Jump to content
neroden

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

Recommended Posts

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Lack of money, foresight, or brains.

 

Given that all trains stopping there have more stops with high level platforms than low level, one really has to wonder about which of the above are the major cause of 'gotta save a buck' thereby adding 3-5 minutes to every trip as passengers board and deboard. Windsor Locks has the same problem. At least Springfield is in the process of putting in a high level platform.

 

I'm sure their excuse would be they wanted to do as cheap a solution as possible to get by for now since eventually Windsor and Windsor Locks will be getting the same treatment as Meriden, Wallingford, and Berlin at new locations.....but it seems as if they could do temporary makeshift high level platforms for not too much more cost..of course then you could get the situation where the town may not have liked a shabby looking makeshift platform as a long term solution since the hope is 2020 but that is all contingent on funding...

 

On the bright side both stations still have free parking which will probably go the way of the dodo when they get their new signature CTrail stations.

 

 

Apparently, the station design people at CTRail never took a ride on the NEC to see some innovative solutions for high level platform construction.

 

A couple months ago, filling in the last of my 'never ridden' NJTransit routes (the Princeton Dinky), I had a chance to look at the northbound platform at Princeton Junction on the NEC. I'm thinking it took less than a day to construct, or, at least, roll into place. It 'cost' the loss of 1 of 4 tracks in the NEC, but I have little doubt the platform time saved by each train stopping there more than offsets the loss of one track.

 

Sorry, so that platform basically arrived at that station as a train, and then was just "parked" there? Interesting...

Edited by cpotisch

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's what it looked like to me. Where they assembled the 'movable platform' is anyone's guess.

That look like a platform extension. Not sure its a permanent. When Metra North is working on the track closest to the platform they will deploy a temporary platform or section of a platform that will span the track that is out of service and will reach the next track over. So if major MOW is taking out a track, and there is no switch available to get the train on the platform track. They will deploy these extension.

 

No reason not to use these things (in picture) as a longer term platform. Just lay set up a short section of railroad tracks adjacent to the live track. Place these type of mobile platform platform on the dead track, add a ramp. Boom we have a ADA platform.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's what it looked like to me. Where they assembled the 'movable platform' is anyone's guess.

That look like a platform extension. Not sure its a permanent. When Metra North is working on the track closest to the platform they will deploy a temporary platform or section of a platform that will span the track that is out of service and will reach the next track over. So if major MOW is taking out a track, and there is no switch available to get the train on the platform track. They will deploy these extension.

 

No reason not to use these things (in picture) as a longer term platform. Just lay set up a short section of railroad tracks adjacent to the live track. Place these type of mobile platform platform on the dead track, add a ramp. Boom we have a ADA platform.

You're correct. Here is the NJ Transit Station Advisory. Track 4 was out of service for much of the summer in NJ due to the high-speed upgrades.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

That's what it looked like to me. Where they assembled the 'movable platform' is anyone's guess.

That look like a platform extension. Not sure its a permanent. When Metra North is working on the track closest to the platform they will deploy a temporary platform or section of a platform that will span the track that is out of service and will reach the next track over. So if major MOW is taking out a track, and there is no switch available to get the train on the platform track. They will deploy these extension.

 

No reason not to use these things (in picture) as a longer term platform. Just lay set up a short section of railroad tracks adjacent to the live track. Place these type of mobile platform platform on the dead track, add a ramp. Boom we have a ADA platform.

You're correct. Here is the NJ Transit Station Advisory. Track 4 was out of service for much of the summer in NJ due to the high-speed upgrades.

 

 

Per the NJT advisory, it is temporary. BUT...

 

Considering the attachment of a roof the entire length of the temporary platform, as well as roofs over walkways to the parking lot and the station(?), it may be a longer term temporary than most expected. It certainly didn't look like an 'extension' added to the regular platform. I couldn't see any evidence of the regular platform. However, considering that the southbound platform is very permanent, it likely is an extension, just not too obvious.

 

That said, there's no reason something like that couldn't have been installed at Windsor and Windsor Locks (my usual station, vs Springfield with $10/day parking fee) for a multi-year 'short term' solution. Lay down some track and roll it in...or off some kind of rail-equipped flat cars.

