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

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Willbridge

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
568
Location
Denver
........................................

And the remainder of the hall of shame:
Glenwood Springs CO -- still requires assistance from an Amtrak agent across bumpy gravel, I believe
Elko NV
Harpers Ferry WV
Hazlehurst MS
Deming NM
An informed source who is regularly in Glenwood Springs messages:

Glenwood station has an elevator, all areas are paved, there is no need for any assistance from any Amtrak Personnel whatsoever in any way shape or form other than the lift to get to the train itself from the platform.

It will be awhile before I get to GSC but two hypothetical explanations come to mind:

1) There were massive construction projects done by CDOT and the city in that area that may have impacted access.

2) There may be more than one route in and out.

I really appreciate the efforts to keep this list up to date and to keep the heat on. While working for RTD (Colorado) there were several occasions where our good faith efforts to follow the ADA were negated by the state or local authorities ignoring it.

-- rwr
 

HenryK

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 12, 2015
Messages
238
I am deaf and use a service dog, and have found both ticket and OBS personnel to be extremely accommodating. Only once did I have a problem. On the Zephyr in Iowa when an overzealous conductor told us we could not go to the dining car together because people didn't want to eat with dogs. The sleeper attendant was horrified, and all the rest of the way to Emeryville the crew treated us like kings, including the other conductors. I did file a complaint after the trip, however, in order to protect other service dog teams that might encounter that particular conductor, and learned that she had been informed of the rules. I try to relieve my dog at longer station stops but the conductors will hold the train in an emergency for the dog's relief and have done so.
 

HenryK

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 12, 2015
Messages
238
Half mini schnauzer, half mini poodle, according to the DNA test. Hearing dogs are sometimes small terriers, often rescues picked by training organizations or their intelligence and energy. Trooper loves to travel by train and eagerly leaps aboard every time. Kind of like me.
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,904
Location
Ithaca, NY
An informed source who is regularly in Glenwood Springs messages:

Glenwood station has an elevator, all areas are paved, there is no need for any assistance from any Amtrak Personnel whatsoever in any way shape or form other than the lift to get to the train itself from the platform.

It will be awhile before I get to GSC but two hypothetical explanations come to mind:

1) There were massive construction projects done by CDOT and the city in that area that may have impacted access.

2) There may be more than one route in and out.

I really appreciate the efforts to keep this list up to date and to keep the heat on. While working for RTD (Colorado) there were several occasions where our good faith efforts to follow the ADA were negated by the state or local authorities ignoring it.

-- rwr
Thank you very much for the update on Glenwood Springs!

Last time I went through, which was quite a few years back, it did not have a reliably working elevator in the station, the paths through the station had steps at the threshold on both the street and platform sides, and the plans to fix it (replace freight elevator with modern elevator, replace steps with paved ramp) weren't funded. (Therefore the access path was a long way round through the CDOT construction site.) This remained the status in each official Amtrak update (the last of which is, again, from several years ago).

Somehow the entire project managed to get done without a single news report or press release from anyone, which is quite extraordinary IMO.
 
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neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,904
Location
Ithaca, NY
Upon further investigation, the Hazlehurst MS platform appears to be accessible, so I don't know why it's listed as not accessible. It looks like a case where all that is missing is the wheelchair lift (and it does appear that the wheelchair lift *is* missing.)

Deming is missing... um... a platform. It's boarded by stopping the train across a grade crossing and boarding through one door. Yeech. Not ADA-compliant, certainly.

Elko NV, according to Amtrak's website, now claims to have accessible platforms but no wheelchair lift. Checking on Google Street View, this seems to be correct; it looks like there are compliant ramps to the platform from the parking lot on both sides. (This was not always the case, so someone must have constructed a ramp on the Westbound side at some point. Good.) Elko is ridiculous in that you can't get between the eastbound and westbound stations without a substantial drive. Still, I don't know why they haven't put in the wheelchair lifts if that's all they have left to do.

So, if I'm correct, this is the current situation. At all other stations, you can get from the station entrance onto the train (or vice versa) in a wheelchair.

Stations which potentially need wheelchair lifts & enclosures for wheelchair lifts; are probably wheelchair-accessible except for that; and might actually be done already, but it's not clear:
Gastonia NC
Picayune MS
Crawfordsville IN
Hazlehurst MS
Elko NV

Stations which are under construction (possibly done already):
Ashland VA (platform & lifts)
Westerly RI (proper elevators)
Sanderson TX (platform)

Stations funded but not constructed:
Newark DE
Coatesville PA

The Hall of Shame:
Parkesburg PA
Downingtown PA
Latrobe PA
North Philadelphia PA (needs only staff)
Deming NM (needs a platform)
Harpers Ferry WV

When you look at this list, you can see why PA officials are getting ticked off at Amtrak. It's looking very shortchanged.

You can also see why the revised federal rule for accessibility a few years ago discouraged platform-based lifts and encouraged train-based lifts instead; the list of stations which are just missing a lift is surprisingly long and if the lifts were kept on the trains instead, this would have gone quicker. A train-based lift could even be used at Deming, NM where people board from the street without a platform. But this isn't something readily retrofittable into old train cars, and Amtrak already went with the platform lift deployment, so at this point they should just finish it.
 
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