Strictness of pet weight limits on Amtrak?

Old Sep 12, 17, 7:13 pm
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njm
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Strictness of pet weight limits on Amtrak?

Amtrak's policy for pets is here: https://www.amtrak.com/pets

One item among the bullet points there is:

Pet owners must provide a pet carrier. The maximum size for pet carriers is 19" long x 14" wide x 10.5" high. Maximum weight of pet with carrier is 20 pounds. The carrier may be hard or soft sided but must be leak proof and well ventilated.
Does anyone know how strictly Amtrak enforces this weight limit? Is there a weigh-in for all pets? My dog is 21 pounds (on his own), and I am trying to understand whether being one to two pounds over the limit would realistically be a problem.

This would be on a Boston-New York Northeast Regional trip.
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Old Sep 13, 17, 8:57 am
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I've had no experience with pet/pet carriers but, I do know Amtrak is pretty non-forgiving on the 50 pound limit for regular baggage (they will have you remove/redistribute items to stay within the fifty pound limit.

That said, since you are carrying the pet carrier, they might not be too critical about a little overweight.
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Old Sep 13, 17, 10:08 am
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I've frankly never even seen scales at any of the Amtrak stations I frequent. I assume they have them somewhere back in the luggage handling area for checked baggage, but I can't imagine them taking your hand-carried pet away from you to check.
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Old Sep 13, 17, 2:56 pm
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The agent in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Lounge had a hand-held scale and was weighing every bag in early October of 2015 (and attaching a tag indicating that the bag was within the limit). That was right after some new policy went into effect (50 pound max rather than 70 pound max?), and that was for a bag I was carrying myself. That was the only time I have seen any weighing of carry-on bags.
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Old Sep 16, 17, 6:26 pm
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I've never had a pet in carrier weighed on an airline, so I can't imagine that Amtrak would try it. The closest I've gotten while flying was a question at the gate: "Does that dog weigh under 20 lbs? Yes. OK Thanks."

I'm not even sure where they would do this at South Station and definitely no way to easily do it at Back Bay.

As long as you don't look like you're buckling under the weight of carrying the dog, I think nobody will even look twice.
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Old Sep 18, 17, 9:58 am
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One thing to consider is what happens if Amtrak *does* decide to enforce the limit in your situation? You certainly cannot fault the Amtrak employee for enforcing rules that are clearly spelled out and that you are clearly aware of in advance. If you have a back-up plan in place, then you might be willing to take the risk. But if not being able to take Fido along means the entire trip falls apart, you may want to think carefully about this.
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Old Sep 18, 17, 4:16 pm
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I ride the NER twice weekly and not only have I never seen this happen, I can't imagine how they'd feasibly do it at either of the stations you mention (three, I suppose, if you count both in Boston). No one checks your ticket before you get on the train to see if you have a pet and once on the train, there are no scales. The rule is just to keep your Doberman off the train, I'm guessing.
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Old Sep 18, 17, 5:10 pm
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On the NER, where there is no checked baggage in any event, nobody even has a scale. As others note, if your dog "looks" as though it is significantly over 20 pounds, that may be an issue, but otherwise don't even give this a second thought.

Note, this will be a miserable trip for an over-sized dog in a carrier dimensioned as required, so bear that in mind.
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Old Sep 19, 17, 11:29 am
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Originally Posted by musicalbox View Post
I ride the NER twice weekly and not only have I never seen this happen, I can't imagine how they'd feasibly do it at either of the stations you mention (three, I suppose, if you count both in Boston). No one checks your ticket before you get on the train to see if you have a pet and once on the train, there are no scales. The rule is just to keep your Doberman off the train, I'm guessing.
According to Amtrak's pet policy, in addition to purchasing a ticket for the pet, you must check in with a station agent at staffed stations (e.g. BOS) to sign a release. The station agent in BOS would have access to scales, obviously.

Of course, the OP could board the train without checking in with the station agent and then plead ignorance, but that would now be multiple policies they would be flaunting.

I mean, I think there's still a high likelihood of getting away with it, but it's not as cut and dried as you make it sound.
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Old Dec 12, 17, 10:51 am
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NJM - Can you tell us how your travel turned out? Did they weight your pet? Look the other way for pound? Thanks
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