Paul Heckbert of Edgewood and Yale Cohen of Squirrel Hill tried out Amtrak's planned service that allows cyclists to roll their bikes onto the train without boxing them in August.
By Tracie Mauriello / Post-Gazette Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON – Amtrak is giving a new meaning to the term “rails-to-trails.”
On Monday, the rail service launched a long-awaited enhanced service that lets passengers travel with their bicycles on the Capitol Limited route.
The service is available at all stations on the route between Washington, D.C. and Chicago, including Pittsburgh.
Now cyclists can roll their bicycles onto the train and secure them on bike racks in baggage cars. Before, they were required to dismantle the bikes and place them in boxes.
The change is good news for Pittsburgh cyclists, said Linda McKenna Boxx, an Amtrak Bike Task Force member and board member of the Allegheny Trail Alliance.
“We have been advocating to Amtrak for this kind of service and are so excited that it is finally a reality,” she said in a written statement.
Two premier bike trails – the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Towpath – parallel the tracks between Pittsburgh and Washington, she noted.
“We’ve worked with the cycling community to identify solutions and bring new ideas to expand services for passengers who travel with their bikes,” said Deborah Stone-Wulf, Amtrak’s vice president of sales and customer service.
She said Amtrak hopes to later expand the roll-on, roll-off option to other routes.
There is a $20 service fee to transport bicycles. Reservations are required and can be made by selecting “add bike” when passengers book their travel on Amtrak.com. Passengers with bicycles should arrive 30 minutes before departure.
The Capitol Limited makes one daily trip in each direction. Eastbound trains leave Pittsburgh at 5:20 a.m. and arrive in Washington at 1:05 p.m. Westbound trains leave Washington at 4:05 p.m. and arrive in Pittsburgh at 11:58 p.m.
Washington Bureau Chief Tracie Mauriello: firstname.lastname@example.org, 703-996-9292 or on Twitter @pgPoliTweets.
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