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Amtrack "Downeaster"

Old 11-30-12, 07:22 AM
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bktourer1
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Amtrack "Downeaster"

No that Amtracks "Downeaster" goes to Freeport & Brunswick Maine, I have questions for those who have taken it before.

Do they have racks you can roll the bikes onto?

Are the racks mounted to the walls of the car and you have to lft the bikes onto them?

Do you need to remove panniers and other gear?

All help appreciated.

Thanks

Ed
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Old 11-30-12, 09:19 AM
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Don't know how they are stored, but Amtrak's rules say you must be able to lift your bike to shoulder height. That may necessitate pannier removal depending on weight.

https://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Conten...=1251621565020
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Old 01-04-13, 07:22 PM
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A late reply, but here it is:

No racks on the Downeaster I took. I didn't have to take off my panniers-- I just put the bike in a car and strapped it in with the straps for wheelchairs. Worked great.
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Old 01-05-13, 11:38 AM
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Be sure you are allowed to take a bike onboard AT YOUR STOP. During the years I tried to use AMTRAK for bike getaways, only certain stations were designated as walk-on stops for bicycles. If you were traveling from a non-designated stop, you had to ship your bike separately, a royal pain in the y.k.w. I don't think the policy has changed on the Downeaster since then. If it has, my next trip up that way is definitely going to include AMTRAK!
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Old 01-05-13, 02:45 PM
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Glad I'm checking now as I can only take the Downeaster to Portland. The Freeport & Brunswick stations don't allow for bikes unloading & loading. Why we give Amtrack so much money for so little service is beyond me.
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Old 01-05-13, 09:30 PM
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You're welcome
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Old 01-06-13, 01:28 AM
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Unfortunately, it's up to the discretion of the conductors when you can take your non-folding bike on the Downeaster. They only allow them for stations with high platforms, and (I believe) only at the end of the car that will end up at the high platform (the platform, at least at Wells, is rather short). The won't allow a bike to board if the handicap space is already in use.
I had good luck with a round trip from Boston to Wells in 2011. I've heard other cyclists have had to wait for another train when they tried it.
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Old 01-09-13, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by bktourer1 View Post
Why we give Amtrack so much money for so little service is beyond me.
Amtrak gets very little compared to what we shell out for highways.

Being in the rail biz, I can confidently say that the reason they don't allow bikes on and off at those stations is liability. As soon as someone falls and injures themselves or another passenger while detraining at a low-level platform there will likely be a lawsuit. Last year, New Jersey Transit banned bikes on at off at low-level platforms for liability reasons and then rescinded the ban after pressure from the public.
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Old 01-10-13, 03:57 PM
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I have been notified by e-mail from Amtrack that I can now get off in Brunswick Maine but not Freeport.
Much of what you get from them changes on who you contact. When I make my final train arrangements. I'll probably to to a local station and show them the mail, rather thn reserve online or over the phone.
Thank you for you inquiry.
The Downeaster service allows for bicycles to be taken between Boston North Station and Portland, ME, as well as Brunswick, ME. We do not currently offer bicycle service to Freeport, ME.
We hope this information is of assistance.
Sincerely,
David
Amtrak Customer Service
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Old 01-11-13, 05:22 AM
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The key is whether they allow you to actually bring the bike on board. David may be misinformed and might be actually saying that you can send your bike to Portland or Brunswick ON the train, but not the same one YOU are on. Dig deep and check further before you ruin your trip right from the outset.
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Old 01-14-13, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
The key is whether they allow you to actually bring the bike on board. David may be misinformed and might be actually saying that you can send your bike to Portland or Brunswick ON the train, but not the same one YOU are on. Dig deep and check further before you ruin your trip right from the outset.
No. No checked baggage and no Amtrak Express on that route, so it's either walk-on or nothing.
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