Washington Union Station Boarding Procedure

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superstar
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Post by superstar » Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:03 pm

Station Aficionado wrote:You can wait on the platforms for the lower level tracks for VRE, not sure about Amtrak.
I've snuck down to the platform for VA regionals from Union Station's back concourse ahead of the line, since I can figure out which train is which from looking out the windows. Almost invariably someone from Amtrak complains at me, but I've never gotten booted off the platform. As far as I'm concerned, as long as they leave the doors unlocked they're allowing access to the platforms, so I don't really feel bad about it.

Arborwayfan
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Post by Arborwayfan » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:28 pm

Then assign seats. This still doesn't require line up and wait boarding.
Nasadowsk, that was my point. Reserved seats would speed up boarding and still get people in the right cars for their destinations. I was responding to this from Tom C, who I thought was objecting to assigned seats in general.
This reminds me of 4th grade. I lined up for Miss Savage's room and went in to my assigned seat. It's all about control.

hs3730
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Post by hs3730 » Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:43 am

mtuandrew wrote:It would sure be nice to have multi-point access to platforms at large stations*^
Many large stations such as Philly have 2 staircases/escalators down of which they only use one. They could start using both, which I'm sure is what the PRR did back in the day. Otherwise why build two?
Newark Penn is a large enough station with multi-point access as well as baggage handling, so most arguments Amtrak would have against it are mooted by the existence of this stop.
*yes, NYP, but can you imagine guiding a gaggle of tourists to the LIRR or NJT gates for Amtrak boarding?
The tourists can still be directed to use the main concourse; getting the regulars out of the giant line would help enough. By placing conspicuous boards at the lower level exit concourse, appropriately setting escalators, and placing boards at the new west end concourse, more points of boarding are achieved. The NJT section is way too crowded with their own passengers to burden them with Amtrak passengers too, so they can stick with their NJT only boards.

As for "first stop" scenarios like ALB, WAS, BOS, BON, CHI - they could allow people on the platform early to line up with the doors while the train is being prepared. Open the doors when ready. Or, if the doors need to be opened for preparing, they can install a $20 tensabarrier across each Amfleet doorway that employees can unhook-rehook to get around. The manual doors won't have this problem.

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STrRedWolf
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Post by STrRedWolf » Sat Dec 08, 2018 4:13 pm

superstar wrote:
Station Aficionado wrote:You can wait on the platforms for the lower level tracks for VRE, not sure about Amtrak.
I've snuck down to the platform for VA regionals from Union Station's back concourse ahead of the line, since I can figure out which train is which from looking out the windows. Almost invariably someone from Amtrak complains at me, but I've never gotten booted off the platform. As far as I'm concerned, as long as they leave the doors unlocked they're allowing access to the platforms, so I don't really feel bad about it.
Some time ago, Baltimore would send Amtrak Police down and move folks back out to the platform as there was some scare at the time. Since there's no concern now, they don't enforce it much.
"The last and final stop is BALTIMORE PENN STATION." I can has MARC V?

mtuandrew
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Post by mtuandrew » Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:40 pm

hs3730: it’s worth reinstating a one-way flow of passengers at major corridor stations again, similar to how PSNY used to use (still uses? Been a while) a special concourse just for passengers disembarking. That should speed up the process even with single-point platform entry and lines.

electricron
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Post by electricron » Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:51 pm

mtuandrew wrote:hs3730: it’s worth reinstating a one-way flow of passengers at major corridor stations again, similar to how PSNY used to use (still uses? Been a while) a special concourse just for passengers disembarking. That should speed up the process even with single-point platform entry and lines.
Sounds like an excellent idea ——until one realizes there will always be many who will rake a shortcut and go the wrong way. I have yet to find an effective always working check valve for humans.

mmi16
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Post by mmi16 » Sun Dec 09, 2018 7:56 pm

electricron wrote:
mtuandrew wrote:hs3730: it’s worth reinstating a one-way flow of passengers at major corridor stations again, similar to how PSNY used to use (still uses? Been a while) a special concourse just for passengers disembarking. That should speed up the process even with single-point platform entry and lines.
Sounds like an excellent idea ——until one realizes there will always be many who will rake a shortcut and go the wrong way. I have yet to find an effective always working check valve for humans.
Would be possible IF - boarding was on one side of the train and disembarking passengers were on the other side of the train.
Never too old to have a happy childhood!

Suburban Station
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Post by Suburban Station » Mon Dec 10, 2018 2:05 pm

hs3730 wrote: Many large stations such as Philly have 2 staircases/escalators down of which they only use one. They could start using both, which I'm sure is what the PRR did back in the day. Otherwise why build two?
Newark Penn is a large enough station with multi-point access as well as baggage handling, so most arguments Amtrak would have against it are mooted by the existence of this stop.
I've seen older pictures of 30th with both stairwells open and no lines...from the 70's in the Amtrak era so I'm not sure when Amtrak started the line up and wait process.

