Amtrak… Bus?

Weird looking train, huh?

Actually, it’s an Amtrak bus. Our local Capitol Corridor Intercity Rail Service uses these buses to extend routes where trains don’t go, and fill in service gaps during off-peak hours. Being of the “Motor Coach” variety, they’re actually pretty nice, though they’re not nearly as nice as our Amtrak trains. The one bad thing about them is that there’s no way to secure your bike in the cargo hold. The first time I stowed away my bike, I kept hearing a low “thump” each time we went around a corner. Only later did I realize the sound was my bike sliding across the steel compartment floor and slamming into the side of the bus… LOL. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to obtain a bike locker shortly thereafter and I didn’t have to subject my bike to the abuse for too long.

7 Responses to “Amtrak… Bus?”

  • Geoff says:

    They need bike racks on the fronts of these busses, just like the city versions. That would extend their reach even FURTHER into the small towns and villages where these busses go, but which have no public transporation systems of their own…

    A good letter-writing campaign to AMTRAK might yield something on that…or to Blumenauer’s office on the Hill. He might be able to get some bailout money dedicated to putting racks on the new Amtrak busses… There sure would be a demonstrable need/benefit for that.


  • Alan says:

    No doubt, racks would be nice, though I can’t recall ever seeing a rack on this style of bus, regardless of the carrier. I wonder if it’s even possible to mount a standard rack on one of these “motor coaches”?

    In any case, there always seems to be sufficient room in the cargo areas for bicycles – there’s just no way to secure them. They could solve that issue by providing i-hooks for attaching bungee cords…

  • Larry Guevara says:

    I just took the Amtrak bus today (Thursday, March 19) from Stockson to Sacramento, and there was one mountain bike in the luggage compartment. I was sitting in the middle of the bus, and the driver was very aggressive. On one particular hard stop, there was a very loud clunk from under the bus, but I’m not sure if it was the luggage or the bike.

    I can’t envision Alan putting his bike in the luggage compartment and letting it bang around like a billard ball.

  • chad says:

    I take the capitol corridor train everyday to work, and had the unfortuante experience of having to transfer to motor coach after some technical problems (ie. the train hit someone). Every turn made me cringe. Sometimes I wonder why I ride a nice bike instead of a commuting junker.

  • 2whls3spds says:

    Bike racks have their gross limitations ie; 2 bike maximum in most cases. I would rather see some type of hooks or loops available for lashing down the bike(s) or even some cargo nets. I have ridden in some buses that had the cargo area separated by cargo nets to keep things more or less contained to their area. Perhaps letters to Amtrak are in order. AFAIK we don’t have the motorcoach service in my part of the country. We barely have Amtrak or Greyhound service.


  • Tom says:

    Several commenters have suggested writing a letter of Amtrak. The Capitol Corridor is what is known as a 403(b) service, i.e., it is paid for by Caltrans and not by Amtrak’s federal funding. Amtrak is simply the contractor. They do not make the decisions on what buses, train cars, or locomotives are purchased.

    North Carolina also pays for (very) limited 403(b) Amtrak service. They try to resolve the confusion by branding the service as “North Carolina’s Amtrak” (possessive), rather than “Amtrak California” (which gives the false impression that it’s under the Amtrak corporate umbrella).

  • joan griffaw says:

    I would like to know how much luggage we can take from our amtrak train to your amtrak bus when traveling from seattle washing to vancouver canada?

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