Amtrak Completes $5.2M in Upgrades for Columbia River Stations

Written by Jennifer McLawhorn, Managing Editor
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Courtesy of Amtrak

SEATTLE – The $5.2 million investment went toward ADA-accessibility improvements and other station upgrades.

Amtrak announced it has completed $5.2 million in upgrades at the Columbia River Stations. The Bingen-White Salmon and Wishram stations are two stops for Amtrak’s Empire Builder that travels between Portland and Chicago.

In conjunction with the City of Bingen, Amtrak advanced ADA-accessible improvements which include replacing a 10-foot-long platform with a 255-foot-long span of new concrete, eight inches above top of rail. This will provide a smooth surface for wheeled mobility devices, according to Amtrak. At a cost of $3.2 million funded by Congressional investments, the “platform, new lighting, and ramp connects to the public right of way and provides a brighter and more accessible journey to and from trains.”

Additionally, the $2 million in federal funds creates two accessible parking spaces as well as a ramp to connect to the existing accessible platform at Wishram. Other improvements include “replacement of the detectable warning tactile surface along the platform that assists passengers with vision disabilities, upgrades to the waiting room entrance and the addition of a platform shelter.”

Amtrak Vice President of Accessibility Dr David Handera said, “Making stations accessible to all customers is a priority we’re actively pursuing with construction, renovation, repair, and upgrade projects at stations across our National Network . . . We want Bingen-White Salmon, Wishram, and all of our stations to provide a welcoming and comfortable environment for every customer.”

Bingen Mayor Catherine Kiewit appreciates “Amtrak’s dedication to improving mobility and access for all users. . . These upgrades are well-timed as the City of Bingen is invested in making our community welcoming for visitors and a comfortable place for residents to thrive, regardless of age or disability. I look forward to continuing this momentum to make additional improvements.”

Since 2011, Amtrak has spent over $860 million in accessibility upgrades and improvement projects at 121 stations. For this fiscal year, another 31 stations are targeted for upgrades as “Amtrak moves toward 100% completion by 2009.”

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