Amtrak Launches New Roll-On Bicycle Service


Amtrak Launches New Roll-On Bicycle Service with Ribbon Cuttings in DC and Chicago

A new pilot service on the Capitol Limited route will allow bicyclists to roll bikes on and off at any station between Chicago and Washington DC.

WASHINGTON DC, Sept 14, 2015 — Amtrak launched new roll-on bicycle service on the Capitol Limited route today. Passengers can now roll their bikes on and off at any station along the line without having to box them, and eight bike racks are available. Previously, Amtrak required bikes to be disassembled and put into a box, and they could only be loaded and unloaded at stations with baggage service.

The project to initiate roll-on service began in early 2014 when Amtrak partnered with Adventure Cycling Association and other bicycle and passenger rail groups to form an advisory bicycle task force to oversee two pilot projects. The Capitol Limited was identified early in the process as one of the pilot routes to establish roll-on service.

“Our work with Adventure Cycling and the other members of the cycling community has been invaluable in reaching this important milestone in expanding service along the Capitol Limited route,” stated 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.”

The Capitol Limited is a long distance route that parallels two popular bicycle trails, the Great Allegheny Passage and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath. Together, these trails provide over 335 miles of off-road cycling that draw both local cyclists and international bicycle tourists. Millions of people use the trails each year and it is estimated that 60,000 cyclists travel the entire length of both trails annually. The service will act as a test for potential expansion of roll-on service to other long-distance routes.

"This new service will not only make it much easier for people to ride the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O trails, it will also demonstrate the viability and importance of multi-modal connections," said Champe Burnley, task force member and president of the Virginia Bicycling Federation.

Amtrak held ribbon cutting ceremonies today (Monday) at the Washington DC and Chicago stations to celebrate the new bicycle service. Cumberland, MD unveiled wayfinding signs for the service, and Harper’s Ferry, WV celebrated by launching several cyclists onto the train for arrival in the DC station for the ribbon cutting event. Members of Congress, Amtrak officials, bicycle task force members, and bicycle advocates offered words of support for this achievement and called for continued efforts to bring more roll-on service to the Amtrak system.

“This is a huge step forward for local and traveling cyclists wishing to use Amtrak,” stated Ginny Sullivan, Director of Travel Initiatives at Adventure Cycling. “For years, our members have asked us to work with Amtrak to improve bicycle access. These pilot projects will demonstrate that rolling bicycles onto Amtrak trains can happen and is a win-win for everyone.”

Reservations are required and passengers must have a travel document (ticket) for their bicycles. Passengers can reserve their bicycles by selecting “add bike” when they book their train travel on, by calling 800-USA-RAIL, or by visiting any staffed ticket office. Amtrak charges $20 per bicycle for a reservation. Passengers with bicycles need to walk their bikes through Amtrak stations, use elevators, not escalators, and arrive 30 minutes prior to train departure to allow time to transport the bike to the baggage car. Those traveling with panniers or trailers should remove these and carry them on the train. Amtrak will provide instructions in the train car for passengers to load and unload their own bicycles. Amtrak will continue to offer boxed bike service at stations with ticketing and baggage service. 

A similar pilot program for roll-on service is also starting soon on the Vermonter route between St. Albans, VT and Washington DC, and the fee for the service will be $10.


Lisa McKinney, Communications Director
Direct: (406) 532-2759 / Twitter: @USBicycleRoutes and @advcyclingassoc


Download web-ready photos. To arrange an interview with Ginny Sullivan, please contact Lisa McKinney.

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Adventure Cycling Association inspires and empowers people to travel by bicycle. It is the largest cycling membership organization in North America with more than 48,000 members. Adventure Cycling produces cycling routes and maps for North America, organizes more than 100 tours annually, and publishes the best bicycle travel information anywhere, including Adventure Cyclist magazine. With 44,662 mapped miles in the Adventure Cycling Route Network, Adventure Cycling gives cyclists the tools and confidence to create their own bike-travel adventures. Phone: 800-755-BIKE (2453). Web:



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