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Mystic River Dragon

Train steps at Mystic--how steep?

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It has been a while since I've been to Mystic, and I am trying to remember how difficult it is to get on and off the train (coming north to MYS, leaving going south). I think the train tilts a bit there? I think it was fairly easy to detrain, but going south I had to pretty much throw myself up the steps, with a bit of help from the conductor.

 

I am asking because a good friend who does not ride trains said that she would consider going on one up to Mystic with me. However, she has osteoarthritis, and I'm wondering if those steps, even with a conductor's help, would be a bit much for her. I have suggested Alexandria as an alternative, because there are no steps like that, and also has plenty of things to do. She is in good shape (better than me), except for the osteoarthritis.

 

Any ideas/suggestions would be appreciated, as well as a reminder of how hard it is to go up those steps! Thanks in advance, as always, for any help. :)

 

 

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It's a tough station to board from and only sees a small number of regional trains, I'd encourage you to use New London if at all possible since it has a high level platform you can board from and a station agent if you need assistance.

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It's a tough station to board from and only sees a small number of regional trains, I'd encourage you to use New London if at all possible since it has a high level platform you can board from and a station agent if you need assistance.

New London might be way better, but this way we could say that "Mystic's going to Mystic," which I think more than compensates. :P

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TC_NYC:

 

Thank you--I hadn't thought about New London, but that is an excellent suggestion. There are more train choices, and it is only 11 miles from Mystic. Can you get a taxi from the New London station to go to Mystic? (I know there is--or was--a local SEAT bus, but don't know the details, and a cab would be more relaxing at the end of the journey, unless it cost a mint.) Also some nice ferries to look at while waiting for a cab.

 

cpotisch:

 

That's where my name came from--Mystic was my short getaway for several years when I could not go too far from home (my parents were elderly, and I had to be within a day of being able to get back if they needed me).

 

I have been able to travel farther recently since they are both gone now and have somewhat neglected Mystic. I can manage the steps onto the train, but I'm sure it is a funny sight for anyone watching me trying to hurl myself up them! :)

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If there is a wheel chair lift I see no reason why it couldn't be used. I mean technically they can handle the weight of a person plus chair. So as long as someone is careful it could be done as a last resort.

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Sorry, I don’t quite understand, what’s the issue with the Mystic Station? Just that it’s a low level platform?

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Sorry, I don’t quite understand, what’s the issue with the Mystic Station? Just that it’s a low level platform?

She mentions that the train tilts which means that first step is higher than normal.

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Under the ADA, the Amtrak crew needs to grab the mobile wheelchair lift to help your friend off the train in Mystic if your friend cant/doesnt want to climb the steps, even if there not in a wheelchair. The mobile lift parked on the platform provides the accessible entrance to the train and must be used upon request by any passenger, including passengers that can stand if they cant/dont wish to climb steps, even if there not in a wheelchair.

 

This saved a family member who uses a cane (and a wheelchair sometimes) when we get off in South Bend on my one Amtrak trip with him. He stood on the lift and it was much safer and easier for him that having to take the very big step at the bottom of the steps off the Lake Shore Limited to the super-low South Bend platform.

 

I would make sure your reservations are purchased with her marked as disabled so the crew knows she cant climb steps and can help you appropriately.

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Sorry, I don’t quite understand, what’s the issue with the Mystic Station? Just that it’s a low level platform?

She mentions that the train tilts which means that first step is higher than normal.

 

 

I looked at it on Google Maps. While I can't see the tilt, I can definitely see that the stations is on a curve. OK - found some video showing Acela passing through in both directions. There's definitely a tilt. Anyone know if it's supposed to help with trains going through at full speed through a turn?

 

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Anyone know if it's supposed to help with trains going through at full speed through a turn?

Yes. Here's all the gory details: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cant_(road/rail)

 

 

OK. So it's canted/banked such that the train can go through at higher speed, although not necessarily "full speed" as I mistakenly said earlier.

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TC_NYC:

 

Thank you--I hadn't thought about New London, but that is an excellent suggestion. There are more train choices, and it is only 11 miles from Mystic. Can you get a taxi from the New London station to go to Mystic? (I know there is--or was--a local SEAT bus, but don't know the details, and a cab would be more relaxing at the end of the journey, unless it cost a mint.) Also some nice ferries to look at while waiting for a cab.

 

cpotisch:

 

That's where my name came from--Mystic was my short getaway for several years when I could not go too far from home (my parents were elderly, and I had to be within a day of being able to get back if they needed me).

