----- Original Message -----
From: "David A de Gruyl" <david-vARLAz+CiNcth55jYR/y9kBemail@example.com>
Sent: Sunday, June 25, 2006 10:34 AM
Subject: Re: Thinking outside the box -bicycles on trains
Post by Gretchen Schauss
When I think of ways to carry bikes, I think of the way cars carry bikes
or the way buses carry bikes. No boxes. Would it be difficult for Amtrak
to carry bikes on the outside of trains? <<<<<
I certainly wouldn't want my bike carried on the outside of a train, or
even a bus for very many miles...
The best place is inside of each car, or a special car for bikes.<<<<
Not necessarily a special car for bikes but just using available space
in the existing cars would be the smart thing for them to do. The AMTRAK
trains I've been on have more than enough overhead space for the number of
passengers plus racks near the door which never seem to be used.
Post by Gretchen Schauss
What about devoting a section of the bagage cart where bikes could hang
from the ceiling or maybe racks on the walls to hang bike one over the
other. I don't know enough about trains and baggage cars to know whether
they are filled to the brim or not.
There are several bike cars in service, but most train lines do not use
these. My understanding is that the bike cars have hooks for the bikes,
and some passenger seating. This is for roll on service. <<<<<
One of the things we pushed for on the AMTRAK like that runs between
Oklahoma City and Fort Worth was roll on bike service. Just inside the door
in the middle of the double decker passenger car are two hooks on either
side where you hang your bike. The conductor will give you a hand to lift it
up and hang it by the front wheel. There is also a large vacant area next to
the door for six or eight electric mobility carts and wheelchairs. There are
hooks and straps for securing the electric carts so they can't move while
the train is in motion. They usually put tandems in that area along with any
bikes that won't fit the hanging racks.
Finally, the train has what looks like an engine at each end but one of
them is nothing but a control cab and open space where the engine would be
if it had one. They call this car a "Slug". It has side doors at platform
level and it's easy to roll a bike into the car and secure it to the side
(bring your own ropes or straps) of simply lay it on the sand bags they have
on the floor for weight to keep the light car from bouncing.
The more important impact of Amtrak changes in recent years is the
reduction in baggage service altogether. Many stations with baggage
service have only a couple of trains per day with a baggage car, and most
stations do not have any baggage service at all.<<<<<
Actually, the term you should use is "checked" baggage service. They
seem to think that the only way they can have checked baggage service is to
have people at the station to check your baggage for you. Since the trains
with a baggage car have someone on that car, what would be wrong with
letting the passenger check their luggage or claim it directly in the car.
I've seen people standing in the door of the baggage car while the train is
in the station but no way can you get them to accept or give you anything.
The inter-city rail system in America is slowly but surely being ripped up
an replaced by bike paths. Usually they are shut down for quite some time
when this happens, but the implication is that rail is not important here.
THis is a phenomenon that would never happen in europe, where rail is
expanding at the moment.<<<<
That's because most state Departments of Transportation think DOT stands
for Department of Trucks.