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

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neroden

Conductor
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Feb 23, 2014
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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.gov/report-records/audit-reports/train-operations-and-business-management-addressing-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.thewesterlysun.com/News/Westerly/Amtrak-plans-work-to-address-access-problems-at-Westerly-train-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.
 
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looshi

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 25, 2012
Messages
80
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.
 

Triley

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Dec 14, 2008
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Somewhere between VAC and EUG
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.
 

cpotisch

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Joined
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Messages
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Brooklyn, NY
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.
 

iplaybass

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 10, 2018
Messages
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STL
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.
 

iplaybass

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Mar 10, 2018
Messages
169
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STL
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.
 

Palmland

OBS Chief
Joined
May 25, 2006
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849
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Carolinas
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.
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,261
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.
 

Anderson

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Messages
9,575
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Virginia
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.
 

neroden

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Feb 23, 2014
Messages
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Location
Ithaca, NY
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...
 
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railiner

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8,152
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South Florida
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.
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2014
Messages
2,861
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.
 

daybeers

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HFD
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.
 

lordsigma

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
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Sep 15, 2017
Messages
919
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.
 
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bratkinson

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Aug 7, 2004
Messages
816
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QB 101
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.
 

lordsigma

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
919
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.
 
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iplaybass

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 10, 2018
Messages
169
Location
STL
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.
You're right... The WB Pennsylvania Ltd, and EB Manhattan Ltd used 30th street instead of N. Philadelphia. Probably because of the time of day.
I wonder if those trains were wyed into/out of 30th street so the seats faced forward between New York and Philadelphia? Everybody else just turned right/left at Zoo.
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
8,152
Location
South Florida
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.
You're right... The WB Pennsylvania Ltd, and EB Manhattan Ltd used 30th street instead of N. Philadelphia. Probably because of the time of day.
I wonder if those trains were wyed into/out of 30th street so the seats faced forward between New York and Philadelphia? Everybody else just turned right/left at Zoo.
Yes...you are also correct, on the Eastward trains....noticed that the local New York/Pittsburgh mid day train, the "Juniata". also went via 30th Street Station. They did not wye them...they rode backwards between New York and Philly. Looking at the Oct 1968 TT's here... http://penncentral.railfan.net/cgi-bin/pcthumb.cgi?pc-ptt
 

bratkinson

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 7, 2004
Messages
816
Location
QB 101
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.

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Ebay 8-24-18-2.jpg
 
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