Posts Tagged ‘Bike Train’

Taking the Bike Train on VIA Rail

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

This article is being written and posted from the VIA Rail Train 70 which runs from Windsor to Toronto, Ontario every morning.

This passenger train is part of the Bike Train program and allows roll-on bicycles as checked baggage. No disassembly is required, but it does cost an additional $20 each way. Still that’s much less than the standard airlines fees.

According to the VIA Rail web site, cyclists should arrive an hour before departure. Train 70 departs Windsor at 5:30am, but there’s no need to show up before 5am when the station is scheduled to open.

One caution: Not all VIA Rails allow bikes. You need to make your reservations while referencing the Bike Train page. There also seemed to be limited trains returning to Windsor on the weekend.

Another advantage of this service? You can find free parking and ride to the station to avoid the $10 daily fee at the local parking lot. Depending on how long your trip is, that could cover your Bike Train fee.

Now if only Detroit cyclists could get to Windsor without requiring a motor vehicle…

Overall, this nearby system seems to be a good model for Amtrak in Michigan. MDOT told us over a year ago that Amtrak would have such service but that was very optimistic. This M-Live article seems to have the most recent news on this effort.

There is an on-line petition for roll-on bicycle service as well.

Windsor updates: Bikes, Trains, and Ferries

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Bicycle Use Master Plan underfunded

The Windsor Star has a brief mention of the city of Windsor’s bicycling efforts, which according to some bicycling advocates is moving too slowly.

Members of the Windsor Bicycling Committee and the advocacy group Bike Friendly Windsor were at Wednesday’s capital budget meeting to implore council to devote more money to the Bicycle Use Master Plan (BUMP).

Drafted by the city in 2001, the 20-year plan was meant to show the city’s commitment to building an “easily accessible, safe and actively used” cycling network.

But Steve Konkle of Bike Friendly Windsor said BUMP has been the victim of “chronic underfunding.”

According to Konkle, Windsor has less than 25 miles of bike lanes.

Bike Train now daily

The Ontario Bike Train is now daily. The train makes it easy for cyclists to get between Windsor, London, Toronto, and other cities in Ontario. Bicycle racks are available for cyclists.

We spoke with Justin LaFontaine, Projects Director for Transportation Options and the founder of the Bike Train initiative. He said the big buzz among Toronto cyclists is riding in Detroit. And while they can take the bike train to Windsor, there is no option for them to get to Detroit.

They have had conversations with the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority about ferry service across the Detroit River. The Port Authority is very interested in helping make that international connection for cyclists.

Until there is a convenient way for cyclists to cross the border, Detroit-area cyclists can drive to the Windsor train station. There’s also this interesting web site with the tag line, “Explore Ontario by bike. Stop at bicycle friendly places to eat, visit and sleep.”

What about AMTRAK?

One obvious question is what about bicycles on AMTRAK? The Pere Marquette and Blue Water lines should be getting roll-on bicycle service. However, we do not know about the Wolverine line, the line between Pontiac, Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Chicago. That line is not subsidized by MDOT and therefore is not required to have roll on service per an MDOT appropriations bill. We’re waiting to hear if AMTRAK will provide roll on service nonetheless.