"If I had permitted my failures, or what seemed to me at the time a lack of success, to discourage me I cannot see any way in which I would ever have made progress." - Calvin Coolidge
Our Train Stations - Our Project
Our Train Stations - Our Project - Few Station measure up to all the standards
and most are not even close.
There are some really good passenger train stations -
Station W - Signs start 20 miles out on the Interstate and lead to the station, the station has a nicely paved parking lot. Inside, the station has been totally rehabbed. There are several tourist/chamber/city offices in the station and there is lots of posted information about the train service. The platform is all new and well maintained. It is totally ADA compliant. It appears to be swept regularly as there was little debris on the platform. There is a safety fence with gates to separate people from train activities - a good thing as there are frequent freight trains in addition to passenger service. This is a friendly place to arrive or depart on the train.
Then there are some communities that have other plans for their station and the use by train passengers is incidental -
Station F - Station is acceptable but waiting room has severely shrunk in recent years as the city takes over more and more floor space and parking which severely shrinks the Amtrak space. Now, when there are more than 10 or so passengers, they have to be outside. Rest rooms are not adequately serviced. The city provides no help or security services. Directional signs to the station are non-existent. The platform has not been worked on in years and holds water in rain or melting snow. Even with these deficiencies the experience is not all bad. The neighborhood is very nice and the nearby businesses provide services and support while waiting for the train.
And, some communities make no attempt:
Station D - A real disappointment. A couple directional road signs that don't connect the dots on how to get to the train stop. A single park bench in a rock paved parking lot is the station. It is not covered nor is it close to the tracks to provide waiting passengers a view of an approaching passenger train. There is no platform, the street crossing (2 lanes wide) is the platform. The crew has to be good at stopping the train to make sure the doorway is over the street. There are no nearby services within walking distance.
And, some communities completely redirect the function of their station and make no provision for their train passengers:
Station R - This community had a legacy train station from past operators. A military base closed and some industry moved out. The community then worked on an economic renewal program and as a part of that encouraged a business to acquire the station building and redirect the purpose of the station to that business. Train passengers are relegated to a small bus stop style shelter that has little protection from cold, wind, and rain.
Our Train Stations - Our Project is all about improving America's Train Service by providing an Internet method that will be used to raise awareness of passenger train stations in the political arena and at all levels from local to national. And, by raising awareness, then the will and the funding will frequently follow. It won't happen at every station, but even one update is an improvement.
The basis of Our Train Stations - Our Project is that persuasion in the form of Internet exposure is going to help accomplish the mission - that highlighting positive stations and passenger friendly features at these stations will compel those, who have influence on stations which do not meet standards, to find the funding and the will to bring their stations up to standards. Ultimately the solution to a positive and long lasting solution is through the political process
The train station is not just a building, in fact many train stations do not have a functioning building, but include all those facilities that make up the experience: directional road directional signs, access roadways, parking lots, night time lighting, announcements, the building or structure, platforms and the access to the platform and all the other items that make up the train station and the passenger train experience.
The mission of Our Train Stations - Our Project is to improve America's passenger train station experience by providing passenger train station champions and passenger station patrons a public venue to share information on train stations. It will do this by highlighting good train stations where the city, county, regional, state, and Federal agencies; private parties, service clubs, and train operators are all working together to provide a quality experience. Also, it will focus on the substandard stations, where few agencies or even no one is working in any manner to improve the passenger station and ultimately the passenger experience.
Our Train Stations - Our Project will perform its mission by doing what most recent effective national efforts have discovered - make maximum use of the Internet. Our Train Stations - Our Project is primarily an Internet effort in the collection and display of data. But, it is a grass roots effort in the employment of that data.
Our Train Stations - Our Project will have its own web sites and the data collected by Champions will be displayed on those pages. The Project will make maximum use of other Net-based assets such as social networking sites like FaceBook and Twitter to publicize our activities and to recruit new activists. Our Train Stations - Our Project is a two step process - (1) Recruit Champions, collect data and images, post them to the Net sites, review and keep data updated and (2) Recruit grass roots support to use the data to contact station connected officials and commend them for the good work they have accomplished and to request activity and improvements from those that have stations in need of attention.
It will provide a network of contacts and methods for those communities who are looking to showcase their station. It will provide benchmarks and best practices for those communities who are looking for direction in making improvements. And, it will provide a spotlight on those stations that do not make the grade. It is time to integrate Passenger Train Stations into the 21st century transportation system. Our Passenger Train Activists are going to make that happen.
It is time to integrate Our Train Stations - Our Project into the 21st century transportation system. Our Passenger Train Activists are going to make that happen.