Roll Your Bicycle Onto Amtrak's Capitol Limited With New Service Launched on Monday!

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! 

On Monday, September 14th, Amtrak launched new roll-on bicycle service on the Capitol Limited and hosted ribbon-cutting ceremonies at the Washington DC and Chicago stations.

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, 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.


Payton Chung January 31, 2016, 9:47 PM

The "bike room" on Amtrak's Capitol Limited is on the lower level of a Superliner car (Amtrak's two-level passenger cars). All Superliner cars have large luggage racks on the lower level, next to the stairs. You can stow panniers, etc. on that rack, right outside the "bike room" door. There's also lots of luggage

Amtrak's carry-on limit is technically two pieces, but in practice it's "whatever you can carry on yourself."

Lisa Lemieux December 5, 2015, 5:44 AM

My partner and I will be riding the C & O in May and will be taking the train back to Cumberland MD. I would also like to have a better understanding of where our 4 panniers plus tent (so really 8 panniers) will be stored. Thanks!

Bob Evans September 19, 2015, 7:39 AM

You note: Those traveling with panniers or trailers should remove these and carry them on the train. But if you are traveling with a packed one-wheel trailer or four panniers, where and how do you store them on the train?

Mark September 17, 2015, 6:01 AM

That is just great! Now if only Iowa Pacific would offer a roll-on bike service on the Hoosier State train....

Chris September 16, 2015, 8:52 PM

Does anyone know if a Weehoo IGO Venture trailer bike also be stored in a bike spot like a regular bike.

Here is a link to what I am referencing.

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