With the completion of a $3.2 million project at the Gastonia, North Carolina, station, Amtrak travelers now have a more accessible journey.
The improvements are part of the company’s overarching commitment to improving the customer experience at stations and on trains throughout its national network, Amtrak said.
The Amtrak Crescent runs daily between New York and New Orleans, with a stop at the station on Hancock Street.
“Making our stations accessible to all customers is a priority and we’re actively performing construction, renovation, repair, and upgrade projects at stations across our national network,” said Dr. David Handera, Amtrak’s vice president for Stations, Facilities, and Accessibility. “We want Gastonia and all of our stations to be a welcoming and comfortable environment to all of our customers.”
Amtrak made a number of accessibility upgrades in collaboration with the city of Gastonia, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, and Norfolk Southern. The work included building a new concrete platform with all new lighting, guardrails, and signage. The platform provides a stable, uniform surface for customers to board on and off the train, according to a release.
An accessible restroom, renovated waiting area, and power-operated door entrance in the station were also added, as was a newly paved parking lot with an entrance driveway and two accessible parking spaces for passengers who use wheeled mobility equipment.
Accessible paths for people with mobility considerations were crucial, and three new ramps with railings were built connecting the platform, station, and parking. The station building’s heating and cooling system was also replaced as part of the renovations.
“Accessibility is very important to our city. We are grateful to Amtrak for the upgrades to our station as we continue to grow and passengers make Gastonia a destination on their routes of travel,” Gastonia Mayor Walker Reid said.
The Gastonia upgrades are a part of a broader group of Amtrak’s accessibility-related station initiatives, the Americans with Disabilities Act Stations Program, which brought 20 stations into compliance for $96 million last fiscal year. Another 39 stations are expected to be completed this fiscal year at a cost of $165 million. The program is progressing 129 station designs and 40 station construction projects, a release said.
To date, Amtrak has completed work at 177 stations—108 stations where Amtrak has responsibility are fully compliant and another 69 stations are compliant excluding the platform.
“NCDOT is proud to be a partner with our communities and Amtrak in providing a great train station that will deliver greater accessibility for everyone,” Jason Orthner, NCDOT’s Rail Director said.