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Pets on Long Distance Trains

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AmtrakLKL

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Messages
352
I strongly suspect pets will be allowed to travel on long haul trains soon, or at least some of them. Haven't seen anything official, but there is some new paperwork floating around and some station agents have mentioned it is coming.
 

Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,623
Location
Texas
I'm sure there is a way to keep pets from becoming a problem, in fact we already know that the whole pet situation is largely resolved on airlines, but I'm not so sure Amtrak is capable of reliably handing pets in a similar manner. Every time I ride Amtrak I see layers of stains and other organic material mashed into the carpet from decades past. I wonder if this means pet stains and embedded fecal matter are likely to join the growing ecosystem contained in Amtrak's carpeting.
 
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tonys96

Conductor
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
1,367
Location
Texas
I hope they go all in on this. Not piecemeal as on some short routes. Forcing just some pax to sit in "pet cars" , while keeping others from enjoying the company of theirs and others' pets is unconscionable!

Should be allowed on ALL TRAINS, in ALL CARS, except, maybe diners ( which might be disappearing anyway ). And not just small animals that fit in carriers under the seat.....what about those of us who own Labs or German Shepherds? Why can't we take our beloved pets too? Hey, most service dogs are large breeds and they are already allowed on all trains with no restrictions.

And, for that matter....why only dogs and/or cats? I have friends who have a pot bellied pig, and another who owns two dwarf rabbits. Why can't they take their pets with them, too??

Why must pets ride in a certain " pet car "? What if their owners want to take bedrooms or roomettes? Why the discrimination? Pets ought to be allowed in sleepers, too! And in the SSL! Why keep the enjoyment of the animals confined to one certain car? Everybody should have an equal opportunity to enjoy the animals!!

This " pet car " deal reeks of discrimination........
 

CCC1007

Conductor
Joined
Jan 2, 2015
Messages
1,719
I hope they go all in on this. Not piecemeal as on some short routes. Forcing just some pax to sit in "pet cars" , while keeping others from enjoying the company of theirs and others' pets is unconscionable!

Should be allowed on ALL TRAINS, in ALL CARS, except, maybe diners ( which might be disappearing anyway ). And not just small animals that fit in carriers under the seat.....what about those of us who own Labs or German Shepherds? Why can't we take our beloved pets too? Hey, most service dogs are large breeds and they are already allowed on all trains with no restrictions.

And, for that matter....why only dogs and/or cats? I have friends who have a pot bellied pig, and another who owns two dwarf rabbits. Why can't they take their pets with them, too??

Why must pets ride in a certain " pet car "? What if their owners want to take bedrooms or roomettes? Why the discrimination? Pets ought to be allowed in sleepers, too! And in the SSL! Why keep the enjoyment of the animals confined to one certain car? Everybody should have an equal opportunity to enjoy the animals!!

This " pet car " deal reeks of discrimination........
All I can say is that pets are a deadly danger to some people, and if I pet an animal, and then rub my eyes, that will end my enjoyment of the day, since my allergies cause my eyes to swell shut, and my breathing is usually also affected.
 

tonys96

Conductor
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
1,367
Location
Texas
I'm sure there is a way to keep pets from becoming a problem, in fact we already know that the whole pet situation is largely resolved on airlines, but I'm not so sure Amtrak is capable of reliably handing pets in a similar manner. Every time I ride Amtrak I see layers of stains and other material mashed into the carpet from decades past. I wonder if this means pet stains and embedded fecal matter are likely to join the growing ecosystem contained in Amtrak's carpeting.
Fecal matter is already a resident on most coach toilets mid route, what is the difference? Responsible pet owners at least attempt to clean things up, most coach attendants.....well not so much.....
 
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tonys96

Conductor
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
1,367
Location
Texas
I hope they go all in on this. Not piecemeal as on some short routes. Forcing just some pax to sit in "pet cars" , while keeping others from enjoying the company of theirs and others' pets is unconscionable!

