Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak depots’

Amtrak Station in Tucson

April 27, 2017

The streetside view of the former Southern Pacific station in Tucson, which is now used in part by Amtrak.

Last October I was  on vacation in Tucson, Arizona. I paid a visit to the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, which uses a portion of the former Southern Pacific station.

Amtrak still uses the SP station, although it shares it with Maynard’s Market, a deli-type operation.

I was there on a Thursday and Amtrak’s Sunset Limited was not scheduled to operate in either direction. Tucson is still a staffed station with checked baggage service.

The size of the Amtrak facilities appear to be appropriate for the use that the station gets and the depot has been nicely restored.

The streetside entrance to the Amtrak station. The depot is located on Toole Street.

The exterior of the station as seen from the trackside view.

The Amtrak ticket office in the Tucson station.

Another angle of the Tucson ticket office.

One end of the waiting room. In the distance is the former CTC machine used by Southern Pacific dispatchers to control traffic on the Sunset Route.

The other end of the waiting room, which has a number of historic photographs on the wall. The ticket office is to the left and straight ahead.

The door to the platform as seen from inside the waiting room.

On the platform. The building on the other side of the tracks is the maintenance facility for the Tucson streetcar network.

 

Signs that Harken to a Past Era of Train Travel

April 13, 2017

There was a time when every large city in America had one or more “union” stations, meaning depots used by multiple railroads for their passenger service.

There remain quite a few union stations in America, but most of them either are no longer served by passenger trains (e.g., St. Louis) or just see a couple trains a day (e.g., Indianapolis).

Photographs that I’ve seen of these stations back in the days when travel by train was more pervasive than it is now have featured certain types of signs that directed travelers to boarding areas.

Shown are two such types of signs at Chicago Union Station, which is, arguably, the last great train station left in the Heartland of America in terms of frequent use by rail passengers.

The top sign is carved into the masonry work of the station and isn’t going anywhere. The bottom sign, though, is portable and may not longer be in use at CUS.

Both have an old-fashioned quality about them that suggests an era long ago and well before anyone thought there would someday be an Amtrak.

Down the Steps to the Waiting Room

February 11, 2017

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The Amtrak station in Mattoon, Illinois, has below-ground boarding, a result of an early 20th century project to lower the Illinois Central Railroad tracks through town.

The station used by Amtrak today was built at the same time that the IC tracks were lowered. The depot is now owned by the city, which paid to restore it several years ago.

Countless thousands of people have walked these stairs going to or from their train. They came from all walks of life and were traveling for every reason you can imagine.

One of them was a young man who with his new wife arrived by train in a trip to see her grandmother in a retirement home in nearby Sullivan.

As he ascended these steps he might have been thinking about the idea he’d just had during the journey about how to flesh out a song he had started writing years earlier.

His name was Steve Goodman and the song was City of New Orleans. We know what happened within a couple years after he climbed these stairs.

Macomb Leading Way in Amtrak Pilot Program

February 2, 2017

It is not every community that gets personal attention from a member of the Amtrak board of directors.

IllinoisBut then most communities served by Amtrak don’t have a former mayor on the board of directors.

At the urging of Thomas C. Carper, Macomb, Illinois, agreed to become the first city to see its Amtrak station rebuilt to comply with federal ADA standards.

Macomb is participating in a pilot program that may be extended to other stations.

A team from Amtrak inspected the depot last year and offered the city a deal. If the city would hire local companies to do the work, Amtrak would provide reimbursement.

“This pilot is the only one we’re doing,” Carper told Macomb aldermen. “What works in Macomb might be the template for other modifications. We like the idea of local construction rather than hiring one national contractor.”

Carper, who served as Macomb’s mayor between 1991 and 2003, said 511 of Amtrak’s 525 stations need work to become ADA compliant. Amtrak is responsible for the facilities of 380 of those stations.

In Macomb the work will include a new concrete walkway from the parking lot to the platform and to the depot entrances.

Also in the plans are building a sloped concrete walkway and steps to the platform and adding handrails, and then remodeling the train station interior so that entry doors and restrooms are handicapped accessible.

The Macomb city manager has recommend hiring McClure Engineering Associates to draw up construction specifications based on the Amtrak designs for a fee of $4,500.

The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy depot in Macomb was built in 1913 and has been granted historic status.

Therefore, some elements outlined in the plan cannot be altered or must be done so as to appear consistent with the historic look.

Macomb is served by the Chicago-Quincy, Illinois Carl Sandburg and Illinois Zephyr.