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Amtrak Cascade bicycle loading?

Old 05-30-19, 03:52 PM
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spinnaker
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Amtrak Cascade bicycle loading?

Can anyone tell me what the procedure is for loading a bicycle on the Amtrak Cascades? Does the bike go on the baggage car like the Starlight? Or do you need to load it in a bike car like the Capital Limited?

Can anyone tell me what to expect?
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Old 05-30-19, 05:37 PM
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It goes in the baggage car. Roll it up and pass it up to the Amtrak employee. They will hang it on the car's wall.

Cascade in Portland

Last edited by Doug64; 05-30-19 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 05-30-19, 09:01 PM
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Will they take a tandem?
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Old 05-31-19, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by riceowls View Post
Will they take a tandem?
No Amtrak will not take tandems unless it has couplers and you box it and it goes as baggage.

https://www.amtrak.com/bike-faqs

I was on a train where a guy had a family bike with something like 4-5 place. He as able to break it down such that it turned into a regular bike. He used bicycles checking then carried on the tubes.

Last edited by spinnaker; 05-31-19 at 06:24 AM.
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Old 12-06-21, 03:57 PM
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I am traveling on Amtrak Cascades next summer from Albany to Seattle. I have reserved a bicycle space but am uncertain about the loading process. The train is only there for 2 minutes and I have four panniers and a tent to carry to my seat, so I want to be ready.
Amtrak says I will check the bicycle in the station. That would be easy.
Earlier post in this thread says you hand it up, which is what I have done the one prior time I used Amtrak trainside checked service (on the Cardinal from Indy to DC - you walked your bike on the platform to the baggage car and handed it up, and at DC you did the same.
Anyone have experience with loading a checked bicycle at Albany?
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Old 12-06-21, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by PavementPolish View Post
I am traveling on Amtrak Cascades next summer from Albany to Seattle. I have reserved a bicycle space but am uncertain about the loading process. The train is only there for 2 minutes and I have four panniers and a tent to carry to my seat, so I want to be ready.
Amtrak says I will check the bicycle in the station. That would be easy.
Earlier post in this thread says you hand it up, which is what I have done the one prior time I used Amtrak trainside checked service (on the Cardinal from Indy to DC - you walked your bike on the platform to the baggage car and handed it up, and at DC you did the same.
Anyone have experience with loading a checked bicycle at Albany?

https://www.amtrak.com/bring-your-bicycle-onboard
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Old 12-06-21, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by PavementPolish View Post
I am traveling on Amtrak Cascades next summer from Albany to Seattle. I have reserved a bicycle space but am uncertain about the loading process. The train is only there for 2 minutes and I have four panniers and a tent to carry to my seat, so I want to be ready.
Amtrak says I will check the bicycle in the station. That would be easy.
Earlier post in this thread says you hand it up, which is what I have done the one prior time I used Amtrak trainside checked service (on the Cardinal from Indy to DC - you walked your bike on the platform to the baggage car and handed it up, and at DC you did the same.
Anyone have experience with loading a checked bicycle at Albany?
I've taken the Cascades from the Albany (Ore.) depot a couple times. It looks like Albany has checked baggage, though if you do the "trainside checked" you will need to wheel your bike to the baggage car. Any other things you check will be brought out by the station attendant. (When checking in at the station, they should tell you what end the baggage car will be. If they don't, ask.) Trainside checked is $5. If you want, you can choose to do the full "checking of the bike", but you'll have to box it and pay the checking fee, which is around $30 the last time I did it. (Don't quote me on the price.)

You say that you'll have four panniers plus tent and want to take it all to your seat. If this was me, I'd check two panniers at the counter. (You can't "check" it at the baggage car, and they aren't going to let you keep panniers or bags on the bike.) The checking of two bags is free, and it saves you the hassle of trying to drag so much gear to your seat in the couple minutes when the train is in the station. Plus, the car your seat is in may be on the opposite side of the train from the baggage car. Just make sure you organize your bags so that the stuff you don't need while sitting on the train for the next five hours or so is the stuff that's checked, not things that you can use on the train. They won't let you access the bags if you do. Extra clothes and camping gear would be in the bags I'd check.

