For a number of years, LMB has advocated for bikes on trains, asking the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Amtrak to prioritize allowing bicycles on-board Michigan's three Amtrak routes. Bicyclists and bicycle friendly communities throughout Michigan call for these services, voicing that adding bike facilities on the trains would bring a multitude of benefits, including increased tourism and a more seamless and safe way for Michiganders to link up their own trips within the state.In 2013, LMB collected 3,550 signatures from Michiganders in support of this service on the railways. Amtrak and MDOT answered the call by modifying railcars on the Blue Water line to create an area to bring in and secure up to four bikes per train.
This year, Amtrak took another step by incorporating checked bike services onto its Pere Marquette Line, which operates daily between Grand Rapids and Chicago, via Holland and St. Joseph-Benton Harbor. Riders can reserve a space for their bicycle at the time they purchase their ticket, then simply hand their bike over to the conductor when they board. Bikes will be safely and securely mounted for the duration of the train ride. Currently, this service allows for standard bicycles and is not able to accommodate hand cycles, tricycles, etc.
In May, LMB was invited to an event celebrating the beginning of this service. We were able to see first-hand the new car that will undoubtedly be a valuable service to bicyclists in Michigan and beyond. To view our pictures from the event, we invite you to check out our Facebook page. We commend Amtrak and MDOT on taking this important step in the right direction and recognizing the need for bicyclist in the region to have more options for traveling around the state.