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Amtrak launches pilot program allowing pets on board

Posted by: Tim Harlow Updated: May 6, 2014 - 11:18 AM

Passengers riding Amtrak trains between Chicago and seven cities in Illinois will be the first to try out a new pilot program that will allow them to bring their cats and dogs on board.

The railroad is testing its Carry-on Pet program on the Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg trains this week through Nov. 2. Those trains serve the cities of LaGrange, Naperville, Plano, Mendota, Princeton, Kewanee, Galesburg, Macomb and Quincy.

Amtrak will designate one car on each train where dogs and cats 20 pounds or under can ride in carriers similar to those allowed on airlines. Carriers must fit under the seat. Passengers who travel with their pets will pay $25 for the privilege. Tickets must be bought at stations where agents are present or by calling Amtrak at 1-800-872-7245.

"We in Illinois welcome this exciting new pilot program, which is something that has been suggested by train passengers," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. "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."

As it has always done, Amtrak allows passengers to travel with service dogs without any extra fees.

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