Answers to Your Questions About Bikes Onboard
You’ve seen where you can take your bike with you on your next Amtrak trip, but you may still have questions. Take a look at these questions we’ve gathered from other bike riders. The answers you need are likely right here.
Trainside Checked: Bicycles are checked and stored inside baggage cars.
East Amtrak Cascades
City of New Orleans
Lake Shore Limited
Lake Shore Limited
(trains 65, 66, 67 only)
Carry-On: Bicycle are stored in designated bike racks/areas inside Coach passenger cars.
East Capitol Corridor
Missouri River Runner
Reservations are required on all trains that offer bike service except on the Capitol Corridor and San Joaquins services in California. You may only make a bike reservation if you're a ticketed Amtrak passenger.
Why is Trainside Checked bicycle service only available to and from staffed stations with checked baggage service?
Many unstaffed stations without baggage service have short and/or very low platforms where providing access to the baggage car would require the train to make a double stop or for the passenger to lift their bicycle to a crew member an unreasonably high distance.
As we expand bicycle service to more routes and stations, we are continuously auditing unstaffed stations where we can safely and efficiently offer trainside checked bike service. To date, we have expanded this offering the following unstaffed stations:
- Prince, WV, on the Cardinal
- Fraser-Winter Park, CO, on the California Zephyr
- Stanwood, WA, Tukwila, WA, and Oregon City, OR on the Amtrak Cascades
- Winona, MN, and West Glacier, MT, on the Empire Builder
- High Point, NC, on the Crescent
- All stations between Charlotte and Raleigh on the Carolinian
- All stations along the Heartland Flyer route
- All stations on the Pere Marquette
The only route where passengers are required to check their bicycle in a box is the Portland to Spokane portion of the Empire Builder. This train splits at Spokane and the baggage car travels to/from Seattle. We are working to expand carry-on service to the Empire Builder route to alleviate this restriction.
You can still box and check your bike to and from stations that offer checked baggage service if you like. This is a good option if bicycle space is sold out on a train where checked service is available. It's also convenient if you're changing trains since our baggage handlers will move your bicycle box for you between connecting trains.
Carry-On service means your bicycle is stored inside of a passenger car in designated bike racks and you are responsible for storing your bicycle in its designated space.
Trainside Checked service means your bicycle is stored inside a baggage car and only an Amtrak crew member may load or unload your bicycle for you. When you purchase a ticket for Trainside Checked service, you'll need to check in with a customer service agent at the station ticket counter to get a claim check for your bicycle before handing it up to a crew member at the baggage car during boarding. At unstaffed stations where trainside checked service is available, check in your bicycle directly with an Amtrak crew member when your train arrives.
Bicycle trailers can be checked inside of a container or bicycle box at stations that offer checked baggage service. Since space allocated for bicycle storage is very limited, we don't carry bicycle trailers at this time. We recognize the popularity of and demand for bicycle travel with bicycle trailers and are working on ways to accommodate them.
Currently, only standard size bicycles (50 lbs. or less, 70" x 41" x 8.5") will fit in our racks. We are working on making updates that will allow us to accommodate non-standard bicycles like tandems, trikes and recumbents.
Currently, our bike rack hooks only accommodate tires a maximum of 2" wide. We are working on ways to accommodate fat tire bikes as well as non-standard sized bicycles like trikes and recumbents.
Bikes with fenders will indeed fit in our bike racks.
Folding bikes under the dimensions of 34" x 15" x 48" (860 x 380 x 1120 mm) are permitted on all trains in lieu of a piece of carry-on luggage. Only true folding bicycles (bicycles specifically designed to fold up into a compact assembly) are acceptable. Generally, these bikes have frame latches allowing the frame to be collapsed and small wheels.
In some limited cases, an Amtrak crew member will have you check your folding bicycle in the baggage car if luggage space is extremely limited or unavailable.
Electric bicycles under 50 lbs. are allowed in checked baggage and on trains with walk-on bicycle service.
Gas-powered motorized bicycles are prohibited.
On the Vermonter, we've custom-designed the luggage racks at the end of each car to accommodate bicycles. Removing your front wheel and hanging your bicycle by the back wheel ensures that your bicycle doesn't stick out into the corridor, presenting a safety hazard. Signs are posted near the racks with loading instructions or you can visit the Vermonter bike page for more details.
For passengers using Trainside Checked bicycle service connecting between two trains, you may store your bicycle in the baggage room free of charge during a lengthy layover.
Availability varies and depends on your selected route, departure date and existing bookings.
If you've already booked a ticket and now your bicycle needs to come along, call us at 1-800-USA-RAIL to modify your reservation. Make sure to check whether your train offers bicycle service.
Most Amtrak routes charge a bicycle fee of $20 or less. If an "Add Bike to Trip" button displays in your availability search, click it to show the bike fee.
For Carry-On bicycle service, please arrive at the station at least 30 minutes prior to departure to give yourself plenty of time to prepare for boarding. You'll need to remove and consolidate all panniers, baskets and bags attached to your bicycle before boarding.
For Trainside Checked bicycle service, please arrive at the station at least 45 minutes prior to departure so you have enough time to check in with the customer service agent at the ticket counter and obtain a claim check before boarding your train. If boarding at an unstaffed station that offers this service, go directly to the platform and an Amtrak crew member will assist you when the train arrives.
We require this mainly for two reasons, both of which make things easier for you:
Bicycles are hung vertically by their front or back wheels using special bike tire hooks. The added weight from attached items puts a lot of stress on your wheels as the bicycle hangs during your journey. Removing panniers, baskets and bags minimizes the risk of damage to you during boarding or your bicycle during the journey.
The boarding process moves fairly quickly (in some cases in under five minutes or less). Removing and consolidating any larger bicycle bags and accessories will make this process go a lot smoother for you and other passengers.
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