You can now travel with your pet on Amtrak. Certain rules and restrictions apply.
You can now travel with your pet on Amtrak. Certain rules and restrictions apply. Photo: Amtrak

Amtrak allows passengers to travel with their small pets.

Amtrak announced they’ve extended and expanded their pets on board program.  This means that passengers can continue to travel with their small pets.  Because of the overwhelming success of the pilot program, Amtrak Pets Program is now permanent on most eastern and select mid-western corridor trains.

Have a longer trip in mind?  Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, Amtrak has added this service for trips up to 7 hours in length to many of the long distance trains, except the Auto Train.  Pets are only allowed in coach cars, not in sleeping accommodations.  A weekend-only pilot program on Acela Express starts on Saturday, Feb. 20.

The Acela Express pilot program, which is initially scheduled through June 12, 2016, will be regularly reviewed for possible improvements or continuation beyond that date.

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Small dogs and cats traveling with their owners are allowed on Amtrak.
Small dogs and cats traveling with their owners are allowed on Amtrak. Photo: Amtrak

Pets on Trains Act of 2015

Since the pilot program began in October 2015, more that 2,700 pets have traveled with their human chaperons aboard Amtrak along the Northeast Corridor. Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. were the top departure cities. .

“We are excited to bring this service to more of our passengers throughout the country who want to travel with these cherished family members,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman. “We listened to our passengers and delivered on this program, which will also help increase ridership and revenue.”

Passengers and their pets may board at any Amtrak station, regardless of whether it is a staffed or unstaffed station.

“Expanding Amtrak Pets on Trains program nationwide is a win for Amtrak and for millions of American pet owners who can now depend on their rail service for their travel needs,” said Rep. Jeff Denham of California, who introduced the Pets on Trains legislation in 2013 and later established a working group with Amtrak to encourage the policy expansion. “I look forward to seeing the program’s success across the country.”

The rules

To travel on Amtrak with your pet, only one cat or one small dog are allowed per passenger.  The pet must be in an enclosed carrier on trips not longer than seven hours in length. Both pet and carrier must be a combined weight of 20 pounds. Advance reservations are required and a surcharge of $25, each way, will be assessed for travel.

Service animals

Amtrak continues to welcome service animals on board at no charge.

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