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Reply to Amtrak Station in Albany

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Reply to Amtrak Station in Albany
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Rick from Grafton, Va on 4/18/2020 3:28:00 PM:
I know these comments/questions were posted in 2019 but I talked to an Amtrak agent today 4/18/20 and was told no bike/checked service. I told the agent we were planning to remove pedals, loosen handlebars, and box. The answer was NO! I tried doing a tentative ticket reservation and when you get past the date of travel and ticket cost the next screen is extras. At the top of the page it says "here is where you add on extras like pets, golf clubs, bikes, etc. There is a fee for checked pets up to a certain size but no bikes. This is stupid beyond belief. Amtrak needs to expand their services to include bikes on EVERY TRAIN that goes near bike destinations. They finally started the Washington DC to Pittsburg Pa roll on service a few years ago and I've used it 3-4 times. We'd wanted to park in Albany and actually train to Niagara Falls and bike back. Now we're back to square one looking for a shuttle service that will only shuttle us. We don't need a guide nor an itinerary.

Rick Hancock from Grafton on 4/18/2020 9:03:54 PM:
i stand corrected. Apparently there is a train that departs in the evening and arrives in Buffalo at appx. Midnight at the Depew station which is appx. 9-10miles from the trailhead. Darn shame as that means a overnight stay in a motel.

wnybubba from Bflo-Roc on 4/18/2020 10:43:37 PM:
Rick - pretty discouraging news, but the late night train (typical for Bflo because it's between NYC and Chicago) is certainly an option for you to consider. Depew is a built-up suburban area and there are *tons* of motel options close by. I checked (are you a member?) and there are Buffalo options in this reagrd as well. There is also a Hostel in Buffalo (Buffalo Niagara Hostel, Just not sure why a night is an issue - time or money, but options are available. Although I know nothing about this - is taking a bus an alternative option to the train? It's really discouraging about the train attitude toward bikes -- last year in Toronto I jumped on a train into town with my bike -- no problem just not allowed on Handicapped cars and limit to two per. Maybe I need to do some advocacy with some agencies in NYS.

Rick from Grafton, Va on 4/19/2020 10:27:02 AM:
Time is the main factor but money for a few hours sleep is also a factor unless lodging is relatively cheap. I'd hate to knock on someones door after 12am and haven't used warmshowers. Plus I generally like to get into town, load my gear, and start riding. The time factor is that before starting the Erie Canal ride we want to bike out and back to Niagara Falls then make enough miles out of Buffalo to get to a campsite. I am a Hosteling USA member so that's an option. Do you know offhand if the train service is boxed only or roll on? Otherwise I'll need a PO in the morning so I can send my heavy pedal wrench back home. I think I saw a PO not to far from the trailhead. Thanks for your help as this is my 1st ride on this route.

wnybubba from Bflo-Roc on 4/19/2020 1:03:47 PM:
Rick - I'll see if I can get additional info on some of this and get back to you. Good you have till Sept. I might see if there are personal connections to help you out on arrival. Again... you need not come back to Bflo from Niagara Falls to get near Lockport from a mileage standpoint, but if you are intent on riding the canalway in its entirety, then yeah, skirt off to NF and back down to it and head eastwardly. (Obviously NF to Lockport area is roadways.) Touch base with me, my email is my sign-in name here @gmail. (Allegheny Passage is on a maybe bucket list).

Rick from Grafton, Va on 4/20/2020 12:23:45 AM:
Thanks, My email is Yes, I'm a thru hiker of the Appalachian Trail. If and when you plan your Passage ride I can give you some info.

Steve from New Jersey on 4/20/2020 1:18:48 PM:
Rick, It isn't the best option, but when I took the train from Cumberland, Maryland to Pittsburgh it came in at almost 1 am. I stayed in the train station until first light. I was offered a chance to sleep in a corner by the station employee as there was no one else there at that time, but I declined. I was very tired the next day but, boy, did I sleep well that night. LOL.

Rick Hancock from Grafton on 4/20/2020 6:33:55 PM:
Steve, Yeah that 1 train a day with a midnight arrival is a bummer. I've taken the train from DC and Cumberland to Pittsburg. DC station has roll on service and train staff were very helpful. Cumberland you need to lift your bike up to the storage car. Also the attendant wasn't very friendly. I also ride a fat bike and I'm waiting for amtrak to accommodate bigger tires. Amtrak might not be making a ton of money off bike travel but it's certainly cheaper than most shuttle services. Plus I really enjoy train travel.

Steve from New Jersey on 4/23/2020 12:12:12 PM:
Yes. I didn't mind carrying my bike up into the car myself, but when I brought it in there were no more hanging brackets. The guy told me to just leave my bike on its kickstand for the trip. I knew that wouldn't work so I had to tie my bike to the wall with a strap that was there. It worked and bike made it in one piece. I took the late train at the start of my trip because I wanted to take my time going back to Cumberland, without a reservation guiding when I had to be somewhere. I think when I retire I'll do the whole thing from DC to Pittsburgh.

Rick from Grafton, Va on 4/24/2020 2:15:41 PM:
Steve, I actually prefer to ratchet my bike to the wall instead of hanging it on the racks. Amtrak has a money maker but their fairly stubborn. They also don't make it easy to understand roll-on/carry=on, etc. I think the easy way to understand is if your bike reservation is $20 then you roll or carry on. If $10 then you box. Passage/C&O is a great ride. I've done it numerous times and always seem to see something new. We usually do indoor says along the Passage then tent from Cumberland to DC with 1 last indoor at Harpersferry to shower after 3 nights in the tent. Something to consider. If you go to the C&O Greatfalls site you can get a multi day parking pass for free. You ride the last 14 miles of trail east to National Mall. From there bike to Union Station (1 train a day which leaves around 2-2:30pm with 12am arrival in Pittsburg) Might be later than 12am. At the end of your ride you arrive back at Great Falls to a safe vehicle and free parking. You do need to arrive before the rangers arrive or you'll pay a small fee.