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All you need to know about train travel for dogs

Woman holding a pug up to the window of a train looking out.

Planning a short trip and wondering whether you can travel with your dog on a train or not? Train travel is definitely an option for dogs because numerous companies allow pets on board. In fact, rail is one of the most efficient ways of traveling with dogs. In this article, we will discuss the details of some of the top dog-friendly trains.  

Pet-friendly trains in the United States

Amtrak

This rail company operates in 46 states of the US and 3 provinces of Canada. However, pet dogs were not allowed on Amtrak trains until 2016 when they changed their policy. Prior to that, only service animals could travel on these trains. The following table will give you some useful insights into the pet policy of Amtrak.

Minimum age8 weeks
Maximum weight20 pounds (including the carrier)
Carrier size19” x 14” x 10.5”
Carriers allowed in a train5 (excluding service animals)
Pets per passenger1
Are pets permitted outside the carrier?No
Are pets permitted on Business Class?No
Cost$26

NOTE: You can take your dog only on those trips that are not longer than 7 hours.

Which Amtrak trains allow pets?

Amtrak allows a limited number of pets on the majority of the routes (except a few exceptions). The only condition is that they must comply with the rules and regulations of the company. Some of the major dog-friendly routes of Amtrak are as follows.

You can find the complete list of dog-friendly trains on Amtrak Guide.

Which Amtrak trains don’t allow dogs?

Close up of the side of an Amtrak train.

The main routes of Amtrak on which dogs (service animals are allowed) can’t travel are listed below.

Which Amtrak trains have a designated coach car for pets?

Some trains of Amtrak also offer the facility of a designated coach car. This means that your pup will have its own space and you won’t have to carry the carrier on your lap. The following are the routes on which this service can be availed.

You can visit the official website of Amtrak for knowing more details.

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Some other trains that allow dogs (in the US)

  • Alaska Railroad – This rail company only accepts dogs (and other pets) in the baggage car of their trains. The dog must be kept in an airline-approved carrier and must be trained to behave well during the trip. However, if you are traveling with a service dog, it can come with you in the passenger car. You can visit the official website of Alaska Railroad to know more about their services.
  • Brightline – This is a comparatively new route (started in 2018)that runs between Miami and Florida. It sells pet tickets and you can carry one dog per ticket. You can visit the official website of Brightline to know more.
  • CapeFlyer – This train operates between Boston and Cape Cod. Pets (including dogs) can travel for free on this train, but they should be small enough to fit on your lap. Also, they should be properly leashed and must stay in their carrier throughout the ride. You can visit the official website of CapeFlyer for more details.
  • DART – This Dallas-based rail service allows small pets (including dogs). Although they don’t require a ticket or permit for pets to travel, owners are responsible for any damage caused. You can visit the official website of DART for getting more information.
  • Los Angeles Metro – This company operates in Los Angeles County and can be quite useful to travel with your dog. Just make sure that it is secured in an enclosed carrier and stay there throughout the journey. You can visit the official website of Los Angeles Metro for knowing more details.
  • MARTA – This mass transportation company has been operational since 1971 in Atlanta, Georgia. You can bring a dog to these trains but only if he/she is a service animal. You can visit the official website of MARTA for more information.
  • San Francisco Muni – This train company runs in San Francisco and allows one pet per train during non-peak hours. You can visit the official website of San Francisco Muni for getting more information.
  • Virginia Railway Express (VRE) – This train service connects the small cities of Northern Virginia to Washington, D.C. They only cater to small pets and trained service animals. You can visit the official website of VRE to know more.

Pet travel by train in Canada

Close up of VIA Rail Canada train

VIA Rail Canada is the biggest train company in Canada with almost 475 trains. They operate across 8 provinces and also provide the services of train pet travel for dogs. They have their own carrier standards and you must fulfill the criteria to board their trains. The following are some rules and regulations of VIA Rail Canada that you must keep in mind while traveling with pets.

Minimum age12 weeks and fully weaned
Maximum weight22 pounds (including the carrier)
Carrier size21.5” x 15.5” x 10.5”
Carriers allowed in a train3
Pets per passenger1
Are pets permitted outside the carrier?No
Are pets permitted on Business Class?Yes
Cost$50 (Quebec City-Windsor)

NOTE: Always remember to make the booking at least 2 days before the day of travel.

You can visit the official website of VIA Rail Canada for getting more information.

European pet travel by train

Whether you live in any European country or touring it for fun, trains are the best mode to move around. Fortunately, most of these train companies allow passengers to travel with dogs (and other pets). You just need to have an EU Pet Passport and your pooch can board most trains in the continent. Also, make sure that the vaccinations of your dog are up-to-date, especially if you are traveling across borders.

Rail Europe

Blurred image of the rail system inside of a train station.

This is the biggest network of pet-friendly trains in Europe as it connects several different countries. However, some destinations can’t be reached with this rail company. For example, you can’t go to Great Britain, Finland, and Norway with Rail Europe.

Each passenger can carry up to 2 pets and there are no extra charges or a ticket. However, the Caledonian Sleeper train to Scotland will cost a small fee for traveling with pets. You can visit the official website of Rail Europe for knowing more details.

Other trains that carry your pet running in Europe

  • Deutsche Bahn – This German train company not only welcomes dogs (and other pets), but it also lets them travel without a carrier. However, you will have to buy a half-ticket if you want your pooch to stay outside the carrier. In the case of cross-country traveling, this fare is charged anyway. You can visit the official website of Deutsche Bahn for getting more information.
  • OBB – The Austrian Federal Railways allow small dogs to travel for free if they stay in a carrier. You can also travel with a large dog breed on these trains, but it will cost some fare. These pups should be leashed throughout the journey to avoid any unwanted incidents. You can visit the official website of OBB for knowing more details. 
  • Renfe – This Spanish company allows every passenger to carry one pet if it fulfills a couple of conditions. It should fit inside a 24” x 14” x 14” carrier and must weigh less than 22 pounds. You can visit the official website of Renfe to know more.  
  • TGV Lyria – This train operates between France and Switzerland. It permits a maximum of 2 pets for free (for a passenger). However, the combined weight of both pets and the carrier shouldn’t be more than 13 pounds. If the weight of your pups exceeds this limit, a small fee is charged. You can visit the official website of TGV Lyria for getting more information.
  • Thello – This rail service connects France and Italy and allows one pet per passenger (in a carrier). You must keep a strong eye on your pooch throughout the journey because owners are responsible for any damage done. You can visit the official website of Thello to know more.
  • Trenitalia Trains – This Italian company runs between all the main cities of the country and allows pets of all sizes. However, all the pets (including dogs) are restricted to passenger cabins and can’t go into restaurant or bar cars. You can visit the official website of Trenitalia Trains for knowing more details.

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