L' Enfant Plaza - flag stop?

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Portsmouth, VA
On two separate occasions, I have ridden a southbound Northeast Regional through Washington, DC.    Just after departing Union Station, the train stopped at L' Enfant Plaza.   However, that stop is not listed on the schedules for any of the Regionals.  

Is it a flag stop?
 

Thirdrail7

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95, 125 and 171 make L'Enfant plaza going south while 86, 174 and 176 make it going north. The trains involved  are listed in the VRE timetables since they stop on behalf on VRE as part of a cross honor agreement.

Additionally, even if it was a flag stop, it would appear in the schedule as such.
 
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William W.

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It's listed in the VRE timetables. You can't book an Amtrak ticket departing from this station, but you are free to get off here if you'd rather not go to Union. 
 
Joined
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95, 125 and 171 make L'Enfant plaza going south while 86, 174 and 176 make it going north. The trains involved  are listed in the VRE timetables since they stop on behalf on VRE as part of a cross honor agreement.

Additionally, even if it was a flag stop, it would appear in the schedule as such.
Ah, that makes sense, as Gastonia, NC is a flag stop and it is listed on the schedule for the Crescent. 
 

River in Sight

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Just looking to confirm there hasn't been any change to the L'Enfant Plaza stop with COVID. My wife is looking to catch 125 at L'Enfant on Friday as she will be tight on time, and her work is on green line.. 125 is still included on the VRE timetable so I assume it's still stopping there, but looking to double-check..
 

TC_NYC

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Just looking to confirm there hasn't been any change to the L'Enfant Plaza stop with COVID. My wife is looking to catch 125 at L'Enfant on Friday as she will be tight on time, and her work is on green line.. 125 is still included on the VRE timetable so I assume it's still stopping there, but looking to double-check..
If it's on the VRE timetable I would assume you'll be good.
 

River in Sight

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Although it's on the schedule, I found this page that says "Please note, while VRE is running full service, the Amtrak Step-Up program will remain suspended until further notice." I'm not sure if that means the Amtrak trains are no longer stopping at L'Enfant at all, or...? If anyone happens to have any first-hand experience with it, that would be great. It's the last train of the day heading towards that area so sort of make-or-break...
 
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So, there is a sign at L'Enfant saying that flag stop has been discontinued since July 2020 to maintain social distancing. Not sure how it achieves that--in fact it's the opposite. It's an open air station that is the most secure. If I don't board there, I have to wait for some time in Union Station, an enclosed space.

That said, the train has stopped twice this week to let me off at L'Enfant on 176, going to DC from Charlottesville, but the last time I was the only one and had asked the conductor. So I am not sure that they stop by default, as in the old days, maybe you have to ask for it.

On the way down on 171, we coasted through the station both times and there was no one there. But the conductor told me they don't have instructions to stop there at this point, so you can't expect to be picked up.

I will be calling the corporate office to see if they can reinstate it. There were tons people boarding 171 at L'Enfant pre-covid, there used to be a demand for it!

Plus, as I said, it's safer to wait there than in an indoor station.
 
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And to the original question: yes, it is a flag stop. If you call the Amtrak number, they don't even know about it and you can't book a ticket either to or from it. But it used to work, you could count on being picked up there by the southbound 171.
 

RebelRider

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L'Enfant is in a gray area. It is not a regular stop. It is not a flag stop. As mentioned, it shows up no where in any Amtrak publications. It isn't on Arrow manifests. The station code for arrival/departure/delay reporting purposes is an X-point, XVE, not a normal three letter station code. We have been given no guidance either way.

That said, I'm seeing multiple passengers detrain northbound just about every trip now and even southbound ridership has gone from zero to the occasional 1 or 2. It's a much more convenient stop to transfer to Metro with four lines at L'Enfant vs. just the Red Line at Union Station. Should just be made a regular Amtrak stop and nip all the uncertainty in the bud.
 

daybeers

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The reason it was suspended due to COVID originally was to ensure they had 50% capacity and didn't break that by picking up pass holders that didn't have a reservation. Now they have a RideReserve program for that, but L'Enfant has always been sortof a speakeasy 🤣
 
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L'Enfant Plaza is totally working as a flag stop! Both on the 176 and the 171. For the 171, you need to flag the train, but it has been stopping for the last month even when I am the only one on the platform. I wish more people would come back to the station, as I feel bad stopping an entire train!
 
