Author Topic: Amtrak Bicycle Loading presentation  (Read 4134 times)

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Offline jwrushman

Amtrak Bicycle Loading presentation
« on: May 23, 2023, 07:46:43 am »
Did anyone else participate in the bicycle loading presentation by Amtrak? I admire the dedication of the presenters.  But a word comes to mind - Sisyphean. All the different bicycle options - eBikes, tandems, recumbents, trikes, children's, fat tire, trailers... And all the different train car and platform configurations. The best I think we can hope for is improved communication/documentation for the question "Can I get from A to B with this gear?"

Offline ray b

Re: Amtrak Bicycle Loading presentation
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2023, 09:27:47 am »
Did anyone else participate in the bicycle loading presentation by Amtrak? ....
Is this one from the League the one you to which you refer?

https://youtu.be/YE6oJ7quCnM

I agree.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2023, 09:30:06 am by ray b »
“A good man always knows his limitations.”

Offline jwrushman

Re: Amtrak Bicycle Loading presentation
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2023, 09:49:27 am »
Yes

Offline mobilemail

Re: Amtrak Bicycle Loading presentation
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2023, 06:00:09 am »
I thought the photos in the presentation did a lot to explain what could likely be accommodated.  I think it came down to: If your bike will fit in this rack space, it can go. 
It appears that any unconventional gear like trailers, trikes, LWB 'bents, tandems would need boxed.  Which starts the next discussion - does the box need to be shaped like a standard bike box?  Because the box holding something like a folding trike, or tandem, would be bigger or shaped differently than "standard".
I've been cycling since the early '80s, it's great to finally see more than a passing glance given to bicycle infrastructure and multimodal travel and transportation.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Amtrak Bicycle Loading presentation
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2023, 09:11:30 am »
Amtrak owns very little of the route network it operates over.  The Northeast Corridor, Philadelphia to Harrisburg and a short stretch in MI is, I believe, it.  Much of what it uses, like platforms and stations, was created by the railroads Amtrak assumed passanger service for.  With fundig priorities in this country, a lingering hodgepodge is to he expected.  At least Amtrak was able to replace those aging baggage cars that dated back to the 1950s. They were becoming increasingly difficult to maintain and repair.

Offline canalligators

Re: Amtrak Bicycle Loading presentation
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2023, 10:24:18 am »
I thought the photos in the presentation did a lot to explain what could likely be accommodated.  I think it came down to: If your bike will fit in this rack space, it can go. 
It appears that any unconventional gear like trailers, trikes, LWB 'bents, tandems would need boxed.  Which starts the next discussion - does the box need to be shaped like a standard bike box?  Because the box holding something like a folding trike, or tandem, would be bigger or shaped differently than "standard".
I've been cycling since the early '80s, it's great to finally see more than a passing glance given to bicycle infrastructure and multimodal travel and transportation.

The box Amtrak sells you is shaped like a bike box, but much larger.  I did not find a maximum box size on their website.  I’d call and ask.  Be prepared for long call wait times.

Offline ray b

Re: Amtrak Bicycle Loading presentation
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2023, 08:49:19 pm »
Not sure what the current practice is, but I recall the supply of boxes at the Whitefish station 10 y ago included not only the Amtrak boxes, but also "recycled" cardboard boxes with brand names that obviously came from a shop and carried someone's bike to the station. That is, boxes of similar but varied sizes. Not sure that would be true at Chicago or Seattle.
“A good man always knows his limitations.”

Offline canalligators

Re: Amtrak Bicycle Loading presentation
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2023, 10:23:19 pm »
I don't think a lot of stations keep a big supply of boxes around.  I've been given a used Amtrak box and have given boxes to stations for giving away.

I tried the reserved rack space service this weekend.  I was riding Empire Corridor (New York) trains with Amfleet coaches.  These coaches have a dual-purpose rack, which can be configured for baggage or one bike.  My bike is a diamond frame with rear rack, small panniers, racktop bag and handlebar bag.  For loading and unloading, I removed the panniers and strapped them together.  I lifted the bike into the coach, then the conductor either handed my pans up or brought them up for me.  Removing the front wheel and hanging the bike by its rear wheel was not difficult.  My bike is pretty tall, a 24.5" or 63cm frame, so the seat stuck out into the aisle a few inches, but it did not seem to be a problem with people passing by.  In all, it was a smooth process.

They do not allow short wheelbase recumbents, and in fact, one won't fit.  Not enough overhead room to hang by its front wheel, too long to hang by its rear wheel.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Amtrak Bicycle Loading presentation
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2023, 09:03:11 am »
Not sure what the current practice is, but I recall the supply of boxes at the Whitefish station 10 y ago included not only the Amtrak boxes, but also "recycled" cardboard boxes with brand names that obviously came from a shop and carried someone's bike to the station.

Makes sense.  People probably had their bikes boxed at their origins, unpacked at the station and started riding from there. 

Both times I travelled from Philly to Seattle via Amtrak I unpacked my bike at the station and left the box for re-use.

Another possibility is that they got some from Glacier Cyclery.  They get a lot of bikes shipped to them by people starting tours in Whitefish.  I shipped there in June of 2009 and smartly got on the schedule early.