Amtrak, Metro-North adding extra service for busy holiday week

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NEW HAVEN–During the busiest travel week of the year, two commercial railroads are making trains a more convenient option.

Amtrak expects to transport at least 750,000 passengers to more than 500 destinations during this Thanksgiving holiday week.

The day before Thanksgiving is often described as the busiest travel day of the year.

“A lot of luggage! A lot of baggage. Yep. A lot of families with children,” says Bill Dailey, of New Haven, who says he travels frequently up and down the Metro-North New Haven Line.

Because of the high passenger volume, Joy Healey, of Guilford, suggests giving “yourself plenty of time. Have some water, some snacks on hand and you know kind of just go with the flow.”

Despite the expected crowded cars, frequent riders say folks tend to be all-aboard with friendly faces during the holiday season.

“They’re a lot nicer,” said Rev. Ernestine Holloway, of Meriden. “They aren’t rude. It’s interesting to listen to the stories about their families. It makes you smile.”

While Metro-North, which is America’s largest commuter rail, is offering more frequent trains throughout the holiday weekend beginning at noon on Wednesday, Amtrak is is extending extra conveniences for your travel during this holiday season, as well: For a nominal $25 fee, passengers are permitted to board with a small cat or dog, but they must be able to fit in a carrier that slides under a passenger seat.

“For the first time, in many cases, an opportunity to bring your pet along with you to Thanksgiving dinner here this year,” said Craig Schultz, a spokesperson for Amtrak.

Also more visible this week, other pooches keeping travelers safe.

“You see the canine units, our explosive detection dogs, on the trains, in the stations,” said Schultz.