Amtrak begins offering bicycle roll-on service on the Capitol Limited

September 14th, Amtrak began offering bicycle roll-on service on the Capitol Limited route, which serves numerous bicycle and trail friendly communities in the eastern U.S.

asy roll-on of bicycles--as shown in this photo--could soon become standard on A
asy roll-on of bicycles--as shown in this photo--could soon become standard on Amtrak in Missouri and across the U.S.

MoBikeFed has been part of a national coalition of bicycle groups who have been making a concerted effort to improve bicycle roll-on capacity on passenger trains across the U.S.  Bicycle roll-on service has been available on the Missouri River Runner routee, which parallels the Katy Trail across Missouri, since the late 1990s when MoBikeFed leaders approached state legislators and Amtrak officials with the idea.

Bicycle roll-on service is nearly universal on European trains, but still rare on U.S. passenger rail.  Amtrak will be being offering greatly expanded and improved bicycle roll-on service on Missouri routes, including the River Runner, the Southwest Chief, and others, when new rail cars are delivered in the next few years.

We are strongly encouraging Amtrak to expand this pilot project for bicycle roll-on service to many more routes across the U.S. as quickly as possible.

Amtrak's announcement about the new roll-on service:

Amtrak is expanding the availability of bike service on the Capitol Limited to allow more passengers the convenience of traveling with their bikes.

This enhanced service begins on Sept. 14 and provides passengers with a way to travel with their bicycles without the hassles of driving and parking vehicles.

This service is available at all stations along the Capitol Limited route between Washington, D.C., and Chicago. Passengers will be able to roll their bikes along the platform and onto the train and secure their own bikes on a rack in the baggage cars. Amtrak partnered with Adventure Cycling Association and other bicycle and passenger rail groups to form an advisory bicycle task force to oversee this project to establish walk-on bike service on the Capitol Limited.

“We’ve worked with the cycling community to identify solutions and bring new ideas to expand services for passengers who travel with their bikes,” said Deborah Stone-Wulf, Amtrak Vice President of Sales and Customer Service. “We look forward to measuring the success of this service with an eye to expansion to additional routes across our national network.”

Passengers with bikes must arrive at the station 30 minutes prior to the train departure to allow time to transport the bike to the baggage car. Only standard bikes will be permitted. If equipped with a large seat/saddle bags, the items must be removed from the bike and checked or carried on the train. . . .

“The Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal towpath form a 330-mile bike trail system that parallels the Capitol Limitedfrom Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C.,” said Linda McKenna Boxx,an Amtrak Bike Task Force member and board member of the Allegheny Trail Alliance. “We have been advocating to Amtrak for this kind of service and are so excited that it is finally a reality.”

New Amtrak cars with greatly improved bicycle roll-on capabilities coming to Missouri soon

MoDOT is in the process of purchasing new train cars for the Missouri River Runner and other Amtrak routes in Missouri, that will greatly improve bicycle roll-on capability.

The new Amtrak cars will hold many more bicycles, and they will also allow bicycles to be rolled on very easily--a big improvement over the current system which requires carrying your bicycle up several steep steps and around a sharp corner.

We very much appreciate Amtrak staff, Missouri legislators, and MoDOT staff who have successfully implement bicycle roll-on on Amtrak in Missouri 20 years earlier than it has been available in much of the rest of the country, and in supporting the forthcoming major upgrades to bicycle roll-on service in Missouri and across the midwest.

More information about bicycles on Amtrak in Missouri:

 

Building a world-class transportation system for bicycling and walking in Missouri is one of the four primary goals in MoBikeFed's Vision for Bicycling and Walking in Missouri. Allowing easy intermodal use of our national transportation system--like bicycle roll-on for Amtrak--is one way we can reach that goal.

Your ongoing membership and generous financial support helps turn out Vision into reality!

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