One other thing to note is that the Baggage Car on the Cascades Talgo trainset is lower than the standard Amtrak fleet, so you don't need to lift it as high as you would have on the Cardinal. However, one Talgo trainset has been out of commission for a bit, so they've assigned some standard (East/Midwest) fleet equipment to the Cascades route. So it could be a lower lift, or it could not.
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Old 12-06-21, 11:48 PM
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My daughter loading her bike on the Amtrak Cascade in Portland heading toward Albany. My wife and I have used the Cascade numerous times to get home from a connecting train (Empire Builder) or The PDX Airport. We have also used it several times to get from Albany to Vancouver, BC when it was going there prior to Covid. We only live 35 miles from Albany so it is is easy to ride to the station or ride home from the station.

You have to be able to lift your bike into the baggage car. The Amtrak person will not help you. However , an Amtrak employee helped me when I had 2 bikes relatively far from the baggage cars. She rolled it down to the baggage car, and even lifted it up to the the guy in the car. We used Amtrak last summer, and it was the same drill. It beats the heck out boxing the bikes


My experience has been with the baggage car being relatively close to the engine, and several cars in front of the coaches we've used. Starting from Albany our method of boarding is to unload the bikes and place our panniers about where we think the passenger coaches will be, and put the bikes toward the north end of the platform. One of us loads the bikes, while the other loads the gear into the passenger car. There is plenty of time to load everything if you are alone. It is a small station, and no one will bother the bikes or gear.


Last edited by Doug64; 12-07-21 at 12:31 AM.
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Old 12-07-21, 05:16 AM
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Amtrak’s website says the Cascades now has carry-on service. Is that incorrect?
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Old 12-07-21, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Amtrak’s website says the Cascades now has carry-on service. Is that incorrect?
We just used it in September, and it was bike check-in at the baggage car.

Last edited by Doug64; 12-07-21 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 12-07-21, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
We just used it in September, and it was check in at the baggage car.
at Amtrak.

Do you know if they hang it by a hook on that service? Last year I took the Pennsylvanian out to Pittsburgh with trainside checked service. The attendant who retrieved my bike had a hard time getting it off the hook. I thought he was going to break a spoke on the rear wheel and majorly screw up my trip.
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Old 12-07-21, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Do you know if they hang it by a hook on that service?.
Yep, they do. This is the bike storage setup in the baggage car of the Cascades.

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Old 12-07-21, 12:09 PM
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I should have said the "Cascades last summer". Yes, they do use hooks, but I have not watched them unhook them. It might be better if I don't watch.

At the Albany station when we were still boxing the bikes I saw them drop my bike off the baggage cart during loading.

Watching them pick up my bike after it fell off the cart. There was not any damage.

Last edited by Doug64; 12-07-21 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 12-07-21, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by adventurepdx View Post
Yep, they do. This is the bike storage setup in the baggage car of the Cascades.

Those look much more functional than the ones I remember on the Pennsylvanian.
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Old 12-07-21, 12:29 PM
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I was talking to my wife about the Cacades this morning, and the conclusion we came up with is that the baggage car is on the north end of the train regardless of the direction it is heading. It is only close to the engine at the north end of the train.

This is the rear of the train, the north end, as it is leaving to the south at the Albany station, and that looks like another engine to me. The Cascades train has 2 engines.

I just unloaded the bikes at the north end of the platform.

Last edited by Doug64; 12-07-21 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 12-07-21, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
I was talking to my wife about the Cacades this morning, and the conclusion we came up with is that the baggage car is on the north end of the train regardless of the direction it is heading.
Yeah, now thinking about it, I can only remember the baggage car being on the north end of the Cascades. But the minute that you expect that out of them, they'll change it up.
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