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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak advances Philadelphia station project, adds quiet car to Wolverine trains


Amtrak soon will begin the first phase of an exterior building restoration as part of a $35 million project to upgrade the 100-year-old Philadelphia 30th Street Station.

Designed to improve the iconic structure, the project includes renovation of the station's surrounding West Plaza and replacement of passenger elevators.

"As stewards of this national historic landmark, we are committed to maintaining its status as a first-class facility for passengers and further integrating the station into the vital University City neighborhood," said Stephen Gardner, Amtrak's vice president of Northeast Corridor infrastructure and investment development, in a press release.

In the coming weeks, Amtrak will begin Phase I of restoring the building's exterior by installing a temporary sidewalk canopy system around the building. Some building entrances will be closed temporarily and services will be relocated throughout the project construction period, Amtrak officials said.

Amtrak funds will cover the cost of the $2 million canopy project, while funding for the project's remainder (Phase 2) is still being identified, railroad officials said.

Passenger elevators that connect the train platforms on the main concourse will be replaced, along with elevators that service the employee office towers in the upper floors of the building. Amtrak is funding the $3 million elevator replacement, with work expected to begin this fall.

Work on the West Plaza renovation began in fall 2012. Scheduled for completion by Thanksgiving, the redesigned pedestrian plaza and reinforced basement structure is designed to improve vehicle traffic and pedestrian flow around the station. It also will feature enhanced lighting for better security and expanded public parking. Below-ground work on the parking deck and basement will continue through 2014 to fortify the infrastructure and improve parking conditions, Amtrak officials said.

Meanwhile, Amtrak announced it will designate a quiet car on weekday Wolverine service trains between Chicago and Michigan starting on Aug. 19. On quiet cars, passengers are expected to whisper when speaking and refrain from making noise with electronic devices.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/16/2013