Should be allowed on ALL TRAINS, in ALL CARS, except, maybe diners ( which might be disappearing anyway ). And not just small animals that fit in carriers under the seat.....what about those of us who own Labs or German Shepherds? Why can't we take our beloved pets too? Hey, most service dogs are large breeds and they are already allowed on all trains with no restrictions.

And, for that matter....why only dogs and/or cats? I have friends who have a pot bellied pig, and another who owns two dwarf rabbits. Why can't they take their pets with them, too??

Why must pets ride in a certain " pet car "? What if their owners want to take bedrooms or roomettes? Why the discrimination? Pets ought to be allowed in sleepers, too! And in the SSL! Why keep the enjoyment of the animals confined to one certain car? Everybody should have an equal opportunity to enjoy the animals!!

This " pet car " deal reeks of discrimination........
All I can say is that pets are a deadly danger to some people, and if I pet an animal, and then rub my eyes, that will end my enjoyment of the day, since my allergies cause my eyes to swell shut, and my breathing is usually also affected.
Nobody will be forcing you to touch any animals.......and you might enjoy the nighttime barking.....and the wonderful aroma of urine and/or feces.
 
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Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,623
Location
Texas
I'm sure there is a way to keep pets from becoming a problem, in fact we already know that the whole pet situation is largely resolved on airlines, but I'm not so sure Amtrak is capable of reliably handing pets in a similar manner. Every time I ride Amtrak I see layers of stains and other material mashed into the carpet from decades past. I wonder if this means pet stains and embedded fecal matter are likely to join the growing ecosystem contained in Amtrak's carpeting.
Fecal matter is already a resident on most coach toilets mid route, what is the difference? Responsible pet owners at least attempt to clean things up, most coach attendants.....well not so much.....
The difference is that even if the train attendant doesn't bother to clean anything at least a toilet seat is a surface I can clean without much effort. How do I go about cleaning Amtrak's disgusting carpets? It's not like I can remove them and throw them into a washing machine. They're basically nothing more than permanently installed sponges.
 
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JoeBas

Conductor
Joined
Dec 30, 2011
Messages
1,098
Why, oh why, does this forum not have a "Munching Popcorn" emoji? :huh:
 

HARHBG

Service Attendant
Joined
Sep 13, 2015
Messages
148
I've yet to see a "legitimate" service animal on Amtrak. Real service animals are trained, highly trained. Every "service animal" I've encountered on Amtrak Long Distance trains was just someones pet. How do I know? Just watch the handler and the animal. Legitimate service animals are trained and experienced in holding their toilet need for many hours at a time. My father supported our family all his life training Police Service Animals.

All the animals (I can recall 4 as of this writing) I've witnessed on board Long Distance trains did indeed urinate and defecate while on board the train, commonly in the vestibule on the lower level of the sleeper car in front of the door while waiting for the train to come to a full halt at a stop, leaving the sleeping car attendant to deal with the mess.

I first-hand watched / witnessed a woman take her dog into a lower level toilet to let the dog relieve itself on the floor and walk away. I had exited the shower and casually waited until the woman left then looked into the bathroom. What made me suspect? The frowning glare / scowl she threw at me as she entered the toilet. I raised a fuss, personally confronted the woman, got the conductor involved but to no avail. Conductor was too "timid" to confront the woman and I personally helped the service car attendant clean up the mess.

All anyone has to do is make the claim that it's a service dog and the animal is on board.

Legitimate "Service Dog" certification proof needs to be implemented for an animal to be allowed to be on board. Just like a proof of rabies vaccination is required for everything, licensing, etc., even taking your dog into a groomer. And he handler needs to be held financially responsible for any and all "messes" caused by the animal.

And before I get slammed for this post by those AU members that have taken a dislike to my brutal honestly in my postings..............

NO, I don't hate dogs. I grew up with dogs and had dogs in my home my entire life.

I just hate obnoxious, selfish, inconsiderate, self-centered, arrogant people who think the rules are meant for everyone else but themselves.

Guess that means I hate 75% of mankind.

Y'all have a great day..................
 

