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Reply to Capital Limited Amtrak

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Reply to Capital Limited Amtrak
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Tom from GODFREY on 6/22/2020 7:03:34 PM:
Finalized plans for bucket list GAP/C&O ride in July and got call from Amtrak that they are refunding our $20 carry on bike pass because they are no longer allowing carry on bikes. They have changed their equipment. After some initial panic I was told that we can purchase a bike box at the station for $15, box up the bikes and purchase a $10 baggage pass. Not the end of the world. Just need to carry my pedal wench and deal with breaking down the bikes I hope this doesn't become the norm. I use the carry-on service along the KATY and love it. Has anyone done this at DC Union Station and have tips?

John from Pittsburgh,PA on 6/22/2020 8:09:09 PM:
Was this with immediate affect or because your ticket was later in July? I depart on Amtrak early Thursday morning so I guess you could say I’m a bit concerned! :) I haven’t gotten an email from them so maybe I’m safe for the remainder of June.

Tom from GODFREY on 6/22/2020 9:59:35 PM:
my tickets are for last week in July, so I'm sure you are safe if they haven't contacted you. Enjoy!

Rivnuts from Homestead, PA on 6/22/2020 10:03:19 PM:
This is an interesting change to Amtrak's historical service on the Capital Limited route. That said, in normal times, Union Station in DC is very busy. The platform where the train parks is fairly long and normally quite busy as is the passenger waiting area inside the terminal. I suspect things are a little less congested at this time. Perhaps the most difficult issue would be moving the bike box from the train platform into the terminal building or vice versa. You would likely want garner a cart on which to convey the box to/from the train if you must take it to/from the baggage car yourself. Disassembling and boxing or unboxing and assembling your bike in the terminal or just outside shouldn't be a problem. Getting rid of the box itself after use might be an interesting endeavor however.

Matt from Charlotte on 6/22/2020 10:13:48 PM:
I'm traveling on July 10 & haven't received a notice. so I'm guessing I'm good to go. (even checked the spam folder to make sure I didn't miss anything) checking the Amtrak site, they still show cary-on bicycle service as available. https://www.amtrak.com/onboard/bring-your-bicycle-onboard.html

John from Pittsburgh,PA on 6/22/2020 11:20:54 PM:
Tom - I’m so glad my trip is safe but at the same time I’m disappointed that others like yourself have had to change up your plans. I hope this isn’t permanent. I recall many people have lobbied for this service for years. Maybe it’s just temporary? Maybe Covid related? I emailed Amtrak tonight to clarify this so I hope to hear from them tomorrow. Matt - Thanks for the reminder to check the spam folder. I did that and inside that folder was the Amtrak auto-response that says they received my email and will respond to emails between 8a-11p, seven days a week! I always forget to check there. Glad to hear you beat the deadline.

Roadrider on 6/23/2020 11:32:52 AM:
Bikes in boxes are handled by Amtrak baggage people. You buy the box and box it at the baggage counter and check it as baggage . Amtrak moves it to and from the train. You do not have to lug it.

Rivnuts from Homestead,PA on 6/23/2020 3:20:27 PM:
Roadriider: That’s good to know since I’ve always been able to carry my bike on in recent years albeit not always being able to hang it in a car with the wall racks.

John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 6/23/2020 9:12:23 PM:
NOTE! Just as Tom from GODFREY (the OP) had happen to him, I was just told by Amtrak that there will be no room for my bike from Pittsburgh on the Capitol Limited even though i already purchased a bike ticket. This email was sent to my Spam folder so thanks to Matt for the reminder to check there! I could box it but oh man what a pain. I'm just going to rent a minivan one way to National Airport. Here's what the email says: Dear John, Thank you for contacting us in regard to travelling with your bicycle. Regrettably, due to Covid-19, there will not be any bicycle space on your reservation for your selected train. Please contact us to remove the bicycle space on your reservation by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245). Select '0' to speak with an Amtrak reservations agent. We hope this does not inconvenience you. Sincerely, xxxxxxxxxx Amtrak Center of Excellence.

John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 6/23/2020 9:53:13 PM:
Got my full train and bike ticket refunded. Spoke to customer service. This is COVID related and not any kind of plan to get rid of roll-on, roll-off bike service. They are just taking baggage precautions they said and bikes fell under that. Customer service said they are targeting September but anything can change between now and then so nothing is in stone.

Rivnuts from Homestead. PA on 6/24/2020 5:26:14 AM:
Curiously, how much is the one-way mini van rental and which car rental company did you choose? I'll likely do the same in August.

Juan from Pacheco on 6/24/2020 7:31:14 AM:
We are renting a van from DC to Cleveland at $273.00 one way.

Charlieliz from Manassas VA on 6/24/2020 7:33:08 AM:
A mini van one way from Manassas VA to Pittsburgh was $160. Plenty of room for three passengers, three touring bikes and all related gear.

John W. from Pittsburgh, PA on 6/24/2020 11:39:28 AM:
Got mine from Alamo for $149, one way from Pittsburgh airport to National airport in DC. Apparently, the local mom and pop franchise locations do not do one way rentals, you will need to do airport to airport. Rented a minivan.

Laurie from Chantilly on 6/26/2020 3:44:22 PM:
I have a ticket DC => Pitt for self and bike (reservation to hang it up in the baggage car) on July 2. Just called Amtrak because of this thread and was told that self and bike are good. I'm wondering what dates of travel and in which direction (DC => Pitt or Pitt => DC) are people being told their bike reservations are cancelled. The agent with whom I spoke wasn't aware of bikes being cancelled and she asked her team and was told bikes are still good to go as long as reservations exist. I'm believing what I'm reading in this thread and want to be as best prepared for a last minute surprise as I can be. Thx

ST on 6/26/2020 7:22:52 PM:
I, too, called Amtrak about my reservation on Sunday because of what I read here. I was told that they are reducing—but not eliminating—service across Amtrak’s offerings, including roll-on bikes. It sounded like there may be fewer bikes per train allowed, perhaps because they are running shorter trains. Seems like a good idea to call ahead. I’ll post back here if I have problems.

ST on 6/30/2020 10:22:50 AM:
To close the loop on my experience, Amtrak did accept my bike, but there were no racks. I was told to lay my bike down in the checked baggage compartment and hope for the best. It was a bit disconcerting, but it arrived unscathed.

bike traveler from Austin, Texas on 7/1/2020 8:55:53 AM:
Although I've never tried one, I've heard a derailleur guard is good for times like that. (https://www.amazon.com/derailleur-guard/s?k=derailleur+guard). Glad your bike survived the trip. The GAP and C&O trail are fantastic.

Sean from Oklahoma City on 7/1/2020 5:00:14 PM:
I booked on July 25th for an October trip. The agent didn't say anything about there not being space for bikes and I even confirmed that I had a slot. But, I'm completely open to renting a car from Pitt to DC if anyone is going the 4th/5th of October.