 

Here's a view of most of platform. If there's a 'real' one hiding there (which there must be, I presume), it's well hidden. Given the longitudinal support running the length of the canopy, perhaps the real platform is hiding back there...

post-345-0-12512700-1537932639_thumb.jpg

Edited by bratkinson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding Clifton Forge: I took a 1 day Cardinal turn from Charleston, WV on Wed. 8/22. There is construction behind the C&O Bldg. Old waiting room is closed due to the work. New Amtrak Station? Passengers are accommodated currently in a modular building just east of the old building. The access is by a ramp and the single restroom is accesable to a wheelchair so I guess that part passes. I did not see any wheelchair lift or a shelter to house one. Sorry I didn't take any pics. Platform is unchanged. Good lunch at Jack Mason's Tavern across street.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No reason not to use these things (in picture) as a longer term platform. Just lay set up a short section of railroad tracks adjacent to the live track. Place these type of mobile platform platform on the dead track, add a ramp. Boom we have a ADA platform.

How would they get the platform onto the new "dead" track though? Would they set up a switch leading to that track as well?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been on those platforms at Princeton Junction many times, on both sides of the tracks--they are temporary, even though they don't look it. I'm not sure that they would work well as permanent solutions, simply because they are uncomfortable to walk on, especially when you have a lot of people on them at one time (as you do at Princeton Junction during rush hour, for example).

 

It feels similar, for example, to walking on the pedestrian bridge over the river at Harrisburg or on the boardwalk down the Shore when a lot of other people are there, too--not unstable, just slightly shaky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

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.

 

 

Lack of money, foresight, or brains.

 

Given that all trains stopping there have more stops with high level platforms than low level, one really has to wonder about which of the above are the major cause of 'gotta save a buck' thereby adding 3-5 minutes to every trip as passengers board and deboard. Windsor Locks has the same problem. At least Springfield is in the process of putting in a high level platform.

 

Windsor and Windsor Locks are both still scheduled for replacement with new high-platform stations. Connecticut just hasn't funded it yet. (They'll probably scrape it together eventually; they seem to be funding the whole CTRail project, just not all at once.) The wheelchair lifts were put in as an interim measure *anyway*, however, which was the *correct* thing to do, given that we have no idea what year they'll get the permanent stations built.

 

Contrast Clifton Forge and Ashland where they didn't do anything.

Edited by neroden

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who owns the Windsor station? (I'm assuming, from neroden's post above, that it's CT, but I've learned on here to never assume! :))

 

Right now (or at least a few months ago when I was there last), it has an "art studio" in it. That is, of course, totally useless when you are waiting for the early train in cold weather and could use a nice coffee shop or snack shop there instead (there seems to be some sort of cafe right behind it, but that is not open early). The one at Mystic worked well (I hope it is still there and I don't have to eat my words :unsure:?) And Windsor has a lot of commuters traveling south that early, who would use a coffee shop.

 

What they really need is a waiting room--is that in the plans? It is bitter cold out there in the middle of the winter.

 

I also can't imagine that an art studio can afford high rents, so not sure who they are renting from.

 

If the state owns Windsor and Windsor Locks, I would think they would put in the best platforms for the commuter trains? Would that match what Amtrak needs?

 

I realize I am providing more questions, rather than answers, but I promise to check things out when I am there this month (I will not have to be concentrating on black ice yet, hopefully, and will be able to pay attention :)).

Edited by Mystic River Dragon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know if Ashland is a simple fix. The platforms are narrow, and the crossings are not wheelchair accessible since they require a step or two up. Because of the narrow platforms (abutting roads on both sides), a wheelchair lift might block emergency egress from the platform.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who owns the Windsor station? (I'm assuming, from neroden's post above, that it's CT, but I've learned on here to never assume! :))

 

Right now (or at least a few months ago when I was there last), it has an "art studio" in it. That is, of course, totally useless when you are waiting for the early train in cold weather and could use a nice coffee shop or snack shop there instead (there seems to be some sort of cafe right behind it, but that is not open early). The one at Mystic worked well (I hope it is still there and I don't have to eat my words :unsure:?) And Windsor has a lot of commuters traveling south that early, who would use a coffee shop.

 

What they really need is a waiting room--is that in the plans? It is bitter cold out there in the middle of the winter.

 

I also can't imagine that an art studio can afford high rents, so not sure who they are renting from.

 

If the state owns Windsor and Windsor Locks, I would think they would put in the best platforms for the commuter trains? Would that match what Amtrak needs?