Eris

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 15, 2007
Messages
275
I've yet to see a "legitimate" service animal on Amtrak. Real service animals are trained, highly trained. Every "service animal" I've encountered on Amtrak Long Distance trains was just someones pet. How do I know? Just watch the handler and the animal. Legitimate service animals are trained and experienced in holding their toilet need for many hours at a time. My father supported our family all his life training Police Service Animals.
I have definitely seen legitimate service dogs on Amtrak. The trick with them is, it takes actively noticing them, because they do not make themselves obvious, in general (though there was a German Shepherd whose nose crept out into the aisle while he was sleeping, which he did for most of his trip. His partner noticed, though, and scooted the dog back out of the way). I've seen them more often in lower level coach than upper (Coast Starlight).

Certainly, though, I've witnessed a whole lot more questionable dogs, small, growly, yappy things, larger unruly dogs, and a nasty pitbull-style dog (nasty not by virtue of being a pitbull... these two descriptors are separate) whose people were arrested in Klamath Falls and the dog taken by animal control (after snarling and snapping at the officer), while its owner continued to claim it was a real service dog and chose arrest and claims of discrimination over quietly leaving the station with their dog and figuring out how to get where they were going some other way.
 

PVD

Conductor
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
4,896
Location
NYC/Queens
The proposed rules, if enforced, make most of the concerns moot. I was skeptical of the concept myself, but the trial runs last year did not produce many problems. Remember, there is a 7 hour scheduled run restriction (including connection), it is not a full length of a long distance trip. Also, the number of pet reservations available is rather small.
 

AmtrakLKL

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Messages
352
Found some details:

In addition to the previously permitted trains, pets may be booked now for travel beginning February 16 on all long distance trains (except Auto Train), Palmetto 89/90, Carolinian (train 79 NYP-WAS only), Vermonter (WAS-SPG only) and all New Haven to Springfield trains. Pets are only permitted in coach class and may not be brought into sleepers or food service cars. An Acela pilot will begin February 20 and run through June 12. Pets may be brought onboard weekend/holiday 2200-series trains in business class only.

Summary of policies:

  • $25 per pet.
  • One small dog or cat per passenger in carrier, at least eight weeks old.
  • Combined weight of pet and carrier limited to 20 pounds and counts towards limit of two carry-on bags.
  • Limited to seven hours of travel, including any connections.
  • May sit in any coach car, but limited to five pets per train. For split trains (Lake Shore, Empire Builder), the limit is five pets per section.
  • "Animals must be harmless, not disruptive, odorless and require no attention during travel. If these issues occur in route, the passenger and pet will have to leave the train at the next stop."
Further, passenger+pet may now board at unstaffed stations and complete the pet release with the conductor after boarding.
 

Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,623
Location
Texas
May sit in any coach car, but limited to five pets per train. For split trains (Lake Shore, Empire Builder), the limit is five pets per section.
I wonder if the TE coach on the back of the SL can have up to five pets in a single car. That's not quite how I envisioned this working. Hopefully that's not how Amtrak sees it working either.
 

AmtrakBlue

Conductor
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
11,845
Location
Delaware
Guess my kitty won't be traveling with me. He weighs 20 lbs on his own. Doubt I can find a 0 lb carrier. :help:

No, I do not take my kitty with me on trips.
 

Cho Cho Charlie

Conductor
Joined
Apr 9, 2009
Messages
2,225
Location
Near an Amtrak station
I've yet to see a "legitimate" service animal on Amtrak. Real service animals are trained, highly trained. Every "service animal" I've encountered on Amtrak Long Distance trains was just someones pet. How do I know? Just watch the handler and the animal. Legitimate service animals are trained and experienced in holding their toilet need for many hours at a time. My father supported our family all his life training Police Service Animals.

All the animals (I can recall 4 as of this writing) I've witnessed on board Long Distance trains did indeed urinate and defecate while on board the train, commonly in the vestibule on the lower level of the sleeper car in front of the door while waiting for the train to come to a full halt at a stop, leaving the sleeping car attendant to deal with the mess.