ExCon90
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Post by ExCon90 » Mon Dec 10, 2018 4:16 pm

mmi16 wrote:
electricron wrote:
mtuandrew wrote:hs3730: it’s worth reinstating a one-way flow of passengers at major corridor stations again, similar to how PSNY used to use (still uses? Been a while) a special concourse just for passengers disembarking. That should speed up the process even with single-point platform entry and lines.
Sounds like an excellent idea ——until one realizes there will always be many who will rake a shortcut and go the wrong way. I have yet to find an effective always working check valve for humans.
Would be possible IF - boarding was on one side of the train and disembarking passengers were on the other side of the train.
Hardly any stations have tracks with a platform on each side.

bratkinson
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Post by bratkinson » Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:10 pm

Suburban Station wrote:
hs3730 wrote: Many large stations such as Philly have 2 staircases/escalators down of which they only use one. They could start using both, which I'm sure is what the PRR did back in the day. Otherwise why build two?
Newark Penn is a large enough station with multi-point access as well as baggage handling, so most arguments Amtrak would have against it are mooted by the existence of this stop.
I've seen older pictures of 30th with both stairwells open and no lines...from the 70's in the Amtrak era so I'm not sure when Amtrak started the line up and wait process.
Welcome to the world of cut, cut, cut...including gate dragons.

In todays' environment, cutting one gate dragon/ticket checker for each train leaves only one gate dragon and therefore one escalator available for boarding. So, as it sometimes turns out at NYP, that one side is used for unloading and the other for boarding. But that's not a 'rule'. Many times they simply 'wing it' based on if the red caps reversed the escalators, stragglers coming up the escalator, etc.

Suburban Station
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Post by Suburban Station » Tue Dec 11, 2018 6:32 pm

bratkinson wrote:
Suburban Station wrote:
hs3730 wrote: Many large stations such as Philly have 2 staircases/escalators down of which they only use one. They could start using both, which I'm sure is what the PRR did back in the day. Otherwise why build two?
Newark Penn is a large enough station with multi-point access as well as baggage handling, so most arguments Amtrak would have against it are mooted by the existence of this stop.
I've seen older pictures of 30th with both stairwells open and no lines...from the 70's in the Amtrak era so I'm not sure when Amtrak started the line up and wait process.
Welcome to the world of cut, cut, cut...including gate dragons.

In todays' environment, cutting one gate dragon/ticket checker for each train leaves only one gate dragon and therefore one escalator available for boarding. So, as it sometimes turns out at NYP, that one side is used for unloading and the other for boarding. But that's not a 'rule'. Many times they simply 'wing it' based on if the red caps reversed the escalators, stragglers coming up the escalator, etc.
There was no sign of a gate dragon leading me to believe that's a new practice perhaps dating to the time when amtrak out up the airline style sign boards.

Nasadowsk
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Post by Nasadowsk » Tue Dec 11, 2018 7:09 pm

bratkinson wrote: Welcome to the world of cut, cut, cut...including gate dragons.
Good! Cut them a few more times till they're gone. The rest of the world does without them, even in places where getting on the wrong train means you end up in a different country. And even where platforms are tight - anyone been the Stuttgart lately?

I bet you if Amtrak just let people board the train at their own leisure, they'd find that amazingly...it works.

jp1822
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Post by jp1822 » Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:12 am

Nasadowsk wrote:
bratkinson wrote: Welcome to the world of cut, cut, cut...including gate dragons.
Good! Cut them a few more times till they're gone. The rest of the world does without them, even in places where getting on the wrong train means you end up in a different country. And even where platforms are tight - anyone been the Stuttgart lately?

I bet you if Amtrak just let people board the train at their own leisure, they'd find that amazingly...it works.
Even with the gate dragons, I've seen an Acela Express come in on one track headed to Washington DC, and on the adjacent track (sharing same platform), an Acela Express heading to Boston. Passenger got mixed up and realized halfway across the Jersey Meadows that she was on the wrong train and had to "figure it out" in Newark, NJ.

I also agree. For intermediate stations on the NEC, particularly Philadelphia, Baltimore etc., just post the track number (or stairway number - whatever) and get the people on the platform as soon as they can. You are still waiting for the train down on the platform if boarding at Philadelphia 30th Street Station anyway. Open up both sides - stairway and escalator. The gate dragon just has to turn the escalator in the right direction!

Suburban Station
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Post by Suburban Station » Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:48 am

jp1822 wrote: Even with the gate dragons, I've seen an Acela Express come in on one track headed to Washington DC, and on the adjacent track (sharing same platform), an Acela Express heading to Boston. Passenger got mixed up and realized halfway across the Jersey Meadows that she was on the wrong train and had to "figure it out" in Newark, NJ.

I also agree. For intermediate stations on the NEC, particularly Philadelphia, Baltimore etc., just post the track number (or stairway number - whatever) and get the people on the platform as soon as they can. You are still waiting for the train down on the platform if boarding at Philadelphia 30th Street Station anyway. Open up both sides - stairway and escalator. The gate dragon just has to turn the escalator in the right direction!
once you do that you can move the metropolitan lounge and allow people to use the hallway and elevators for their original intention, an easy transfer from SEPTA regional rail and down to the platforms

mtuandrew
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Re: bording process at Washington Union Station

Post by mtuandrew » Wed Dec 12, 2018 11:35 am

To do all this, Amtrak needs to seriously update its platform signage and lighting. Which it needs to do anyway.

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