Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak stations’

Limited Parking Available at Yuma Station

June 18, 2018

Construction in the vicinity of the Amtrak station in Yuma, Arizona, has resulted in limited availability of parking there through July 9.

The work is being done by the city. In a station advisory, Amtrak said the station parking lot is closed and construction is blocking access to the traditional dirt parking area next to the platform access tunnel.

Passengers are advised to detour one block south on Maiden Lane then park on the paved public parking lot across from the Veterans Memorial Park, next to the Amtrak platform tunnel, and walk across the Gila Street construction zone to the tunnel.

Yuma is served by Amtrak’s New Orleans-Los Angeles Sunset Limited.

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Lactation Station Opens at Chicago Union Station

June 18, 2018

Amtrak has opened a lactation suite at Chicago’s Union Station. The facility is a 5-foot by 9-foot, self-contained, mobile pod that allows a woman to enter and shut the door. 

The interior includes benches, a fold-down table and an electrical outlet for plugging in a breast pump. 

It is large enough for one person if moms with babies have other kids they need to watch.

“These new lactation suites demonstrate Amtrak’s ongoing commitment to better accommodate the needs of our customers and their families while traveling with us,” said Amtrak Vice President of Stations, Facilities, Properties and Accessibilities David Handera in a statement. “It is important for Amtrak to provide mothers with a secure, clean, dignified and private space.”

Money Might Fund Boston North-South Link Study

June 15, 2018

Building a rail link between North Station and South Station in Boston may be studied after the Massachusetts state legislature approved a bond bill that includes $10 million for the study.

The link would be built in an underground tunnel and Gov. Charlie Baker will determine if the money will be spent for the study. He has not always been receptive to the project.

Senator Jamie Eldridge, who pushed for the funding, said the long-proposed tunnel would “allow for easier movement across the region’s 138 stations and link lines north of Boston to Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor . . . with the potential to reduce the amount of cars driving into Boston by as much as 55,000 vehicles a day.”

Eldridge also said that the $10 million in the bond bill “sends a strong message to Governor Baker of the growing support the North-South Rail Link has in the legislature.”

Greyhound May Use Amtrak Station in Reno

June 14, 2018

Greyhound Bus Lines may be moving into the Amtrak station in Reno, Nevada, next year.

The bus carrier’s lease on its current station expires at the end of this year and the building was recently sold to a new owner.

A Greyhound official said his company is talking with Amtrak about using its station, which is a stop for Amtrak’s California Zephyr.

The Greyhound official said the bus carrier might use a vacant side of the train station.

Some Reno City Council members had express concern that Greyhound using the Amtrak station would prompt issues with traffic, pedestrian safety and the historic value of the station.

If the Amtrak station doesn’t work out, Greyhound might investigate use of the 4th Street transit station.

Raleigh Station to Open on June 27

June 12, 2018

Officials expect the new station serving Amtrak in Raleigh, North Carolina, to open on June 27.

The opening was delayed due to the slope of the station platforms being 1 percent too steep in places and thus not meeting the Americans With Disabilities Act regulations.

A contractor is making corrections to the platform design. By law The slow cannot be more than 2 percent to allow water to drain without placing wheeled objects at constant risk of rolling off the platform.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on April 30 with rail service to the station expected to begin in May. But that was pushed back due to the platform issues.

Ford Buys Detroit Michigan Central Station

June 11, 2018

Ford Motor Company has purchased the former Michigan Central Station in Detroit and plans to make it the centerpiece of an advanced automotive technology development in the Corktown neighborhood.

The station had been owned by the Moroun family since 1995 and had managed to survive a 2009 order of the Detroit City Council to raze the dilapidated structure.

Ford also acquired an adjacent building known as the Roosevelt Warehouse, which had previously been used as a schoolbook depository.

The 18-story Central Station has long symbolized urban blight in Detroit with its vacant offices and broken windows. It is surrounded by razor wire and a chain link fence.

Amtrak used the station from its 1971 inception until moving to a nearby modular facility in January 1988. Amtrak later built a station in the New Center neighborhood of Detroit that it began using in May 1994.

Matthew Moroun declined to disclose the sale price of the depot. “The deal is complete,” he said. “The future of the depot is assured. The next steward of the building is the right one for its future. The depot will become a shiny symbol of Detroit’s progress and its success.”

Ford plans to share information about its plans for renovating the station at a reception on June 19.

Reports that Ford was negotiating to purchase the station have circulated since March.

Based in suburban Dearborn, Ford has transferred 200 workers on its mobility team into a nearby former factory site and is actively seeking other properties in Corktown, Detroit’s oldest surviving neighborhood and located just west of downtown.

