This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The ADA-compliant-ATR-concrete-platform project

About a week ago I noted that there was construction going on by the Amtrak station and promised updates.

Last Wednesday there were piles of metal pipes, some with strange "shields" on them.
These pipes were being screwed into the ground. If you look closely, you will notice that the "shields" form the thread of a screw.
The little station had been moved much closer to Cullen. It had a new concrete floor, a new concrete sidewalk to Cullen, and a new crushed stone parking lot.
On Thursday the workers were still installing the pipe-screws. When they were in the ground, they had a square metal top placed on them.

In the process of installing the pipes, some of the old brick walkways from the old station were disrupted. However, the foundation for the old water tank that used to be near the station was undisturbed.
Finally on Thursday a sign appeared that explained why a major construction project was being undertaken at our tiny and barely-used Amtrak station. It was being funded by the federal government as part of the the stimulus spending approved in the early weeks of the Obama Administration.
A little googling revealed that we are getting an ADA complaint ATR concrete platform. That is rather special, as only 23 stations are getting one, and no other stations in Indiana are on the list. (However, Whitefish, Montana, where my 100-year old Aunt Nonie lives, is also on the list.) I keep wondering how much this will cost--I am an economist and I think a lot about things like this. I wonder if it will cost as much as the ADA compliant ATR concrete platform that either has been built or is scheduled for Tomah, Wisconsin.

I think it is a safe bet that our train platform will soon be a match for the runway at the Jasper County International Airport.

The workers were off on Friday and Monday, but were back today (Tuesday). Two were cutting a black pipe, and there was a pile of plastic pipe, which you can see on the left of the picture above. I will have to check back to see if I can figure out what it is used for.
I think we will have this construction project here for a while, and since I enjoy taking pictures of construction, expect future updates. And if any of you can find more about the ADA compliant ATR concrete platforms, feel free to comment.

My link to the airport post reminds me that I did not do any year-end summaries. I apologize. I just could not get the motivation needed to do them this year.

Update: Wednesday's Rensselaer Republican had a front-page article on the new platform. It will cost as much as Tomah's, at $500,000, and there is also some funding ($11,000) for an information kiosk and ($9,000) for other improvements. The Rensselaer station has 1848 departures and arrivals per year, and the the Amtrak improvements nationally will total $1.3 billion.


Michael J Oakes said...

When they finish the platform, maybe they can break a window in town? And then continue being employed while repairing it.

Anonymous said...

"barely used"? Members of our family have left or arrived at the Rensselaer Amtrak station at least 6 times this past year and each of these times have observed others departing or arriving. I know of locals who take day trips to Chicago on Amtrak. Also have talked with non-locals, one from Kentland, another from Monticello, who find catching the train at Rensselaer the most convenient for their needs.
To the best of my knowledge Greyhound does not take on passengers anywhere between Gary and Lafayette. I have also heard that there is no longer O'Hare/Midway airport bus service out of Merrillville. If Amtrak disappeared would the private sector return to offer service? I doubt it.
Even when Amtrak is late, I am very appreciative of its service to our rural area.
A train platform will enable families with young kids,older persons, and those with cumbersome luggage to board and disembark in a safe manner.
For this improvement I will write and thank my congressman while also questioning the "one size fits all" approach that results in overbuilding and higher costs.

Anonymous said...

I agree that there are many who use the train service. I was surprised by the number getting on and off when my daughter came in from Chicago at Thanksgiving. She was going to come in the night before Christmas eve, and it was fully booked. There was no room in the train.