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Old 03-28-17, 06:35 PM   #1
ZippyThePinhead
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Bikes in Amtrak Business Class?

I'll be riding the Pacific Surfliner in a few weeks in business class. I have a bike reservation, but in spite of many trips on this route I confess I have never taken a bicycle with me.

Do they allow bicycles in the business class car? I have a lock and a cable but would be much more comfortable being in close proximity to the bike.
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Old 03-29-17, 08:03 AM   #2
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Most Surfliners have a bike car in the lower level, which is accessible to everybody. You may sit next to your bike. You might not want to leave your expensive road bike there by itself.


In a few Surfliners that don't have a bike car, they'll ask you to check your bike into a dedicated cargo car (an operator would be there to help).


I've done it multiple times and never had problem with it. Just remember if you want to ride through Camp Pendleton you'll have to fill out their online form first. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton > About > Base Information > Base Access
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Old 03-31-17, 09:39 AM   #3
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I've taken my bike when I had business class seats. The business class car was not the same car where bikes were allowed, so I was separated from my bike. I locked it and hoped for the best. I recall one time, the bike was at one end of the train and I was at the other. Don't know if it's still that way.
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Old 03-31-17, 01:36 PM   #4
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Apologies in advance for not having a definitive answer for you, but when booking my last Amtrak ride, I said, "One adult with one bicycle, coach class please."
The ticketing agent kinda started to interrupt right before I said "coach class", but later said with a slightly snarky tone that suggested it's not possible to get a bicycle with business class seat: "Excellent choice."
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Old 04-10-17, 04:59 PM   #5
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I spoke to a conductor and locking the bike is not allowed FYI. The trains don't stay in station long enough to allow for you to fiddle with unlocking bike and getting off train. If you lock it be sure to get to the bike and get prepped to get off train.
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Old 04-15-17, 05:47 PM   #6
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Good info, thanks for posting.
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Old 04-16-17, 03:48 PM   #7
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Just as a follow-up, having ridden the Surfliner a few days ago, there are absolutely no bikes allowed in business class, and you do need a reservation for a bike, which must go in one of the coach-class cars. Is it always a specific car, like this video below shows? IME it depends on the consist of the train. Amtrak uses a variety of cars on the Surfliner, and not all are Superliner (two-level) configuration. During the low-demand runs they use older single-level cars, and I always ride in business class (never brought a bike), so I don't know what they do with bikes on that train. At other times I have seen cars where bikes are hung vertically, but I'm not an Amtrak expert, even though I have been on the train quite a few times.

Some years ago, there was a thread here where someone had their bike stolen off the train (MetroLink, basically samey-same). The thief waited until seconds before the doors closed for departure and grabbed the bike. Before the owner could react, the train was rolling.

There are a ton of videos on Youtube regarding Amtrak travel with bikes.


Last edited by ZippyThePinhead; 04-16-17 at 04:19 PM. Reason: Found old thread regarding bike theft
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Old 06-05-17, 09:38 AM   #8
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Wife and I have ridden the Surfliner dozens of times. You MUST reserve a bike spot along with your seat reservation. (Once saw a group of riders that sneaked their bikes into the bike rack area without bike reservations -- they were confronted by an Amtrak security team and it turned into a huge, unpleasant problem for all.)

Sometimes the cars have downstairs bike areas, sometimes you need to stow your bike in a luggage car with a conductor's help. It's unpredictable. When there's a luggage car, it's usually at the back end of the train. When the train pulls in you need to quickly ask a conductor (verbally or with hand signals) where your bike goes and then hustle. They won't leave until you've got it onboard, but you'll hold things up if you dither around or try to put your bike on the wrong car.

I've seen a lot of people lock their bikes, and have don't it many times without problems. Again, just give yourself enough time when disembarking so you don't hold things up.

I'm not sure why anyone would want a business class seat - coach is quite roomy and comfortable, and often 3/4 empty.

All in all, it's a great way to go. Most Amtrak trains require that you use a bike bike carton, and the rules are a lot more complicated. The Surfliner bike routine is much easier to deal with, and most of the route is very scenic.

Last edited by 3949dxer; 06-05-17 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 06-05-17, 10:25 AM   #9
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FYI...


