Author Topic: How to get from Washington DC to Yorktown, VA?  (Read 15863 times)

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Offline PeteJack

Re: How to get from Washington DC to Yorktown, VA?
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2014, 01:20:19 pm »
Quote
Mineral is entirely forgettable.
True. Unless you're feted by the VFD there ain't much there. On the other hand it's the "forgettable" places that are the real USA. Like Oxford Junction Iowa where I spent last 4th of July. The OP is coming from the UK remember.
Note the vintage firetruck of the VFD.

Offline Pedal Girl

Re: How to get from Washington DC to Yorktown, VA?
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2014, 04:49:10 pm »
Thank you all so much for your advice! We've decided to get the train now that the baggage rules have changed. Thanks again to all of you for taking the time to reply. This forum is great! Can't wait to get on the road!  8)

Offline pookey

Re: How to get from Washington DC to Yorktown, VA?
« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2015, 06:49:32 am »
I know this is an old thread but I am doing the trans am trail next summer and am sorting out a train for me and my bike and box from Washington to Yorktown. I have seen the reply re the 7.30am train which takes checked baggage so I will plan to get that one. It seems easy enough to reserve the seat for me but I am confused as to how a reserve a space for my bike and bike box. There does not seem to be a step during the reservation process to book my bike and I don't really want to just turn up in the hope that there is space for the bike and box. Does anyone know how I do this step of the process? Do I have to call the reservation line or can I do it on line. I am flying in from the UK to Washington dc a few days before.

Many thanks

chris lehrbach

Offline PeteJack

Re: How to get from Washington DC to Yorktown, VA?
« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2015, 09:21:11 am »
I know this is an old thread but I am doing the trans am trail next summer and am sorting out a train for me and my bike and box from Washington to Yorktown. I have seen the reply re the 7.30am train which takes checked baggage so I will plan to get that one. It seems easy enough to reserve the seat for me but I am confused as to how a reserve a space for my bike and bike box. There does not seem to be a step during the reservation process to book my bike and I don't really want to just turn up in the hope that there is space for the bike and box. Does anyone know how I do this step of the process? Do I have to call the reservation line or can I do it on line. I am flying in from the UK to Washington dc a few days before.
If just browsed through the regs from the link given here in this CrazyGuy article but nowhere can I find any reference to having to have a booking for a bike i.e. as long as you have a ticket for yourself they will take your bike as one piece of checked baggage (limit 2). I've had no experience with Washington DC to Yorktown but this has been my Amtrak experience. I have taken a bike from: Seattle WA, Portland OR, San Diego CA, San Luis Obispo CA, Vancouver BC and Flagstaff AZ. At the latter I just walked in and bought a ticket on the day of the train. There was a family emergency and I didn't have time to book ahead. If you are planning on leaving/arriving from/to a manned station you won't have any problem. Ive always found Amtrak staff very helpful. What you can do is buy a box and ticket and check your bike in up to 24 hours before you travel but no more than 24 hours. You may want to do this to avoid last minute scrambles.

On the east coast there's plenty of manned stations but out West they are thin on the ground. I had to disappoint a touring companion who was planning on taking his bike to Chemult OR the nearest station to Crater Lake NP. This would have been great, it's about 12 miles from the park and about 200 ft. from the Sierra-Cascades route but unfortunately it's not a manned station so you can't take your bike off even though the train stops there. The nearest manned station is Klamath Falls 80 odd miles S of Chemult.

Another tip. Buy a suitcase from a thrift store ($15 seems to be the going rate) and put your paniers, rackbag, helmet etc. in it. this way you only have one extra bag to check. Then dump it or find another thrift store to donate it to at the other end. This is usually only necessary when flying or possibly going by bus, something I've never done. On my last Amtrak trip I checked my heaviest panier and carried on the remaining 3 and a barbag, a bit of an armful but doable.

I've Googled a bit and it looks like the nearest station to Yorktown is Newport News which does appear to be manned i.e. it has a ticket office. Do some poking round on CrazyGuy to find out how to get from there to Yorktown. IIR it's not very far but tricky getting from NN to Yorktown (a tunnel you can't ride through). Again see what others have done on this site and CrazyGuy etc..

You'll have a blast.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2015, 09:28:05 am by PeteJack »

Offline BobG

Re: How to get from Washington DC to Yorktown, VA?
« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2015, 08:39:44 am »
I've Googled a bit and it looks like the nearest station to Yorktown is Newport News...

Williamsburg is closer, 13 miles vs 20 with less traffic to deal with. It appears that the morning train does still have checked baggage service. You may want to call around 11AM when the station is manned to confirm. (757) 229-8750. Just show up and check your bike like any other piece of luggage at DC. There's plenty of room in trains with baggage cars for bikes. I would imagine that a big station like Union in DC would keep a good stock of boxes, although your bike may already be boxed from the flight from UK.

I've always just zip tied my rear panniers together to make them one piece and carried on front panniers and HB bag if you have one. A suitcase is somewhat redundant.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2015, 04:24:00 pm by BobG »

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: How to get from Washington DC to Yorktown, VA?
« Reply #20 on: December 14, 2015, 01:42:23 pm »
I know this is an old thread but I am doing the trans am trail next summer and am sorting out a train for me and my bike and box from Washington to Yorktown. I have seen the reply re the 7.30am train which takes checked baggage so I will plan to get that one. It seems easy enough to reserve the seat for me but I am confused as to how a reserve a space for my bike and bike box. There does not seem to be a step during the reservation process to book my bike and I don't really want to just turn up in the hope that there is space for the bike and box. Does anyone know how I do this step of the process? Do I have to call the reservation line or can I do it on line. I am flying in from the UK to Washington dc a few days before.

Many thanks

chris lehrbach
Which train are you taking? In some instances, you do not need to have the bike boxed thanks to new Amtrak baggage cars on long distance trains.

Here is the web site page about brining your bike on Amtrak:

http://www.amtrak.com/bring-your-bicycle-onboard

There is "Walk-On Bicycle Service," which does not seem like it would be available where you plan to travel.

There is "Walk-Up Checked Bicycle Service," which is the new option. There are some east coast trains so it may be an option for you. A reservation is required and is probably made by calling Amtrak.

Finally, there is Boxed Bicycles in Checked Baggage Service. Your origin and destination stations must offer checked baggage service to use this option.

As suggested, get a cheap piece of luggage (I have used a duffel bag) for your panniers, etc.

Offline PeteJack

Re: How to get from Washington DC to Yorktown, VA?
« Reply #21 on: December 14, 2015, 01:46:46 pm »
Quote
I've always just zip tied my rear panniers together to make them one piece and carried on front panniers and HB bag if you have one.
I've had Amtrak staff refuse to let me do that in San Diego, though I have seen it done at an airport. Probably depends on the guy checking you in. I don't think there''s an official policy about it. Yes the suitcase can be a bit of a nuisance to get rid of but it is handy having all your stuff in one box especially if it's got wheels. Different strokes...

Offline PeteJack

Re: How to get from Washington DC to Yorktown, VA?
« Reply #22 on: December 14, 2015, 01:57:52 pm »
And again good luck and have a blast. If you end up in the Seattle area send me a PM.