Amtrak Extends Service That Allows Passengers To Walk Bikes Onboard

When you’ve already cruised the highways and byways of your hometown, the idea of a bike trip in another state can certainly be appealing — there are new hills to vanquish, deep forests or vast deserts waiting to be discovered on two wheels and long stretches of road to zoom on. To help folks who need to travel to hook up with popular bike trails and routes, Amtrak is expanding its service that lets passengers bring their bikes onboard trains.

Perhaps you don’t have a car or don’t want to drive with your bikes to a certain trail, or you don’t want to make the entire trip by bike. To make it easier for cyclists, Amtrak has been trying out the walk-on bike program recently, first on the Port Huron, MI to Chicago line, then on Heartland Flyer trains in Texas and Oklahoma.

The roll-on, roll-off service is now commencing on Capitol Limited trains between Chicago and Washington, D.C., marking the first overnight route that will allow bikes onboard, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Amtrak currently does have some trains that allow bikes, where passengers have to pay a $10 fee to check their bikes, as well as $15 for a special box to put the bike’s parts in that are designed to be reusable — but people usually don’t use them again, Amtrak says. And you can only use the service at stations staffed by Amtrak attendants.

The walk-on service on the Capitol Limited costs $20 and requires advanced booking, to ensure you’ve got space on one of the train’s seven bike racks. Unlike the boxed-bike check system, the walk-on service allows passengers to stow their wheels in a section of a Superliner coach, where they can easily grab them and go when they reach their stop.

The 16-stop route provides access to popular bike trails in Indiana, as well as the 330-mile bike trail system between Pittsburgh and Washington .

“We wanted to get this bike pilot project started before fall color season in order to receive a lot of feedback from cyclists, who will now be able to go to any stop along the route,” an Amtrak spokesman told the Tribune.

Amtrak expands rails-to-trails service for cyclists [Chicago Tribune]