Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by CHamilton, May 29, 2014.
Why Milwaukee’s New Train Platform Will Be Built at Two Heights
I've never been up that way, so I'm guessing:
Empire Builder - Superliners - low level boarding
Everything else - low level boarding or high level boarding
Is that right? If that's true, why don't they just leave the platforms low and use the portable lift?
Specially in a station like Milwaukee which has multiple platforms, this sounds bizarre. Someone in Wisconsin is asleep at their job again I suspect.
Milwaukee has 3 platforms (one side, two island). I think the best option would be make the two island platforms high level, make the side one low level.
ADA requirements are apparently now requiring new stations to have platforms set at train-floor-height. This is fine for most stations that use one or the other, but there are a handful of stations along corridor routes which have to serve both. I don't know, it seems like a stupid rule to me as well. However there are a number of stations that have been recently re-done in the east; which have two platform heights.
I will let others chime in and repeat the discussion of the platform height topic from the other thread. Suffice it to say that the FRA ADA rules are a much misunderstood topic as to what it really requires.
If you want quick preview you could start at this article and follow the thread.
As an example, KIN has a low level platform (which is something like 12-15 cars long). When it was redesigned about 10-15 years ago, to comply with ADA requirements, they built a ramp up to a high level platform for 2 Amfleet I doors on each track. So KIN has both high and low platforms (currently).
The problem is that the Hiawatha service will continue to use the Horizon coach cars which are high level. The Talgo trainsets and the corridor bi-level cars are low level. So the high level platform is being built for an aging set of equipment which will someday be replaced in all likelihood by low level corridor bi-level cars.
If it had not been for the poorly considered Talgo order, WI would not have sunk money into the Talgos and Gov. Walker, despite campaigning to kill the Madison extension, might have had WI join in with IL, MI, MO to get the corridor bi-level cars for the Hiawatha service. But he didn't, so the level boarding requirement enacted by US DOT in September 2011, is an issue that the station project has to contend with.
Amtrak has posted a series of reports to Congress on how it is dealing with the level boarding requirement and the exceptions to the rule for stations across the system. Those reports are available on the website under reports and documents. In the east, the result will be upgrades or new stations to high level platforms or mini-high platforms, depending on the station and circumstances. Not just on the NEC, but the eastern Keystone, New Haven to Greenfield, many upper NY state stations, and stations south of WAS where the platform is on pull-over tracks or where a mini-high is suitable.
What could happen in WI is that the station is built with a high-level platform. Then in a few years, either under a new Governor or maybe under Gov. Walker once the Talgo issue blows over, WI joins the IL, MI, MO consortium and orders enough bi-levels from Nippon-Sharyo to support the Hiawatha service. Then the Hiawatha service is equipped with the new bi-levels, the high level platform then becomes useless and will cost money to be removed. Not the best use of public funds.
Basically everything out here is low-level boarding. However, Scott Walker refused to buy the already-paid-for Talgos, and as a result the Hiawathas are going to be running Amfleets for the forseeable future.
Michigan, Missouri, and Illinois got waivers to build 15" platforms even though they currently run Horizons, because they've already ordered replacement cars with 15" boarding. Wisconsin... hasn't ordered replacement cars, so it didn't get a waiver.
So what, Milwaukee will have a NEC style high level platform?
You haven't followed Governor Walker closely enough -- he would never have done that. Ever. He's very much a cut-off-nose-to-spite-face politician.
Why not do the same as the buses? Have a tilting train so us old people can climb aboard. Then they too can make that "Beep! Beep! Beep!" sound so everyone can look out and say "Look at those old people that are boarding! They are the reason we have to hear that irritating sound" and then they glare at you as you board.
Yes, this is my worry as well. And the cost will likely not just be converting the high level platforms to low level platforms, but also making necessary changes/adjustments to the elevators, escalators, and stairs that are used to access the platforms. So far WisDOT has not updated the website with any additional information, so it remains to be seen how the platforms will actually be laid out (in terms of which sections are high and which are low, and in terms of elevator/escalator/stair access).
Intriguing. This is from the report that afigg alluded to. I hope whatever they come up with, it's impervious to snow and ice.
Their solution is basically set back platforms with longish bridge plates. The detail is how the bridge plates get deployed.
Checkout Amtrak PP Presentation proposal from 2012; pictures on slides 8 - 12.
The train cars aren't tilting down a few inches, it's more a few feet. And even with the "kneeling" buses handicapped people still have to use a ramp to board.
Yeah. The "four foot long bridgeplates" are one of the stupidest things ever, and really extremely unsafe. In a real country, we would have bought the track and installed real platforms. The freights can move their high-and-wides elsewhere. This isn't a functioning country any more. I hope it is functioning again before I die.
Thanks prech. That is what I recalled. I had seen those a while back, but had no idea where to find them.
Bridgeplates like that would be an operational mess, 4 feet long! I dread to know what the dwell times would be like. It also removes the possibility of MUing doors.
On the Downeaster the bridge plates take long enough to deploy and mean just a few doors open at each station. I even saw one that said No Freeport written in sharpie on the back. I asked the conductor about it and was told that the gap there is unusually big and this individual bridgeplate was smaller than the others.
On the CSX-owned part of the Empire Corridor, the plan seems to be now simply to have separate passenger tracks at stations. So the two-track route expands to 4 tracks at stations, two platform tracks for passengers and two bypass tracks for freights. This is quite viable on this heavily used route.
Gauntlet tracks are used on NICTD's South Shore Line.
I guess this sort of solution isn't considered viable on all the other single-level routes, or they wouldn't be coming up with crazy-ass stuff like four-foot bridgeplates, which are completely ridiculous. I don't really see any reason why it isn't considered viable to put in bypass tracks, at least for stations with significant ridership.
Wisconsin not making the best use of public funds? Shocking.
Wisconsin got greedy and tried to get the jump on the other states in the Midwest coalition. Now taxpayers are paying the price for politicians betting on the wrong horse. Now Wisconsin taxpayers will likely spend millions paying for trainsets... that will only spend time on Wisconsin tracks, to leave the state.
All in all seems like a great use of public funds to me.
Maybe if Burke is elected she can rush-order two trainsets and redesign Milwaukee station to be all-15".
Ok, I'm confused now. On the Miami Central thread, it seemed to be that the platform only had to be level with the height of the lowest railcar, which in this case would be Superliners. Is that not the case here?
Why not just leave the platforms alone/as is in the renovation, thus not triggering ADA?
Really, they only use one platform, the closest to the station house, anyway, so each platform ought not need to be rebuilt. And, since making one boarding place, alone, should suffice for compliance, simply having one end of one platform available to serve one car ought to suffice. Later, when all equipment is low level, they can put down new concrete for added capacity, should it become necessary.
Of course, if I wanted to be cheeky about it, I could ask, "What about Private Varnish cars?" Milwaukee does serve occasional excursion trips, especially for 261 and the cars its society owns, afterall.
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