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Service Animals and Pet Policy

Carry-on Pet Pilot Program

Amtrak and the state of Illinois will extend the carry-on pet pilot allowing customers to take their small dogs or cats along with them on the train that started on May 5, 2014 through to April 26, 2015 on the Carl Sandburg, and the Illinois Zephyr, Trains 380, 381, 382 and 383. In addition, the pilot will expand to include the Illini and Saluki, Trains 390, 391, 392 and 393 starting August 11, 2014 through to April 26, 2015. For more information on the types of pets allowed, pet reservations and fares, approved pet carriers and additional details, review the complete Carry-on Pet pilot program guidelines.

With the exception of the Carry-on Pet pilot program, Amtrak does not permit pets on trains or Thruway services, in passenger areas of train stations or in checked baggage.

Only Service Animals Permitted

Generally, animals are not allowed on Amtrak. However, service animals are permitted in all areas where passengers are allowed. Service animals are animals that are trained to perform a specific task for the benefit of a person with a disability. Amtrak personnel may ask what task(s) the service animal performs.

Animals Not Allowed

The following types of animals are not permitted:

  • Comfort Animals: Animals not trained to perform a specific task, but which are said to provide emotional support or to relieve anxiety simply by their presence (for example, by the passenger holding or stroking the animal).
  • Pets: Animals for which no claim of any service is made.
  • Search and Rescue Dogs:* Animals that are trained generally, but not to assist a particular passenger.
  • Police Dogs:* Other than dogs brought on trains by the Amtrak Police Department.

* If the passenger or agency feels an exception needs to be made for search and rescue dogs or police dogs, contact the Amtrak Police Department for assistance.

Control of Your Service Animal

You must keep your service animal under control at all times. The animal should always be on a leash, harness or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because of his/her disability to use a harness, leash or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash or other tether would interfere with the service animal's safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler's control.

Amtrak personnel may require you to remove your service animal en route or from the station premises if:

  1. the animal is out of control and you do not take effective action to control it (for example, a dog causes a significant disturbance by barking repeatedly and uncontrollably or is not housebroken) or
  2. the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

If you are asked to remove your service animal, but you would like to remain on the premises and/or continue travel without the animal, you must make arrangements for another person or local animal control to accept custody of your animal, and you may be required to continue or begin your Amtrak travel at a later time or on a later date.

Service Animal Must Remain on Floor

A service animal must sit under the passenger's seat or at his or her feet. Service animals are not allowed to sit in the aisle or on seats.

Walking Your Service Animal

If the train schedule permits, you may walk your service animal at station stops provided that you stay within reasonable proximity to the train and re-board promptly when the conductor notifies you that the train is about to depart. If you plan to walk your animal during the trip, please notify the conductor when you first board the train. Some routes may have limited or no stops for the duration of your trip, so we encourage you to check schedules before you make your travel plans.

Amtrak employees are not responsible for the care or supervision of any passenger's service animal.

Making Reservations with Service Animals

It is not possible to make reservations that include service animals on Amtrak.com. Amtrak encourages passengers using service animals to make reservations by phone so that we can reserve an accessible seat or space (if desired) and provide you with information regarding intermediate station stops. Call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245) or TTY (1-800-523-6590). Agents are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.