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Amtrak to allow small pets on NE Regional trains

Starting next week, riders on some Amtrak trains through Philadelphia will be able to bring their pets on board. The pilot program will start for Northeast Regional and Downeaster trains on Monday, Amtrak said.

Starting next week, riders on some Amtrak trains through Philadelphia will be able to bring their pets on board.

The pilot program will start for Northeast Regional and Downeaster trains on Monday, Amtrak said.

That means passengers traveling on the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Lynchburg, Newport News or Norfolk, Va., will be permitted to ride with their small pets, as will riders traveling in New England between Boston and Brunswick, Maine.

The cat or small dog must be in an enclosed carrier. The pet and carrier combined must weigh mo more than 20 pounds be placed under the owner's seat, Amtrak said.

The pet must be at least eight weeks old and have up-to-date vaccinations.

Amtrak said advance reservations, with a $25 surcharge, are required. Passengers can start making reservations Thursday for upcoming trips where they plan to bring their pet.

Riders should get to the station at least a half-hour before their departure time to check-in and sign a pet waiver, the agency said.

The pilot for the Northeast Regional and Downeaster routes is slated to run through February.

It follows an earlier pilot that launched in Illinois in 2014. More than 200 riders brought their animals during that program's first year, according to Amtrak.

The agency said its policy on service animals, which are allowed on trains with no additional charge, is unchanged.

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