Rifles, shotguns, handguns, starter pistols and ammunition will be allowed on some Amtrak trains starting today - subject to several conditions:

The train has to carry checked baggage.

The passenger has to travel on the same train.

At least 24 hours before the trip, the passenger must notify Amtrak of intending to transport firearms or ammunition by calling 800-USA-RAIL. Notifications cannot be made online.

Firearms "must be unloaded and in an approved, locked hard-sided container not exceeding 62" L x 17" W x 7" D," and the total weight cannot exceed 50 pounds, according to www.Amtrak.com.

The weaponry must be checked in at the station at least a half-hour before scheduled departure.

Ammunition and its secure containers must not weigh more than 11 pounds.

BB guns compressed air guns (including paintball markers) are also subject to the new rules.

Only the passenger may have the key or know the combination to gun-carrying containers.

The regulations, mandated by a federal law that took effect a year ago, end a ban on transporting weapons on Amtrak that began after Sept. 11, 2001.

For guidelines, go to: http://go.philly.com/gunsontrains.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.