Accessible Train Travel in Canada & the U.S.

Last updated: May 26, 2016

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VIA Rail in Canada and Amtrak in the U.S. have excellent services for special needs. To be sure you receive the service you need, purchase your tickets over the telephone and let them know what you need. Services vary from train to train and station to station but if they know in advance what you need, they will be able to help you.

Canada: VIA Rail Accessible Services

Do the stations have wheelchair access? Can you bring a guide dog or get around in the trains by wheelchair? To find out what you need to know about the accessibility of VIA trains, consult the following links:

  • In order to travel with VIA, passengers must be able to attend to their personal needs (eating, medical, personal hygiene) throughout the trip. If you are not able to do so, you must be accompanied by an escort. VIA will be pleased to carry your escort in the same class free of charge.
  • Reduced Mobility information about booking, traveling with a companion, wheelchairs, electrical scooters, sleeping cars, meal service.
  • Special Needs accessibility, adapted services, unaccompanied minors, occupy two seats.
  • Accessibility Priority boarding and additional assistance

Access to Travel, your special needs information source, will provide you with facts on accessible transportation and travel across Canada with the aim of making accessible travel easy and enjoyable! This site, created by Transport Canada, has a wealth of information on adapted tourism in Canada, as well as a detailed list of Canadian transportation companies offering accessible local, intercity, and national service.

Allergies, special meals, and medication

Get the information you need on the range of special meals offered on VIA trains, medication transportation and storage, and the policy on oxygen bottles:

  • Allergies and special meals
  • Medication
  • Oxygen bottles

U.S.: Amtrak Accessible Services

To make reservations for accessible space on Amtrak, purchase your tickets over the phone or in person at an Amtrak ticket counter.

  • By telephone: Please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245). Agents are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • By TDD/TTY: Please call 1-800-523-6590. Agents are available from 5 am to 1 am EST, seven days a week.
  • At an Amtrak ticket counter: Ticket agents at staffed stations can sell tickets during regular ticket office hours. Please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245) for details.

Up until 14 days before the departure of each train from its origin city, reservations for accessible bedrooms may be made only for passengers who are mobility impaired. After this period, and if all other Deluxe and Family bedrooms have been reserved, accessible bedrooms are made available to all passengers on a first-come, first-served basis. For this reason, you are urged to make your reservations as far in advance of travel as possible. On the Accessible Travel Services page, information about special needs and accessibility is available about:

Service Dogs & Therapy Animals

Last updated: May 30, 2016

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Did you know that service animals are not always dogs. They can include monkeys, cats, and small horses!

There is not a comprehensive list of what types of animals can be service animals. Animals, like people, have different temperaments, limitations, skills, and abilities. Thus, different types and breeds of animals may be trained to perform specific tasks. Matching a particular animal's skills and abilities to the tasks that need to be performed can be an important factor for a person with a disability when selecting a service animal.

Often, phrases are coined to describe the type of impairment or task a particular animal is assisting with-such as "signal dog," "hearing cat," "assistance monkey," "guide horse," and "seizure response dog."

Traveling with service animals?

Additional links about service animals

International Disability: United Kingdom

Last updated: May 27, 2016

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