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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Amtrak marks completion of Kansas station improvements


On Dec. 3, Amtrak, Kansas and local officials marked the completion of more than $1.5 million in improvements to the Lawrence, Kan., station, including a 500-foot passenger boarding platform.

Improvements also included repairs to the platform canopy, installation of new exterior lighting designed to improve safety and blend with the former Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (ATSF) station, and improved access to parking for people with disabilities, Amtrak officials said in a prepared statement.

The station is served daily by Amtrak Southwest Chief trains, which operate between Chicago and Los Angeles. About 6,410 passengers used the station in a 12-month period ending Sept. 30, Amtrak officials said. The improvements also will help accommodate future Amtrak service expansion as envisioned by Kansas state officials. Last week, the Kansas Department of Transportation released a service development plan that reviews opportunities to expand Amtrak service at the Lawrence facility and other stations.

Built in 1955, the Lawrence station was designed by Warren Corman and Warren Jones. As was common with ATSF stations, neon signs at the platform canopies identified the city’s name. Amtrak restored those signs and installed an Amtrak sign in neon that echoes the previous Santa Fe neon sign on top of the building.

To preserve the station’s historic elements, Amtrak worked with Lawrence city officials and the state’s historic preservation office, Federal Railroad Administration and the station’s current owner, BNSF Railway Co., the successor to ATSF.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/6/2011