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All Pets Aboard! Small Cats & Dogs Can Now Ride Amtrak Downstate

By Danette Chavez in News on Apr 27, 2015 5:45PM

If the only thing keeping you from visiting Carbondale was worrying about your cat or small dog not being able to make the trip, good news: You can now buy your furry pal an Amtrak ticket to ride—as long as they're under 20 pounds.

Amtrak released a statement last week to announce the expansion of its pilot pet-traveler program, after a year that saw about 200 pets ride the train line without incident. Cats and dogs under 20 pounds that travel in a carrier can now join you any time of day on the Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg routes to Quincy (which were part of the original pilot program) as well as the Illini and Saluki routes to Carbondale. However, if you're getting on at Homewood or Naperville, they can only board with you in the afternoon (due to staffing).

Here's some of the fine print from Amtrak, but you'll want to check out the full policy for more info: One pet (under 20 pounds) per person is allowed to ride on the train in a carrier (which you must provide), with the purchase of a $25 pet ticket. Four pet reservations are allowed per train car, and you must make your reservation by phone or at a station. Your cat or dog must also be up to date on their vaccinations. Service animals can continue to ride Amtrak at no charge.