Archive for the ‘Amtrak stations’ Category

La Junta Ticket Window Operation Curtailed

July 11, 2018

Although the ticket agent remains, the ticket window hours of operation in La Junta, Colorado, have been restricted.

Effective July 9, Amtrak reduced the operation of the ticket office at the station served by the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief.

However, Amtrak said there may be times during this time frame when no agent is on duty.

Checked baggage service is no longer available at La Junata. The new hours are:

  • Monday through Wednesday: 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Thursday through Friday: 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The ticket office will be closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

Passengers will have access to the station waiting area and restrooms for all train arrivals and departures. The La Junta station is open daily between 7 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.

The changes mean that Amtrak personnel on the train will assist customers boarding and detraining when the agent is not on duty and unaccompanied minors will not be allowed to board at this station.

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Flint Ticket Office Closes

July 11, 2018

Amtrak has removed its station agent and closed the ticket window at its station in Flint, Michigan. The change was effective on July 5.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said passengers waiting to board the Chicago-Port Huron Blue Water trains will continue to have access to the station waiting area and restrooms for all train arrivals and departures.

Station hours will be 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. to midnight.

Passengers needing assistance will be helped by onboard Amtrak personnel.

There is no checked baggage service available at Flint.

CUS Addition Being Panned by Many

July 7, 2018

A proposal to add an addition atop the head house of Chicago Union Station is being widely panned.

The design has been sharply criticized in newspapers, on blogs and on social media.

The design by Chicago-based Riverside Investment & Development and Convexity Properties proposes a modernistic, seven-story steel and glass addition.

It would have 404 apartments while 330 hotel rooms would be added to the head house of the station, which was completed in 1925.

Most critics have said the designs of the original station and the addition at incongruous.

Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin described the addition as having all of the grandeur of a Holiday Inn.

“The architects are trying to create a design that they say would be compatible with, yet distinct from the addition,” Kamin wrote. “But in this case, the addition is not compatible in the least with the existing Union Station. It’s top heavy. It is a grid, a metal and glass grid that is not compatible with the carefully composed classical design.”

In The Architect’s Newspaper, Elizabeth Blasius described the addition as a self-inked address stamper.

“The proposed addition is not only an imbalance in terms of design, it’s also condescending to the station itself, the architectural equivalent of a head patting, or worse,” Blasius wrote.

Most comments on a Facebook page run by Chicago Railroad Historians have described the design of the addition as “an abomination.” Similar comments were made by some on Twitter.

However, DePaul University transportation professor Joseph Schwieterman took a more positive view.

“Having a major hotel become the centerpiece of the design will strengthen the station’s role as a premier travel center,” he said, adding that he considers much of the criticism of the architectural details is misplaced.

“The design leverages the air rights above the head house building while still respecting the station’s historic character. This is a win-win for both travelers to and residents of the city of Chicago,” said Schwieterman, who is head of the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development.

He said the plan could make Union Station’s Great Hall a tourist attraction, saying Chicago has a dismal track record when it comes to preserving historic rail terminals.

Gone are Central Station, Grand Central Station, LaSalle Street Station, and the former Chicago & North Western Terminal.

Amtrak to Begin Using Raleigh Station July 10

July 7, 2018

Amtrak will begin using the new Raleigh Union Station on July 10, more than two months after a dedication ceremony was held for the new facility.

The $87 million station was to have opened last year, but was delayed due to a problem with the platforms being too steep for federal ADA regulations.

Raleigh is served by Amtrak’s New York-Miami Silver Star, the New York-Charlotte Carolinian and the Piedmont Service trains operating between Raleigh and Charlotte.

Amtrak said the last train to use the current Raleigh station will be Piedmont No. 78, due into Raleigh at 10:10 p.m. on July 9.

The first train to use the new station will be the 6:30 a.m. departure of Piedmont No. 73.

Raleigh Union Station is located at 510 West Martin Street, about a mile north of the current depot.

Amtrak said the new station has 26,000 square feet of which 9,200 square feet are devoted to passenger areas.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said all parking at Raleigh Union Station is paid.

Parking spots are available across the street from the station in a parking deck connected to a building called The Dillon.

Upon entering, take a ticket from the machine and have it ready when exiting. Parking costs $2 per hour or $18 maximum per day, paid by credit card only when exiting parking deck.

There is limited short-term and disability parking in front of the station. Enter from West Street and drive into the traffic circle. Parking spots are on the left. Parking costs $1.25 per hour and there is a two-hour limit. Pay by credit card or coins at the meter.

Mobile Moves Ahead With Station Design

July 7, 2018

Although there are no plans in the works for Amtrak service, Mobile, Alabama, officials are moving ahead with designing a new passenger station.

Mobile City County President Levon Manzie said the station design plans are to show Gov. Key Ivey that the city has a shovel-ready project.

Ivey earlier declined to commit state funding toward restoration of Amtrak service along the Gulf Coast.

Mobile plans to award a contract to Mott MacDonald to design a new Amtrak station. The city had been served by the Sunset Limited until Hurricane Katrina damaged the route in August 2005.

Although four Mississippi cites are seeking to improve or expand current stations, Mobile wants to build a new depot from the ground up.

The contract to design the station will cost $233,000.

Ceiling Collapse Closes Rome Station

July 6, 2018

A ceiling collapse prompted Amtrak to temporarily suspend service to Rome, New York, this week.

The ceiling fell in about 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday but just one person was in the depot at the time and was not injured.

Amtrak closed the station in order to make repairs, which are expected to take until at least July 10.

Passengers are being steered to the Utica, New York station 14 miles away.

New York Central built the Rome station between 1912 and 1914 and it has been owned by the City of Rome since 1988.

The station was renovated between 2002 and 2004. Trains stopping there include the New Y York-Toronto Maple Leaf and two Empire Service round trips.

Opening of Raleigh Station Delayed Again

June 30, 2018

Failure to complete construction of the platforms on time has further delayed the opening of Raleigh Union Station.

The new facility was to have opened on June 27, but the slope of the platforms still does not meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation now expects the station to open sometime in July.

The issue is that the slope cannot be more than 2 percent. That would allow water to run off, but not be too steep as to cause such wheeled objects as strollers and wheelchairs to roll.

Officials said warm weather has hindered work to place concrete in places to fix the slope problem.

The station was originally planned to open last year, but was then delayed to a May 2018 opening, which slipped to June.

Raleigh is served by Amtrak’s Silver Star, Carolinian and Piedmont Service trains.

Richmond Parking Expansion Completed

June 30, 2018

Expansion of the parking lot at Richmond’s Staples Mill Road has been completed and the additional spaces are now available for public use.

The project, which cost $8.5 million, resulted in an additional 299 parking spaces to bring the total to 587 and a new rear entrance to the station off Bremner Boulevard.

Also included in the work were bike racks, taxi and ride-share parking and Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant parking spaces.

More than 370,000 passenger rail customers used the Staples Mill station in fiscal year 2017, which is served by 16 trains a day including the Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Carolinian, Palmetto and Northeast Regional services.

CUS Addition Unveiled by Developer

June 27, 2018

Chicago Union Station will get a quite different look if Amtrak and a developer follow through on plans to build an addition atop the station that will house apartments, retail space and a hotel.

The seven-story addition of steel and glass would be built on top of the existing head house.

It is the second time that a developer has proposed an addition to Union Station, the first having come in 2002 and failed to materialize.

The latest plan, which is expected to cost $1 billion, seeks to make Union Station a seven-day-a-week, year-round “destination.”

Already the proposed addition, which was designed by Riverside Investment & Development and Convexity Properties, has drawn the ire of some who say it is at odds with the original appearance of the station.

Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin described the addition as “utterly underwhelming” and added that the exterior of the addition is “a skeletal metal and glass grid [that] is at odds with the station’s carefully composed classical aesthetic.”

Kamin said the addition is “one era of architecture [that] had been piled, willy-nilly, atop another.”

Amtrak owns Union Station and hired Riverside Investment in May 2017 to create a plan for further commercial development of the depot.

As part of the construction of the addition, natural light would still be allowed to illuminate the Great Hall because the skylight would be retained.

Completed in 1925, Union Station served the Pennsylvania; Alton Road (later Gulf, Mobile & Ohio); Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; and the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific railroads.

The station was designed by Daniel Burnham and successor firm Graham, Anderson, Probst & White.

The addition would not affect operations of Amtrak and Metra commuter trains in the Concourse building located across the street from the Head House.

The redevelopment of Union Station must be approved by the Chicago City Council and Amtrak’s board of directors.

Developers are optimistic that construction can begin in spring 2019.

If built, the addition would be similar to one proposed in 2002 by Chicago architect Lucien Lagrange that called for a 400-foot tower atops the station.

Kamin noted that Burnham envisioned Union Station as a gateway to Chicago’s west loop neighborhood and planned for an office building to be built atop the station. The foundations for that structure were laid, but it was never built.

Amtrak to Renovate Jackson Station

June 25, 2018

Amtrak plans to rehabilitate the 144-year-old Michigan Central station in Jackson, Michigan, this summer to make it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The work also includes re-pointing the brick on the chimneys and working on the roof.

Other improvements include bathrooms being made ADA compliant, installing signs with braille markings and creating an ADA accessible path from the parking lot to the station.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said cost estimates won’t be available until the project is finished.

Amtrak has owned the station since 1973. It is served daily by six Wolverine Service trains between Chicago and Detroit (Pontiac).

The Victorian-Italianate-style structure opened on Sept. 1, 1873, and is one of Amtrak’s oldest stations that has been in continuous use as a passenger facility having served the Michigan Central, New York Central and Penn Central.

Other renovations were made in 1978, 2008 and 2013.