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Accessibility Update

Amtrak Accessibility Update: June 2016

By July 13, 2016 No Comments

ADA Stations Program Progress

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 491 of the more than 500 stations Amtrak serves are required to be made accessible. (The ADA excluded “flag stops” where the train stops only if passengers are present). Determining ADA responsibility involves analyzing ownership of three distinct components: station structure, platform and parking. As of the date hereof, Amtrak has:

  • Sole ADA Responsibility for 126 stations
  • Shared ADA Responsibility for 240 stations
  • No ADA Responsibility for 125 stations

As noted above, Amtrak has either sole or shared ADA responsibility at 366 stations; these stations constitute the Amtrak ADA Stations Program (ADASP).

Stations Work Completed to Date

  • Land Survey: 347
  • ADA Assessment: 280
  • Design: 86
  • Construction Awarded: 66
  • Construction Complete: 33*

*Not all scopes of work included platform work. Some stations may require additional work at a later date to bring platforms into compliance with the ADA.

Passenger Information Display Systems (PIDS) Work Completed to Date

  • Design Task Order: 35
  • Design Completed: 19
  • Deployment Task Order: 21
  • Deployment Go Live: 16

Project Spotlight: Rugby, N.D.

Exterior of Rugby, N.D. Amtrak station.

The Rugby, N.D., depot opened in 1907; a recent project has improved accessibility for Amtrak customers.

Amtrak recently completed an accessibility project at the historic Rugby, N.D., station. Work crews provided accessible routes, with curb cuts, from the public right-of-way and parking area to the platform and depot. In the parking lot, two accessible spaces received new paving, striping and wheel stops, while a new curb and pavers were installed along the platform area.

In the depot, crews adjusted the thresholds at the entry doors, renovated men’s and women’s restrooms to include compliant fixtures and mounted accessible drinking fountains.

New signage was installed in and around the station and in the parking area, and new city identifier signs now line the platform. The Rugby platform is accessible and there is a wheelchair lift available for customers. Further work on the platform has been deferred until a later date and will be addressed under a separate project.

Before and After photo of accessible ramp to station

The lone step at the left was replaced by a ramp and stairs connecting the waiting room and platform.

Before and after photo of curb ramp

Crews reconstructed the curb at left to include a new curb ramp with tactile edging.

Accessible drinking fountains inside station

Accessible drinking fountains inside the depo

Rugby is known as the geographical center of North America. The Great Northern Railway built the brick Tudor-style depot in 1907. The waiting room features glazed tile wainscot and wood trim around the windows. In the late 1980s, the city, Lions Club, Amtrak, local businesses and citizens groups undertook a multi-year refurbishment project that included painting, electric work and repairs to the terrazzo flooring. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.

In Fiscal Year 2015, more than 4,200 customers began or ended their journey at Rugby, which is served twice a day by the Empire Builder (Chicago-Seattle / Portland).


Amtrak to Include Flag Stops in ADA Stations Program

In April, Amtrak informed the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) that it has decided to reclassify its 25 flag stops as regular station stops and thereby make them subject to ADA requirements. At flag stops, many of which were designated as such before Amtrak began operations in 1971, the train stops only when passengers are present, either on the train or station platform, and ticketed to/from the station. Otherwise, the train bypasses the station.

Deming, N.M flag stop shelter

Amtrak plans to convert flag stops such as Deming, N.M., on the route of the Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle, into regular station stops.

Under the ADA, flag stop stations are exempt from accessibility requirements. Over the years, representatives of the U.S. DOT, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), U.S. Department of Justice and the disability rights community questioned whether the flag stop designations remained appropriate in light of growing ridership at many of these stations.

As a result of these discussions, Amtrak has reviewed these designations and has committed to reclassifying all of its flag stops as regular stations to the greatest extent possible. ADA responsibility for the various station components will be determined by Amtrak following completion of property surveys by the end of Fiscal Year 2016. Amtrak will ensure that the station components for which it has ADA responsibility are made accessible.

Most of Amtrak’s flag stops are located on freight railroad Iines, and Amtrak’s operations on those lines are governed by operating agreements. These agreements require freight railroad approval of schedule changes. In a case where a freight railroad objects to the reclassification of a flag stop to a regular station stop, and Amtrak is unable to resolve its concerns, Amtrak will notify FRA staff. Amtrak has no intention of adding new flag stops in the future.


Open House Explores Paoli Station Accessibility Improvements Project

Amtrak, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) hosted an open house earlier this month to provide details on the construction phase of the Paoli Station Accessibility Improvements Project. Accessible vans were available at the lower northwest parking lot to transport passengers to the open house location.

Rendering of proposed Paoli, PA station

View of proposed Paoli, Pa., station from North Parking Lot.

Amtrak owns the Paoli station, which is not fully accessible. It is served by the daily Pennsylvanian (New York-Pittsburgh) and Keystone Service trains (New York-Philadelphia-Harrisburg), as well as SEPTA Paoli-Thorndale Line trains and various buses. In FY 2015, more than 176,000 Amtrak passengers and approximately 740,000 SEPTA passengers passed through the station.

This project encompasses a series of improvements aimed at making the station accessible for all customers. Among the planned elements are a new center island, high level platform; pedestrian overpass; and elevators and ramps. Rail passengers, local residents and other attendees had the opportunity to study informational displays and renderings, learn about the construction timeline and talk with project staff.

Read the Paoli Station Accessibility Improvements Project Fact Sheet to learn more or visit and for future updates.


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