I first-hand watched / witnessed a woman take her dog into a lower level toilet to let the dog relieve itself on the floor and walk away. I had exited the shower and casually waited until the woman left then looked into the bathroom. What made me suspect? The frowning glare / scowl she threw at me as she entered the toilet. I raised a fuss, personally confronted the woman, got the conductor involved but to no avail. Conductor was too "timid" to confront the woman and I personally helped the service car attendant clean up the mess.

All anyone has to do is make the claim that it's a service dog and the animal is on board.

Legitimate "Service Dog" certification proof needs to be implemented for an animal to be allowed to be on board. Just like a proof of rabies vaccination is required for everything, licensing, etc., even taking your dog into a groomer. And he handler needs to be held financially responsible for any and all "messes" caused by the animal.

And before I get slammed for this post by those AU members that have taken a dislike to my brutal honestly in my postings..............

NO, I don't hate dogs. I grew up with dogs and had dogs in my home my entire life.

I just hate obnoxious, selfish, inconsiderate, self-centered, arrogant people who think the rules are meant for everyone else but themselves.

Guess that means I hate 75% of mankind.

Y'all have a great day..................
I have seen only one. A "seeing eye" dog, wearing an appropriate marked vest, and had its own seat check (which I assume the service dog had a ticket?).

The rules for Service Animals changed a while back. I assume to address abuse. Animals who's primary purpose is companionship or comfort, are now excluded. Also, a Service Animal needs to have been trained by a recognized facility. For example, a dog that aids a blind person has to have been trained by a place like "Guiding Eyes", and not by your neighbor's kid.

For Amtrak, if what I observed is correct, giving Service Animals a ticket, such would give Amtrak an opportunity to do a "vetting" (a pun?)of the animal to ensure it does meet requirements (show me its diploma ;) ).
 

FriskyFL

OBS Chief
Joined
Sep 28, 2008
Messages
782
The pet car is called the "baggage car". Pets aren't people. Deal with it.
 

tonys96

Conductor
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
1,367
Location
Texas
Found some details:

In addition to the previously permitted trains, pets may be booked now for travel beginning February 16 on all long distance trains (except Auto Train), Palmetto 89/90, Carolinian (train 79 NYP-WAS only), Vermonter (WAS-SPG only) and all New Haven to Springfield trains. Pets are only permitted in coach class and may not be brought into sleepers or food service cars. An Acela pilot will begin February 20 and run through June 12. Pets may be brought onboard weekend/holiday 2200-series trains in business class only.

Summary of policies:

  • $25 per pet.
  • One small dog or cat per passenger in carrier, at least eight weeks old.
  • Combined weight of pet and carrier limited to 20 pounds and counts towards limit of two carry-on bags.
  • Limited to seven hours of travel, including any connections.
  • May sit in any coach car, but limited to five pets per train. For split trains (Lake Shore, Empire Builder), the limit is five pets per section.
  • "Animals must be harmless, not disruptive, odorless and require no attention during travel. If these issues occur in route, the passenger and pet will have to leave the train at the next stop."
Further, passenger+pet may now board at unstaffed stations and complete the pet release with the conductor after boarding.
If this is the case, it is patently unfair!

Why can't I take Fido with me in a sleeper? This set of rules will allow Fido anywhere in any coach car, so an unsuspecting coach seatmate or those before and behind my little Fido get to enjoy him, why keep him out of sleepers? If my little Fido and I get on the TE in Little Rock, Ark, in the middle of the night and he happens to bark, he might wake up many of my surrounding coach pax, but if we get on in a sleeper, he will only wake a very few pax, cuz I can close the door. Why make me ride coach when I want to ride in a sleeper, and Fido would rather have the extra room, too? This is discriminating against Fido, keeping him out of sleepers! It is elitism!

And the weight restriction? What gives Amtrak the right to favor more svelte dogs over those who are a little more curvy? Fatophobia is what that is......weight-bias discrimination. Poor little Fido knows he is fat, why shame him even more?

