Accessible Train Travel in Canada & the U.S.

Canada

See Visit Canada to find out what documents you need to travel, visit family and friends, do business, or transit through Canada.

  • Take Charge of Your Travel: A Guide for Persons with Disabilities by the Canadian Transportation Agency
  • Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) Accessible Transportation includes information about accessible transportation throughout Canada. [Select English or French]  Updated

    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

Crossing the Border

Traveling by Train

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.

Do the stations have wheelchair access? Can you bring a guide dog or get around in the trains by wheelchair?

Canada: VIA Rail Accessible Services

A woman in a Via Rail wheelchair lift is helped into the train car by Via Rail staff.
Wheelchair lifts are not required at the Montréal and Québec City stations, where the platforms are level with the train doors. All other wheelchair-accessible stations have devices used to lift the wheelchair and/or the passenger from the station platform to the train door. These lifts can safely handle a maximum weight of 272 kg (600 lb.) and mobility aids up to 56 in. (142 cm) long.

To find out what you need to know about the accessibility of VIA trains, consult the following links:

To find out what you need to know about the accessibility of VIA trains, consult the following links:

U.S.A.

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:  Updated



Service Dogs & Therapy Animals

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Resources

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."

National Association of Guide Dog Users Comments on Silent Hybrid Cars

Traveling with service animals?

Additional links about service animals

  • Service Dogs in Wikipedia
  • Fidos for Freedom Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for people in the Washington-Baltimore Metropolitan community by providing specially trained hearing dogs, service dogs, and therapy dogs. Fidos also educates the public about individuals with disabilities and about the benefits of assistance dogs and therapy dogs and the work that these specially trained dogs do for individuals with disabilities, children with reading difficulties, and patients in health care facilities.
  • Assistance Dogs International, Inc.. The global authority in the service dogs industry. Standards
  • Canadian Guide Dogs For The Blind / Chiens Guides Canadiens Pour Aveugles
  • Epilepsy Ontario Service Dogs [Canada]
  • Guide Dogs of America Guide Dogs of America provides guide dogs and instruction in their use, free of charge, to blind and visually impaired men and women from the United States and Canada.
  • Guide Dogs for the Blind Association [UK]
  • Guide Dogs For The Blind (GDB) Guide Dogs for the Blind is more than an industry-leading guide dog school; we are a passionate community that serves the visually impaired. With exceptional client services and a robust network of trainers, puppy raisers, donors and volunteers, we prepare highly qualified guide dogs to serve and empower individuals who are blind or have low vision. All of our services are provided free of charge; we receive no government funding.
  • Kansas Specialty Dog Service, Inc. changing lives one dog at a time.
  • Working Dog Breeds from K9 Research Lab
  • WorkingDog Magazine
  • Therapeutic Horses
    • Horses Adaptive Riding & Therapy (HART) provides adaptive and recreational riding to individuals with special needs. Based in Oregon's mid-Willamette Valley, we focus on creating a supportive, inclusive and compassionate environment for our clients, staff (two-legged and four-legged) and volunteers.
    • Great and Small Therapeutic Riding "When I ride, I soar." Great and Small provides Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) to children and adults of all ages affected by a range of physical, developmental, emotional, and learning disabilities. Through a supportive and therapeutic engagement with horses we strengthen and empower our riders, helping them develop their full potential. Great and Small is a partner with the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission at the Rickman Farm Horse Park in Boyds, Maryland. Their students come from the Montgomery County Public Schools, several private schools, and the local community at large. Great and Small is also proud to serve as a pre-approved Student Service Learning Site for the Montgomery County Public Schools.

      Great and Small believes that the essential qualities of power and sensitivity embodied in the horse can strengthen and empower persons of all ages and abilities.

    • Hippotherapy and Therapeutic/Adaptive Riding "Which one is best for my child?" by The Children's TherAplay Foundation, Inc. Through hippotherapy, specially-trained physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech/language pathologists apply the movement, rhythm, and repetition of the horse's movement as a treatment strategy to help patients achieve therapeutic goals. Using different combinations of patterns, speeds, and riding postures, highly-trained therapists are able to provide precisely the sensory and neurological input each child will benefit from most. Therapeutic / adaptive riding is a recreational activity that has been adapted for those with special needs and tend to be related to riding skills building confidence and relationships, and emotional well-being.
    • Horses Healing Maryland's Military A coalition of licensed Maryland stables offering horsemanship and therapeutic programs to Veterans and their families. Their Program Directory page contains a list of stables that are licensed through the Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB), and provide equine assisted services for active-duty members, Veterans and their families.
    • Maryland Therapeutic Riding The Natural Healing and Therapeutic Power of Horses.
    • Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program
    • Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH International), a federally-registered 501(c3) nonprofit, was formed in 1969 as the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association to promote equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) for individuals with special needs.
    • Talisman Therapeutic Riding is a non-profit organization offering a variety of programs to create therapeutic opportunities while providing exposure to an environment of well-being and learning.
      Photo of an elderly woman communing with a beautiful chestnut-colored horse. He is looking back at her and her hand is on his nose.
      Zachary and Gay. Photo Credit: Talisman Therapeutic Riding.

      At Talisman, we believe in the transformative, healing power of horses and our natural environment. We serve, empower all, and lead by example with compassion, dignity, and inclusivity.