PORT HENRY — Four travelers with bicycles stood at the Port Henry Amtrak Station waiting for an experimental train run called Bring Your Bike on Board.
A train whistle sounded from south of the station, and smiles grew on everyone’s faces.
Watching as the northbound passenger train slid slowly into the station, Port Henry resident Jeff Kelly said he’s been hoping Amtrak would start allowing bikes on the train that runs between New York City and Montreal.
“It’s an experiment. Amtrak will use this to see how much demand there is.”
Kelly and his wife, Linda Smyth, had waited patiently for the train — which was running late — to pull into the Port Henry Station.
“I would use it for fun rather than practical,” he said. “We’re going one stop, to Westport, where we’ll get some ice cream and pedal back to Port Henry.”
The Bring Your Bike on Board test run sponsored by Amtrak added a bicycle car to the train and allowed people to take their bikes one stop for free.
“There’s a certain drill we have to go through to get our bikes on,” Thomas Trow of Port Henry said while waiting for the train with his wife, Bernadette.
Getting off at Port Henry was Bruce Becker, president of the Empire State Passengers Association, whose group was participating in the experiment.
“We obviously are excited (about) the demonstration,” he said. “We hope it will encourage more passengers to use the train and bring their bikes.”
He said the purpose of the experiment is to gauge the level of interest and decide if a bicycle car should be permanently added to trains in the region.
“Amtrak is surveying bikers about what they like and don’t like about the demonstration.”
He said the Adirondack test was the fourth conducted by Amtrak recently. Others included the Albany to Boston train and the Ethan Allen Express in Vermont.