Chew, Chew on This: Pets on Trains Service Permanent on Amtrak

Diana Faria
by Diana Faria
With Amtrak’s pilot pet program a booming success, the train company has expanded its program. Commuters can ride with their pets on more corridor trains across the nation.

Last October, Amtrak tried out their “ Pets on Trains” program so dog and cat owners can have their furry friends travel with them rather than being stuck in the back of the train like cargo.

Due to the program’s overwhelming success, the company has now made the program permanent on eastern and a few mid-western corridor trains across the nation, which is great news for traveling pet parents! But keep in mind, this applies to cats and small dogs that tip the scales at no more than 20 pounds (unless you have a service animal – they’re always allowed on board).

Related: Law Allowing Dogs On Amtrak Trains Is On Track

Starting February 16, the “Pets on Trains” service will be eligible on trips up to seven hours long to most long-distance destinations (excluding Auto Train). A weekend-only pilot program will also start up on February 20, 2016 aboard the Acela Express. The Acela Express pilot program will run until June 12, 2016, when pets will only be allowed in business class. On all other trains, pets are only permitted in coach. Amtrak will then review its success to determine whether or not the program will become permanent or not on this line.

Related: DOT Report Outlines 2014 Pet Injury And Fatality Numbers On Airlines

Since the program’s launch, more than 2,700 pets have traveled with the company along the Northeast Corridor, with top departure cities being Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

Service dogs who offer assistance to their owners are always able to ride Amtrak free of charge. However, should you bring your non-service dog into a train, there is a surcharge of $25 each way.

You may bring one dog or cat along with their carrier per passenger, and both pet and carrier can’t weigh more than 20 pounds. Your pet must be in the carrier beneath your seat at all times (unfortunately, no cuddle time with Fido while you’re riding). Because there are only a few trains that accept pets, Amtrak offers pooch-class on a first-come, first-serve basis. That means you’ll ride a lot more comfortably if you call ahead to see if there’s seating still available. All of the nitty gritty details can be found on Amtrak’s website, just in case you want to read over the fine print.
Diana Faria
Diana Faria

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