I have actually never ridden on a train, always wanted to, but haven’t had the chance. So, honestly I didn’t know that dogs weren’t allowed on them! But, it seems that before now, dogs weren’t allowed as passengers on trains.
That’s all changed thanks to Representative Jeff Denham (R-California), who has worked for years to get a bill passed requiring Amtrak to accept dogs and cats. The five year appropriations bill include a pilot program that requires pets to be allowed in at least one designated train car. Your pet is basically considered “carry-on baggage” – so they do have to be contained in a pet kennel that complies with Amtrak’s requirements for carry-ons, so your Great Dane is probably still banned.
But, if you have a small dog, especially a brachycephalic (short-nosed) dog breed, this just may be the alternative to airplane travel you have been waiting for.
In fact Rep. Dehman own a French Bulldog named Lily, who was part of the reason he fought for this victory. He even tweeted about it on the day the bill passed:
— Jeff Denham (@RepJeffDenham) December 1, 2015
Others are thanking him for his hard work, including Cersei the Cat, who will also be allowed to ride the rails now:
There are other restrictions aside from size of pet/carry-on crate. Since this is a pilot program, it’s only running on certain trains. According to the Amtrak website:
From October 12, 2015 to February 15, 2016, pets will also be allowed on board the following trains:
- Northeast Regional service trains between Boston – New York – Washington – Lynchburg – Newport News – Norfolk
- Downeaster service trains between Brunswick, Portland and Boston – North Station
- Trains 79, 80 and 90 between New York and Washington
(Note: Pets will not be accepted on the New Haven to Springfield shuttles, Northeast Regional service trains between New Haven and Springfield and the Vermonter service train between New Haven and St. Albans.)
And there’s a time limit. You have 7 hours (including connections) to complete your trip.
Only one pet per passenger.
To see the complete list of rules and regulations, check out Amtrak’s “Carry-on Pet Pilot” page on their site.
Of course, now people are wondering why their pets don’t acquire Amtrak Rewards like humans do. One step at a time people, one step at a time!
— Lis Smith (@Lis_Smith) December 8, 2015