Pittsburgh-to-New York train to add baggage car for bikes
Bicyclists can place their bike on a baggage car at select stations when taking the train from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and onto New York, Amtrak said Monday.
Train stations in Pittsburgh, Johnstown, Altoona, Harrisburg, Lancaster and Philadelphia have been offering that service on the Pennsylvanian since earlier this month, but not at the Greensburg station, said Beth Toll, an Amtrak spokeswoman. Amtrak only offers the service at stations where it has an agent that checks the bags for passengers using the baggage car.
At stations like Greensburg, passengers cannot bring their bicycles onto the coach cars of the train, unless they are folding bikes that meet Amtrak’s size requirements, Toll said.
“Most of these unstaffed stations are small, quick stops, with platforms that aren’t long enough to accommodate the baggage car and there are not any provisions to have the passenger properly check-in with staff before train time,” Toll said.
Those using the service will take their bike to the baggage car and hand it to the conductor, who will place it on the rack, said Mark Spada, president of Western Pennsylvanians for Passenger Rail. The rider has to take the bike to the baggage car, even if they are checking bags, Spada said.
The service is different than the Capitol Limited, which runs between Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., Toll said. The Capitol Limited has a car with a ramp that allows the cyclist to roll their bikes onto and off the railcar.
Amtrak recommends anyone wanting to use the service to reserve a spot because there is space only for six bicycles in the Pennsylvanian’s baggage car, Toll said. The Pennsylvanian travels from Pittsburgh to New York in the morning and returns in the evening.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which provides Amtrak with subsidies for the passenger service in the state, sees the service for bicyclists as a way of “expanding multimodal transportation options,” which doesn’t end at the train station,” Jennie Granger, PennDOT’s deputy secretary for multimodal transportation, said in a statement.
Travelers can explore the state’s recreational opportunities with day trips to historic communities or longer bikepacking adventures, along with the state’s bicycle routes, Granger said.
Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .