All aboard Amtrak, cyclists, for pilot program

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Sun-Times file photo

If you like to take your bicycle on Amtrak trains but hate having to take it apart first, things just got a little easier.

Amtrak this week is unveiling a new “roll-on” bicycle service between Chicago and Washington D.C., as part of a pilot program.

Instead of having to disassemble bikes and put them in a box, riders are now able to take advantage of eight bike racks in the baggage cars on the Capitol Limited route, Amtrak officials said.

“We’ve worked with the cycling community to identify solutions and bring new ideas to expand services for passengers who travel with their bikes,” said Deborah Stone-Wulf, Amtrak vice president of sales and customer service. “We look forward to measuring the success of this service with an eye to expansion to additional routes across our national network.”

Rep. Dan Lipinski, a lifelong cyclist who has been pushing Amtrak to better accommodate cyclists, applauded this week’s announcement.

“Cycling is not only a personal passion for me, but it is something that simply makes sense to expand transportation options for Americans,” Lipinski said in a statement. “It is good for the health of our nation, the environment, the development of our communities, and is one of the keys to addressing the ongoing challenges that come with urban congestion.”

Reservations will be required for the new service, and passengers must have a travel document for their bikes, official said. The cost is $20. Passengers with bikes must arrive 30 minutes prior to departure. To get more information, go to Amtrak.com or call 1-800-USA-RAIL.

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