Travel by Train? Yes, You Can.

When most people think about traveling for work, flying and car rentals are what come to mind. But there are other options, including traveling by train. How does it work? Read on…

Classes of Train Accommodations Available

1. Coach-class The basic class of accommodations offered by a rail carrier to passengers that includes a level of service available to all passengers regardless of the fare paid. Coach-class includes reserved coach accommodations as well as slumber coach accommodations when overnight train travel is involved.

2. Slumber coach Includes slumber coach accommodations on trains offering such accommodations, or the lowest level of sleeping accommodations available on a train that does not offer slumber coach accommodations.

3. First-class Includes bedrooms, roomettes, club service, parlor car accommodations, or other premium accommodations.

4. Business class A class of extra fare train service that is offered above coach class, but is lower than first-class, as described above

Employees must use coach-class accommodations for all train travel, except when their agencies authorize first-class service.

An employee may use first-class train accommodations only when his or her agency specifically authorizes/approves their use for one of the reasons stated below:

1. No coach-class accommodations are reasonably available. Reasonably available means available and scheduled to leave within 24 hours of the employees proposed departure time, or scheduled to arrive within 24 hours of the employees proposed arrival time.

2. When use of first-class is necessary to accommodate a disability or other special need. A disability must be substantiated in writing by a competent medical authority. A special need must be substantiated in writing according to the agencys procedures. If the employee is authorized to have an attendant accompany him or her, the agency also may authorize the attendant to use first-class accommodations if the employee requires the attendants services en route.

3. When exceptional security circumstances require first-class travel. Exceptional security circumstances include, but are not limited to:

Use of other than first-class accommodations would endanger the employees life or Government property;

The employee is an agent on protective detail and is accompanying an individual authorized to use first-class accommodations; or

The employee is a courier or control officer accompanying controlled pouches or packages.

4. Inadequate foreign coach-class train accommodations, such as when coach-class train accommodations on a foreign rail carrier do not provide adequate sanitation or health standards.

Extra-Fare Train Service

Extra-fare train service is a train that operates at an increased fare due to the extra performance of the train (i.e., faster speed or fewer stops). An employee may use extra-fare train service whenever the agency determines it is more advantageous to the Government or is required for security reasons. The use of the lowest class of service available on any AMTRAK Acela or Metroliner train service (including Acela Express) is deemed advantageous to the Government and no further agency approval is needed. On the Amtrak Acela Express or Metroliner train service, the lowest available class is business and on the Amtrak Regional train service the lowest available class of service is coach. AMTRAK Acela and Metroliner first-class accommodations may be authorized/approved only as explained above.

Learn all about your travel options in the 2013 Federal Travel Handbook.

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