Cyclists test roll on/roll off service on Amtrak
Avid bicyclists took to the Amtrak train Tuesday morning at different stops in different trail towns for an experimental program that is hoped to increase ridership on the train and bike/hike trails.
“This is a trial run,” said Linda Boxx, president of the Allegheny Trail Alliance.
Boxx and five other bicyclists waited for the 6:45 a.m. Capitol Limited passenger train with their bikes by their side at the Amtrak station in Connellsville, ready to try Amtrak's roll-on/roll-off bicycle service.
The service is something trail and bicycle enthusiasts have been lobbying to get for years.
It provides bicyclists a chance to roll their bikes onto a train car equipped with bike racks, ride the train and then roll the bikes off when they reach their destination.
There is no such service at all currently, but bikes can be checked as luggage (once partially disassembled and boxed) and loaded/unloaded only at Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.
“They want to see how quickly they can get six bicycles on and off the train,” Boxx said. If the program is implemented by Amtrak, the popularity of the trail will bring more bicyclists on the train, said Boxx.
“Six racks won't be enough,” she said.
June Deakins of Somerset has been riding the Great Allegheny Passage before it was a bike trail and said if the program is implemented, it could mean a greater ease and a lower expense for bicyclists.
“It's another door opening if Amtrak can help us out,” Deakins said. “People fly to Pittsburgh and put together their bikes, and it's expensive to hire a shuttle.”
Bob Hand of Irwin was another volunteer departing from Connellsville for Cumberland, Md.
“I think this is a great exercise,” Hand said. “I expect it will work well and be a boom to cyclists.”
The group riding from Connellsville to Cumberland weren't the only passengers testing out the roll-on/roll-off service. There were volunteers at each stop with their tokes in tow.
A group traveled from Pittsburgh to Connellsville to cycle back to Pittsburgh.
“It's easy to get on and off the train,” said Vannevan Bush of Beaver, adding the program will help bring more people to Connellsville. “People and local business owners should call Amtrak and encourage them to make it a permanent program.”
James Taggart of Monroeville, who is on the Allegheny Trail Alliance board, said the program made a one-day bike trip more convenient in terms of time and transportation.
“This was easier than folding and carrying my bike on and off the train,” Taggart said.
Boxx said she doesn't know if or when Amtrak will make the program available for the stops at the bike-trail towns.
Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Former Connellsville councilman’s foresight led to happier trails
- Connellsville center to host Eggstravaganza
- Nobody injured in Connellsville house fire
- Connellsville boasts connections to Hollywood, history-making athletes
- Connellsville Area Community Ministries surpasses Sharing The Harvest Campaign goal
- Defects identified in Fayette County man fighting death penalty in slayings
- Serial burglar targets homes in North Union, South Union
- IQ concerns resurface in Fayette County death sentence appeal
- Connellsville health board warns property owners
- Connellsville area’s secular, parochial schools push students to excel academically, technologically, leaders say
- Connellsville companies able to grow, change with the times