Posts Tagged ‘Pets and Amtrak’

New York Trains to Allow Pets Onboard

August 17, 2016

Amtrak is expanding its pets aboard program to four state-supported routes in New York and Vermont.

Amtrak logoTrains that will now allow passengers to carry pets aboard include the New York-Niagara Falls Empire Service trains, the New York-Toronto Maple Leaf, the New York-Montreal Adirondack and the New York-Rutland Ethan Allen Express.

Pet reservations are now being accepted for all trains for travel beginning Aug. 22. Dogs and cats travel requirements include:

  • Pet reservations are available for coach accommodations for trips up to seven hours.
  • The maximum weight of a pet including the carrier is 20 pounds.
  • Owners can reserve a space for their pet for $25 with one pet allowed per passenger per trip.
  • Pets must remain in a carrier at all times and carriers should remain under a passenger seat.
  • Five pet spots are allotted per train and are booked on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Pets are not allowed on trips to/from Canada.

Amtrak continues to allow service animals on board at no charge.

The passenger carrier said that more than 10,000 pets have traveled on its trains since the program began in the Northeast Corridor in October 2015.

This past July more than 2,000 pets rode on Amtrak and the program generated more than $1 million in revenue since its inception. Pet service is available on most Amtrak routes.

Pets to be Welcome on 5 Midwest Routes

April 28, 2016

Fido and Fluffy will have more trains to ride when Amtrak expands on May 2 its pets on board program to state-supported routes in Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin,

Amtrak logoSmall dogs and cats may be taken aboard in carriers with passengers riding the Blue Water, Wolverine Service, Pere Marquette, Missouri River Runners and Hiawatha Service trains.

Owners must pay a $25 fee to reserve space for their pet on the train and the animals must meet the following requirements:

  • The maximum weight of a pet including the carrier is limited to 20 pounds.
  • Owners can reserve a space for their pet for a $25 fee with a limit of one pet per passenger.
  • For the safety and comfort of all passengers, pets must remain in a carrier at all times and carriers must remain under the seat of that passenger.
  • All five pet reservations are allotted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Amtrak began a pilot program in Illinois in 2014 of carrying pets with their owners. The passenger carrier said that more than 6,300 pets have traveled aboard Amtrak since then.

The pets aboard trains program was expanded to Northeast Corridor routes last October and to many long-distance trains earlier this year.

Pets to be Allowed on Long-Distance Trains

February 4, 2016

Amtrak will begin allowing pets on all long-distance trains except the Auto Train effective Feb. 16.

Amtrak logoOnly small cats and dogs will be allowed aboard and their owners must pay a $25 fee and make a reservation at a staffed station or through an Amtrak reservation agent.

Pet reservations are limited and made on a first come, first served basis. Pets will be allowed only in coaches and cannot be brought into sleeping car rooms.

The pets must be placed in an approved pet carrier that will count as a piece of carry-on luggage and passengers must remain with their pets at all times. Pets must remain in their carrier at all times.

Other key conditions include:

  • One pet per passenger and only five pets will be allowed per train.
  • Pets cannot travel with unaccompanied minors.
  • The maximum length of a trip for a pet aboard a train is seven hours, including connections.
  • Pets cannot be removed from a carrier on the train or in stations.
  • Pet carriers are not permitted on seats.
  • Passengers must sign a release and indemnification statement prior to boarding the train.
  • Pets must be at least eight weeks old, must be odorless and harmless, and must not be disruptive. Amtrak reserves the right to refuse acceptance of pets and to remove any pet during a trip that is behaving inappropriately.

Transportation Bill Directs Amtrak to Make Separate NEC Budget, Allow Pets on Trains

December 1, 2015

A compromise $305 billion federal transportation bill was agreed upon by House and Senate negotiators on Tuesday that contains a number of railroad-related measures.

The bill directs Amtrak to separate the budget for the Northeast Corridor from the rest of the railroad’s network budget and to establish a pilot program to allow passengers to bring a dog or cat aboard in much the same manner as carry-on luggage.

The legislation will fund highway and mass-transit projects for the next five years. It also contains a proviso that establishes a grant program for large freight projects.

The bill still needs to win approval from the House and Senate.

