Amtrak Launches Pilot Pet Program

The "all aboard" call will now apply to pets, as Amtrak announced the launch of a new pilot program. Between May 5, 2014 and Nov. 2, 2014, passengers can pay a $25 fee to bring their animal on select trains in Illinois. 

"We in Illinois welcome this exciting new pilot program, which is something that has been suggested by train passengers," Ann L. Schneider, Illinois transportation secretary, said in a statement. "By listening to and accommodating all passengers, I am hopeful we can create a long-term policy that allows pets on trains and makes traveling on Amtrak even more appealing to a wider audience."

The carry-on pet program only applies to four separate trains, all of which run between Chicago and Quincy: Carl Sandburg Trains 381 and 382 and Illinois Zephyr Trains 380 and 383. Passengers who bring their animal must keep it in a carrying case throughout the entire journey. Additionally, Amtrak asks that each passenger participating in the program only bring one pet. The animal must be a cat or dog that weighs less than 20 pounds. 

Amtrak already allowed service animals on trains without requiring a carrying case. While you can't keep Fluffy on your lap, many people are hopeful the pilot program will lead to a more permanent animal policy. 

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