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Bicycles & the Auto Train

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Joined
Apr 23, 2012
Messages
2
Amtrak policy says:

"Empty, factory-installed ski and luggage racks are okay; temporary luggage and bicycle racks are not. Luggage and bicycles may not be attached to the roof. Bicycles in bicycle racks may be attached to the back of the vehicle only."

I cannot figure out if they mean the bicycle rack needs to be they type that physically attached to the rear of the vehicle via a trailer hitch? Is a trunk mounted rack considered "temporary" by Amtrak since it uses straps? I already own trunk-mounts, so this would be cheaper than buying a hitch. In the past I've been able to put the bikes inside our minivan, but this trip we have more people

I've called Amtrak and all they can do is re-read the policy over the phone, and there are no local numbers listed for either Lorton or Sanford. Has anyone done this and can clarify what is allowed?
 
Joined
Apr 9, 2012
Messages
14
That is a pain and a poorly worded policy given that I don't know of any rear-mounted bicycle racks that are not temporary. Is it possible to carry the bikes to the train on a rear rack, and then put the bikes inside the van for the train ride? That would be far less convenient then simply leaving them on, but it might get you where you need to be.
 

lo2e

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 18, 2012
Messages
361
Location
Maine
That is a pain and a poorly worded policy given that I don't know of any rear-mounted bicycle racks that are not temporary. Is it possible to carry the bikes to the train on a rear rack, and then put the bikes inside the van for the train ride? That would be far less convenient then simply leaving them on, but it might get you where you need to be.
That was my thought also. Stick everything in the van once you arrive there, then pull everything out upon arrival and reattach to the rear?
 
Joined
Apr 23, 2012
Messages
2
I thought about that, we'd have to take the bikes off the rack, unload some luggage, drop the seats, take the wheels off etc. and do the reverse on the other side. If I don't get any clarity, then that's what I would have to do if stopped @ the loading area about it. But I'm hoping someone else has done it already :)
 

AlanB

Conductor
Honored Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2002
Messages
28,406
Location
Queens, New York
Qsman,

I would assume that since you mention straps, Amtrak would consider that temporary. They want things that are permanently mounted and require tools to remove. Like a rack attached to the front bumper.

However, my suggestion is that you call the Auto Train's toll free number, if you haven't done so already, and discuss things with them. The people that answer the phone there have special training on all things related to the Auto Train. At the regular toll free number, you'll just be quoted what's in the policy and they'll have no working knowledge.

The special AT phone number is 1-877-754-7495 or for those who prefer words; 1-877-SKIP-I-95.
 
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