Amtrak tests roll-on bicycle service on the Eastern Seaboard

Amtrak is finally starting to get serious about offering bicycle roll-on service on their Capitol Limited line, which runs between Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. Amtrak conducted a trial of the service yesterday:

Linda McKenna Boxx said she has been trying for more than a decade to get Amtrak to improve accommodations for bicycles on its Pittsburgh-to-Washington, D.C., trains, which closely follow the trails that connect the two cities.

On Tuesday, that goal moved a step closer to reality, when Amtrak allowed 20 bicyclists to take their two-wheelers onto the Capitol Limited train in Pittsburgh in a one-day trial of roll-on service.

Read more by clicking here.

Such a service would be a boon to bicyclists and bike tourists who want to ride on the Great Allegheny Passage or the C&O Canal Towpath…and according to sources, retrofitting baggage cars to handle assembled bikes could be quite inexpensive. Amtrak currently offers bike-as-baggage service on most of their lines, but the bike must be disassembled and placed in a box prior to loading. Let’s hope yesterday’s trial run encourages them to speed up the timetable in offering this new service (which has been in the works for quite a few years).


  1. bigbenaugust October 17, 2013 7:01 am 

    Bring it down to NC!

  2. Paul October 17, 2013 7:10 am 

    Well it’s a start. When I looked into this last year on the Northeast Corridor there was only one train a day that allowed even the disassembly/box option, so I took Greyhound to get from New Haven to Baltimore. I could take any bus but still had to box up the bike, a major pain, disassembly, reassembly, coordinating with bike shops to pick up boxes, inconsistent additional costs(!), etc. Yet there was plenty of room in the bus cargo area for a bike to stand up. Possibly the tallest would have to remove the front wheel. I found out from a Couchsurfer that Peter Pan allows unboxed bikes IF there is an empty bin. Otherwise you are SOL & have to wait for the next bus. Megabus & similar companies don’t allow bikes no way no how.
    Is there a missed business opportunity here? I have to wonder transportation companies such as these get much more ridership if they made it easy on cyclists trying to do interstate travel? Sometimes I want to go farther than I have enough days to bike.

  3. Ghost Rider October 17, 2013 10:00 am 

    @Paul — yes, I think this is a HUGE missed opportunity for a lot of businesses/transport companies. I don’t have any figures that support the number of people who wish to travel with their bikes, but the hardships are pervasive, no matter what mode (bus, train, airplane) a traveler chooses. Inconsistent fees, disassembly hassles, transit damage, etc…it’s a bummer.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *