Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak stations’

Ann Arbor Station Cost Rises to $89M

September 15, 2017

Ann Arbor City Council members got an unexpected surprise this week when they learned that the price tag for a new Amtrak station has shot up by $25 million.

The station, which has been in the talking and planning stages for more than 10 years, was to have cost $65 million, but now it is expected to cost $80 million.

Furthermore, the city will need to find additional funding sources to pay for design and construction work once an environmental assessment is completed.

The news came at a session at which the city’s  chief financial officer said there isn’t enough money to do all of the capital projects that council has discussed.

The current Amtrak station on Depot Street is small and the city has been eyeing sites for a new station along that street or on Fuller Road near the University of Michigan Hospital.

In response to a question by Council Member Jane Lumm of how the project had ballooned in cost, city chief financial officer Tom Crawford had few details.

“This is not intended to be a project update,” Crawford said. “I just grabbed something that I saw and threw it in.”

City Administrator Howard Lazarus said discussions are continuing with the Federal Railroad Administration and that the environmental assessment package could be available for public review as early as next week.

Lazarus acknowledged that schedule estimates on releasing the report have been notoriously unreliable, “but I think we’re pretty close to the end.”

The city is still assuming that 80 percent of the money for the station will come from the federal government and 20 percent will be local funds.

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CUS Gets New Signs

September 14, 2017

New signs have been placed in Chicago Union Station, in what is being described as an update.

The 81 updated signs are designed to easily connect travelers to transportation options and amenities in the station, Regional Transportation Authority officials said in a news release.

Some signs are provide Amtrak passengers information about how to connect with Chicago Transit and Metra route.
The projected also corrected outdated or incorrect signage and unified all signs to Amtrak’s current standards.

Marshall Station Closed for Construction

September 12, 2017

Due to construction, the Amtrak station in Marshall, Texas, wlll be closed through Sept. 19.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said passengers traveling to Marshall on Texas Eagle No. 21 should disembark at Longview, Texas, and board Thruway Bus 6121 to Marshall.

Those traveling to Marshall on Train No. 22, should also detrain at Longview, but catch Thruway bus 6422.

Passengers originating in Marshall will board Thruway bus 6421 if traveling on No. 21 and Thruway bus 6122 if traveling on Train No. 22. In both cases, passengers will be taken to Longview to board their train.

The station work in Marshall includes construction of a new ADA compliant elevator, ticket office and walkway to the train platform.

Amtrak to Begin Using New Alton Station

September 12, 2017

Amtrak will begin using the new Alton Regional Multimodal Transportation Center on Wednesday.

The facility, which features wide platforms, ample parking, free Wi-Fi, enclosed bicycle lockers, and connections to local transit buses, was built with a combination of federal federal and local funds.

Local buses will also use the center, which is near stores, restaurants, a Hampton Inn, and a Super 8 motel.

The current Alton station is on College Avenue in a depot built by the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio Railroad.

Southbound trains will stop two minutes earlier and northbound trains two minutes later than the current published schedule. A formal dedication of the new facility has been set for Sept. 15.

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

Sunset Limited to Serve Flatonia, Texas

September 12, 2017

Amtrak’s Sunset Limited will begin serving Flatonia, Texas, at a date to be announced.

Union Pacific, which hosts the train, said it will allow the stop provided that a pocket track is built to enable Nos. 1 and 2 to pull off the Houston-San Antonio mainline while making it station stop.

The City of Flatonia has been seeking the stop for several years, being rebuffed by the railroad throughout that time.

The station will be located in downtown Flatonia between Market and Second Streets.

Charlottesville Station May be Expanded

September 7, 2017

Design plans have been submitted to the Charlottesville (Virginia) Board of Architectural Review for an expansion of the city’s Amtrak station.

The plans show show a two-story addition on the rail-side of the station, a new baggage claim area, and an expanded waiting room.

In 2016 the Charlottesville station served five times the number of passengers that it did when Amtrak began using the facility.

“It’s really necessary. It’s no longer adequate to serve the needs of the passengers,” said Meredith Richards of the CvilleRail and the Piedmont Rail Coalition. “They pack in here like sardines. When that train is coming, the passengers are packed tight, they have their luggage, there’s not enough space.

The architectural review board will discuss the station expansion plans at its meeting on Tuesday, September 19.