Opened in 1913, the Beaux Arts-style Michigan Central Station was at the time the world’s tallest train station.

Although the Morouns failed to demolish the station, they did install more than 1,000 new windows, restored a working elevator and cleaned up the interior.

“The Ford move to the train station is the right play at the right time,” said Robert Kolt, a professor of advertising and public relations at Michigan State University, in an interview with the Detroit Free Press. “Many university grads want to work and live in cool places with an energetic vibe. Ford can remake the area and rebrand what the company does with this type of bold move.”

“I think it’s smart,” Robert Davidman, partner at the Fearless Agency in New York told the Free Press. “If you really want to attract the top talent, you go to where they are. And this allows Ford to take a piece of history and reinvent it. This makes them forward thinkers. Ford is breathing life into something that once was — Ford is going back to their roots, back to where it all began. And it brings back the luster.”

Ford’s plans for the complex it is developing in Corktown include making it the focal point of the company’s efforts to shift toward self-driving, shared and battery-operated cars and logistics.

Corktown is located seven miles down Michigan Avenue from Ford’s world headquarters in Dearborn.

Portage Platform Being Repaved

June 1, 2018

Canadian Pacific is resurfacing the Amtrak boarding platform in Portage, Wisconsin, which will affect boarding of the Empire Builder in that city.

As part of the project, which extends through June 30, workers will also be conducting tie work on the adjacent tracks.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said passengers will need to exit the station shelter and walk to the far east end of the platform to board their train.

Passengers are also urged to use caution when walking and driving in this area as portions of it are active construction zones.

Festival Affects Amtrak Access in Lee’s Summit

June 1, 2018

A downtown festival in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, that begins today (June 1) will affect access to the Amtrak station due to multiple road closures.

Amtrak long-term parking on Market and SE Main Streets will be closed but long-term parking will be available at the City Hall Parking Garage at 2nd and Green Streets.

An Amtrak drop-off zone will be located in front of Security Bank of KC at 2nd and SW Main Streets.

Lee’s Summit is served by Amtrak’s Missouri River Runner trains.

Fort Madison Eyes Grant Extension for Platform Project

May 30, 2018

Fort Madison, Iowa, may need to request an extension of time to use a state grant that it plans to use to build a new platform at the city’s Amtrak station.

The new platform would be built closer to downtown.

However, the city is a few months from a deadline to spend the grant money it received for the project and BNSF, which owns tracks served by the platform, has yet to approve the platform design.

City Manager David Varley said the $750,000 Iowa Department of Transportation grant may be lost if the extension to use it is not approved. The state grant constitutes more than half of the project’s funding.

“As soon as we get these approved plans turned in, we’ve got everything on our end worked out and ready to turn in,” Varley said. “We are still trying to shoot for a date at the end of the year.”

Fort Madison is served by Amtrak’s Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief and averages 17 passengers a day. The city hopes that a more favorable location for the boarding site will increase ridership.

Senators Plead to Keep Ticket Offices

May 22, 2018

Two U.S. senators are seeking to get Amtrak to delay plans to close ticket offices in their states.

Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) wrote to the passenger carrier to express “serious concerns” about the criteria Amtrak used to determine which ticket offices to close.

In a letter to Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson, Manchin said removing the ticket agent from Charleston on June 6 “will not only deprive the state of West Virginia of its last Amtrak ticket agent, but will also compromise safety and upkeep of the facility, and make access more difficult for potential customers.”

Manchin said that Charleston handled 9,749 passengers in federal fiscal year 2017, which works out to more than 62 passengers per day for each day that the tri-weekly Cardinal operates there.

He said Amtrak’s decision to calculate ridership on a weekly basis ignores the fact that the Cardinal does not operate daily. “The policy penalizes Charleston’s station for part-time service without allowing it to be a full-time station.”

Manchin also said 30 percent of West Virginia lacks Internet access and that mobile broadband access is limited in many parts of the state.

Senator Steve Daines (R-Montana) sought to keep the ticket offices in Havre and Shelby open during a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies.

He also called on Amtrak to create a station stop in Culbertson.

“The Empire Builder is critically important to keeping our rural communities connected, transporting out-of-state visitors to some of Montana’s pristine landscapes and supporting local economies,” Daines said. “Amtrak must take action to ensure the needs of Montanans and rural travelers are met.”

Stephen Gardner, Amtrak’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer of Amtrak, said during the hearing the carrier is supportive of adding a stop at Culbertson once station infrastructure is in place.