Amtrak travelers between Chicago and Quincy will now be allowed to take small cats and dogs with them for $25 in the first test in the nation of what could become a system wide pets-on-board Amtrak policy. The Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg trains will be the first Amtrak testing grounds for the service.

The two trains, numbers 380 and 383, operate to and from Chicago, LaGrange, Naperville, Plano, Mendota, Princeton, Kewanee, Galesburg, Macomb and Quincy.

Advance reservations will be required for pets, and ticketing and travel with them can only begin at stations in Chicago, Naperville and Galesburg, where scales will be available to weigh pets. So Quincy and Macomb riders will not have the opportunity initially.

Dogs and cats up to 20 pounds will be accepted in carriers that will be stored under the seat of each owner from May 5 - Nov. 2 on both Illinois Amtrak trains from Chicago to Quincy according to Illinois Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari. If that name sounds familiar it is because Marc was once the morning radio news anchor at WGEM.

Magliari also said, according to the story in the Chicago Sun-Times, at least one car per train will be “pet-free” for those who may be allergic to pets or who prefer not to sit near them.

Amtrak will continue to allow service animals on trains at no charge.