Is Solo a Good way to Travel Amtrak?

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Winecliff Station

Service Attendant
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Apr 10, 2019
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Hudson Valley
The sanitation habits of pet owners range from incredibly clean to absolutely disgusting and the last thing I want when I board is several hours of some prior occupant's stomach churning pet funk at Amtrak's sleeper prices. Amtrak compartments are full of fabric and carpeting so it's not like they can be sanitized after an accident. This is one area where Amtrak and I see eye-to-eye and if it were up to me no pets would be allowed onboard. That being said the government's mandated acceptance does not appear to have caused major problems as currently implemented.
While I can assure you I am in the former category of pet owners, I acknowledge that not all are like me and completely understand the reason for the rule. Also, I am not sure I would enjoy the ride as much if I had to worry about certain things.... like finding a station where there is grass near the platform, or my dog catching a scent of something she deems suspicious in the middle of the night and feeling the need to loudly warn me about it much to the dismay of my fellow passengers.
 

cassie225

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Louisiana
While I can assure you I am in the former category of pet owners, I acknowledge that not all are like me and completely understand the reason for the rule. Also, I am not sure I would enjoy the ride as much if I had to worry about certain things.... like finding a station where there is grass near the platform, or my dog catching a scent of something she deems suspicious in the middle of the night and feeling the need to loudly warn me about it much to the dismay of my fellow passengers.
So true and my Yorker is a loud yapper lol but what about service dogs and sleepers, they have to be in a carrier also.
 

jis

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So true and my Yorker is a loud yapper lol but what about service dogs and sleepers, they have to be in a carrier also.
I doubt that any service dog has to be in a carrier. That would defeat the entire purpose of a service dog, no? How is a visually impaired person going to be guided by a service dog in a carrier?
 

joelkfla

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No, service dogs do NOT need to be in carriers. And they are trained to be quiet, etc.
@HenryK , care to chime in on this? :)
That's the problem with so-called "emotional support" animals. Real service animals are highly trained to be calm and inconspicuous, which is not the case for random pets for whom the owner has purchased a vest on the internet.
 

Devil's Advocate

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I give 100% support to the right of disabled people to bring a trained service animal anywhere they want to go but I struggle to support the ADA's need to fight any system that might ensure only genuine service animals are allowed. I also support using tax dollars to cover the costs of any verification system so that no fee or financial obligation is passed onto the recipient. In the activist arena it seems like half of us are concerned with the struggles and mistreatment of the less fortunate while the other half are mainly concerned with how basic everyday interactions might affect someone with a victimhood complex.
 
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Winecliff Station

Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 10, 2019
Messages
164
Location
Hudson Valley
I give 100% support to the right of disabled people to bring a trained service animal anywhere they want to go but I struggle to support the ADA's need to fight any system that might ensure only genuine service animals are allowed. I also support using tax dollars to cover the costs of any verification system so that no fee or financial obligation is passed onto the recipient. In the activist arena it seems like half of us are concerned with the struggles and mistreatment of the less fortunate while the other half are mainly concerned with how basic everyday interactions might affect someone with a victimhood complex.
I think the problem is that it’s hard for most travelers to distinguish between service dogs, which have all the ADA protection, and emotional support animals which do not. Also, many people assume service dogs are only for the blind, however they’ve now become trained to pull wheelchairs and open doors for the physically disabled and detect the onset of diabetic shock or epileptic seizures before they happen. Something to do with a scent they pick up when it’s about to happen. What makes things even more confusing is that airlines allow emotional support animals as well, ostensibly due to the fear of flying, thought I’ve read this is being changed among several airlines. Finally, there are grey areas such as PTSD where experts disagree on whether a service dog is warranted.

F4ADECAD-1C11-4B23-8156-BAE709CA4AE9.jpeg
 

AmtrakBlue

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Delaware
I think the problem is that it’s hard for most travelers to distinguish between service dogs, which have all the ADA protection, and emotional support animals which do not. Also, many people assume service dogs are only for the blind, however they’ve now become trained to pull wheelchairs and open doors for the physically disabled and detect the onset of diabetic shock or epileptic seizures before they happen. Something to do with a scent they pick up when it’s about to happen. What makes things even more confusing is that airlines allow emotional support animals as well, ostensibly due to the fear of flying, thought I’ve read this is being changed among several airlines. Finally, there are grey areas such as PTSD where experts disagree on whether a service dog is warranted.

View attachment 24391
A couple of other types of service dogs are for hearing assistance & autism.
 

