HUTCHINSON AND DODGE CITY, KANSAS – Amtrak, in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration and with the cooperation of the cities of Hutchinson and Dodge City, Kansas, has completed accessibility improvements at the Amtrak stations located in the heart of each community. Hutchinson and Dodge City, located about 120 miles apart, are served by the daily Southwest Chief (Chicago-Kansas City-Albuquerque-Los Angeles). The work, part of Amtrak’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Stations Program, was completed ahead of schedule and within budget, as noted during ribbon-cutting ceremonies.
In Hutchinson, where officials gathered on July 29, 2022, the mid-century modern (circa 1954) depot now boasts a new 350-foot long boarding platform with new station signage, a mobile lift enclosure, energy-efficient LED lighting and guardrails. New accessible pathways provide improved connections to city sidewalks, new ADA parking spaces, the depot and platform. Inside, improvements include a full restroom renovation featuring new fixtures, accessories and adequate clearances for accessibility. Work crews also installed new entry doors and an accessible drinking fountain. The overall project cost approximately $3 million.
The next day, a crowd gathered in Dodge City to view $3.8 million in improvements at the historic 1898 depot. Honored guests included U.S. Senator Jerry Moran, Mayor E. Kent Smoll and Amtrak VP, Long Distance Services Larry Chestler. Attendees learned about the transformation of the platforms. Existing asphalt platforms, including a narrow center one, were removed and replaced with a new 780-foot long concrete version with dedicated passenger loading areas to accommodate eastbound and westbound boarding.
Also included in the upgrades are new station signage, a mobile lift enclosure and energy efficient LED light fixtures that improve lighting along the platform and pathways. Sloped accessible walkways connect the platform with the existing elevated brick plaza area adjacent to the depot. Once a Harvey House known as El Vaquero, the facility was restored in 2003 to include an Amtrak passenger waiting area, meeting space, repertory company and a variety of offices.
The architect and engineer of record for both projects is STV INC of Philadelphia. Construction in Hutchinson was performed by George Allan Construction, based in Illinois, beginning in April 2021 and completed in July 2022. Work in Dodge City was undertaken by Krische Construction Inc., based in Colorado, beginning in April 2021 and completed in June 2022.
To date, Amtrak has completed 171 ADA station-related projects as part of the ADA Stations Program, including 20 additional stations meeting ADA compliance last fiscal year for $82 million. Another 29 stations are targeted for completion this fiscal year at a forecasted investment of $113 million. The program is also advancing 120 station designs and 40 station construction projects as part of Amtrak’s ongoing commitment to providing accessibility for all customers. Since 2011, the company has invested more than $489 million in accessibility upgrades throughout the country.
For Amtrak, the ADA serves as the foundation to the planning and work being done across the organization and national network to ensure passengers with disabilities have access to stations, trains and services. With input from the disability community, including national disability organizations, Amtrak is furthering a robust accessibility program and holistic approach to improve the travel experience – from trip planning, to purchasing tickets and the experience at stations, to equipment and onboard services. Marking the thirty-second anniversary of the ADA in July, Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner noted, “We celebrate the anniversary of this important law and reflect on the hard work that provided a path to equal rights and opportunities for all people with disabilities. As America’s Railroad, we are committed to providing an accessible, inclusive and safe travel experience to all passengers.”
Posted August 4, 2022.