CHICAGO -- Amtrak and the Illinois Department of Transportation are adding the Chicago-Champaign-Carbondale route to a pilot project that allows travelers to bring their pets on trips.

The route's Illini and Saluki trains makes stops in Mattoon and Effingham.

Amtrak reported that small pets have been carried between Chicago and Quincy on trains since April, with almost 20 small animals safely transported. Although the test was scheduled to end in November, Amtrak and IDOT decided to extend the trial through April 26.

Ticketing and travel with pets can originate throughout the day in Chicago, Carbondale, Champaign and Galesburg, while the service is only available during afternoon departures in Homewood and Naperville. Advance reservations are required and a surcharge of $25 will be assessed for travel.

Dogs or cats up to 20-pounds each will be accepted in carriers such as those used in airplane cabins and placed under the seat of each pet owner. Other provisions apply; contact Amtrak for more information. Amtrak welcomes service animals on trains at no charge and that policy is unchanged.

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Reporter

Rob Stroud is a reporter for the JG-TC, covering the city of Mattoon, Lake Land College, Cumberland County and areas including Oakland, Casey and Martinsville.

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