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New Proposal Would Allow Pets on Amtrak

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If a bill introduced to Congress this week is passed, pets will (once again) be allowed onboard Amtrak trains.

According to ABCNews, The Pets on Trains Act of 2013 was introduced by Jeff Denham, R-Calif. and states:

Amtrak will designate one car of each train where passengers may transport “a domesticated cat or dog in the same manner as carry-on baggage” if the animal can be contained in a pet kennel and the kennel can be stowed in accordance with Amtrak size requirements for carry-on baggage.

This means that pets small enough to fit into carry-on sized luggage would be allowed inside a specially designated “pet car” while larger dogs would be kenneled and transported and stowed with luggage that exceeds carry-on size restrictions.

The bill also restricts the length of pet passenger trips to 750 miles or fewer and would include a pet fee.

In addition to creating a much-needed revenue stream for the struggling passenger train industry, the bill supports the role of pets as members of the family, providing additional options for those wanting to include them in travel. With the safety of airline travel for pets in question, the bill would also make traveling with pets an option for those pet parents that refuse to fly their dogs and cats in the cargo hold of an airplane.

Amtrak used to allow pets onboard, a policy that was discontinued in 1976 because, as Amtrak chief executive Joe Boardman told The Washington Post, “things got a little out of control.”

If passed, Amtrak will be forced to make some concessions. Will they need to make additional “bathroom break” stops, make changes in cleaning, will other pets besides cats and dogs be included in the new policy, etc.?

What’s your opinion on the proposed bill? Would you be more likely to travel by train if your dog could join you? Leave a comment!

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  1. Avatar Of Margaret



    Yes I want to travel with my dog. Lets write Amtrak and are congressman

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  4. Avatar Of Wendy Ponte Wendy Ponte says:

    I/we have been praying for this kind of service. There are so many pet owners that I know who have wished to have such a service. In my case and for others it’s an easier way to get from the various amtrak stops in Maine to Boston. It would definitely increase your ridership. There is no reason to have add’l stops because of the animals. This doesn’t happen when you’re in a plane. They don’t stop for the pets. The crate would need to have appropriate pads on the floor of the crate in case of anything and a vets authorization. It is so doable and I think it’s a safer means of transporting animals than it is on an airplane where you have to deal with severe temps and altitude. I’ve always thought it was a no-brainer and never understood why it couldn’t happen. You have my full support and eagerness to make this possible!!!

  5. Avatar Of Brandy Rogers

    Brandy Rogers


    I would LOVE to be able to travel with my kids. I just hope they don’t get crazy with fees and such. Maybe one dog free each additional $20 or something….Also, maybe if they had built in kennels in the pet designated cars…like up front where you put your luggage…then passengers can check on their pets during the trip….it would be nice to not have to lug around your own kennel too…just a thought…

  6. Avatar Of Marianne Gillaspie

    Marianne Gillaspie


    Yes! Yes! Yes! Would like to see the mileage a little longer, but I’ll take it! When can we start?

    • Avatar Of Dottie Weirich

      Dottie Weirich


      YES! YES! I have two small dogs that go everywhere I go most of the time. They are more behaved than a lot of children I see these days. I have three grown sons, 6 granddaughters and they sure as heck don’t act like some I see in the stores! I blame the parents just as I blame pet that don’t clean up or teach their pet manners, which makes it harder on others who respect public outings!

  7. Avatar Of Nancy Powery

    Nancy Powery


    Yes, dogs should be allowed on Amtrak providing theor owners are responsible . Ir crates are needed,then use them. We’ll behave dogs and children.

  8. I would for sure travel more if I could take my pets. It is so expensive to board pets, and I hate to do it. Because of the expense and not wanting to leave my babies behind, I don’t really go anywhere. And if I do it is not far and not for long.

  9. Avatar Of Mobius



    If I could take my Cattle Dog safely on the train, it would turn me into an Amtrak customer instantly.

  10. Avatar Of Nan Archuleta

    Nan Archuleta


    I need to travel with my pets. Small dog, crate trained. Would certainly prefer train service!

  11. Avatar Of Frances



    This is great news. Will be great to be able to travel again by means other than private auto.

  12. Avatar Of Pam Donohue

    Pam Donohue


    My daughter and I have looked into two trips by Amtrak in the past two years…hoping they maybe had changed their pet policy. Finding that we still could not travel with our 12 lb rescue Bichon, we had to travel by car. We will not travel without her and love the idea that we can ride the train with her.

  13. Avatar Of Julia Ellis

    Julia Ellis


    I also would travel on a train with my pet. The only reason I haven’t taken a train lately is because I can’t take my dog.

  14. Avatar Of Delia Beck Delia Beck says:

    My travel is so incredibly restricted in USA vs. Europe and most other parts of the world. I would travel constantly on trains if this law goes through. Right now for instance, wish to drive from Upstate NY to Lorton Virginia to catch the auto train for Florida, returning in say a month. I cannot take my 10.8oz dog on the train, or on a bus. I will not risk an airplane for him, and personally for medical reasons cannot fly. I have family all over the US. To circumvent the 750 miles parameter I would be more than willing, bend over backwards in fact to cut my journey into segments like that even staying in a pet loving hotel to be able to get ANYWHERE in the USA on a train. No problem. This is the most exciting pet travel help..
    I was raised in Europe. Pets encouraged as good business for all public transportation and personally never ever saw a problem at all….animals need to be crated definitely in USA though. Thank you for this opportunity to share my thoughts with you. I am looking forward to the potential of this new total freedom of travel…

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