Posts Tagged ‘Culbertson Montana’

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.

Culbertson May Become Empire Builder Stop

December 8, 2016

Officials pushing to establish an Amtrak station in Culbertson, Montana, received a boost when a Transportation Appropriations Bill included a provision that Amtrak study having the Empire Builder stop there.

Amtrak Empire BuilderAmtrak has already determined that adding Culbertson would not adversely affect the schedule of trains 7 and 8.

Culbertson officials are currently developing a concept for a station building and platform.

Although Amtrak has agreed to the concept, it will need to approve any design or construction documents.


Empire Builder Might Service Culbertson, MT

March 17, 2016

Amtrak continues to study establishing a stop for the Empire Builder in Culbertson, Montana.

“We know that it makes business sense to stop at Culbertson,” said Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari. “There’s a long distance between Wolf Point [Montana] and Williston [North Dakota].

Magliari said Amtrak is in discussions about a station location with Culbertson officials.

Amtrak 4“It has to be at a place that doesn’t add delay to the Empire Builder or the trains that pass through there,” he said.

Culbertson Mayor Gordon Oelkers said the town of 714 in Roosevelt County is working with legislators to obtain funding to build a station that will be maintained by the city.

Estimated cost of the station is $3.5 million. The Empire Builder operates between Chicago and Seattle/Portland.

“The platform is what costs all the money,” Oelkers said. “There’d be a ground source heat pump for heated sidewalks, too. There are a lot of rules and regulations with these.”

The costs are expected to include an estimated $2.244 million for an 850 foot by 12 foot platform, and $376,000 for an engineering and architectural design. Other costs would go for a building, parking lot and flagging during construction.

Federal funding from the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act might be available to pay for some of the station costs

Officials have pointed to a feasibility study showing that a station in Culbertson could draw 7,000 passengers a year.