 

 

I have been able to travel farther recently since they are both gone now and have somewhat neglected Mystic. I can manage the steps onto the train, but I'm sure it is a funny sight for anyone watching me trying to hurl myself up them! :)

Yes you can get a taxi from New London to Mystic. There will be several taxis waiting outside the station when your train arrives. You can also take an uber which may actually be cheaper. When I lived in Norwich, which is a little further than Mystic, the cabs charged a flat fee of $35 to get to and from the train station. Oftentimes if surge pricing wasn’t in effect Uber was cheaper.

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I do not recall Mystic as having much of a tilt. But I do know that Westerly, RI has a BIG tilt on the southbound track!

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I do not recall Mystic as having much of a tilt. But I do know that Westerly, RI has a BIG tilt on the southbound track!

 

I was just thinking it was on a curve, which will place the platform further away from the platform in order to have proper clearance with the train. Plus the train is leaning away from the platform. Must be fun.

 

I mentioned it a while ago, but there's this one train station (Fremont, CA) where I saw a woman and her child somewhat struggling trying to board a train. There's no tilt per se, but one heck of a gap between the platform and the door due to the curve. She had luggage and shopping bags, but started pleading for help from the conductor (who was one car away) to help with her stuff. He kind of motioned at her to just do it herself, which she was eventually capable of doing. I wouldn't say she was necessarily disabled, but she had a lot of stuff (probably within Amtrak's carry-on limits for two passengers) and was objectively obese. She just shoved the stuff into the car and then went in.

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Uber says it's a $19 fare from Amtrak New London to Amtrak Mystic. It could quite possibly be less if you're staying at one of the hotels near I-95 in Mystic, which would only be a 10 minute drive to New London.

 

Overall, there's a reason why so few trains stop at Mystic. New London has much better facilities, high level platforms with bridge plates and even has a few Acela's stop at it. It also is a pretty scenic station on the Thames river, one of the only stations I can think of where you can see your train a good 2-3 minutes before arrival.

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I suppose the only reason trains stop at Mystic at all is because it is a tourist destination. I've been expecting Amtrak to close it for years.

 

My friend and I both like the idea of New London, then a cab (I don't do Uber and I'm sure she doesn't--we are kind of old-fashioned and are more used to cabs). The hotel is near Mystic Aquarium, so yes, it should be a quick ride on a highway.

 

I did look up buses, too, and there is a local bus that runs every two hours and has a stop at the aquarium--in fact, I've seen it there--so that would be a backup plan in a pinch.

 

Thanks for answering my questions--I will probably have more before the trip, but now have a good idea where to start!

Edited by Mystic River Dragon

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I do not recall Mystic as having much of a tilt. But I do know that Westerly, RI has a BIG tilt on the southbound track!

So...there's kind of the problem that some trains may board a car in the middle of the street, so that's a pretty big gap, even with stepbox. (66 usually will load from both sides of the car in the middle of the street, to expedite boarding because of how many passengers board there.)

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Sorry, I don’t quite understand, what’s the issue with the Mystic Station? Just that it’s a low level platform?

The station at MYS is on a super elevated curved.

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I'd already figured that much out at this point. ;) I've gotta say though, do they really have to put stations on canted curves? They should feel free to do that on express tracks, but passengers should not be dealing with super elevation when boarding.

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Keep in mind that many stations predate Amtrak’s ownerships. One of the most interesting stations on Super elevation is Claymont, DE. It is heavily super elevated. I’ve been stopped there on Passenger and Freight Trains. And then all of a sudden an Amtrak train goes by you at 110 mph. It startles you for sure.

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Metropark is the worst in the system. It is so bad, during the Acela's test, the techs asked Amtrak to skip Metropark because the super elevation knocks the doors out of whack.

Woah. How does that even happen?

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As previously stated, the station was built after the trains were running. The doors on the Acela would have trouble seating and would open back up due to the super elevation. It was the first station to receive Acela markers. You had to spot the power car next to the marker or the doors wouldn't close. If it was a bad incident, it would actually affect the motors on the doors and the door would actually get stuck in the open position. In other cases, it would knock the door system off line and the doors would not train line.

 

None of this has to do with Mystic, though.

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It's funny all over Germany they have H signs in stations or H Signs with a distance to the main h sign. These haltestelle are where all trains are expected to stop. So I'm guessing that is what MetroPark has. The Germans also have consist diagrams on platforms to let you know where to stand on the platform based on where each car would stop.

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Certain stations have a marker for Acela's. It's an "E" either hanging from the ceiling or posted where the Power Car should be spotted. I believe that Baltimore has them, Philadelphia has them on tracks 3,4,5, and 6, Metropark has one on track 1, New York Penn has a couple of them randomly placed, New London has them placed in two different locations with the reason being if the first class car location, Providence has them, and Route 128 is the last station that has them.

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