Animals on Amtrak: It's Happening. (Sort of.)

Monday, April 28, 2014 - 03:13 PM

A poodle on an Amtrak train (Hollywood Poodle/flickr)

Some Amtrak trains in Illinois will roll in on little cat feet. 

From May 2 to Nov. 2, dogs and cats up to 20 pounds will be permitted aboard trains on two Amtrak routes in Illinois, the Carl Sandburg and the Illinois Zephyr. Pets must be in carriers, remain under the seat, and travel with their human companion in the designated pet car.

"Amtrak is supportive of accommodating pets on trains, and through direct collaboration with the Illinois Department of Transportation and a working group led by U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham of California, we are optimistic a plan can be reached to address the needs and concerns of all our passengers," said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman.

(As an aside: Denham was one of the sponsors of the "Pets on Trains Act of 2013."  The bill's other co-sponsor? Rep. Michael Grimm.)

Amtrak says when the six-month pilot period is over, it will analyze how it went and decide whether to expand it to other trains.

For more information about the program, go here.



Comments [2]

Baggage car? Ridiculous. The whole reason Amtrak has a "no pets" policy is that when it was formed in the 1970s it would have had to upgrade its baggage cars it inherited from the various dying railroads to accommodate animals by 1970s standards. Faced with such a cost upfront it found it simpler to ban animals. I'm not a fan of the Grimm bill, both he and Denham own small animals, and it seems like nothing more than self-accomodation (something Grimm is fond of). Better for Amtrak to take a page from German Railways: pets pay a fare, must be in a carrier or, if a larger dog, fitted with a muzzle. Pets must remain with owners and cause no disturbances. Conductors have discretion to remove rowdy pets, with said owners, at a station of the conductor's choosing (i.e. not the trouble makers destination).

Apr. 29 2014 05:57 PM
Mark Lacari

If they are allowed on board then guess where they're going IN THE BAGGAGE CAR where they belong.

Apr. 29 2014 12:15 PM

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