Hauling a Motorcycle via Amtrak

Discussion in 'Central – From Da Nort Woods to the Plane States' started by jwalters, Feb 5, 2006.

  1. jwalters

    jwalters Farkle Proliferator

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    I see there is an Amtrak Auto Train on the east coast that will tote cars, SUVs, motorcycles, etc, up and down the coast. I was wondering if anyone knows whether Amtrak will do the same elsewhere?

    With little vacation this summer, being able to ship our bikes and bodies from Iowa to Seattle, for example. And then, from Seattle ride back home to Iowa. This would be a fun alternative to the corn fields and cow pies!

    Here is the link to Amtrak's website where they talk about the Auto Train, but as far as I can tell, this is only on the East coast route... someone please correct me on this.... please? :D

    http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Amtrak/am2Copy/Simple_Copy_Page&c=am2Copy&cid=1080842091918&ssid=43

    Thanks!
    Jesse
    #1
  2. rokklym

    rokklym one man wolfpack

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    that would be great but:

    The Auto Train travels nonstop between Lorton, Virginia (near Washington, DC) and Sanford, Florida (near Orlando, Florida). The Auto Train is the only route in the Amtrak system that transports vehicles.

    Other options might include renting a pickup or maybe a mini van and hauling them out. You might have to partially dis assemble to fit them in a minivan. I lookied into pickup rentals but I couldn't find any that would let you drop one off at a different location than what you picked it up at. If you figure anything out, post it!
    #2
  3. jwalters

    jwalters Farkle Proliferator

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    Ya, this is what I meant by "east coast route". (I did read the website I posted above) :D

    Throwing the bikes in the back of the van and have someone drive out would be an obvious solution, I was looking for something a bit more enjoyable. :roflI love riding on trains, and I thought a trip on Amtrak would be half the fun of the trip.

    I was hoping to hear from someone who was able to ship the motorcycle as a freight item on Amtrak after crating the bike, or something... but maybe not.
    #3
  4. rokklym

    rokklym one man wolfpack

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    It sure would be nice to be able to do that. Like I said, I'd be interested in hearing about someone that has done it!
    #4
  5. jdiaz

    jdiaz .

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    Back in the day, we used to spend a week riding out to Washington, would park the bikes and fly home to work for a month, then go back later in the summer and ride them back to Chicago. Always a fun time, and if the weather sucked for the first leg (not likely, but possible), then surely it would be better for the second leg.

    Jon
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  6. jwalters

    jwalters Farkle Proliferator

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    Not a bad idea! Make the vaction a "two parter", the ride there, and the ride home! I am curious where you stored your bikes, did you have friends there? I suppose one could rent a storage unit for the summer or something. :evil Anyway, that is a neat idea.

    Rokklym, we are going to call Amtrak today and ask about crating, we'll post a reply on this thread what we find out. Keep your fingers crossed!

    #6
  7. jdiaz

    jdiaz .

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    My family is all on the west coast, so storage was not a problem. I'm sure you could find someone on this list to store a bike in Seattle, Spokane, or Missoula without too much trouble. My personal preference would be Missoula, and Delta used to fly in and out of there several times per day.

    Jon
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  8. Bronco638

    Bronco638 Nobody Home

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    I called Amtrak last August with the intent of taking the train (Chicago to Denver), along with my DR350, and staying with my sister and bother-in-law. They told me there was no way they would 'freight' my bike to Denver. As has already been posted, the only train that allows vehicles, is the Auto Train (VA to FL).

    I've always been curious what would be involved to ship a bike on a freight train. Seems like a big hassle.
    #8
  9. Cauldron

    Cauldron Now in DESMODROMIC!

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    There are a few, very few, Amtrak stations that ship freight. "Heavy Express" or something.

    Bike must be out of gas, no battery, crated, and less than 500 lbs.

    Then there has to be a "Heavy Express" on the other end...

    Best to use another shipper, meet the bike when you get there.
    #9
  10. Tstape

    Tstape Beek

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    Here's an old thread. Wondering if anything has changed, on transporting a bike from Midwest? Anyone have any updates or ideas?
    #10
  11. beezerjuice

    beezerjuice Adventurer

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    At one point, Amtrak put boxcars on the back of their trains for freight shipments. There was a BMW group some years ago that loaded their bikes onto Amtrak at Chicago for a run out west somewhere for the BMWMOA national. But Amtrak got out of the boxcar hauling business some time ago. Looks like the only option at this point is Autotrain as rokklym pointed out. Autotrain only goes between Lorton, Va and Florida.
    #11
  12. Tstape

    Tstape Beek

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    Thanks. I guess the only option is to trailer if tyou wantt to get through some of the flat and straight stuff.
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  13. Vikingtazz

    Vikingtazz Will ride for food.

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    Hey guys - we have similar threads pop up seasonally.
    We have a go-to guy in Canada by the name of Paul Monstone who will pick your bike anywhere in Canada, and deliver it anywhere in Canada.
    He has a presence on uship.com which is where I'm going with this post.

    Uship.com covers the US pretty well - I should think there would be several "Paul Monstones" on your side of the border.
    Maybe do a quick search in the trip planning section to see if anyone stands out as a solid option.
    #13
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  14. bellolake

    bellolake n00b

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    There are companies that specialize in shipping motorcycles. That may be an option for an adventure like this.
    #14
  15. barnyard

    barnyard Verbal tactician Super Moderator

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    There was a travel agent couple in Oregon that organized bike shipping via Amtrak. Typically they did the Empire Builder and you could only load and unload a specific station stops (stations that have ramps to get into the baggage cars.) Amtrak does still run baggage cars on all their long distance trains. If I remember correctly, bikes had to be strapped to a pallet, prepared to be moved by a forklift or handtruck.
    #15
  16. Actionable Mango

    Actionable Mango Been here awhile

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    Empire Builder would be perfect for me. How do I get a hold of this travel agent couple in Oregon?
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  17. barnyard

    barnyard Verbal tactician Super Moderator

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    They used to advertise in Trains magazine. I would imagine a little bit of googling would turn them up.
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  18. barnyard

    barnyard Verbal tactician Super Moderator

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  19. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I read quite a bit of fiction about the old west. Back then it seems it was normal for a train to have a stock car where the riders could put their horses.
    that would be a nice feature today for us.
    #19
  20. TALLGUY

    TALLGUY Been here awhile Super Supporter

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    I am with you guys. We have relatives that Board Amtrak in central Iowa in the evening and arrive in Denver or the next stop Granby late morning. It would be a game changer if you could ride the bike, load, relax or sleep then offload and take off. It would open up exploring the lower Colorado area without being burned out from the drive.

    I have considered stashing a bike in a storage unit in Granby but I hate to leave a machine unattended through the winter months in a tin shed.
    #20