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Hope for Roll On Roll Off Amtrak Train Service along Great Allegheny Passage

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Hope for Roll On Roll Off Amtrak Train Service along Great Allegheny Passage

Old 10-16-13, 09:20 AM
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Altair 4
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Hope for Roll On Roll Off Amtrak Train Service along Great Allegheny Passage

Many people over the years have commented on the lack of train service along the GAP and C&O trails. Amtrak recently completed a test run between Pittsburgh and Washington DC with stops in Connellsville, Cumberland and Harper's Ferry using a car with space for 6 bicycles.

Details here in this Pittsburgh Post Gazette article: Amtrak tests bicycle roll-on service on Capitol Limited route between Pittsburgh and D.C.

and

here in this Tribune Review article: http://triblive.com/news/fayette/488...#axzz2htmnMysF

There is no indication of if or when the service might be permanently initiated but it does give a glimmer of hope for train transportation with RO-RO service along this premier bike trail.

Last edited by Altair 4; 10-16-13 at 09:30 AM.
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Old 10-16-13, 09:33 AM
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This is great news and I hope that Amtrak moves forward with it. I had read an article that said they were considering this, but it's nice to know that they are actually doing test runs now. I had planned to ride the entire C&O/GAP trail this fall until the federal shutdown scuttled my plans, and arranging transportation was the most difficult part of planning for the trip. With roll-on service, it would be a snap -- assuming they had enough spaces available for all of the cyclists.
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Old 10-17-13, 01:30 PM
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The Capitol Limited uses low platforms. The only way I can see this working without too much crew involvement is to place racks on the lower level of coach-baggage combination cars or in the handicapped seating area of coach cars.
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Old 10-17-13, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Bezalel View Post
The Capitol Limited uses low platforms. The only way I can see this working without too much crew involvement is to place racks on the lower level of coach-baggage combination cars or in the handicapped seating area of coach cars.
According to the one article, the bikes were transported in a baggage car fitted with bike racks that was attachded to the CL. The participants rolled their bikes into the baggage car and lifted them onto hooks. But the photo accmpanying the second article suggests that there is a coach/baggage car combination.

I think the latter is what took place since, without high level platforms, you would need a ramp.

In any event, it would be nice to have this. It would be even nicer to have it available on the Three Rivers. I rode the GAP last month from PGH as part of a tour home to Phiily. I would have loved to have been able to take the train from Philly to PGH, but there is no checked baggage service on that route, and taking two trains (PHL to D.C. and then to PGH) would have been a pain. Instead I rented a car one way.

FYI: For those in the Philadephia area, Avis rents one-way to PGH, and you don't have to drop off at the airport. Avis has an agency in the Oakland section of the city, near U. Pitt. It's only 3 or 4 miles from the Point and mostly down hill or flat. Pick up is easy, too. I got my car from 20th & Arch.
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Old 10-20-13, 06:16 PM
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Sent email, there is hope.
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Old 10-20-13, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Bezalel View Post
The Capitol Limited uses low platforms. The only way I can see this working without too much crew involvement is to place racks on the lower level of coach-baggage combination cars or in the handicapped seating area of coach cars.
Works in Italy just fine. Car floor is waist level (at least for me). There are one or two steps that hang off the cars. Not very useful for getting the bike on the car. Ot pretty much takes brute force.



A major pain in a butt but it works.

My fear is two fold.

1. We have been promised this service for years. I see no evidence that we will see it any time soon based on Amtrak's passed broken promises.

2. If they do actually start it, my fear is that the number of places will be inadequate. The rail line along the Katy offers a dismal 3-4 slots. You need to reserve your spot months in advance if you want to be certain you will have a slot on the day needed. In Italy, if racks are full or bike car is locked, you simply place the bike in the companionways between cars. You can bet the farm that Amtrak will not allow overflow in the passenger cars.
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Old 10-20-13, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Bezalel View Post
The Capitol Limited uses low platforms. The only way I can see this working without too much crew involvement is to place racks on the lower level of coach-baggage combination cars or in the handicapped seating area of coach cars.
The way it works on the Amtrak trains on the west coast is you just hand your bike up to a person in the baggage car. They place tehm on hooks, and give you a baggage claim slip for your bike. Being able to lift your bike up to waist level is a condition of the ticket purchase. It has become so popular Amtrak is retrofitting some of the 6 bike cars to habdle 12 bikes. On a trip this summer we were unsuccessful at reserving a spot for our bikes, and ended up boxing them.
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