Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak stations’

Boarding Changes Set at Paoli Station on Aug. 17, 18

August 15, 2019

During that time, Track 4 at the Paoli station will be closed for boarding of Keystone Service trains.

Passengers traveling to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, will need to board on Track 1.

La Junta Parking Temporarily Closed

August 15, 2019

The parking lot at the La Junta, Colorado, Amtrak station is temporarily closed  through Aug. 23 due to work to seal and re-stripe the passenger loading platform and parking area.

In the interim, parking is available in the overflow long-term gravel parking area located one to two blocks west of the current parking lot.

During the construction, there will be no ADA-accessible parking available.

Amtrak said signs have been posted to guide passengers to the temporary parking and drop off and boarding locations.

Bus Route Links to Harrisburg Amtrak Station

August 13, 2019

Capital Area Transit has revamped its transit service in the Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, area to include connecting service to the Amtrak station in Harrisburg.

Early-morning and afternoon connecting service to downtown Harrisburg and the Amtrak station is available from Walmart and the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center on the campus of Shippensburg University.

The base fare $1.25 while rides are free for Shippensburg students, faculty and staff members with proper ID.

Passengers 65 and older can ride free with a Commonwealth of PA senior ID card.

Amtrak Seeks Food Hall for Chicago Union Station

August 7, 2019

Amtrak has issued a request for proposals to develop a food hall at Chicago Union Station.

It would be located between the Great Hall and on the Clinton Street side of the terminal, which has been closed to the public ever since a 1980 fire.

The proposed food hall is expected to draw customers from among nearby office workers and residents in addition to rail passengers.

“With all the development that is going on around Union Station, we think a food hall is just a natural for this space,” said Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari.

What Amtrak has in mind is not a collection of fast food outlets, but rather something featuring a little style and higher prices.

Although the requests for proposals has a deadline of Oct. 4, Magliari said that could be extended.

The passenger carrier is eyeing a late 2020 opening date for the food hall.

Magliari said Amtrak will use $10 million, part of the proceeds from its sale of a parking garage immediately south of Union Station, to fund the food hall work.

The site of the food hall would be what there once was a Fred Harvey Lunch Room.

In the meantime, workers continue to renovate the west wall area of Union Station, which hasn’t had an entrance since the 1980s fire.

Following the fire, the wall’s soaring windows and the space covered with bricks.

The renovation will involve replacing the 8-by-17-foot windows and three 9-by-30-foot windows that once overlooked the Great Hall.

Philly Solari Board Now on Display in Museum

August 7, 2019

There was much made of the removal of the Solari board from Philadelphia’s William H. Gray III 30th Street Station back in January.

The iconic board, which provided arrival and departure times of Amtrak trains and made a pleasing noise as its flaps spun around each time it was updated, has since been taken to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

At the time of its removal, a Philadelphia company, Oat Foundry, said it could build a modern, replacement flipboard that fulfilled ADA requirements, but Amtrak wasn’t interested.

Amtrak had cited the Solari board’s failure to adhere to ADA standards as one reason why it ws removed.

For the hearing impaired, the Solari board was unable to provide visual updates, which instead were provided by a public address system. That is not a problem with the new digital board that replaced the Solari board.

The passenger carrier also pointed to the board’s age and the difficulty of obtaining replacement parts.

The Solari board, which is named for its Italian manufacturer, was the last of its kind in the Amtrak network when it was turned off on Jan. 26.

Named after the Italian manufacturer that made it, the Solari board is, technically, on loan to the museum.

Amtrak has hired a developer to redesign 30th Street Station and working the Solari board into those plans are under consideration.

For now, the Solari board can be found in the Rolling Stock Hall on Platform 5 West next to a 114-year steam locomotive.

The museum has cleaned it and placed it on a base. In time, the museum plans to add a video screen to the exhibit that will show the Solar board in operation as well as explain its history.

Talks between Amtrak and the museum housing the Solari board there began in 2016, but languished until 2018.

Although the board arrived at the museum in February, it didn’t go on display until late July.

The Solari board will remain at the museum for at least the next three years.

