small petsStarting March 7, 2016, small pets including cats and dogs will be allowed to ride the rails. According to a representative of Amtrak Cascades, trains will soon become pet-friendly. However, anyone interested in bringing a small pet onboard must first make a reservation.

As expressed in a news release by Ron Pate, Rail Director with WSDOT, pets are recognized as both family members and passengers. Because of that, the rails will allow pet owners to bring small cats and dogs along for the ride. Pate went on to say that he and everyone in the organization is actually very excited to offer passengers this unique option.

Prior to the new rules, Amtrak Cascades trains only accommodated certified service animals. Keep in mind that while small pets will be allowed onboard trains starting in March, there are strict qualifications. For instance, an animal along with carrier, cannot weigh more than 20 pounds. In addition, only one pet is allowed per passenger and space for the animal must be reserved for a cost of $25.

Pate also stated that for the comfort and safety of all passengers onboard Amtrak Cascades, pets are required to stay securely inside carriers at all times. Carriers must be placed on the floor and remain there in front of the seat next to the owner until coming to the designated stop.

As far as carrier size, it must be 19 inches long, 14 inches wide, and 10.5-inches tall. On each train, five spots will be reserved for pets. Anyone interested in traveling with a small dog or cat is welcome to make a reservation but with limited space, spots are allotted on a first come, first serve basis.

To make a reservation to travel with a small animal on Amtrak Cascades, interested parties must book a reservation at a staffed station or by calling a reservation agent at the train’s toll-free number. Pets will not be booked for train rides lasting more than seven hours and animals are not permitted on rides into Canada.

Of course, it is important that animals are harmless, clean and odorless, non-disruptive, and require no attention while onboard Amtrak Cascades. If an animal exhibits any of these issues, it is the right of onboard personnel to refuse boarding or remove owner and pet from the train.

For travelers without pets who have animal allergies, fear of animals, or other pet concerns, onboard crews will work hard to accommodate.