CHARLESTON, WV – Amtrak customers now have a more accessible journey with the completion of a $6.4 million project at the rail station serving the state capital. The upgrades are part of the company’s overall commitment to advance accessibility improvements to ensure a safe, efficient and comfortable travel experience for customers. The Amtrak Cardinal travels three times a week from New York City and Chicago, with a stop at the Charleston station, which is located along the Kanawha River across from downtown.
“Ensuring an accessible travel experience is a priority, and we’re actively advancing construction, renovation repair, and upgrade projects at stations across our national network,” said Dennis Newman, Amtrak executive vice president of strategy and planning, during a ribbon-cutting event on October 12. “We want all of our stations to be a welcoming and comfortable environment for customers. We are pleased we delivered these improvements to enhance the Charleston station.”
At Charleston, customers can access a new 800-foot-long concrete platform featuring new lighting, guardrails, signage and a stormwater system. The platform is located alongside the historic depot, now largely used for commercial purposes, and extends underneath the Southside Bridge. The platform provides customers a more accessible and sturdier surface as well as a brighter area to board on and off the train.
Additional improvements include the creation of pathways extending from both parking lots to the station, and three accessible parking spaces for customers. Bird netting in the roadway bridge structures above the platform helps maintain a clean environment.
The station building has two new entrances, a renovated waiting room and restrooms. A new fire system was installed, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems were updated. Crack repairs were made to the building’s exterior walls, and a new roof was provided.
This work was performed in close coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration, CSX – which owns the railroad over which the Cardinal operates in the state, West Virginia Division of Culture and History, West Virginia Department of Highways and the city of Charleston.
“Amtrak has long been a popular means of travel – whether for work or for fun,” said Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “Now, when folks travel to Charleston, they will be greeted with upgraded facilities, improved access from the platform to the parking lots, and a more comfortable overall experience.”
“For decades, Amtrak has provided safe and reliable travel options across the country, and these transportation services are especially critical in rural states like West Virginia,” U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) said. “I’m proud to have supported these upgrades at the Charleston station, which will ensure a more accessible and efficient travel experience for both West Virginians and those visiting our great state. These improvements are evidence of Amtrak’s continued commitment to serving each and every West Virginian, and I applaud their efforts.”
“So many people from across the world are eager to visit our wild and wonderful state, and now the newly improved Charleston station is more ready to receive them. Thank you to Amtrak for investing into this project that will ensure the safety and comfortable travel experience for people traveling to the heart of West Virginia. Projects such as these support the success of our tourism industry and impact our communities tremendously.”Congresswoman Carol D. Miller (R-W. Va.)
Amtrak has invested nearly $800 million since 2011 in accessibility upgrades and improvement projects at 119 stations across the national network. The improvements include repairs and upgrades to platforms, ramps and sidewalks, renovations to entranceways and restrooms, with 20 stations brought into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act last year. Another 35 stations are targeted for completion this fiscal year at a forecasted investment of $125 million. The company’s program is advancing 143 station designs and 39 station construction projects as part of its ongoing commitment to providing accessibility by working toward 100% completion by 2029.
Posted October 13, 2023.