Texas - Way around baggage handling restrictions on Amtrak?
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01-22-11, 08:49 AM
All, I'm trying to work out the logistics of a tour from Marfa/Alpine back home to Austin. Ideally, I'd throw the LHT on Amtrak, ride to Marfa or Alpine, disembark and then point her east.
However, all my email requests to Amtrak say there must be baggage handling at both ends. Austin does, but neither of my two proposed starting points do.
Has anyone done this sans handlers and despite Amtrak's regs?
01-22-11, 06:25 PM
I have no experience with Amtrak but you might ask on the forums here:
Lots of experienced tourers hang out there.
01-23-11, 04:55 AM
Would bus service be any better?
Can you take a few extra days and start in El Paso instead?
Of course, then you'd want to take a few more days at the end and go all the way to the Sabine River for "riding across Texas" bragging rights.
01-23-11, 08:32 AM
Thanks folks, I was hoping to avoid the bus if at all possible. And while "Across Texas" bragging rights is very tempting, alas time is not on my side.
I'm going to try the Touring forum on this site and then maybe give CGOAB forum a shot.
01-23-11, 08:51 AM
I've had the same problem in my planning for the return trip home after a TransAm crossing. My ticket on the California Zephyr would have to end either in Omaha, NE or Chicago, IL. But my planned destination is Galesburg (just about halfway between the two, but it is not a luggage stop. This means it is a carry-on only stop...no checked luggage is unloaded.
I don't think there is a way around it unless you have a foldable bike like a Bike Friday, then it might qualify as carry-on. I haven't decided whether I will ship my LHT from San Francisco home or get off the train at Omaha and ride the approximately 500 miles home. A solo RAGBRAI of sorts! :)
Remember: Amtrak is run by the government. Amtrak employees keep their jobs and get paid the same whether you ride the !&%# train or not. In fact their life is easier if they can keep you from riding the train.
I don't think there is a way around it unless you have a foldable bike like a Bike Friday, then it might qualify as carry-on.
Amtrak has a different rule for "true folding bikes" (their term) and yes, you can carry them right into the passenger car with you. It's still a good idea to have their folding bike rules (http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=AM_Content_C&pagename=am%2FLayout&cid=1241267294303) printed out and with you. In spite of a clear rule allowing it, it's not unheard of for individual Amtrak employees to show a little initiative and try to prevent people with folded bicycles boarding the train.
Here's (http://www.flickr.com/photos/35954664@N08/3393066885/) my BikeFriday tikit and my wife's Dahon Mu8 riding home in the downstairs luggage bins of an Amtrak Superliner car.
01-26-11, 12:33 PM
Don't think there's anyway I could convince an Amtrak employee (motivated or otherwise) that my Surly LHT is a "true folding bike."
I may have to follow KD5NRH's suggestion and just slide on into El Paso to start my ride.
Irksome I say! How hard would it be to put a couple of racks in one of the cars? I've ridden the train a couple of times and I don't recall it so chock-a-block with fixtures that a few bikes wouldn't fit.
01-26-11, 08:19 PM
You might send PM to TSL who posts on the 50+ sub-forum. He has indicated he has had no problems with his bicycle on AMTRAK. He isn't using a folding bicycle.
01-27-11, 06:38 AM
Thanks gtragitt, I'll drop him a PM.
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