 

I realize I am providing more questions, rather than answers, but I promise to check things out when I am there this month (I will not have to be concentrating on black ice yet, hopefully, and will be able to pay attention :)).

I wholeheartedly agree. I'm guessing the art studio probably moved in when the station as a waiting area was closed by Amtrak (not sure when this was). Maybe there wasn't enough demand. But you're right, there needs to be a waiting room.

 

I would think the new stations at Windsor and Windsor Locks would be built like Berlin, Meriden, and Wallingford were.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a current Amtrak notice seeking construction contractors for show of interest/pre-qualification for a multi year ADA compliance project for multiple locations that seems to address many of the types of items brought up earlier in the thread. I do not have any details about specifics, but if they move ahead and sign contracts for actual work, instead of studies, and start doing instead of talking, it (almost) has to be an improvement in a major way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not a very valid request for contractors. Multi years, multi locations. Who does that? Bid on sites, and work. A general request like this is a (look at this) attempt to show your doing something, with out doing anything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not a very valid request for contractors. Multi years, multi locations. Who does that? Bid on sites, and work. A general request like this is a (look at this) attempt to show your doing something, with out doing anything.

 

This is not an uncommon way to arrange for on-going work that is not presently defined to the point of allowing fixed cost bidding. These types of so-called "blanket" contracts are based on time and material and other unit costs such as mobilization and demobilization. The unit costs for contracts that last more than a year or so may include escalation based on an agreed upon formula. There is usually a floor that gives the contractor knowledge of the minimum volume of work over the life of the contract. As jobs roll out, blanket contractors are assigned and the cost of each job is based on the contract units.

 

Blanket contracts permit small-scale jobs to go from final plans and approvals to construction very quickly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One stop east of Westerly, we have issues with Kingston too...

 

Despite spending over $40 million for full high-level platforms in Kingston, Rhode Island, the station building owner, RIDOT, still has not addressed one major issue. None of the four entrance doors (large 8 tall wooden doors) to the station do not have any automatic openers. A mobility impaired passenger in a wheelchair or other mobility device would find it very difficult, if not impossible to open these doors to gain shelter, use the restrooms, or request assistance from the Amtrak ticket agent. They even renovated the bathrooms during this time to make them ADA compliant. How in the world could they forget the main entrances to the station!?

 

The enclosed shelters at the bottoms of the elevator shafts to the overpass also had the same issue. They installed two standard metal/glass commercial doors with no openers, impeding entrance to the elevators... It took months before they broke down and installed a couple Stanley openers and some operator buttons. I believe that one was on Amtrak Engineering, but the plans and specs involved RIDOT too.

 

Im emailing the local congressman about this issue now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm emailing the local congressman about this issue now.

Props for that! I would try contacting RIDOT also.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I have to hand it to them... Sent the email on Thursday (didnt receive a reply yet), and the property manager from RIDOT is here with a contractor going over installation options. Kudos to them for the quick response...

 

Well see how long itll take to get them installed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just the update that I promised on the Windsor station:

 

Right now, they are working on the parking lot end and have the ramp blocked off, so you can't go to the platform from there. Other than that, the platform is still the same bricks that have always been there, and I didn't see anything new for ADA compliance. So it looks like they are still in the beginning stages of working on things there.

 

When we came in, we came in on the new track 2--there may very well have been a ramp or some type of wheelchair access there, but it wasn't obvious to me. I will take a better look on Saturday when I take CTrail from there to the RUN meeting in Springfield.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just the update that I promised on the Windsor station:

 

Right now, they are working on the parking lot end and have the ramp blocked off, so you can't go to the platform from there. Other than that, the platform is still the same bricks that have always been there, and I didn't see anything new for ADA compliance. So it looks like they are still in the beginning stages of working on things there.

 

When we came in, we came in on the new track 2--there may very well have been a ramp or some type of wheelchair access there, but it wasn't obvious to me. I will take a better look on Saturday when I take CTrail from there to the RUN meeting in Springfield.

We came in to Windsor last night on track 2 as well. I'm completely sure, but I think I saw a wheelchair lift mechanism perhaps 10 feet or so south of the south end of the new concrete platform. I'm wondering if they are planning on getting a shed for it like Windsor Locks to ensure it doesn't roll away on its own (ie, grow legs).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×