HenryK

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 12, 2015
Messages
267
As a service dog handler all I can say is that Amtrak, for the most part, has been very hospitable to us. Attendants and conductors have been understanding and soliticous, except for one on the California Zephyr who was a clear dog-hater and forbade us to go to the dining car. Other conductors have held trains at short stops in emergencies for Trooper's relief.

On every trip I consult with sleeper attendants about the likeliest pee stops. For instance, every time we ride the eastbound Capitol Limited to Washington, I ask the attendant to let us off at South Bend for a quick whiz. That's not a smoke stop but a baggage handling stop, giving us time to get on and off without delaying the train, and we're good for the night until Pittsburgh. We've never been refused, even when extra board attendants may be at first unfamiliar with the protocol.

It's a mistake to think that all service dog handlers want everything their way. Most of us try hard, and usually succeed, at negotiating conditions that work for all parties.
 

Oaxacajo

Train Attendant
Joined
May 10, 2021
Messages
32
Location
Chicago
As a service dog handler all I can say is that Amtrak, for the most part, has been very hospitable to us. Attendants and conductors have been understanding and soliticous, except for one on the California Zephyr who was a clear dog-hater and forbade us to go to the dining car. Other conductors have held trains at short stops in emergencies for Trooper's relief.

On every trip I consult with sleeper attendants about the likeliest pee stops. For instance, every time we ride the eastbound Capitol Limited to Washington, I ask the attendant to let us off at South Bend for a quick whiz. That's not a smoke stop but a baggage handling stop, giving us time to get on and off without delaying the train, and we're good for the night until Pittsburgh. We've never been refused, even when extra board attendants may be at first unfamiliar with the protocol.

It's a mistake to think that all service dog handlers want everything their way. Most of us try hard, and usually succeed, at negotiating conditions that work for all parties.
I thought this was about solo traveling on Amtrak? How did it evolve into Amtrak's pet policy. Shouldn't that be a different topic?
 

MARC Rider

Engineer
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
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3,815
Location
Baltimore. MD
All this is nice... but please! Amtrak Apple! Tell me where is the Apple capital of the world??? Is it the Wenatchee area of Washington State, or the south central part of Wisconsin where I grew up... and the finest treat of autumn were those Granny Smith's that were destined for the most mouth watering apple pies to be smothered in freshly churned Wisconsin Dairy Vanilla Ice Cream? Perhaps you will send us to New York State?

Wherever you want to send me for the fall apple harvest, I will go... all you gotta do is hop an Amtrak train!


View attachment 24302
The apple capital of the world is obviously Adams County, PA. There's some town in the county called Gettysburg, or something like that, where some sort of battle happened 150 years ago. But the apples....ahhhhh! (And actually you can find good apples along the mountain front all the way down to Frederick, MD.) It's easily accessible via Amtrak from either the Baltimore or Harrisburg stations (but you will need a car to get from there to Adams County.)

General Information - National Apple Harvest Festival
www.nationalapplemuseum.com
 

MARC Rider

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Messages
3,815
Location
Baltimore. MD
Intercity rail conductors almost everywhere else in the world manage to deal with it.

I'm just saying it's probably a non-starter with the Amtrak conductors we have now.
Except the conductors on the Acela and Northeast Regional in the business class section.
And in Northeast Regional coach, conductors don't bother rearranging passengers, anyway, people are always getting on and off and find their own seats perfectly well. Where assigned seats would be helpful is for the long distance coach, where station stops are made longer because the coach attendant is trying to sort out passengers rather than just letting them board and find their pre-assigned seats by themselves.
 

cirdan

Engineer
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
2,715
I doubt that any service dog has to be in a carrier. That would defeat the entire purpose of a service dog, no? How is a visually impaired person going to be guided by a service dog in a carrier?
I assumed the implication to be that they are in the carrier at such times that their services are not required.
 

VAtrainfan

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 26, 2017
Messages
166
Location
Portsmouth, VA
The apple capital of the world is obviously Adams County, PA. There's some town in the county called Gettysburg, or something like that, where some sort of battle happened 150 years ago. But the apples....ahhhhh! (And actually you can find good apples along the mountain front all the way down to Frederick, MD.) It's easily accessible via Amtrak from either the Baltimore or Harrisburg stations (but you will need a car to get from there to Adams County.)

General Information - National Apple Harvest Festival
www.nationalapplemuseum.com
For traffic's sake, I'd recommend taking the Keystone or Pennsylvanian to LNC (Lancaster) and hopping on US-30 West towards Gettysburg. WAY less of a headache than either Harrisburg or Baltimore.
 

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