Museum officials have said that if it can’t be incorporated into the 30th Street station redesign, they will be “honored” to keep the Solari board permanently.

Crescent Resumes Stopping in Clemson

August 7, 2019

Amtrak’s Crescent has resumed stopping in Clemson, South Carolina.

Nos. 19 and 20 last stopped in Clemson in 2016 when service was suspended due to a bridge replacement project.

In the interim Clemson passengers will shuttled by bus to Greenville.

As part of the bridge project, the passenger platform at the Clemson station was rebuilt.

An Amtrak spokeswoman said the Crescent resumed service to Clemson on Aug. 1.

The Crescent operates between New York and New Orleans.

Temporary Boarding Changes Made in Fullerton

August 6, 2019

Amtrak has implemented boarding changes in Fullerton, California, that it said in a service advisory are intended to provide more reliable service.

The changes are in effect through Aug. 16.

Pacific Surfliner morning trains will use the opposite track at the Fullerton station Monday through Friday.

Northbound passengers traveling to or from Los Angeles on Trains 561, 565, 569, 763 and 767 will board from Track 3.

Southbound passengers traveling to or from San Diego on Trains 562, 564, 566, 572, 768 and 774 will board from Track 1.

Hanging With the Hoosier State in Its Final Week

August 4, 2019

Boarding has begun for the Chicago-bound Hoosier State on June 25 at Indianapolis Union Station.

By the time I arrived in Indianapolis Amtrak’s Hoosier State had just one week left to live.

I would experience No. 851 three times before it made its final trip on June 30, riding it once and photographing it trackside twice.

I have ridden the Hoosier State several times but not since August 1991.

Interestingly, my purpose for riding the Hoosier State nearly 28 years later would be the same as why I rode it in 1991.

I was moving and needed to go back to my former hometown to pick up a car and drive it to my new hometown.

In 1991 I had driven from Indianapolis to State College, Pennsylvania. In 2019 I drove from Cleveland to Indianapolis.

Boarding of No. 851 began shortly after I arrived at Indianapolis Union Station on the morning of June 25.

I was the second passenger to board the Horizon fleet coach to which most Indy passengers were assigned. The car was about two-thirds full.

The consist also included an Amfleet coach, an Amfleet food service car and two P42DC locomotives, Nos. 77 and 55.

We departed on time but a few minutes later received a penalty application near CP Holt that required a conversation with the CSX PTC desk.

We would later encounter a delay between Crawfordsville and Lafayette due to signal issues.

Yet there was no freight train interference en route that I observed. We stopped briefly in Chicago so a Metra train could go around us.

That was probably because we were early. We halted at Chicago Union Station 20 minutes ahead of schedule.

I had heard the former Monon can be rough riding, but I didn’t think it was any worse than other Amtrak routes I’ve ridden.

There wasn’t any of the abrupt sideways jerking that I’ve experienced on other Amtrak trains.

The journey did seem to be slow going at times, particularly through the CSX yard in Lafayette; on the former Grand Trunk Western west of Munster, Indiana; through the Union Pacific yard on the former Chicago & Eastern Illinois; and within Chicago.

Overall, the experience was much the same as riding any other Amtrak Midwest corridor train although it featured an entrance into Chicago that I had not experienced before in daylight.

The crew said nothing about it being the last week of operation for Nos. 850 and 851.

My next encounter with the Hoosier State came in Lafayette on June 28.

No. 851 arrived on time with a more typical consist that included cars being ferried from Beach Grove shops to Chicago.

These included a Superliner sleeping car, a Viewliner baggage car, a Horizon food service car, and a Heritage baggage car in addition to the standard Hoosier State consist of three cars. On the point was P42DC No. 99.

I was positioned next to the former Big Four station at Riehle Plaza so I could photograph above the train.

Although a sunny morning, the tracks were more in shadows than I would have liked. Nonetheless I was pleased, overall, with what I came away with.

After No 851 departed – it operates on CSX as P317, an original Hoosier State number – I went over to Fifth Street to photograph it sans railroad tracks.

One stretch of rails has been left in the street in front of the former Monon passenger station.

My last encounter with the Hoosier State would be my briefest.

