Amtrak is offering customers the opportunity to travel with their bicycles on more routes to different regions throughout the U.S. Trainside checked bicycle service is a new amenity available on the California Zephyr (San Francisco-Chicago), Cardinal (New York-Chicago), City of New Orleans (Chicago-New Orleans), Coast Starlight (Los Angeles-Seattle), Empire Builder (Seattle/Portland-Chicago), Lake Shore Limited (New York/Boston-Chicago), Southwest Chief (Los Angeles-Chicago), Sunset Limited (Los Angeles-New Orleans) and Texas Eagle (Chicago-San Antonio). This service is also new for Northeast Regional trains with baggage service – trains 65, 66 and 67 – for travel between Boston and Newport News, Va. This service was previously introduced on the Capitol Limited (Chicago-Washington, DC).
Customers will be able to hand their standard full-size bicycle to an Amtrak crew member, who will then hang the item on a rack in the baggage car. This enhanced service is available at staffed stations that offer checked baggage.
“Expanding bike service to other Amtrak routes creates more opportunities for customers to explore the nation by combining cycling with train travel for their journey,” said Deborah Stone-Wulf, Amtrak Vice President of Sales Distribution and Customer Service. “We now offer customers a number of different services to travel with their bikes across our national network.
Amtrak launched trainside checked bicycle service in 2015 and is available on other Amtrak long-distance and regional routes. During June, July and August, Amtrak carried more than 15,000 bikes.
Customers traveling with their 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 the 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 and the cost varies depending on the route. Customers may reserve their bikes by selecting “add bike” when they book their train travel on Amtrak.com, by calling 800-USA-RAIL, or by visiting any staffed ticket office.
Amtrak stations with ticketing and baggage service that currently provide boxed bike service will continue to offer this amenity. Standard bike policy and charges apply on trains where applicable.
“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 Virginia Sullivan, an Amtrak Bike Task Force member and 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.”