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Old 04-08-14, 12:46 PM   #1
Earl Grey
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Brompton in B&W Case on Amtrak

Does anyone have experience taking a Brompton in the B&W case on Amtrak?

I'm not an experienced Amtrak traveler but have a trip over the Summer.

Looking at the baggage size rules, I'm thinking it's going to have to be "checked baggage". Anyone know how strictly this is enforced? At least both stations on my itinerary offer checked baggage.

The "bike" pre-booking option on Amtrak is, I am guessing, for access to standard bike racks which would be no use for the Brompton (especially in a case).

It'd be easier to take the bike in its soft cover and then just board with it, but unfortunately I will be flying with it as checked baggage immediately before the Amtrak leg.

This is the "Cascades" service between Seattle and Portland, if it makes a difference.
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Old 04-08-14, 01:45 PM   #2
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See:
Amtrak - Plan - Onboard - Bring Your Bicycle Onboard
The fact that your folding bicycle is in a case shouldn't make a difference. But I would try to confirm this with Amtrak via email and have printed copies of the confirmation to hand to the conducters.

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Old 04-08-14, 02:25 PM   #3
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Thanks for your reply, Hank. Re the case making no difference, I hadn't previously noticed that the case is actually smaller than the posted limits: "Folding bicycles under the dimensions of 34" x 15" x 48" will be allowed onboard all trains in lieu of a piece of baggage".

That seems huge to be allowed on board the train, but that's what it says...
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Old 04-08-14, 02:59 PM   #4
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Actually, scratch that. Re-reading, I think when they say "onboard" they still mean "in the baggage car", not "carry-on".
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Old 04-08-14, 03:00 PM   #5
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I took my Brompton SL2-X in a B and W case from Ann Arbor to Chicago and back on AMTRAK a couple of year ago. No problem at all, it just looked like a case.

Actually lifting it up onto the train, now that was a challenge, but maybe you are stronger than me. Also, I had to wait for everyone else to get on, so I had to sit next to this guy who... ah well, another story for another forum...
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Old 04-08-14, 07:35 PM   #6
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Amtrak Cascades doesn't have checked baggage service at all of its stops.

Read the baggage policy Amtrak Cascades - Baggage.

I don't see anything saying that you can't put a folding bike (unfolded to its full size) into one of the reserved bike storage rack spaces. (On the non-Cascades train I rode, the bikes hang from a hook on their front wheel and you are required to bring a strap to secure it and a lock to lock it up to the rack if you wish.) Nor do I see anything saying that if you bring a walk-on bike and store it in the bike rack space you've reserved for a fee, that it would count as 1 of the carry-on items you're allowed, so I assume you can still bring the 2 items of luggage plus the bike if you reserve a bike space. If you take the folding bike in its folded condition on board as carry-on baggage, it counts as one of the 2 allowed carry-ons. Certain small items that you can also bring on board are exempt for the carry-on limit.
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Old 04-08-14, 07:46 PM   #7
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Thanks for the link. Slightly frustrating that the policy described at amtrakcascades.com is not identical to the policy described at amtrak.com! In any case, Seattle and Portland both have baggage service, so I know that's not an issue.

You may well be right that the unfolded bike could be placed in one of the dedicated bike spots, but it would be somewhat pointless since I'll still have the B&W hard-case with me.
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Old 04-10-14, 07:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HGR3inOK View Post
See:
Amtrak - Plan - Onboard - Bring Your Bicycle Onboard
The fact that your folding bicycle is in a case shouldn't make a difference. But I would try to confirm this with Amtrak via email and have printed copies of the confirmation to hand to the conducters.
I would expect the opposite to be true. If it's just a folded bike, I would expect the folding bike policy to take precedence. If it's in a case, I would expect the baggage policy to take precedence. But it certainly is a nebulous area, especially since the allowable folding bike dimensions and allowable carry on baggage dimensions are different.

But I would say this, having traveled Amtrak with a folding bike at times and with a full-sized bike at times and with other awkwardly sized baggage: If your starting point and destination have baggage service, use it. I've struggled to carry some awkward items on board because somehow I thought that would be more helpful than checking it. In all cases, it would have been easier to check the item. That's not always possible because of the many stops without baggage service, but it's there, I'd take advantage of it.
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