Amtrak Goes Pet-Friendly (Discover the Enchantment of the Puppy Train)

If you’re a pet owner and a frequent traveler, you may be pleased to know that Amtrak is trying some new policies on for size. On Monday, Amtrak announced that, until February, passengers will be able to, with some restrictions, travel with their cats and dogs.

This initiative is part of a pilot program intended to bring more passengers onto Amtrak trains – with these new regulations, pets who weigh no more than 20 pounds are permitted for trips that take up to seven hours. According to Amtrak spokeswoman Chelsea Kopta, owners are required to carry pets in a sufficient carrier, keep them under their seats, and limit their fluffy cargo to one pet per passenger.

This major initiative comes on the heels of a successful pilot program in Illinois, which occurred last year and permitted more than 200 animals to accompany their owners on Amtrak rails; Kopta notes that every single one of these rides were successfully completed “without a single complaint or incident.”

In addition to the weight and size limitation, the initiative comes with still more guidelines. Pet owners must pay a $25 fee to permit pet travel, and the pets must be older than eight weeks and generally undisruptive, requiring no attention during travel. Pets are also not allowed in food service cars, café cars or business class.

The program began Monday, and in its current stage will be operational until February 16. Once this provisional period finishes, Amtrak officials will look at the results and determine whether or not the program can be expanded and extended all around the nation.

This is great news for pet owners who want to travel with their dogs, but don’t have the resources, time or inclination to take long road trips. Many people consider their dogs part of their family, and couldn’t imagine being without them; this initiative provides just one more means for pet owners to get around with their furry pals.

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