Posts Tagged ‘Grand Rapids Amtrak station’

Those Waiting for the Pere Marquette in Grand Rapids No Longer Being Left Outside in the Cold

February 17, 2016

A schedule change last year that left Amtrak passengers in Grand Rapids, Michigan, out in the cold for several months has apparently led to a resolution of the problem after a local TV station looked into the matter.

An investigation by WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids found that the station is usually open before the Pere Marquette departs for Chicago but often closed when it arrives at night.

Amtrak logoNo. 371 is scheduled to depart Grand Rapids at 6 a.m., but the posted hours for the station say it doesn’t open until 6:30 a.m. The station opens at 5:30 a.m.

Likewise, the posted hours say the station closes at 10:30 p.m., but No. 370 is scheduled to arrive from Chicago at 11:39 p.m.

The TV station said its investigation found that the station hasn’t been open half the time it’s supposed to be open.

Reporters observed Amtrak personnel being able to get inside the station as others had to wait outside.

The Pere Marquette originates and terminates in Grand Rapids.

The station is owned by the Grand Rapids public transportation agency, the Rapid, and leased to Amtrak.

A contract that Amtrak has with the agency says that it is to “use its best efforts to open or close the station” for Amtrak personnel and passengers to use it.

The posted hours for the Grand Rapids station were fine until the schedule of the Pere Marquette changed last May.

WOOD-TV said that records show that Amtrak last month asked the Rapid to have the station open for a half-hour before the scheduled arrival of No. 370 from Chicago.

Amtrak’s request to the Rapid noted that the two parties had a verbal agreement to have the station vestibule open at night due to a conflict with the station caretaker.

However, the vestibule is small and Amtrak has received numerous inquiries from passengers as to why the lobby and restrooms cannot be made available to those waiting for the train to arrive.

Amtrak also asked that the station open at 5 a.m. for the departing train

In an e-mail message, a Rapid spokesperson said “the change in the train schedule . . . did cause some scheduling problems with the contracted station attendant who has been in place for years, first with Amtrak directly and then with The Rapid.”

The spokesperson said The Rapid continues to work with Amtrak.

“We now have a solution in place to ensure that the station is open before and after the arrival of the train as expected.”

The TV station reported that this past week it observed someone unlock the station and turn on the lights in advance of the arrival of Train No. 370.

He said he had been hired about a week ago, which was about the same time that the TV station began making inquiries of The Rapid.

Located on Century Avenue SW, the $6 million station opened in late 2014. Most of its funding came from a $4.6 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant and a $1.5 million match in Federal Transit Administration, MDOT and local funds.

Amtrak Exhibit Train to Visit Grand Rapids

July 7, 2015

The Amtrak exhibit train will roll into Grand Rapids, Michigan, on July 25.

The train will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as part of the year-long Amtrak Train Days. The train will be parked at the Amtrak station.

Also being featured will be the Chuggington Kids Depot with toy train and coloring tables.

For more information, visit  http://www.amtrak.com/exhibit-train

 

Grand Rapids Amtrak Station Opening Set

October 22, 2014

Officials in Grand Rapids, Mich., will celebrate on Oct. 27 the opening of the new Amtrak station.

The dedication ceremony for the $6.1 million multimodal facility will begin at 10 a.m. with Amtrak, state and federal officials speaking

The station, named in honor of the former U.S. Congressman Vernon J. Ehlers, also serves local bus transit routes, intercity buses and taxis.

The facility is closer to the Grand Rapids business district, offers a larger waiting room, restrooms, a covered canopy and is compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act standards. Other features include a clock tower and 118 parking spots.

Funding for the project came from a $4.6 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant, a $1.5 million match from the Federal Transit Administration, funds from the Michigan Department of Transportation, and from local funds.

Grand Rapids is served by the Pere Marquette, which is scheduled to depart for Chicago at 7:40 a.m. and return at 9.55 p.m.