So you have decided to go on that much-anticipated vacation and want to enjoy a soothing train ride while you are at it. But you are unsure whether your four-legged, best friend can accompany you on this wondrous journey. So, do Amtrak or similar rail companies allow large dogs on their trains?
Amtrak does not allow any dogs larger than 20 lbs. to travel on their train. Additionally, you can only take pets on trips that are seven hours or less. You are limited to one pet per person and a total of five pets can board a single train at a time. Service dogs do receive some exceptions.
Traveling with your dog can be both joyous and stressful. As such, it is best to know the stipulations and rules beforehand. Otherwise, you may get caught off guard and end up risking the entire trip.
So, we are going to look at Amtrak’s pet policies and discuss which pets you can bring and which you sadly cannot. We also look at the railroad services around Europe and see how they handle passengers with pets.
Can a Dog Travel on a Train?
This depends on the country you are in as well as the specific railroad service you are boarding. But the majority of railroad services across Europe will allow you to bring your pets on board their train to a certain extent.
For example, in the UK, you can bring a maximum of 2 pets free of any charge. In France, small dogs have to be inside an appropriately sized carrier, while larger dogs have to travel with a lead attached. Germany also has similar pet policies to France and requires you to buy a ticket at half price for larger dogs.
Some railroad companies will allow you to bring your pet dog to first-class cabins. But many others will only allow you to bring them on second class and non-sleeping coaches. Almost every train service in Europe will require you to leash your dog or put a muzzle on them at all times.
The one notable exception to all these rules in every country is service dogs. Service dogs can travel with their designated owner free of all costs. And they can accompany their owner to any class of coach. They can also travel without a carrier or lead, provided the dog does not cause too much nuisance to other passengers.
Of course, the railroad staff do hold the authority to remove a person with their pet, if that person is found guilty of disrupting the environment of the train too much. Moreover, the specific stipulations involved in bringing pets can vary greatly among different companies, even in the same country. So, it is always best to read up on the policies before you buy your tickets.
Does Amtrak Allow Dogs?
Since October of 2015, Amtrak has allowed pet animals, including dogs, on their trains to varying degrees. So, you can bring your dog on their train if your pet dog abides by their pet policies. So, there are limitations to the kind of dogs you can bring on board.
The first big limitation is the maximum weight for pets you can bring. You can travel with your pet dog if the combined weight of the dog and its carrier is equal to or less than 20 lbs. Anything more than this and you sadly have to leave your pet behind.
Additionally, you can bring dogs only on trips that are no more than 7 hours in duration. And on such trips, your dogs cannot enter sleeping cars, non-Acela business class coaches, and food cars. Service dogs are naturally exempt from such restrictions.
Moreover, if you plan to travel with your pet, you need to make reservations pretty early on. Because Amtrak only allows a total of 5 dogs on one of their trains at a time. And you cannot bring more than one pet per trip.
The fee you need to pay to bring your pet will differ based on the travel segment. Your dog cannot sit on any seat as those are reserved only for their human companion. You also cannot set your dog free from its cage at any time during the trip.
Can Large Dogs Travel on Amtrak?
Due to their strict weight limitation, you cannot bring any large dogs on an Amtrak train, as they are most probably heavier than 30 lbs. So, if you plan to journey with your golden retriever or Labrador, you are out of luck.
Of course, if your dog is officially registered as a service animal, you can bring it with you regardless of its weight class.
Can Service Dogs Travel on Amtrak?
Amtrak classifies service animals as any pet that performs a specific task to benefit people with disabilities. Such pets have traveled on Amtrak trains long before other types of pets were allowed in 2015.
There are multiple benefits to traveling with a service dog. Service dogs do not have to adhere to the weight limit. They also do not count toward the 5 pets per train rule. Meaning there can be any number of service animals on board their train.
You can also bring your service animals to any of Amtrak’s service coaches free of any charge. But you have to ensure that your pet is on good behavior during the entire trip.
Restraining your service animal with a leash or harness is necessary. But if such restrictions prevent the animal from performing its duty, you can keep it unleashed but have to ensure that the animal is always under your control.
You can take your service dogs for a walk at a train stop if there is ample time and you are within close proximity to the train.
Amtrak’s pet regulation policies are stricter than many other railroad services in the US and European countries. But if you have to use their services, you need to maintain those policies for the entire length of the journey.