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Checking up on Amtrak's (lack of) ADA compliance


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#1 neroden

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Posted 23 September 2018 - 10:50 PM

So, I decided to see how far Amtrak had gotten with the absolute basics -- getting people in wheelchairs from the street to the train -- since 2014, when the Amtrak OIG issued this very useful report:

 

https://amtrakoig.go...sing-management

 

At the time, there were 17 totally inaccessible stations ("where passengers who use a wheeled mobility device cannot get on or off the train").  Two (Glenwood Springs and Westerly RI) were listed as accessible on Amtrak.com already but had serious problems.

 

Ashland VA -- no wheelchair lift!  No plans!

Buffalo Exchange Street NY -- accessible platform and wheelchair lift, yay.  (Building collapsed, though.)

Clifton Forge VA -- no wheelchair lift!  No plans!

Coatseville PA -- can't reach platform.  Planned by PennDOT but no project updates for a year.

Elko NV -- can't reach platform!  No plans!

Glenwood Springs CO -- no change (wheelchair route is very problematic, having gone through a construction site for several years)

Harpers Ferry WV -- can't reach platform!  No plans!

Marshall TX -- success!  Yay!  (Amtrak is now leaving it unattended, which is risky for elevator maintenance.)

Mount Joy PA -- under construction

Newark DE -- looks like it's funded, building under construction, platform not under construction yet, maybe by 2020 or later

Paoli PA -- under construction

Parkesburg PA -- can't reach platform.  Planned by PennDOT but no project updates for two years.

North Philadelphia -- can't reach platform!  No plans!

Westerly RI -- there are plans (wheelchair route is very problematic)

( http://www.thewester...in-station.html )

Windsor CT -- OK now (problems fixed at old station though new station planned)

Windsor Locks CT -- OK now (problems fixed at old station though new station planned)

Windsor - Mt Ascutney VT -- OK now.

 

So... that's not terrible?  But it is pretty bad after 4 years.  The outstanding "no progress" stations are:

 

Ashland VA and Clifton Forge VA -- apparently just need wheelchair lifts; what's the delay?!?

Coatseville PA & Parkesburg PA -- in the queue for PennDOT funding

North Philadelphia PA -- has Amtrak considered just not stopping here and leaving the problem in SEPTA's hands?

Elko NV -- what's the holdup?

Harpers Ferry WV -- what's the holdup?  (Apparently Martinsburg is getting a new platform and wheelchair lift.  Great, but, uh... it was better than Harper's Ferry already... what's going on?)

Glenwood Springs CO -- come on, guys, why didn't you put in access when a giant public elevator was being built next door to the platform?  Seriously?!?

 

Of course there are lots of other ADA problems but this is the basic basics.  In 4 years, there's been progress on 9 of the 17 most problematic stations -- that's not impressive.


Edited by neroden, 23 September 2018 - 10:52 PM.

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#2 iplaybass

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Posted 23 September 2018 - 11:33 PM

Does Amtrak even stop at North Philadelphia any more?

#3 looshi

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 02:03 AM

Harpers Ferry has plans for platform improvements on the books. Construction to start "soon".

Clifton Forge got caught up in the on again off again plans to move the waiting room to the C&O historical society's depot. CSX wants Amtrak out of the existing site. I don't think they have been able to come to an arrangement that makes everyone happy so the status quo prevails.

#4 OBS

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 05:52 AM

"Progress on 9 of 17 most problematic  stations" ....considering it is Amtrak, I'd say that is pretty good.  Also consider there may be a lot of paper shuffling to get plans approved that we aren't aware of as well....


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#5 brianpmcdonnell17

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 07:47 AM

Does Amtrak even stop at North Philadelphia any more?

Yes, but only a very small number of Northeast Regionals and Keystones.
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#6 cpotisch

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 10:56 AM

 

Does Amtrak even stop at North Philadelphia any more?

Yes, but only a very small number of Northeast Regionals and Keystones.

 

Yep. North Philly is served exclusively on weekdays by three westbound Keystones, one eastbound Keystone, and one eastbound Regional. It's not the busiest station.


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#7 Triley

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 11:36 AM

 

Does Amtrak even stop at North Philadelphia any more?

Yes, but only a very small number of Northeast Regionals and Keystones.
 
Yep. North Philly is served exclusively on weekdays by three westbound Keystones, one eastbound Keystone, and one eastbound Regional. It's not the busiest station.
That makes it sound like only Amtrak stops there. It's certainly not the busiest stop, but SEPTA makes plenty of stops there.

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#8 cpotisch

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 11:42 AM

 

 

 

Does Amtrak even stop at North Philadelphia any more?

