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Trailer on Amtrak?

Old 11-03-11, 01:58 AM
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Tansy
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Trailer on Amtrak?

Heya folks. I'm just wrapping up part one of my ongoing tour, and I'm wanting to take a train down the coast instead of riding it. I can always ride it later, when the weather isn't absolutely lousy. Why spoil the experience?

My question is, will I have an issue with a big burley nomad trailer? Will it just be a matter of an extra fee? Will I have to take the whole thing apart, or just pop off the wheels and arm? Does anyone have any experience in this?

If anyone can help me out, that would be great. I'll be calling the station and asking, as well, but I've head that what they say and what they do doesn't always match up, and I'd rather bet on personal experience. Thanks!
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Old 11-03-11, 08:39 AM
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Definitely call and with Amtrak call again a few days before you are due to depart. I made reservations for a lift to a departure point from which I had planned to ride back home from. Verified they could take a bike and other luggage so I was billed, got a confirmation. Six months later I called to verify they had some bike boxes available and was told that the train I was on didn't have space for anything but maybe a small bag in the overhead rack. Seems they decided to switch trains from one with all services to a commuter with none; only an overhead rack. They never bothered to send me a notice or anything. Check in with them often and expect surprises.
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Old 11-03-11, 09:16 AM
  #3  
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Myself and two friends took the Empire Builder to Glacier National park back in August. Two of us had touring bikes that we put in Amtrak bike boxes my other friend had a trike that he put in a square (cube) box. His box still had to meet the size requirements and he was charged the same as a regular boxed bike. My guess is you will have to box the trailer and meet the size requirements. We had no problems with transporting the bikes/trike and the cost was very reasonable.
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Old 11-03-11, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Tansy View Post
Heya folks. I'm just wrapping up part one of my ongoing tour, and I'm wanting to take a train down the coast instead of riding it. I can always ride it later, when the weather isn't absolutely lousy. Why spoil the experience?

My question is, will I have an issue with a big burley nomad trailer? Will it just be a matter of an extra fee? Will I have to take the whole thing apart, or just pop off the wheels and arm? Does anyone have any experience in this?

If anyone can help me out, that would be great. I'll be calling the station and asking, as well, but I've head that what they say and what they do doesn't always match up, and I'd rather bet on personal experience. Thanks!

I've had extremely good luck with taking bikes on Amtrak. You simply cannot beat the prices - $5 to ship the bike, and another $10.00 if you buy the box from them.

Their bike boxes are HUGE. Easily twice as large as the boxes my bike came in. I would recommend getting a box beforehand and making sure you can tear your trailer down into the appropriate size. It will need to go in a second box - not the one your bike is in.

You will make to make sure that the stations you depart/arrive from have checked baggage service. Even though the train stops at a particular station, it does NOT mean that they have checked baggage. Additionally, not all trains have checked baggage service either. In one case, I ended up taking a mid-day train without baggage service but shipping on another train that had service, but was running at midnight, for the same $5 bike fee. I just had to go back to the station the next day to get the bike.
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Old 11-03-11, 11:04 AM
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I can unplug the side-rails , and remove the wheels on my Flatbed,
and it's virtually flat.

I expect you can do similar with the side rail tubes on the Nomad,
they shipped in a flat-ish box in the 1st place..
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Old 11-04-11, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by oldride View Post
My guess is you will have to box the trailer and meet the size requirements.
That's a good guess. You you should be able to carry the boxed trailer on board if it meets the size requirements for carry on luggage. I was just in Penn Station (NY) yesterday and saw the test fitter, butI cannot recall the size limits for carry on.

If it's too big to carry on, you will have to check it. Not all trains have checked baggage service. For trains that do, as noted above you can only check and retrieve baggage at stations that have checked baggage service. In other words, your train must have checked baggage service and your origin and destination stations must have checked baggage service.

With all this said, some Amtrak trains have roll-on bike service. I cannot tell you whether such trains can/will accomodate fully assembled trailers.
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Old 11-04-11, 04:02 PM
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I just finished a tour from Iowa to New Orleans and got home Sunday morning on Amtrak. My BOB was just considered luggage and had no extra fees of any kind. There's lots of room on the train baggage cars and it just wasn't an issue. If you're riding an overnighter, take a blanket. It gets cold.
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Old 11-07-11, 09:13 AM
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Regarding AMTRAK bike boxes, I just bought two this weekend to ship a tandem and they are now $15 each, not $10 (at least at the Philadelphia station). I assume that is a consistent price nationwide.
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Old 11-07-11, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by briwasson View Post
Regarding AMTRAK bike boxes, I just bought two this weekend to ship a tandem and they are now $15 each, not $10 (at least at the Philadelphia station). I assume that is a consistent price nationwide.

Interesting - I got charged $10 in August on my return trip. OTOH, they gave me two used, but in perfect condition, boxes for free on my outbound leg.
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Old 11-08-11, 10:20 AM
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From AMTRAK's website (http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Conten...=1241267371730)

  • You may bring your own box or purchase one at the station. Bicycle boxes (new or used) are also usually available for purchase at staffed stations that accept checked baggage for $15/box. Boxes are 69 x 41 x 8.5 inches (175 x 104 x 22 centimeters). Call ahead for details and to make sure that boxes are available. Local bicycle shops also may be able to provide you with boxes. After your trip, you may keep your box and use it again if it is in good condition.
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Old 11-08-11, 02:15 PM
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No mention made of weight - what is the weight limit of a bike (etc) box on Amtrak? You know, if you want to cram in a disassembled trailer and 70 pounds of gear.
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Old 11-10-11, 12:48 PM
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For the tandem I just shipped, they didn't weigh it at all. Bikes go by the equivalent of dimensional weight. The baggage lady at PHL said that bikes get charged like they are 100 pounds, and tandems like they are 150 (or something like that). So, I would assume that weight is not really an issue.

As an aside, to ship my fully assembled tandem from Philly to Minneapolis cost around $125, which included buying the boxes ($30 for two), insurance (~$15) and shipping. I dropped it off on Sunday and it was there on Tuesday morning. Actual shipping cost was around $80 or so. This was for an unattended bike shipment, like a FedEx or UPS shipment. They will hold the bike for two days on the other end for pick up.
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Old 11-14-11, 03:07 AM
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Thanks for all the info. It turned out to be super easy on the west coast trains. I did not have to box or disassemble the trailer, and I only paid $5 and they wheeled it on like a suitcase. They just asked me to make sure it was battened down well. Also, it had to weigh under 50 pounds, but that was pretty easy to deal with, given that they allow three checked items - just pull the heaviest thing out and have them take it separately. For me it was a bag of food. Any other odds and ends can go into a carry-on bag.
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