Archive for the ‘Amtrak stations’ Category

Amtrak Acknowledges 15 Ticket Offices to Reopen

May 23, 2020

Amtrak acknowledged on Friday that it will reinstate ticket agents in Cincinnati and 14 other stations that lost them in 2018.

The action is in response to a congressional mandate.

Other stations set to regain ticket agents include Marshall, Texas; Texarkana, Arkansas; Topeka, Kansas; Meridian, Mississippi; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Hammond, Louisiana; Charleston, West Virginia; Fort Madison, Iowa; Ottumwa, Iowa; Garden City, Kansas; La Junta, Colorado; Lamy, New Mexico; Shelby, Montana; and Havre, Montana.

Those stations lost their agent because they averaged less than 40 passenger boardings a day.

Cincinnati was the largest city to lose a ticket agent during that 2018 wave of ticket office closings.

It will take several weeks for the ticket offices to reopen.

Over the next four to six weeks Amtrak will post job openings and follow that up with interviewing and training.

The carrier has said the station jobs will be part-time and pay $20 per hour.

Cincinnati, which is located on the route of the tri-weekly Chicago-New York Cardinal, handled 11,382 passengers in 2017, an average of 36.4 passengers for the 313 days the station was open that year.

Ridership fell to 8,482 boardings in 2018 although some of that might have been due to a construction project being undertaken at Cincinnati Union Terminal.

Amtrak used a temporary station facility that was difficult to find.

In 2016, Cincinnati handled 12,481 passengers, which met the 40 passengers per day threshold. The passenger count in 2015 was 12,503.

In statement issued on Friday, Amtrak said those hired for the 15 stations will be uniformed workers trained to assist passengers with booking and boarding trains, including helping with unaccompanied minors, carry-on baggage and providing information on the status of arriving and departing trains.

The agents will be scheduled to meet customers for all trains.

Applications for the jobs will be available online at jobs.Amtrak.com. However, the carrier said before it hires outside applicants it will initially seek to fill the jobs internally.

The Amtrak statement said the Cincinnati station will not offer the services Amtrak requires to carry minors ages 13-15 traveling on their own.

It attributed that to the time of day when rains arrive in Cincinnati. Nos. 50 and 51 are scheduled to reach Cincinnati in the dead of night between 1 a.m. and 3:30 a.m.

The federal law prompting the return of the agents is contained in the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 that became law in December 2019.

It directed Amtrak to provide a ticket agent at every station that had agent position eliminated in fiscal 2018.

Amtrak May Restore Some Ticket Agents

May 22, 2020

A story in a Texas newspaper says Amtrak plans to restore ticket agents at 15 stations that lost their agents two years ago.

The Marshall News Messenger said the depot board that operates the Amtrak station in Marshall, Texas, received a phone call from an Amtrak manager on May 18 that said an agent would be restored in Marshall and 14 other stations.

Other stations reported to be set to see ticket agents restored included Cincinnati; Texarkana, Arkansas; Topeka, Kansas; Meridian, Mississippi; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Hammond, Louisiana; Charleston, West Virginia; Fort Madison, Iowa; Ottumwa, Iowa; Garden City, Kansas; La Junta, Colorado; Lamy, New Mexico; Shelby, Montana; and Havre, Montana.

The restoration of agents is expected to take place in the next month to six weeks.

The story said Amtrak plans to internally post the listing of the restored jobs in and then post them externally.

No Amtrak officials were quoted by name in the story and the passenger carrier has not announced any plans to restore ticket agents at any station.

At the time that Amtrak said it planned to close ticket offices at several stations, it framed the move as a cost-cutting measure at locations where ticket sales and passenger boardings were low.

The decision to close the Cincinnati ticket office was criticized for applying a minimum passenger count to a station that does not have daily service.

Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Cardinal stops in Cincinnati on Monday, Thursday and Saturday westbound and on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday eastbound.

Cincinnati was the largest city to lose its ticket agent. Amtrak also has closed ticket offices in various other cities including Michigan stations in Flint, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Niles and East Lansing.

Salt Lake City Depot Closed

May 16, 2020

The Amtrak station in Salt Lake City closed this past week. Passengers will not have access to the inside of the station or restrooms during this time.

Passengers are being advised to proceed around the building to the platform to board trains.

Salt Lake City is served by the California Zephyr operating between Chicago and Emeryville, California.

Milwaukee Station Has Reduced Hours

May 8, 2020

Amtrak’s Milwaukee Downtown station will have reduced ticket office hours and entrances further notice.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said the ticket office will be open between 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Only one entrance, the west door, will be open. The station will be closed between 10 p.m. and 5:15 a.m. to all non-Amtrak personnel in order to clean and disinfect the facility.

Access to the station during the open hours is being limited to ticketed passengers or those wishing to purchase tickets.

In a related development, the waiting room of the Amtrak station in Centralia, Illinois, has been closed until further notice.

Passengers still have access to the boarding platform but must wait there or in a vehicle until trains arrive.