With the roll out of the new baggage cars on long distance trains and the modification of other equipment, Amtrak has expanded the number of routes that allow you to bring your bike unboxed. Thee three types of bike transport services, and the routes where they are available, are clearly explained here:


https://www.amtrak.com/bring-your-bicycle-onboard
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Old 06-05-17, 09:51 PM   #10
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Has anyone taken their bike on Amtrak all the way to San Francisco? Positive or negative experience? I was thinking of doing it, then riding back. Maybe take a week to do the whole thing.
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Old 06-06-17, 04:58 PM   #11
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Has anyone taken their bike on Amtrak all the way to San Francisco? Positive or negative experience? I was thinking of doing it, then riding back. Maybe take a week to do the whole thing.
I just looked at the starlight schedule and checked about 10 different dates from LAX (grand central) and NONE of them had bike spots.

You can take the train to Paso too, and then just ride around and come back but only if they let bikes on the train.

What the heck, Amtrak!
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Old 06-06-17, 08:30 PM   #12
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I just looked at the starlight schedule and checked about 10 different dates from LAX (grand central) and NONE of them had bike spots.

You can take the train to Paso too, and then just ride around and come back but only if they let bikes on the train.

What the heck, Amtrak!
I spent some time investigating it on Amtrak's website, and there's no way to get a bike up to San Francisco. The Coast starlight doesn't allow them, and going through the San Joaquin valley lines requires some bus transport which doesn't allow bicycles. Bummer, as a train ride up and bicycle back trip would be an epic weeklong vacation. Might still do a LAX-SLO/Paso Robles Surfliner train trip (I'd actually start in either Irvine or Santa Ana) then ride back from there.
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Old 06-07-17, 12:18 AM   #13
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Well, now, that looks like a good time - I didn't realize the surfliner went past Goleta.

You could just uber from SLO up to SF you know.
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Old 06-07-17, 11:52 AM   #14
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$40 with a bike Anaheim to SLO........pretty good. @TrojanHorse ....... you want to do this........train up and ride back?
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Old 06-07-17, 12:41 PM   #15
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$40 with a bike Anaheim to SLO........pretty good. @TrojanHorse ....... you want to do this........train up and ride back?


Looks like a nice three day jaunt - about 240 miles from the Amtrak SLO station to my house.
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Old 06-10-17, 11:06 PM   #16
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FYI CalamariChris has posted a couple of threads regarding rides from Santa Barbara to Carlsbad and points south. Maybe some ideas for you there.
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Old 06-10-17, 11:30 PM   #17
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I spoke to a conductor and locking the bike is not allowed FYI. The trains don't stay in station long enough to allow for you to fiddle with unlocking bike and getting off train. If you lock it be sure to get to the bike and get prepped to get off train.
Not sure why they would tell you this. We've taken it down to San Diego 3 times and all the bikes between LA and San Diego were locked. They had signs saying not to leave your bike unlocked while it was unattended. There must have been a dozen bikes in the car each time. It was a baggage car from Portland to LA and then we took them ourselves the rest of the way.

My bfs bike was damaged pretty well by the baggage people between Portland and San Diego. He was going to file a claim but 2 days later was hit by a car and his bike destroyed so didn't make a difference.
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Old 06-11-17, 01:09 PM   #18
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Not sure why they would tell you this. We've taken it down to San Diego 3 times and all the bikes between LA and San Diego were locked. They had signs saying not to leave your bike unlocked while it was unattended. There must have been a dozen bikes in the car each time. It was a baggage car from Portland to LA and then we took them ourselves the rest of the way.

My bfs bike was damaged pretty well by the baggage people between Portland and San Diego. He was going to file a claim but 2 days later was hit by a car and his bike destroyed so didn't make a difference.
His reasoning was that the train doesn't stay at each station long enough to deal with you unlocking your bike to get it off. Just passing along what he told me when I asked. I've not transported my bike via Amtrak because of this information.
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Old 06-18-17, 09:36 PM   #19
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I spent some time investigating it on Amtrak's website, and there's no way to get a bike up to San Francisco. The Coast starlight doesn't allow them, and going through the San Joaquin valley lines requires some bus transport which doesn't allow bicycles. Bummer, as a train ride up and bicycle back trip would be an epic weeklong vacation. Might still do a LAX-SLO/Paso Robles Surfliner train trip (I'd actually start in either Irvine or Santa Ana) then ride back from there.
Update after a little more digging into Amtrak's website. You CAN take a bicycle up to San Francisco from Los Angeles just use the Coast Starlight line. You just have to check it as baggage (a $20 fee for a bicycle) and pick it up at your destination, and your destination has to be a staffed station (Oakland or San Jose). I might do that next spring; I'm out of shape right now, I've got a new 'build' in the works, and I'm getting some home repairs done this summer/fall. Delaying it until next spring would allow for some detailed planning, too, as I was thinking of coming down through the Salinas Valley instead of Hwy 1 (which I've never liked driving on, much less taking a bicycle on it!)
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