Bicycles on Amtrak in Missouri

Several Amtrak routes run through Missouri, and accommodations for bicycles vary from route to route.  Folding bicycles can be brought on most trains as carry-on luggage.

Missouri River Runner - St. Louis to Kansas City

The state-supported River Runner makes two trips a day between St. Louis and Kansas City, with several stops along the way.

Bicycles can be rolled on the train un-boxed and fully assembled for a $10 fee.  There is room for four bikes per train, and you must reserve a bicycle space in advance with your train ticket. Bikes can be loaded and unloaded at any station on the route. The Missouri Bicycle Federation worked with Amtrak and MoDOT to institute this policy in 1997.

The Missouri River Runner makes several excellent connections with the Katy Trail and with the planned Rock Island Trail. This creates several interesting rail/trail bicycle touring options available for individuals and for groups. 

Note that tandems, trailers, and long recumbent bicycles may be difficult or impossible to take on the River Runner, due simply to the geometry of the trains that requires carrying bicycles up a few steps, around a tight corner, and then storing the bicycle in available luggage storage locations.  Please check with Amtrak before trying to take any of these on a trip.

More information:

Illinois Services
(Lincoln Service - St. Louis to Chicago and Carl Sandberg - Quincy/Hannibal to Chicago)

Bicycles can be rolled on-board un-boxed and fully assembled for a $10 fee. You may be asked to loosen your handlebars and turn them sideways, so bring a multi-tool.  Space is limited and advance reservations are required.

Amtrak Illinois information

Southwest Chief - Los Angeles/Kansas City/La Plata/Chicago

This long distance train allows boxed bicycles as checked baggage.  Bikes can only be loaded or unloaded at stations that offer checked baggage service.  This includes Kansas City Union Station, but not La Plata.

Amtrak Southwest Chief information

Texas Eagle - Chicago/St. Louis/Poplar Bluff/Texas

This long distance train allows boxed bicycles as checked baggage. Bikes can only be loaded or unloaded at stations that offer checked baggage service. This includes St. Louis Gateway Station, but not Popular Bluff.

Amtrak Texas Eagle information.

Folding Bicycles

True folding bikes are allowed on most trains and are counted as part of your carry-on luggage allowance.  Make sure to secure your bike with ties or bungee cords so it stays folded.  Consider a long cable lock to keep your bike safe in the luggage rack.

Many Amtrak employees are unfamiliar with folding bikes, so print and carry these two Amtrak polices, just in case:

New Amtrak Rail Cars will have much higher bicycle roll-on capacity

MoDOT has beenworking with a coalition of states ordering new Amtrak rail cars.  Because of the Katy Trail connection, Missouri's Amtrak routes have higher bicycle use than many around the country.  For that reason, MoDOT, supported by Amtrak staff who work the trains, have been working to increase capacity and ease of use for bicycle roll-ons in the new rail cars.

We understand from talking with MoDOT staff that the new Amtrak rail cars will allow as many as 12 roll-on bicycles per car, which will be a major improvement over the four bicycles per train allowed by the Missouri River Runner currently.

Note: As we understand it, the 12 bicycles per rail car is a maximum design number for this type of rail car design.  The cars can be configured in different ways and some of those trade other features for bicycle storage spaces.  So it is unclear exactly how many bicycle storage spaces each car will have in the Missouri configuration.  Probably the number will be less than 12. One consideration is that the Missouri River Runner rail cars are likely to be used in common with several other routes.  So the configuration adopted will not necessarily be optimal for the River Runner route but rather, all routes the cars will be used for.  Regardless, the bicycle capacity per train will be significantly higher than it is now, and the ease of rolling the bicycles on board will be exponentially better.

In addition, design of the new cars will allow bicycles to be rolled on far more easily over a relatively flat surface--a big improvement over the current situation, which requires bicycles to be carried up a narrow, steep stairwell and then around a tight, difficult corner.

In addition, new Amtrak rail cars will feature custom-designed racks that will securely and safely secure the bicycles, both in normal travel and in case of a collision or sudden stop.


MoBikeFed is working in concert with local, state, and national organizations across the country to to increase the availability, ease, and appeal of bicycle/train travel.  As of 2014, improved Amtrak rail cars that will feature increased capacity and far greater ease of use are on order for the Missouri River Runner route. The roll-on bicycle policy adopted by Amtrak at MoBikeFed's urging in 1997 has been a key national model in the nationwide work to improve bicycle access on Amtrak. 

See examples of several types of roll-on friendly rail cars that Amtrak is currently using on routes around the country here.

Read our coverage of Amtrak-related news here.

Your generous support of MoBikeFed helps us make our Vision for better bicycle access on Amtrak a reality.


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