Yes, but only a very small number of Northeast Regionals and Keystones.
 
Yep. North Philly is served exclusively on weekdays by three westbound Keystones, one eastbound Keystone, and one eastbound Regional. It's not the busiest station.
That makes it sound like only Amtrak stops there. It's certainly not the busiest stop, but SEPTA makes plenty of stops there.

I know that. I was just talking about Amtrak service there. SEPTA is of course an entirely different story.


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#9 iplaybass

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 11:48 AM

 

Does Amtrak even stop at North Philadelphia any more?

Yes, but only a very small number of Northeast Regionals and Keystones.
 
Yep. North Philly is served exclusively on weekdays by three westbound Keystones, one eastbound Keystone, and one eastbound Regional. It's not the busiest station.
I'm surprised it's still active at all given the neighborhood's decline, but it's a long way off its former glory as the only Philadelphia stop for all PRR trains west (except the WB Manhattan Ltd,) complete with elevators to the two platforms and checked baggage. In my pre-teen years, my grandfather would take me there to watch the PRR trains on Sundays if I was good; church group summer tours started there on the General, and my family did dozens of Clockers to NYC to visit relatives.

I left for college from there on the National Ltd., and took many trips on the post-Pennsy Broadway until 30th street took over.

It was also the connecting point for NYC/Harrisburg commuters from Chestnut Hill, a 3 to 5 minute walk from the PRR commuter line to the PRR main; maybe that's why it's still active. You effectively save 20 minutes plus by not going the extra 10 minutes into Center City.

#10 iplaybass

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 12:24 PM

 

Does Amtrak even stop at North Philadelphia any more?

Yes, but only a very small number of Northeast Regionals and Keystones.
 
Yep. North Philly is served exclusively on weekdays by three westbound Keystones, one eastbound Keystone, and one eastbound Regional. It's not the busiest station.
I'm surprised it's still active at all given the neighborhood's decline, but it's a long way off its former glory as the only Philadelphia stop for all PRR trains west (except the WB Manhattan Ltd,) complete with elevators to the two platforms and checked baggage. In my pre-teen years, my grandfather would take me there to watch the PRR trains on Sundays if I was good; church group summer tours started there on the General, and my family did dozens of Clockers to NYC to visit relatives.

I left for college from there on the National Ltd., and took many trips on the post-Pennsy Broadway until 30th street took over.

It was also the connecting point for NYC/Harrisburg commuters from Chestnut Hill, a 3 to 5 minute walk from the PRR commuter line to the PRR main; maybe that's why it's still active. You effectively save 20 minutes plus by not going the extra 10 minutes into Center City.
Oh, the relationship to the question at hand was that there used to be elevator access to the platforms. I'm sure they've been removed, and the shafts are filled in/crumbled, so ADA access would require building two from scratch.

Sorry for the ramble.

#11 Palmland

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 04:08 PM

I agree with ‘iplaybass’ regarding N. Phil being far removed from former glory. Growing up in Wilmington, DE, I visited N. Philadelphia often. As a kid I remember eating breakfast in the very nice N. Phil station restaurant with my parents after a trip back on the N&W/PRR night train from Roanoke. Also many times PRR ran baseball specials from Wilmingtonto N. Phil for the Phillies games at Connie Mack Stadium. The mile or so walk to the stadium was always interesting with lots of working class blue collar homes and a bar on every corner. We never felt unsafe but do remember the pervasive cigar smoke! I wouldn’t walk 10 feet from the station today.

I do believe Ashland has a wheelchair lift but will verify when I visit next month for Homecoming.
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#12 me_little_me

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 08:00 PM

And that's just the wheelchair issues. With Amtrak personnel unwilling, in many cases that I witnessed, to lift a finger to assist the elderly and those with canes or crutches, the company has a long way to go to meet ADA and it's not just a matter of money. A couple of times, I helped others to board when train crew wouldn't and I'm a disabled vet myself. I sometimes have problems with my bags so lifting them for others isn't the easiest of things. But Amtrak made it so much easier for my by taking away checked bags and the ability to have someone else do the heavy work with equipment. I always used checked bag service - planes or trains - better to spend time dropping off and waiting for luggage than to move the hard-to -move especially when one has a wife who will soon get her knee surgery. But Amtrak saves a dime by cutting service often used by those that need it most.


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#13 Anderson

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 08:34 PM

I believe that North Philadelphia is a SEPTA matter due to the proportion of loadings.

Ashland and Clifton Forge are issues related to CSX.  As noted, Clifton Forge is caught up in a push to move the station, and it's also a 3x weekly station on a route that's tangled up in an attempt to go daily.  Ashland is probably trapped in the (seemingly never-ending) Richmond-DC project, so don't expect any movement until there's a clear handle on where that's going.  That, at least, is connected to an ongoing project.