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For a while, since COVID, the Northeast Regional Train #171 did not stop at L'Enfant Plaza, which is an unofficial stop.
Although there were about a dozen people boarding pre-COVID, they seem to have stopped coming, either because they no longer commute or because they think the train will not stop. If it is the latter, the belief is mistaken. For the past month, the train has been stopping, though you need to flag it. Sometimes I am alone on the platform and it feels bad to stop an entire train. So it would be nice to see people return to the stop (and Amtrak should make it official: as an open station, it is a much safer alternative than Union Station).

The northbound 176 also stops routinely and lets a few people off. They do ask me but I think they stop in any case. I would always inform the conductor though.
 
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For a while, since COVID, the Northeast Regional Train #171 did not stop at L'Enfant Plaza, which is an unofficial stop.
Although there were about a dozen people boarding pre-COVID, they seem to have stopped coming, either because they no longer commute or because they think the train will not stop. If it is the latter, the belief is mistaken. For the past month, the train has been stopping, though you need to flag it. Sometimes I am alone on the platform and it feels bad to stop an entire train. So it would be nice to see people return to the stop (and Amtrak should make it official: as an open station, it is a much safer alternative than Union Station).

The northbound 176 also stops routinely and lets a few people off. They do ask me but I think they stop in any case. I would always inform the conductor though.

Pardon my ignorance, but how does one flag the train?
 
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You just sit visibly on the platform, and wave your arm for them to stop. That's it! Just keep a safe distance from the edge, because the train creeps up on you real fast. There is usually a broad yellow safety band, stay outside of that.
 
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Northwestern

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I wonder if there could be more Amtrak flag stops at various small towns, where the train flies by but no train stop. Taking the Coast Starlight between Klamath Falls and Eugene, the small community of Oakridge might be a candidate. It's 41 miles to the stop at Eugene and most likely a hazardous road during the snowy winter months. . How about Williams Junction, in Ariz., to allow a shorter drive or shuttle to the Grand Canyon. The Flagstaff stop is about an hour away from the Canyon.
 

joelkfla

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I wonder if there could be more Amtrak flag stops at various small towns, where the train flies by but no train stop. Taking the Coast Starlight between Klamath Falls and Eugene, the small community of Oakridge might be a candidate. It's 41 miles to the stop at Eugene and most likely a hazardous road during the snowy winter months. . How about Williams Junction, in Ariz., to allow a shorter drive or shuttle to the Grand Canyon. The Flagstaff stop is about an hour away from the Canyon.
I could be mistaken, but I thought they discontinued Williams Jct. because it's in the middle of nowhere and the people providing the shuttle service decided they didn't want to run it anymore.
 

jis

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I could be mistaken, but I thought they discontinued Williams Jct. because it's in the middle of nowhere and the people providing the shuttle service decided they didn't want to run it anymore.
Yeah. There is now a Thruway service from Flagstaff to Williams Holiday Inn connecting with SWC. No SWC stop at Williams Jct.
 

Willbridge

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L'Enfant Plaza is totally working as a flag stop! Both on the 176 and the 171. For the 171, you need to flag the train, but it has been stopping for the last month even when I am the only one on the platform. I wish more people would come back to the station, as I feel bad stopping an entire train!
Be proud of yourself by being the one person who flags the train. Somebody else is on the train and went out of their way to catch it. When they notice what is happening, they may try the more convenient flag stop next time, too.

When I was stationed at Fort Ord in January1969, I was the only person flagging the SP Del Monte, which stopped right on the post for a smooth Saturday morning ride into the City. By March when I left it was up to nine or ten of us there for the stop. Guys asked me about it, and I posted timetable info on company bulletin boards.
 

RebelRider

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Flag stops in small towns isn't going to happen. You'd still have to have a proper ADA platform. Not going to happen for a location with ridership so low the train only stops on demand. Amtrak is still working to get proper ADA-compliant platforms at all the regular station stops.
 

rspenmoll

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Flag stops in small towns isn't going to happen. You'd still have to have a proper ADA platform. Not going to happen for a location with ridership so low the train only stops on demand. Amtrak is still working to get proper ADA-compliant platforms at all the regular station stops.
FWIW, The Alaska Railroad operates the Hurricane Turn, a train that operates on a flag stop basis and will stop anywhere along its route. I'm not sure how that jibes with ADA regulations.
 
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