Last updated: 11:38 AM ET, Mon October 12 2015

Bring Your Pets on Vacation Courtesy of Amtrak

Car Rental & Rail | Amtrak | Donald Wood | October 12, 2015

Bring Your Pets on Vacation Courtesy of Amtrak

Amtrak made a landmark announcement last week, giving passengers the ability to travel with their small pets on the train along the Northeast Corridor and in New England.

Per the news release, on trains journeying between Boston to Lynchburg, Newport News and Norfolk, Virginia, on the Northeast Regional service, and on service between Boston and Brunswick, Maine with the Downeaster route, passengers will be permitted to travel with their pets starting Monday, October 12.

Amtrak customers are allowed to board the train with one cat or one small dog as long as the pet is contained in an enclosed carrier and placed under the passenger’s seat. Combined, the pet carrier and the animal must be 20 pounds or less.

The service is not available on rides lasting more than seven hours, and all pets must be at least eight weeks old with current vaccination records. Reservations are required, and the service comes with a $25 surcharge.

United States Representative Jeff Denham released a statement about the expanded service:

"Expanding the Pets on Trains program in the Northeast Corridor is a victory for American pet owners and for Amtrak, which can now serve individuals and families traveling with small dogs and cats. This change will increase ridership and revenue for Amtrak while building on the success of the pilot program, paving the way for the future of pets on trains nationwide.”

The pilot pet program was started in 2014 in Illinois, and Amtrak didn’t receive any complaints during a year of service. If the test — which runs along the Northeast Corridor and in New England through February 15, 2016 — is successful, the current routes and expansion of new routes will be considered as permanent additions in early 2016.

To use the service, customers with small pets should arrive at least 30 minutes before their train’s scheduled departure to sign a pet waiver form. For customers with service animals, there is still no charge.

For more information on Amtrak’s pet policies, check the company’s official website.

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