August 4, 2014 Amtrak and Illinois DOT to Expand Pets Program to a Second Downstate Route

Marc Magliari

Amtrak Contact

312 544.5390


Guy Tridgell

Illinois DOT Contact

312 793.4199

Pilot project also extended to April 2015

CHICAGO — Amtrak and the Illinois Department of Transportation (Illinois DOT) are adding the Chicago-Champaign-Carbondale route of the Illini and Saluki trains to a pilot project that allows travelers to bring their pets along on trips to and from Chicago and Downstate Illinois. Small pets have been carried between Chicago and Quincy on Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg trains since April, with almost 20 small animals safely transported.

Although the test was scheduled to end in November, Amtrak and Illinois jointly decided to give the idea an extended trial, through April 26, 2015.

Ticketing and travel with pets can originate throughout the day in Chicago, Carbondale, Champaign and Galesburg, while the service is only available during afternoon departures in Homewood and Naperville. Advance reservations are required and a surcharge of $25 will be assessed for travel. Dogs or cats up to 20-pounds each will be accepted in carriers such as those used in airplane cabins and placed under the seat of each pet owner.

Other provisions apply; please see the attached Amtrak Passenger Service Notice. Amtrak routinely welcomes service animals on trains at no charge and that policy is unchanged.

Trains 390-393, the Illini and Saluki, operate daily to and from Chicago, Homewood, Kankakee, Gilman, Rantoul, Champaign, Mattoon, Effingham, Centralia, DuQuoin and Carbondale. Trains 380-383, the Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg, operate daily to and from Chicago, LaGrange, Naperville, Plano, Mendota, Princeton, Kewanee, Galesburg, Macomb and Quincy.

“Amtrak continues to be supportive of accommodating pets on trains. This expanded pilot project will give us better information to develop a plan that meets the needs of our passengers,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman. “We are collaborating directly with the Illinois Department of Transportation and a working group led by U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham of California in support of this initiative.”

“The expansion of the Pets on Trains pilot program is a step forward in allowing families nationwide to travel with their pets on Amtrak trains,” said Rep. Denham. “I look forward to continuing to work with Amtrak to see the program succeed.”

“Accommodating pets on trains is just one more way that Amtrak is an increasingly attractive option for travel in Illinois,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Erica Borggren. “We are excited to partner with Amtrak officials on this new program as they develop a policy that works for everyone.”

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