So I asked Amtrak (again)…

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Marko82
Participant
#

^a pedal strap would work too.


n3glv
Member
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Didn’t this start as ‘would a fat tire bike fit in the box’?
The boxes are pretty big, the main limit being the length the shaft for the
pedals+arms. My center stand punched a hole in the box for example.
My fat-arse no horn cushion seat _JUST_ fit. My BMX bars on a more or less
beach cruiser 26″ were too tall, had to be folded down. (all of them req twisting)

As for RORO, it came in too late for me to use it, I’m now in Florida. (sigh)
But while logic says that pretty much any bit of strap etc would work.
Most of us can relate to that baggage check person who weighs your bag at
2oz over 50# and INSISTS you remove something, right? That’s not usually the
case in PGH, but I _could_ see some overly anal guy in the roro car giving the
thumbs down to anything that is not middle of the road normal.
Too bad they don’t have a static display rack you can try your bike(s) on in or
even outside the station! (stu maybe suggest this?)
I think the california systems did this.
If you want to see fun, try SUNRAIL btw, their ‘system’ is a single strap that
is supposed to tie any bike to the side of the car. Not unusual to see bikes
falling over, domino effect even, and in the end req the owner to stand there
(no straps to grab up high either!)

Best of luck to all who ride Amtrak and can take advantage of the RORO!

ps, Volusia county (Daytona) has the same racks on all busses as PGH!


paulheckbert
Participant
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There was discussion of increasing Amtrak train service from Pittsburgh toward NYC from its current pathetic level of one train per day to three trains per day. I didn’t hear them say that there was any realistic prospect that this would happen, though. They mentioned that the “Pennsylvanian” train out of Pittsburgh toward Philadelphia & NYC has one of the highest load factors in the Amtrak system: the existing trains are nearly full.

Radio excerpt (22 min) here: http://wesa.fm/post/feasibility-adding-another-amtrak-line

“In an effort to increase passenger rail use and decrease congestion on Pennsylvania’s roads, PennDOT announced last week that they’d be discounting tickets for Amtrak rides across the Commonwealth. Pittsburgh was added to the network between Harrisburg, Lancaster, Philadelphia and New York in what’s being called “PA Trips By Train.” Will this encourage Pittsburgh travelers to jump on board? We’ll ask Lucinda Beattie, Vice President of Transportation, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and Mark Spada of the Western Pennsylvanians for Passenger Rail.”


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Dilemma: Where they’re talking is mainly between Harrisburg and Philly. The problem of getting trains across the Allegheny Mountains was resolved in 1850, but apparently that’s still difficult to consider doing.

My suspicion: The greatest economic impact would be an infinitesimal decrease of cars on the PA Turnpike. But that infinitesimality (is that a word?) is justification enough to keep the purse-string holders at bay. Most of the cost of running Pgh-Hbg service comes from one line in the PennDOT budget. AFAIK there’s always the chance we could lose the service entirely.

Recall that the whole reason I started this thread was so I could RORO a bike to Altoona. Not D.C.


jonawebb
Participant
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I’d be willing to bet that they’re losing money on the Pennsylvanian. So adding another trip, to lose money faster, isn’t something they want to do.


paulheckbert
Participant
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@stuinmccandless: when Mark Spada on that radio program spoke of highest “capacity” (I think he meant load factor (i.e. fraction filled)) he was talking about the Pennsylvanian, which is the train that runs from NYC to Pittsburgh.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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The next leg of the Amtrak system to get RORO is the Vermonter. This almost happened last year but that big derailment derailed the project as well. Well, it’s still going to happen, and this season. Stay tuned for further developments.


Vannevar
Participant
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Stu, a few points the next time you speak to your amtrak buddies.
One, this is so awesome and well-implemented.
Two, I really want wifi on my trains.

Three, here’s a blog post

containing this note:
Our friends will take the Amtrak out to the start. Our freak bike tandem is not yet permitted on Amtrak trains so Felkerino and I will do a one-way vehicle rental to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

it notes that a team of cyclists is using Amtrak to get to an event!
and grieves they can’t take their tandem yet.
thanks Stu!


paulheckbert
Participant
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Brian O’Neill wrote a Post-Gazette article about how Pittsburgh deserves more train service, e.g. to Philadelphia. No mention of bicycles or roll-on-roll-off. http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/brian-oneill/2016/04/07/Brian-O-Neill-Pittsburgh-could-roll-with-more-Amtrak-service/stories/201604070014


edronline
Member
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In may I’m using RORO from pit to Cumberland. How easy is the process? I already paid for my bike with the ticket. I assume if they see me on the platform with a bike they’ll point me the right way.

Do. Need to take off rear panniers and front bag?


Vannevar
Participant
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Get to the train station at least 30 minutes before the departure.
When you’re about 10 minutes from actual arrival,
use the elevator to move your bike up to the platform level.

I suggest leaving as many bags on your bike as you’d like – while you’re rolling it out to the train.

They put the passengers in different cars for different stops – for instance, probably all the CBL passengers will be in the same car – but there’s probably only one baggage car. So, your bike and your self may be in different cars.

Once you get into the baggage cars, quickly remove the panniers and bags. Stow them with the rest of the luggage (that’s already in the baggage car). Rotate your bike, front wheel up, and place it into one of the racks. There’s a pulldown lever that velcro’s to your seat-tube. This reduces swaying motion while the bike hangs on the rack.

This is a pretty good video but it’s a few years old. The only difference between this video and the Amtrak equipment is that Amtrak has a Velcro strap on the lower bar that connects to the bike. The velcro strap replaces the big U-lock shown in the video.

There’s a 1/4-inch steel cable coming out of the rack. You can lock that through the frame and use your own lock to secure your bike if you want to. Personally, I don’t feel the need. Once you’ve stowed the bike, exit the baggage car and get to whatever car they want you in.

When you’re 10 minutes out from your stop, move through the train and position yourself on the lower deck outside the baggage compartment. If it’s unlocked, I go in and un-rack my bike and start putting my panniers back on. The goal is: disembark without delaying the train.

Certainly, other people will be in the baggage area. It might be wise to remove lights/geegaws that are easily stolen.


edronline
Member
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Perfect!!! Thanks.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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The Vermonter RORO service will launch May 1.


Benzo
Participant
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So, can you RORO to DC then RORO to vermont? Is there extra roro charge for each leg or just one?


Vannevar
Participant
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I was checking Pgh-DC and then DC-Florida RORO for a January trip, and the website wanted to charge the fee twice (once for each train).


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I do not know that level of detail, but separate fees would seem reasonable to expect. On that, the initial plan is $20 to get the bike to New Haven, $10 if only RORO-ing beyond that.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Mikhail
Member
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Is there any statistics on Capitol Limited RORO service usage?


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I’m sure they are keeping track. I will find out on the next conference call in a week or so.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I didn’t even know about this one! Found out about it via Twitter.

Amtrak’s Hiawatha Line to Milwaukee Is Launching Roll-On Bike Service


Benzo
Participant
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My big question is, why is the charge different on each line?


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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For the Vermonter, the reasoning is demand management. The line’s biggest use is in the southern half, so $20 to RORO. Northern half, less ridership, so only $10.

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