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Amtrak Roll on Service at station without baggage service questions..

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Amtrak Roll on Service at station without baggage service questions..

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Old 05-16-18, 09:08 AM
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volvostephen
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Amtrak Roll on Service at station without baggage service questions..

I am planning on taking a train from Sandusky OH (no baggage service) to Washington DC this weekend. The train offers roll on service and I have my reservation. The train boards at 12:40 AM. What I am looking for is what to expect. I know I need to remove all panniers. I plan to leave a frame, seat and rear rack bag attached (but pretty much empty). Can anyone tell me what the process is and how long I will have to get settled? I sort of envision the train barely slowing down and I throw my stuff in as it is moving. Obviously this is not the case but I have a tenancy to get anxious where I am not 100% certain of a process. Looking to get feedback from others with experience.

Also - on a related note - if anyone has experience with the C&O trail conditions for this week, I would love to hear about that as well.

Thanks!
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Old 05-16-18, 09:23 AM
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I assume you will be taking the Capital Limited?

The conductor will open the door to the baggage car. Make sure you have a flashlight ready, the car I was in was unlite and while not impossible to see, it was difficult. There will be racks on the wall. Hang bike on the rack. Ask conductor if you can leave panniers next to bike. On my train he allowed it. Go find your car then your seat. Enjoy the ride.

Take all bags off unless you think you can lift the bike up on a wall vertically with them attached.

How much time you will have is impossible to say. It will depend on the station and if the train is early or late arriving at the station.
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Old 05-16-18, 09:25 AM
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https://media.amtrak.com/2015/09/amt...pitol-limited/
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Old 05-16-18, 09:30 AM
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Yes, it is the Capitol Limited. Thanks for the flashlight tip. It all sounds reasonably simple. When you say 'go find your car', how do I know what car? My ticket doesn't say anything about a specific seat other than coach.
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Old 05-16-18, 09:33 AM
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Thanks. That is far more helpful than their FAQ.
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Old 05-16-18, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by volvostephen View Post
Yes, it is the Capitol Limited. Thanks for the flashlight tip. It all sounds reasonably simple. When you say 'go find your car', how do I know what car? My ticket doesn't say anything about a specific seat other than coach.
Conductor will assign when you board.
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Old 05-16-18, 12:55 PM
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Yep, just like spinnaker said. The conductor will tell you where you should go for seating and direct you to the bicycle car. The car has several hooks along the walls to catch your front wheel. Because you are the only one to handle your bike, you have a little discretion about what you leave on the bike, but anything you leave on, make sure it is fastened/closed securely because the bike will travel mounted horizontally on the wall. And, because there is no baggage service, you're going to be handling your bike and your bags at the same time. Fix the front wheel into the mounted attachment point, and take your bags with you to your seat.

Now you're just sitting on the train overnight. At this point, even on short trips, I forget where the car is where I put my bike (as in which direction up or down the train). It might help to make a mental note which direction you need to travel to return to your bike. Enjoy the ride. When I've traveled, there has been a glass-ceilinged, observation lounge car where you can watch the scenery. Pretty useless in the dark, but once light hits there are several times you can actually see the C & O. When you're almost to DC, collect your bags and return to the bike car. When the train stops, you can remove your bike. Someone should open the door and let the cyclists out, but when they forgot us on my train, we found that you can open the door easily enough from the inside.

I didn't have a problem with light in the bike car, but I boarded in day light. There were lights on in the car when we got to DC, but they eventually went out, at which point we figured out that no one was going to open the door for us, so we let ourselves out.
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Old 05-16-18, 01:19 PM
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Oh yeah that is right. Don't forget to get your bike at the other end.
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Old 05-16-18, 01:23 PM
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Trying to link to a Facebook post about a bridge out around MM 52, but the link doesn't seem to show. Sounds like for at least 10 miles in either direction they are evaluating the trail for damage.

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Old 05-16-18, 01:31 PM
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In marMa we took the train from cleClevel to DC with our bikes. The hooks in the baggage car were not available because of all the luggage piled up. We leaned our bikes against the side of the car.
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Old 05-16-18, 01:37 PM
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Last year the bike car had about 12 bikes laying on their sides. No wall mounting. Previous years, the bikes went on the wall mounts, and you had to take off panniers, but not other items.

As for the condition of the towpath, get ready for mud. Lots of rain this week.
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Old 05-16-18, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Last year the bike car had about 12 bikes laying on their sides. No wall mounting. Previous years, the bikes went on the wall mounts, and you had to take off panniers, but not other items.

As for the condition of the towpath, get ready for mud. Lots of rain this week.
Now that is hilarious! All that testing they had to do and all you did was lean the bike. Shows no reason they should be turning any cyclist away other thean there is simply no more space in the car.
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Old 05-16-18, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Now that is hilarious! All that testing they had to do and all you did was lean the bike. Shows no reason they should be turning any cyclist away other thean there is simply no more space in the car.
Maybe Amtrak is just trying to make more money, but cyclists win also.


