Any tips / information for handicapped passengers?

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Joined
May 13, 2015
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I would very much like to take Amtrak around the USA to check off a bucket list item.
However, I am in a wheelchair, and am curious about handicapped access regarding Amtrak trains.
Besides getting on or off, are the bathrooms in the cars handicapped accessible?
Any information would be very much appreciated.
 

AG1

OBS Chief
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Jul 8, 2018
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Amtrak has extensive information on the Amtrak website with many links for various services. https://www.amtrak.com/accessible-travel-services
AmtrakUnlimited is not part of Amtrak despite the name, just people with an interest in trains. After you study the official Amtrak site people here can give you actual experiences with accessible train accommodations.
 

Barb Stout

Lead Service Attendant
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Mar 13, 2019
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I have seen a few people in wheelchairs and on oxygen on the Southwest Chief. They were in the lower level. In addition, on my very 1st Amtrak train trip (Southwest Chief), my sister and I had signed up for a roommette, but apparently there was either some kind of problem or they were oversold, but we ended up in an "accessible" roommette or bedroom (probably a bedroom) that included a bathroom and what turned out to be a lot more room than a roomette, definitely enough to manuever(sp?) a wheelchair in. It was on the lower level also and sort of separated from the other passengers, so I felt completely free to practice my flute without worrying about bothering anyone.
 

neroden

Conductor
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Feb 23, 2014
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The situation varies. I'm going to assume you're in a wheelchair full-time; if you have some ability to walk short distances with assistance, you have extra options.

You can get from the station entrance to the platform, and then on and off the train, in a wheelchair at most stations. There is a short list of exceptions where you just can't get on or off the train.

These are the can't-travel stations:
Ashland VA
Clifton Forge VA
Coatseville PA
Elizabethtown PA (temporary problem which has lasted months)
Elko NV
Glenwood Springs CO
Harpers Ferry WV
Marshall TX (temporary problem which has lasted months)
Mount Joy PA
Newark DE
Paoli PA (this *might* have been fixed near the end of 2018, but check)
Parkesburg PA
North Philadelphia, PA
Westerly RI

At many stations, you will need to be lifted on or off using a portable wheelchair lift by Amtrak staff; a slow process. At better stations, you can roll on or off using a "bridgeplate". If you have specific stations in mind we can get you more information.

On most of the "single-level" trains (using Viewliner & Amfleet equipment), the sleeping cars each have one accessible bedroom with its own bathroom. The coach cars have a bathroom useable for some people in wheelchairs, but the car design is from the 1970s, so it does not really meet current standards for independent transfer.

On the cross-country "bilevel" trains (using Superliner equipment), the sleeping cars again each have one accessible bedroom with its own bathroom on the lower level. The coaches have a lower level which is wheelchair accessible, and I don't think it has a wheelchair accressible bathroom at all, but I'm not remembering clearly; I don't take long-distance bilevel coach very often.

On the California bilevel trains (using "California car" and "Surfliner" equipment) the lower level has a modern accessible bathroom.

On the Acelas (single-level using "Acela" equpiment) there is a modern accessible bathroom.

Staff are required to bring food to you (from the cafe, or the dining car if there is one) if you're in a wheelchair; they don't expect you to roll between cars, and in the bilevel trains, you actually can't; you're on the lower level and the connection between cars is on the upper level.
 

jebr

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The coaches have a lower level which is wheelchair accessible, and I don't think it has a wheelchair accressible bathroom at all, but I'm not remembering clearly; I don't take long-distance bilevel coach very often.
There actually is a handicap-accessible bathroom on the lower level of the "bilevel"/Superliner trains. It's near the vestibule/doors and actually opens into that area, instead of the small hallway where the rest of the bathrooms are. It'd be difficult to get in/out of during station stops, but otherwise would be available pretty easily.
 
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