And the seven hours? Many trains get delayed for many reasons, putting Fido off the train after seven hours is inhumane. We might only be halfway to our destination. My aunt is in Chicago, and she loves Fido. Fido and I are in the Dallas area, why make us get off the Eagle in Malvern, catch the next day's Eagle and get off again in Poplar Bluff to catch next day's Eagle to Springfield and disembark once more to get the following days Eagle on into the Windy City, when we could just take the Eagle all the way to Chicago? Would it be so Amtrak can price gouge li'l Fido for three extra $25 fees? Unconscionable!

And this "only dogs or cats" stuff? My friends dwarf rabbits are far quieter than either a dog or a cat!!! UNFAIR! :angry2:
 

HenryK

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 12, 2015
Messages
234
Being the human part of a service dog team, I can make a few comments:

1. By federal law, no formal certified training by "recognized facilities" is needed for a service animal. It simply must be trained to perform a task for a person with disabilities that the person can't perform for himself. People sometimes do this with their own dogs. Most often, though, they indeed are professionally trained.

2. Service animals do not need tickets to ride the train. It's a good idea, however, for a service dog team to let Amtrak know ahead of time when the animal is riding a long distance train. It will be mentioned on the passenger manifest and the conductors (and sleeper attendants) will be able to plan ahead for the service dog team's "fresh air" stops.

3. Also by federal law, "vetting" of a service dog team is limited to two questions: 1. Is this a trained service dog? 2. What task is the dog trained to do for you?

3. Lots of service animals (besides my hearing dog) ride Amtrak. Last year I encountered three: a Great Dane trained to lie atop its owner during epileptic seizures, a small mutt trained to prevent its owner from cutting herself, and a guide Lab for a sightless person.

4. HarHBG is right, however. Many selfish and dishonest people fraudulently claim their pets are service animals, buying vests and "certificates" online, and ride Amtrak with them. This often results in unpleasant suspicion and unfair treatment of legitimate service dog teams.

I personally think some kind of government registration of and identification for service dogs is a good idea, provided that medical privacy is retained. Michigan has just passed a law enabling VOLUNTARY registration and ID of service dogs. That will help in many cases although it won't solve them all.
 

jebr

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Joined
Jan 23, 2012
Messages
3,952
Location
"The Last Great City of the East," St. Paul, MN
Amtrak came up with a logical policy to allow a reasonable number of pets on a train, similar to what's allowed on the airlines? Color me impressed. If Amtrak enforces the policy as written, this seems like a good, reasonable improvement for more people to take Amtrak instead of the airlines.
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,848
Location
Ithaca, NY
Found some details:

In addition to the previously permitted trains, pets may be booked now for travel beginning February 16 on all long distance trains (except Auto Train), Palmetto 89/90, Carolinian (train 79 NYP-WAS only), Vermonter (WAS-SPG only) and all New Haven to Springfield trains. Pets are only permitted in coach class and may not be brought into sleepers or food service cars. An Acela pilot will begin February 20 and run through June 12. Pets may be brought onboard weekend/holiday 2200-series trains in business class only.
Truly odd list of which trains allow pets in carriers. I suppose that's a matter of staff training and they'll get around to the other trains eventually? Most of the state-sponsored corridor services still don't allow pets in carriers, and the Illinois trains still have the station restrictions which are absent from all other services.... but I suppose they will be normalized in time.
 
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Peter KG6LSE

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 4, 2011
Messages
433
Location
WilsonVille OR 20 Min From PDX
Being the human part of a service dog team, I can make a few comments:

I personally think some kind of government registration of and identification for service dogs is a good idea, provided that medical privacy is retained. Michigan has just passed a law enabling VOLUNTARY registration and ID of service dogs. That will help in many cases although it won't solve them all.
 


who pays for it!???!!.. Ive got a policy to NEVER burden a disabled person .

If a cute idea puts any one of them more under pressure then whats the point.

take my plaqcard. I have to spend about 100 bucks on a cab to get to my DMV to get a card that is the best way to prove I am physically disabled ....

I cant drive . or ever own a car....... what Am I to do with this large thing hang it over my ear on my segway?

any service dog ID policy MUST be of ZERO burden to the user.

its called fail safe.....
 
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