(PETS/TRAVEL) Traveling with pets is no easy task. While some guardians choose to keep their pets in kennels while they travel, others may resort to storing their pets on planes, which carries several risks. Amtrak, however, has a new pilot program that allows people to bring their pets on the train with them.

Traveling with dogs can be tough, but leaving pets at home can be even tougher.
Your dog may need a vacation, too! Photo Credit: welcomemutt.com

Although there are specific guidelines to Amtrak’s new program, it does provide more options for pet guardians who wish to travel with their furry friends. The pilot program is specific to the Northeast Regional and Downeaster trains, and permits only small dogs and cats to travel aboard.

Amtrak has already had success with the same pilot program in Illinois, which launched in 2014. Over 200 animals accompanied their guardians during the first year, and Amtrak is excited to bring the pilot program to even more passengers.

Amtrak President and CEO, Joe Boardman, said in a statement:

“We have listened to our passengers looking for other transportation options while traveling with their pets. We are pleased to bring this pilot program to the region.”

A surcharge of $25 will be assessed for pet travel. Photo credit: Animal Fair
A surcharge of $25 will be assessed for pet travel. Photo credit: Animal Fair

The new pilot program allows each guardian to travel with one pet in an enclosed carrier on trips of up to seven hours. The pet must stay stowed under the passenger’s seat, and together, the pet and carrier cannot weigh more than 20 pounds. Pets also must be up-to-date on their vaccinations, as well as be at least eight weeks old.

Rep. Jeff Denham of California claims:

“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.”

Amtrak hopes to pave the way for pets being allowed on trains, and possibly airplanes, worldwide.

— Rebecca Hartt, exclusive to Global Animal