September 16, 2015
Have you been dreaming of the day you could take a bike trip on the Great Allegheny Passage and Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath and use train travel to augment your trip? Now you can start planning your trip!
It’s time to celebrate!
Additional celebrations took place along the route in Cumberland, Maryland and new signs were placed to guide bike travelers from the station to the Great Allegheny Passage.
Harper’s Ferry hosted a celebration as well with the mayor in attendance, and a group of cyclists boarded the train with their bikes to join the ribbon cutting in DC later that day. Amtrak Bicycle Task Force members Champe Burnley of the Virginia Bicycling Federation and Linda McKenna Boxx of the Allegheny Trail Alliance spoke at the DC event, and Adventure Cycling was represented by board member Jeff Miller.
You might remember that on September 2nd, we blogged about a test run on this same Amtrak train. Now that the service is available, it’s time for you to use it! Once you reserve a space for your bike, you can roll your bicycle on the train at any station along the line without having to box it. The service will act as a test for potential expansion of roll-on service to other long distance routes. The more that Amtrak sees the demand for this service, the more they will prioritize expanding it to more routes. So start planning your trip and spread the word to your friends!
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 Amtrak.com, 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.
For more information on this service, please read our press release and share the news far and wide!
Photos 1 and 6 by Paul Heckbert. Photos 2-5 and 8 by Jeff Miller. Photo 7 by June Deakins. Photo 9 by Susan Scarpelli.
BUILDING BICYCLE TOURISM is written by Ginny Sullivan and Saara Snow of the Travel Initiatives Department and focuses on the growing national movement to build bicycle tourism, including economic impacts, bike friendly tips, multimodal travel, and resources for destination development and marketing.