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#14 neroden

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 08:34 PM

Harpers Ferry has plans for platform improvements on the books. Construction to start "soon".

 

Got a link?  I can't find anything.


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#15 neroden

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 08:50 PM

I believe that North Philadelphia is a SEPTA matter due to the proportion of loadings.

Nope. If it's owned by a public entity (which for this purpose includes Amtrak), then the owner is the "responsible person". It's on Amtrak. So are Parkesburg and Coatesville. I understand why Amtrak would like to wait for PennDOT funding, but it's actually Amtrak's responsibility, not PennDOT's.
 

Ashland and Clifton Forge are issues related to CSX.  As noted, Clifton Forge is caught up in a push to move the station, and it's also a 3x weekly station on a route that's tangled up in an attempt to go daily.  Ashland is probably trapped in the (seemingly never-ending) Richmond-DC project, so don't expect any movement until there's a clear handle on where that's going.  That, at least, is connected to an ongoing project.


I'm having trouble figuring out what the problem is at Clifton Forge. The town wants to move the station, the historical society wants to move the station, Amtrak has endorsed the plan, and CSX also wants the station moved... what the heck is the holdup?

I mean, I could see funding being the holdup, but, uh...

Edited by neroden, 24 September 2018 - 08:52 PM.

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#16 railiner

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 01:04 AM

.

I'm surprised it's still active at all given the neighborhood's decline, but it's a long way off its former glory as the only Philadelphia stop for all PRR trains west (except the WB Manhattan Ltd,) complete with elevators to the two platforms and checked baggage. In my pre-teen years, my grandfather would take me there to watch the PRR trains on Sundays if I was good; church group summer tours started there on the General, and my family did dozens of Clockers to NYC to visit relatives.

I left for college from there on the National Ltd., and took many trips on the post-Pennsy Broadway until 30th street took over.

It was also the connecting point for NYC/Harrisburg commuters from Chestnut Hill, a 3 to 5 minute walk from the PRR commuter line to the PRR main; maybe that's why it's still active. You effectively save 20 minutes plus by not going the extra 10 minutes into Center City.

 

Just a minor correction....The PRR (and PC) Manhattan Limited  stopped at North Philadelphia, as its only station stop in Philadelphia.   It was the Pennsylvania Limited that served 30th Street Station, Philadelphia among the major East-West thru trains.  


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#17 looshi

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 07:07 AM


Harpers Ferry has plans for platform improvements on the books. Construction to start "soon".

 
Got a link?  I can't find anything.

Nothing public. I looked it back up and the plan is to turn the stairs into a ramp in FY19. They are also going to put a fence between the tracks and some new signage.

#18 Mystic River Dragon

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 07:50 AM

neroden,

 

I will be seeing a lot of the Windsor, CT, station in October so will pass on any impressions I get of whether there are improvements yet, both for Amtrak and their new commuter rail.

 

I do know that, when I went up there last winter, the historic bricks had black ice all over them and I had to hold onto the posts and railings while I tried to move to where the hotel shuttle would pick me up. So even without mobility issues, it was not the greatest station in bad weather. I'm curious to see what they are changing in general.


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#19 daybeers

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 12:28 PM

neroden,

 

I will be seeing a lot of the Windsor, CT, station in October so will pass on any impressions I get of whether there are improvements yet, both for Amtrak and their new commuter rail.

 

I do know that, when I went up there last winter, the historic bricks had black ice all over them and I had to hold onto the posts and railings while I tried to move to where the hotel shuttle would pick me up. So even without mobility issues, it was not the greatest station in bad weather. I'm curious to see what they are changing in general.

I'm just disappointed they didn't make the new platform high-level.


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#20 lordsigma

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 12:33 PM

 

neroden,

 

I will be seeing a lot of the Windsor, CT, station in October so will pass on any impressions I get of whether there are improvements yet, both for Amtrak and their new commuter rail.

 

I do know that, when I went up there last winter, the historic bricks had black ice all over them and I had to hold onto the posts and railings while I tried to move to where the hotel shuttle would pick me up. So even without mobility issues, it was not the greatest station in bad weather. I'm curious to see what they are changing in general.

I'm just disappointed they didn't make the new platform high-level.

 

Is the new platform on track 1 also low level? The last time I went through Windsor station it almost seemed as if the new track 1 platform they are working on might be higher up - one of these days I'll go check it out. I did see that the new platform on the new track 2 is definitely low level. Lately they have been running single track operations on the new track while they finish work on the track 1 side of the station.


Edited by lordsigma, 25 September 2018 - 12:35 PM.





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