikes onto the trains, securing them, and rolling them off. Only standard-sized bikes will be permitted. The service will be available at all stations on the route, which extends from Chicago to Washington.
Kudos again to Virginia Bicycling Federation who have advocated for this service for many years. They took part in an earlier test that was key in proving that walk-on service could work.

Nine other Amtrak trains currently offer Walk-On Bicycle Service:

Number of Spots Bicycle Reservation Required Checked Service Available Bicycle Fee
Amtrak Cascades 10 per train Yes Select Stations $5
Capitol Corridor 6 per train No No --
San Joaquin 6 per train No Select Stations --
Pacific Surfliner 6 per train Yes Select Stations --
Downstate Illinois Services 4 per train Yes No $10
Blue Water (trains 364 and 365 only) 4 per train Yes No $10
Missouri River Runner 4 per train Yes No $10
(accepted at BRK, POR and BON stations only)
8 per train Yes No $5
Piedmont 6 per train Yes No --

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This is really good news. Now all I need to do is get enough time off of work to ride the whole thing.


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