Although the Charlottesville station is a former Southern Railway depot, it is now privately owned.

Tunnel Being Built at Memphis Station

September 6, 2017

Work has begun to develop an underground walkway beneath the platforms at Memphis Central Station.

The pedestrian tunnel will link Main Street with a farmers market on Front Street. It is expected to open in summer 2018.

Alex Turley, vice president of real estate for developer Henry Turley Company, said the tunnel is part of a Central Station redevelopment project that includes a 124-room boutique hotel, a seven-screen Malco cinema, 182 residential units, the Memphis Farmers Market, and retail and restaurants.

Amtrak will continue to use the depot, which was built 113 years ago by the Illinois Central Railroad and serves the City of New Orleans.

The station project is being funded by a $3 million grant. “The idea is that this becomes a transit hub to a larger neighborhood, not just South Main and the South End but also South City,” Turley said. “We want this to be a demonstration of how transit can work in Memphis.”

Further up the line of the City of New Orleans the city of Newbern, Tennessee, will celebrate its 25th Newbern Depot Days on Sept. 16.

The festival will feature music, food, prizes and operating model train layouts.

Proceeds from the event are used for maintenance of the Newbern depot, which was built in 1920 saved from destruction 27 years ago.

Among the prizes are Amtrak tickets for two aboard the City of New Orleans to Chicago or New Orleans (winner’s choice).

Charlotte Station Plan Continues to Roll

September 6, 2017

The Charlotte Area Transit System continues to seek a new transportation center that would serve Amtrak in the city’s uptown area.

The center is expected to be built on a 17-acre site along  Norfolk Southern tracks between Bank of American Stadium and Ninth Street, an area that is now mostly surface parking lots.

It will be connected to the uptown transit center and the Blue Line light rail by a streetcar line being built on Trade Street.

Tina Votaw, the Charlotte Gateway Station project manager, said utility work is expected to start in early 2018.

Design work for the five new bridges at the site is expected to be completed this year. Votaw said that if everything goes according to plan, the station would open in 2024.

The first components of the project will cost an estimated $70 million to $80 million. The project has received a $30 million federal grant and a pledge of $48.75 million from the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The city of Charlotte has promised $33 million.

Amtrak currently used a small facility on North Tryon Street. Serving Charlotte is the New York-Orleans Crescent.

The Carolinian and Piedmont trains originate and terminate in Charlotte.

Votaw cautioned that much needs to happen before the new station can be built. Chief among those is the development of a partnership with a private developer.

CATS is expected to issue an open-ended request for proposals to see how developers suggest building the station.

“We’ve got this property,” Votaw said. “We want a station sooner rather than later. Tell us how you would do it.”

Greyhound owns a 1.3-acre tract on West Trade Street at the Gateway Station site that is uses as its Charlotte bus station.

CATS expected to buy that property and allow intercity bus-service on a “roll-through” basis.

Bus maintenance and other operations would need to be relocated.

Rail passenger trains last stopped in uptown Charlotte in 1962 when the Southern Railway opened the North Tryon Street depot that planners consider to be small, outdated and disconnected from the city’s downtown center.

Princeton Depot Getting ADA Upgrades

September 6, 2017

The parking lot of the Princeton, Illinois, Amtrak station is getting an upgrade to comply with standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The work includes grading the lot so that it will be at a more appropriate angle to approach the building and revising several parking spots.

Restrooms are being given wider doors for wheelchair and limited mobility access.

The work is expected to be completed by January 2018. Princeton is served by Amtrak’s Carl Sandburg, Illinois Zephyr, California Zephyr and Southwest Chief.

Amtrak Says Penn Station Work Complete

September 1, 2017

Amtrak announced on Thursday that a track rebuilding program at New York Penn Station has been completed in time for the Labor Day holiday weekend.

Scheduled service that had been suspended for the project will be restored on Sept. 5.

That means the New York-New Orleans Southern Crescent will resume originating in New York rather than Washington as it has since July 10.

Empire Service trains that temporarily terminated at New York Grand Central Terminal will also return to Penn Station.

During the project workers replaced Track 10 and four diamonds near Tower A.

Additional work has been scheduled for the fall, but will take place during 55-hour weekend windows.

Inspectors will review the station’s track infrastructure and make repairs on weekends through next spring.