Centralia is served by the City of New Orleans and Chicago-Carbondale corridor trains.

Newark Penn Station Closed Overnight for Cleaning

May 7, 2020

Newark Penn Station is now closed between the hours of 11 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. to allow for a daily deep cleaning and disinfection.

Amtrak uses the station as does New Jersey Transit.

The closure is part of the efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic that has led Amtrak to sharply reduce the number of trains that it operates in the Northeast Corridor.

Warrensburg Waiting Room Closed, Boarding Procedures Changed at Washington Union Station

May 6, 2020

The waiting room of the Amtrak station in Warrensburg, Missouri, has been closed.

Missouri River Runner trains will continue to stop at the station and the boarding platform remains accessible.

Passengers and those waiting on them are asked to wait in a personal vehicle for their train rather than waiting outside.

In a related development, Amtrak has changed boarding procedures at Washington Union Station in an effort to promote social distancing.

Priority boarding has been discontinued and boarding times have been adjusted to avoid lines and waiting in the station.

Passengers without checked baggage are advised to be at the station no more than 30 minutes prior to departure.

Those with checked baggage should arrive no more than 60 minutes before their train’s scheduled departure.

Passenger boarding will begin 20 minutes prior to departure.

Amtrak also said that effective May 10, Wilmington’s Joseph R. Biden, Jr., station will reduce the number of entrances and have modified station hours.

The only open station entrance will be at the corner of French and Front Streets.

Facial coverings will be required when inside the station as mandated by Delaware State Ordinance.

The Wilmington station will be closed between midnight and 5:45 a.m. to all non-Amtrak personnel, in order to clean and disinfect for our riders and employees.

Amtrak also said that the Faber store will be closed and restrooms will be closed to the public.

The SEPTA/DART ticket office will be closed closed and passengers must purchase tickets purchased on the train.

Only ticketed passengers, or those wishing to purchase tickets, are permitted inside the station. SEPTA passengers needing to purchase a ticket can come into the station approximately 15 minutes prior to train departure.

More Station Waiting Rooms Closed

April 28, 2020

More Amtrak station waiting room closing and other adjustments have been made during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The waiting room in Independence, Missouri, has been closed until further notice.

Amtrak’s Missouri River Runner trains will continue to stop and passengers will have access to the boarding platforms.

In Philadelphia, the William H Gray, III 30th Street station has a reduced number of entrances and modified station hours

Acess to the station is limited to a single entrance in the 30th Street Portico, the SEPTA concourse from 30th street and through the parking garage.

The station will be closed between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. to all non-Amtrak personnel while workers clean and disinfect the facility.

In California, changes have been made to station operations along the Pacific Surfliner corridor.

Closed stations include San Juan Capistrano and Solana Beach although trains will continue to stop there.

The Anaheim and Irvine station waiting areas are open, but the Amtrak ticket window is closed, until further notice.

Stations in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Oxnard, Van Nuys, Los Angeles, Fullerton, Santa Ana, Oceanside and San Diego Downtown (Santa Fe Depot) are operating with modified hours.

Los Angeles Union Station is only open to ticketed passengers.

Baltimore Station Redevelopment to Continue

April 28, 2020

Amtrak plans to continue redevelopment of Baltimore Penn Station even though it has suspended some capital spending during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a press briefing last week Amtrak Senior Executive Vice President Stephen Garnder said

Redevelopment of the Baltimore station is critical and would continue.

Plans are to make the station a mixed use center that would include a hotel.

Amtrak is contributing $90 million to the project, which is using a mix of government development funds and private capital.

 

More Station Operations Curtailed

April 15, 2020

Amtrak has announced additional station waiting room closures and station operating hour reductions.

The waiting room at the station in Portland, Oregon, will now close at 8 p.m. daily.

The station’s Metropolitan Lounge is closed until further notice.

Waiting room hours also have been reduced in Vancouver, Washington, until further notice.

The station will close daily at 4:15 p.m, and will not be staffed for Trains 28 and 505.

Train 505 will board on the front platform and Train 28 will board on the platform behind the station.

The waiting room of the station in Washington, Missouri, has been closed.

Missouri River Runner trains will continue to stop at the station and passengers will have access to platforms.

Amtrak is asking that passengers and visitors wait in their personal vehicles until a train arrives.

In a related development, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential travel for 14 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amtrak continues to service the Northeast Corridor in those stations although at reduced levels of service.

More Station Waiting Rooms Closed

April 13, 2020

Additional Amtrak stations have seen their waiting rooms closed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Waiting rooms in Rome and Utica in New York State will be open only for passengers who are wearing masks.

Passengers not wearing masks will be directed to wait for their train outside.

Police officers will reportedly be present at those stations to enforce the policy.

The waiting room of the station in Lincoln, Illinois, has closed to all passengers and visitors.

Trains will continue to stop and passengers and visitors will continue to have access to boarding platforms.

Lincoln is served by Chicago-St. Louis Lincoln Service trains and the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle.