Archive for the ‘Amtrak stations’ Category

Funding Set for New Oxford Amtrak Station

March 13, 2021

Funding commitments are falling into place for construction of an Amtrak station in Oxford, Ohio.

The city of Oxford along with Miami University have agreed to spend $700,000 for the station, which will serve the Chicago-New York Cardinal.

The city and university funding will pay for a platform and an unmanned kiosk.

Negotiations are underway with vendors for design and cost estimates.

Located 40 miles north-northwest of Cincinnati, Oxford would become the second Ohio stop for the Cardinal and Amtrak’s eighth station in Ohio.

Nos. 50 and 51 stopped in Hamilton, Ohio, between August 1980 and October 2005.

The Oxford station will be located at 909 South Main St. The Cardinal will stop in Oxford westbound on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, and eastbound on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Amtrak to Pay for Gulf Coast Station Rehabilitation

March 13, 2021

Amtrak wants to pay to repair station platforms once used by its Sunset Limited east of New Orleans.

The platforms would be used by a proposed new service between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama, that Amtrak wants to begin in 2022.

The boarding sites were damaged in August 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. Shortly after the storm stuck, Amtrak suspended operation of the Sunset Limited east of New Orleans.

Amtrak is seeking approval from the Federal Railroad Administration to make the station repairs.

Amtrak Vice President of Stations and Accessibility, David Handera, said at a recently meeting of the Southern Rail Commission that the repairs are the first phase of a rehabilitation project Amtrak plans to undertake to ready the route for passenger service.

The stations are located in four Mississippi cities, Bay St. Louis, Gulfport, Pascagoula, and Biloxi, and Mobile, Alabama.

Handera said a temporary platform is needed in Pascagoula because CSX tracks has seen been related always from the site of the former platform.

“We are working with the FRA on assembling funding sources for the short-term and long-term repairs,” Handera said.

He said Amtrak would develop in a second phase of the project “new accessible, well-lit platforms.”

Bus Lines Protest Lack of Space in WUS Expansion Plan

March 13, 2021

The bus industry has criticized plans to redevelop Washington Union Station, saying bus capacity will be reduced by up to 72 percent.

A preliminary design approved earlier by the Federal Railroad Administration reduced the number of bus spaces at the station from 61 to 40.

Some options in the preliminary plan would cut the number of bus spaces to 17.

Supporters of the plan say the current bus facility at WUS is not being used efficiently and the new plan would make better use of scarce space.

Greyhound has argued that the current size of the bus facility should be maintained and maybe expanded.

The $10 billion WUS project will expand rail facilities and retail space but is at least a decade from start of construction.

Salisbury Station to Get Second Boarding Platform

March 5, 2021

A second boarding platform will be built at the Amtrak station in Salisbury, North Carolina.

The city council of Salisbury approved an agreement with the North Carolina Department of Transportation for the $19.75 million project.

The cost includes right-of –way acquisition to enable expanded freight and passenger service at the station location.

Most of the funding will come from the state with the city chipping in $780,000.

Work is expected to be finished in 2024. Salisbury is served by the Crescent, Piedmont Service and the Carolinian.

Amtrak, Metra Trade Barbs in Latest STB Filings in CUS Case

February 23, 2021

Recent filings by Amtrak and Chicago commuter carrier Metra with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board show that the two sides remain are fighting  over which party will control the station.

Amtrak owns the facility but claims in its filings that Metra is trying to wrest away control of the station.

The two have long been at odds over a new Metra lease and Metra has raised questions about Amtrak’s ownership of the building.

Metra contends Amtrak unlawfully merged long-time station owner Chicago Union Station Company into Amtrak.

The ownership issue had arisen in 2018 but at the time the STB said it would be premature for it to rule on that matter, indicating it would issue a ruling at an unspecified future date.

Metra contends that Amtrak “bias” stemming its ownership of the station is the basis for many of the ongoing issues separating the two sides.

The commuter rail agency argues that if the STB agrees that the parties would be better served by “balancing public interests” then there would be no basis for imposing Amtrak-requested terms that derive from an entirely different perspective.

Amtrak said in its filing that it must have the ability to manage, oversee, and coordinate service and operations at its station.

Therefore Amtrak said it is seeking clear rights and responsibilities to be delineated in a future access agreement.

The intercity passenger carrier called “not feasible” Metra’s demand that any reduction of the number of Metra trains or revision of peak periods must have its consent.

Metra wants to be able to increase its train movements at Union Station by 5 percent.

Amtrak said as owner it must have the ability to control and coordinate train schedules.

This includes dwell times for Metra trains. Amtrak wants to decree that Metra trains have as little as 10 minutes of dwell time during peak periods, some thing Metra has called “wasteful, unnecessary and arbitrary” because Amtrak has not presented any evidence that the limits are based on operating experience or need.

Amtrak also expressed concern about a Metra proposal that it be allowed to store some trains in the station overnight.

WUS Plan Needs More Work

February 23, 2021

A redevelopment plan for Washington Union Station will go back to the drawing board because some believe it is too focused on automobile traffic.

At issue is a six-story parking garage that District of Columbia officials are opposing.

The revisions will come in the wake of the Federal Railroad Administration halting its review of the $10 billion project.

The project includes adding concourses and tracks, increased retail businesses, a bus facility, and creating pickup and drop-off areas in front of a new train hall and at other entrances.

The project is expected to be completed by 2040.

Amtrak, Metra Remain Far Apart Over CUS Lease

February 18, 2021

Amtrak and Chicago commuter carrier Metra remain far apart in their dispute over a new lease for the latter to use Chicago Union Station.

Documents filed with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board verge on contempt for some positions taken by the other party.

A Metra attorney wrote to the board on Feb. 8 seeking to strike a Jan. 29 letter from Amtrak, calling the letter an impermissible, “abusive” and “highly prejudicial” response to an earlier filing in which the sides jointly offered an update on results of their mediation efforts.

Amtrak countered by telling the STB that its letter was substantive changes to a Metra correction of earlier errors, and says it feels “compelled to address the faux outrage contained in Metra’s letter.”

Amtrak said its letter was providing context for those corrections that Metra “should have provided . . . but did not.”

The intercity passenger carrier argued that its Jan. 29 filing was proper, but it will not object if Metra wishes file a full response.

Both sides face a Feb. 19 deadline to file responses to each other’s earlier filing on remaining disagreements.

Amtrak Accepting Disability Compensation Claims

February 2, 2021

Compensation claims stemming from the settlement of a discrimination lawsuit are now being accepted by Amtrak.

Those with disabilities who encountered mobility issues at 78 Amtrak stations may be eligible to receive a share of the $2.25 million the passenger carrier agreed to pay to settle the case brought by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The settlement, which was announced in December, also requires Amtrak to repair the stations in question.

The suit had alleged that Amtrak failed to accommodate disabled passenger at those stations due its failure to renovate and repair them to make them more accessible.

STB Filings Show Areas of Dispute Over CUS

January 27, 2021

In documents filed with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, Amtrak and Chicago commuter railroad Metra have listed areas of disagreement in a dispute over Chicago Union Station.

Amtrak owns the station and has been at loggerheads with Metra over various issues.

The intercity passenger carriers wants the STB to help settle the unresolved 16 issues.

Metra has countered that all of the issues can still be resolved through negotiation.

Among the unresolved issues are dwell time for Metra equipment, for boarding disembarking, and turnaround service.

Amtrak wants those to be limited to 10 minutes during peak period, one hour during weekday off-peak periods, and five hours on weekends and holidays.

Metra has described this as an attempt by Amtrak to “impose arbitrary and unnecessary time restrictions on Metra equipment layovers untethered to a demonstrable Amtrak need.”

The commuter railroad would rather that Metra equipment remain at the station as long as circumstances warrant so long as it does not interfere with Amtrak operations.

In its filing, Amtrak said 10 of the 16 remaining issues should be addressed by the Board.

Metra countered that it is willing to accept Amtrak’s most recent proposed terms in two areas with five areas being addressed by the board.

Both parties want the STB to settle procedures governing Metra schedule changes and increases in service.

Amtrak has said it is willing to cooperate with Metra, “but ultimately, a single party must have final scheduling” authority.

Metra is seeking what it termed “protection from arbitrary changes” and opposes Amtrak serving as the sole arbiter of whether a refusal to accommodate additional Metra trains is reasonable.

Amtrak Seeks Contractors for Station Work

January 25, 2021

Amtrak has put out word it is looking for contractors to do work at its New Carrollton Station in Maryland.

The project involves building a side platform to accommodate the new Acela fleet and is not expected to interrupt existing Amtrak service.

The new equipment is expected to begin revenue service later this year.

The New Carrolton station was built in 1983 and also serves MARC commuter trains and bus and Metrorail trains of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.