I drove to Linden to photograph the last northbound run at the railroad museum at the former joint Monon-Nickel Plate depot.

No. 851 was 24 minutes late leaving Indianapolis Union Station and about that late at Crawfordsville.

It had a consist similar to what I had seen in Lafayette two days earlier. P42DC No. 160 had a battered nose with some of its silver paint peeling away.

I wasn’t aware until I saw them that two former Pennsylvania Railroad cars had been chartered to operate on the rear of the last Hoosier State.

They were Colonial Crafts and Frank Thomson. The latter carried a Pennsy keystone tail sign on its observation end emblazoned with the Hoosier State name.

It was a nice touch and after those cars charged past the Hoosier State was gone in more ways than one.

 

That’s my Horizon coach reflected in the lower level of the Lafayette station.

 

Watching the countryside slide by west of Monon, Indiana.

The Hoosier State has come to a halt on Track 16 at Chicago Union Station. That’s the inbound City of New Orleans to the left.

A crowd lines the platform in Lafayette as the Hoosier State arrives en route to Chicago.

The former Big Four station in Lafayette was moved to its current location to serve Amtrak. At one time it also served intercity buses.

Pulling out of Lafayette on the penultimate northbound trip to Chicago.

P42DC No. 160, which pulled the last northbound Amtrak Train No. 851 had a well-worn nose.

Two former Pennsylvania Railroad passenger cars brought up the rear of the last northbound Hoosier State.

Restored Creston Station Opens Aug. 1

July 26, 2019

The new facility will be the newly restored Creston station at 116 W. Adams St.In a service advisory, Amtrak said passengers will use a historic waiting room, which has received ADA upgrades, including new doors. The station also has ADA-compliant parking and restrooms.

Passengers will still board from the same platform, which is now connected by a new pathway to the restored station, which will open 30 minutes prior to train arrival and close 30 minutes after departure.

STB Asked to Allow Metra to Continue Use of CUS

July 26, 2019

Amtrak has asked the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to allow Chicago commuter rail agency Metra to continue using Chicago Union Station as the two sides continue to haggle over lease payments.

Declaring that more than a year of negotiations has yet to yield an agreement to extend Metra’s lease, which expires on July 29, Amtrak has asked the STB to issue an interim order enabling Metra to continue using the station.

Metra and Amtrak officials have said that no disruption of service or other operational changes will occur despite the lack of a lease extension.

Instead, Metra will continue to use the station under a 1984 agreement that has been amended several times.

Amtrak said the two sides have a “significant, material gap between our respective views of ‘fair share’” costs at the station, and there are “methodological and philosophical differences between us on how that fair share should be calculated.”

Metra said in a statement that it “is seeking the best deal for its customers and for the taxpayers of northeastern Illinois. We agree that requesting the involvement of the Surface Transportation Board at this juncture is appropriate and we look forward to making our case there.”

Union Station serves 41 percent of Metra’s passengers traveling to or from downtown Chicago.

It has 286 weekly trains using six routes from Union Station that average 109,520 passengers.

In fiscal year 2018, Metra paid Amtrak $9.66 million to use Union Station. Amtrak reportedly is seeking to raise the rent by several million dollars.

It has justified its demands for higher rent by saying Metra’s use of the depot has increased significantly over the years. Amtrak is also seeking to recoup some of the costs of capital investments it has made at Union Station.

Amtrak contends that Metra has benefited from an outdated and inadequate 1984 contract that has failed to account for significant increases in its rail traffic and passenger counts at CUS.

The national passenger carrier is also reported to be seeking a firm commitment by Metra to contribute to upgrading the station facilities.

However, Metra is seeking to reduce its rent to less than $7 million a year. Earlier this year, Metra even suggested that it take control of Union Station because it accounts for 90 percent of the trains using the facility. Amtrak rejected that idea.

A consulting firm hired by Metra suggested the commuter rail agency pay costs for dispatching and maintenance that are similar to those Amtrak is seeking.

“But there is still a gap between Amtrak’s proposals in these areas and Metra’s counter-proposal, and more significant gaps in other cost categories, including operating expenses, policing, liability and overall capital investment,” Amtrak has said.