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The C&O Canal Towpath Trail and Great Allegheny Passage

Rail service to Pittsburgh

R Bruce W Laubach from Williamsburg on 6/4/2022 9:52:20 AM:
I am planning to ride the gap and want to take the train from DC to Pittsburg. Amtrak will not answer all my questions. Are there any restrictions on what types of camping gear I can or cannot carry on the train? Since the train arrives near midnight how close are hotel accommodations from the station? Where is the best place to pick up supplies, food, and fuel for biking and camping along the Gap?

John W. from Pittsburgh,PA on 6/4/2022 12:51:20 PM:
Bruce: I’ve not heard of restrictions on what you can/cannot take on a train. It’s not as restrictive as an airplane. Sounds like you are considering bringing a gas canister for camp cooking? You should be able to just bring it with you. Many hotels near the Amtrak, maybe a small walk or ride. There’s an REI right next to the trail in the Southside of Pittsburgh.

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 6/4/2022 3:41:11 PM:
Mr. Laubach: I've taken the Capital Limited in both directions a few times including a couple of weeks ago. They have never checked or even inquired about my carryon bags that included a jet stove gas cylinder, Swiss Army knife etc. The Amtrak instructions also require you remove all your bags from your bike before putting in on the train. I generally do that to ensure they do get lost or redirected in transit. However, on the latest trip I did leave my frame bag on the bike as it is rather time consuming to get on and off the bike securely. No one at the station noticed or objected. In short, Amtrak is a rather loose operation in these regards compared to the airlines. I guess they don't have as far to fall. :-) There a several hotels within a handful of blocks of the Pittsburgh train station with the closest being the AC Hotel by Mariott. It is only a couple of blocks from the station. Within another couple of blocks there is a Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites and Drury Plaza Hotel. All of these appear in Google Maps. I also spoke with a young rider that had located an AirBnB nearby as well. So you have lots of options. As John W notes there is an REI for bike and camping items just a couple of blocks east of the GAP Trail as it leaves town and crosses the Hot Metal Bridge. You can locate it in Google Maps as well. About 7 miles further on the trail in Homestead, PA there is a large shopping center with a large Giant Eagle grocery, Dick's Sporting Goods, Target and Lowes. I hope this answers your questions. If not or you need other info about the GAP, just drop another note.

Jim on 6/4/2022 9:59:10 PM:
I just wanted to say "thanks" to Rivnuts, JohnW, and others who consistently respond to questions on this Forum with such thorough and helpful answers. You make the Forum pleasant, useful and highly informative for a lot of readers (often silent, but very appreciative). Many thanks, fellas.

Terry Fitz from Baltimore on 6/13/2022 2:03:34 PM:
Ditto to all the thanks expressed by Jim. This is one of the best trail blogs around - because of folks like you.