The two chambers earlier approved a stop-gap measure that extended the authority for transportation spending through Dec. 4.

In the event that the compromise bill encounters difficulties in either chamber, Congressional leaders have readied another temporary extension of transportation funding authority.

Supporters of the requirement that Amtrak break out a separate budget for the Northeast Corridor say that this will allow the railroad to invest more in the heavily-traveled route between Boston and Washington, D.C.

They say that revenue from the NEC has been supporting the nationwide network, which Amtrak says loses money.

News accounts reported that the transportation bill does not name a revenue source for the Highway Trust Fund, whose revenue has eroded due to falling gasoline tax receipts prompted by more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Analysts said the pending transportation funding bill moves Congress further away from the principle that users of transportation systems should pay for their projects, a development that is expected to draw fire from some conservative groups.

Greg Cohen, president and chief executive of the American Highway Users Alliance, said he was troubled by the use of revenue from sources other than user taxes and fees.

“This program traditionally has been a user-pay program,” he said. “But the revenue coming in has not kept pace with inflation and with the cost of construction. So they found something . . .  but it is not a sustainable plan going forward.”

Among the steps that lawmakers are proposing taking to help pay for transportation spending are selling oil from the nation’s emergency stockpile, taking money from a Federal Reserve surplus account and reducing the dividend paid to banks with assets of at least $10 billion.

The bill also proposes to raise money by hiring outside debt collectors to collect unpaid taxes, to raise the fees paid by travelers who go through customs, and paying into the Highway Trust Fund the fines collected for motor-vehicle safety violations.

As for the pilot program to allow pets on board trains, the legislation mandates Amtrak to dedicate at least one car per train “in which a ticketed passenger may transport a domesticated cat or dog in the same manner as a carry-on baggage.”

The animals must be carried in a pet kennel that conforms with Amtrak regulations for carry-on bags. Passengers with pets will also have to pay a fee.

Supporters of the pets aboard the train program said that “no federal funds may be used to implement the pilot program.”

A year after implementing the program, Amtrak is to report to Congress on how the program played out.

Amtrak Extends Pets Aboard Program

August 8, 2014

Amtrak’s experiment of allowing pets aboard select trains is being extended on Aug. 11 to the Chicago-Carbondale, Ill., Saluki and Illini.

Trips must originate from a station where an Amtrak ticket office is open. The pets and a customer-supplied carrier must weigh no more than 20 pounds, a flat fee of $25 will be charged for each dog or cat, no more than four pets can be reserved per train, and reservations must be made at a staffed station or with a 800-USA-RAIL agent.

Staffed stations on the route include Chicago, Homewood, Champaign-Urbana, and Carbondale. The Homewood ticket office is only open in the afternoon so passengers can only use southbound train No. 393 and evening train No. 392 (which stops only to discharge passengers).

Passengers with pets are only allowed to ride in one designated car and can’t bring them to the café or remove them from the carrier. They must stay with their animal at all times. The pilot program began in May on the Chicago-Quincy, Ill., Carl Sandburg and Illinois Zephyr.

Amtrak said multi-ride tickets cannot because passengers must pay separately for a reserved seat if they want to bring a pet along. Fewer than 20 dogs or cats have traveled since the program began.

Amtrak has yet to establish rules for carrying pets as checked baggage on trains with baggage cars, part of the yet-to-be-passed “Pets on Trains” legislation originated by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., chairman of the House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials. Passengers with pets cannot travel on the City of New Orleans, Southwest Chief, or California Zephyr, which share the routes of the trains in the pet program.

Pets Can Ride Amtrak in Illinois Test Project

May 8, 2014

Pets can now ride Amtrak trains in Illinois as part of a pilot program being conducted in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Transportation

Dogs and cats will be permitted aboard the Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg, which both operate between Chicago and Quincy, Ill.

Animals cannot weight more than 20 pounds each, advance registration is required and there will be a $25 handling fee will be charged.

“Amtrak is supportive of accommodating pets on trains, and through direct collaboration with the Illinois Department of Transportation and a working group led by U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham of California, we are optimistic a plan can be reached to address the needs and concerns of all our passengers,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman.

The pilot will run between May 5 and Nov. 2.