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Old 05-16-18, 04:18 PM
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Based on the C&O alerts page on the NPS site, I might just skip DC and get of at Harper's Ferry. Would that cause any issues if my ticket was for DC do you think? Also, when getting off, I can walk inside the train to the Bike car before the stop and then get off with my bike from that car? I was assuming I get off the train and then walk outside to the Bike car....
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Old 05-16-18, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by volvostephen View Post
Based on the C&O alerts page on the NPS site, I might just skip DC and get of at Harper's Ferry. Would that cause any issues if my ticket was for DC do you think? Also, when getting off, I can walk inside the train to the Bike car before the stop and then get off with my bike from that car? I was assuming I get off the train and then walk outside to the Bike car....
Not sure what alerts you are referring to, but you’ll miss Great Falls, perhaps the highlight of the trip. You cannot get into the bike car from the train if they are using it, but the baggage car is accessible from inside. In any case, the conductors will guide you. Just let them know you need to get your bike, if it’s not obvious. You can get off the train at any station. Just let the conductors know so they tell you it’s time to get off.
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Old 05-16-18, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post


Maybe Amtrak is just trying to make more money, but cyclists win also.


I wonder how many holes were worn through the panniers and how much paint needed touching up after that kind of ride?
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Old 05-16-18, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I wonder how many holes were worn through the panniers and how much paint needed touching up after that kind of ride?
No idea, but mine’s the one right in the middle.
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Old 05-16-18, 04:42 PM
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Oh, just checked out the alerts. Looks pretty bad already, and there’s 3-5 more inches of rain predicted between now and Friday night. Should seriously consider postponing if possible. Or at least have maps available for detours, and expect to ride some steep hills if the towpath is closed. Should be a real adventure.
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Old 05-16-18, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Oh, just checked out the alerts. Looks pretty bad already, and there’s 3-5 more inches of rain predicted between now and Friday night. Should seriously consider postponing if possible. Or at least have maps available for detours, and expect to ride some steep hills if the towpath is closed. Should be a real adventure.
True they are steep but those roads are beautiful too.

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Old 05-16-18, 06:05 PM
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Looks wet.



But I am not sure how that compares to when I was there.

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Old 05-16-18, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Looks wet.



But I am not sure how that compares to when I was there.


I think we were there in the same week.

Actually I think it is always like that.

That corridor is supposed to get more annual rain thatn England. And everyone complains about how much rain it gets there.
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Old 05-16-18, 08:22 PM
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I really don't like the idea of postponing. This trip has been something I have been trying (loosely) to do for 3 years now. I will likely start at Harper's Ferry instead of DC. I was planning 3 long days to start the trip so now, I will have 3 shorter days to work though any issues I encounter. I hope that works out fine. The end goal is getting to Niagara Falls Canada where my wife will pick me up. I have 9-10 days of cycling to get there via Pittsburgh. I don't expect any issues once I get past Cumberland. I am very excited despite any weather related setbacks. I can't wait to take the train too. Just wish it wasn't partially in the dark.
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Old 05-16-18, 08:23 PM
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Looks like the Potomac River will be at flood stage by Saturday. Some of the lower elevation hiker biker sites may be flooded out.

https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydr...rce=hydrograph
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Old 05-17-18, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by volvostephen View Post
I really don't like the idea of postponing. This trip has been something I have been trying (loosely) to do for 3 years now. I will likely start at Harper's Ferry instead of DC. I was planning 3 long days to start the trip so now, I will have 3 shorter days to work though any issues I encounter. I hope that works out fine. The end goal is getting to Niagara Falls Canada where my wife will pick me up. I have 9-10 days of cycling to get there via Pittsburgh. I don't expect any issues once I get past Cumberland. I am very excited despite any weather related setbacks. I can't wait to take the train too. Just wish it wasn't partially in the dark.

You might want to start in Cumberland. Once you get to Pittsburgh, you could take the Allegheny River Trail north. The section from Emlenton to Oil City is all paved. There a a couple of unlite 3000+ feet tunnels along the way. There is also the Sandy Creek Trail to explore which you will cross. That will add a couple of days to your trip,

There is a trail that follows pretty much all of the Allegheny that starts and stops at different points and is in every kind of condition.

There is also the Redbank Creek trail which goes NE from the Allegheny.

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Old 05-17-18, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by volvostephen View Post
Based on the C&O alerts page on the NPS site, I might just skip DC and get of at Harper's Ferry. Would that cause any issues if my ticket was for DC do you think? Also, when getting off, I can walk inside the train to the Bike car before the stop and then get off with my bike from that car? I was assuming I get off the train and then walk outside to the Bike car....
When I did it, I walked through the train into the bike car, and then left the train with my bike.

Don't just get off at a different stop. Change your ticket. If they don't have a record of a passenger with a bike exiting at Harper's Ferry, they won't open the bike car, and you will end up in DC regardless.
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