Transit Briefs: Amtrak, CATS, GCRTA, NYMTA, SEPTA, STM

Written by

Marybeth Luczak
, Government Editor

Map of the proposed Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago intercity passenger rail service. This project would add an additional daily round-trip passenger train to the existing Amtrak Empire Builder corridor between the Twin Cities and Chicago. (Caption and Map Courtesy of MnDOT)

Map of the proposed Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago intercity passenger rail service. This undertaking would add a further every day round-trip passenger practice to the present Amtrak Empire Builder hall between the Twin Cities and Chicago. (Caption and Map Courtesy of MnDOT)


The Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago Intercity Passenger Rail Mission (TCMC) is now within the remaining design section. Additionally, the Charlotte Space Transit System (CATS) in North Carolina introduces fare capping; Higher Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) in Ohio is launching a pilot undertaking to handle “last-mile” gaps; a $57.9 million design and engineering base contract has been authorized for the New York Penn Station undertaking; Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) has launched design ideas for brand spanking new trolley stations; and beginning subsequent month, Société de transport de Montréal (STM) métro riders can carry their pet canine on board.

Now within the remaining design section for rail infrastructure enhancements, TCMC is slated so as to add a second every day round-trip Amtrak passenger practice on the 411-mile rail hall between Chicago, Illinois and the Twin Cities (see map above). Service will comply with Amtrak’s present long-distance Empire Builder route. Building work for the $53.3 million undertaking is predicted to start in 2023 and wrap up in 2025, with service to begin in 2024.

The required rail infrastructure work contains La Crosse Yard and Depot Space enhancements in Wisconsin (rebuild second predominant line monitor, prolong yard result in the west, and reconstruct passenger platform); the Mississippi River Bridge undertaking in La Crescent, Minn. (realign monitor approaches, substitute switches, and monitor work); River Junction Yard enhancements in La Crescent, Minn. (conversion of yard monitor to signalized second predominant monitor, together with sign enhancements, new predominant line monitor, turnouts, and connection monitor, in addition to an improve to present yard monitor); Winona, Minn., siding enhancements (improve siding monitor, switches, and indicators); and the Tower CK undertaking in Winona, Minn. (assemble new siding monitor connecting predominant monitor to CPR Waseca subdivision, and add switches and indicators).


Mission companions embrace the Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois departments of transportation; Amtrak; Federal Railroad Administration (FRA); La Crosse Space Planning Committee; and the Ramsey County (Minn.) Regional Railroad Authority.

The undertaking will probably be funded by a $31.8 million FRA Consolidated Railroad Infrastructure and Security Enchancment (CRISI) grant, which was awarded in September 2020 for remaining design and development; a $5 million dedication from Amtrak; a $10 million dedication from MnDOT; and a $6.5 million dedication from WisDOT. A $12.6 million grant from the FRA Restoration & Enhancement Program will probably be used to offset operations prices for the primary three years. On-going working prices will probably be shared by the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois.


For extra on the undertaking, go to WisDOT and MnDOT.

CATS on Sept. 21 debuted fare capping on its CATS-Cross app. The transit company described fare capping as “a flexible, cost-saving option that rewards customers with a monthly pass once they have paid $88—the equivalent of a monthly pass—in eligible fares through the CATS-Pass app. When customers reach the $88 monthly threshold, a monthly pass will automatically be added to their CATS-Pass wallet. With the monthly pass, customers can ride local bus and [light rail] rail for free for the remainder of that month.”


Specific and Specific Plus buses will nonetheless require the conventional fare, whatever the fare capping standing of the rider, based on CATS.

“Providing equitable access to transit is a driving force behind CATS’ operation,” CATS CEO John Lewis mentioned. “Fare capping is a key strategy to improve the rider experience and ensure it is affordable and accessible to all, especially those who cannot afford the upfront cost of a monthly pass.”

CATS famous that riders can join their CATS-Cross accounts to their debit or bank cards and cargo funds into their cell wallets to buy passes. To pay with money, riders can go to the CATS customer support sales space on the Charlotte Transit Heart and supply the agent with money that will probably be immediately added to their CATS-Cross accounts.

GCRTA, SHARE Mobility, and employers in Solon and Bedford Heights are teaming to offer “last-mile” service for riders, in accordance a Sept. 20 Authorities Expertise report.

“GCRTA’s goal is connecting the community,” GCRTA spokesman Robert Fleig informed the journal. “This particular project pilot seeks to address the mobility gap that impacts the ability of workers to get to jobs using public transit.”

In keeping with Authorities Expertise, SHARE Mobility “contracts with fleet providers to provide transportation for workers leaving a bus stop or other transit connection at the appropriate time to get them to jobs in the area. The rides are generally shared, similar to microtransit operations or even ride-hailing. SHARE Mobility’s digital platform is unique in its ability to allow riders to schedule trips well in advance.”

The pilot undertaking’s goal is to assist “hourly workers who may not always have access to transportation or are looking for ways to save on their monthly transportation costs,” the journal reported.

Fleig informed the journal that the service will decide up staff “at a stop, transport them to their workplace, and then pick them up, returning them to the GCRTA stop at the end of the shift. The route frequency will be based upon employer work schedules in this particular pilot.”

Rendering of the proposed reconstruction of the present Penn Station in New York Metropolis, courtesy of the workplace of New York Governor Kathy Hochul

A design and engineering contract for the New York Penn Station reconstruction undertaking will go to a three way partnership led by FXCollaborative Architects LLP and WSP USA Inc., with British architect John McAslan + Companions* as a collaborator, based on the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). MTA, in partnership with New Jersey Transit and Amtrak, introduced approval of the contract on Sept. 21. The RFP was released in June.

The FXCollaborative and WSP three way partnership developed the Penn Station Master Plan unveiled last year that evaluated options and created the popular redesign plan for Penn Station as a single-level facility centered round a practice corridor with a 450-foot lengthy sky-lit atrium between Madison Sq. Backyard and a couple of Penn Plaza, based on MTA. The design known as for by the MTA’s contract will advance that most well-liked various. It can additionally relieve overcrowding and enhance passenger circulate and orientation; enhance security by rising platform and station egress and accessibility; alleviate the “cramped, disjointed circulation areas with widened concourses and high ceilings”; “create a clear street presence that integrates with the surroundings”; optimize retail and different income technology; and combine Penn Station with Moynihan Prepare Corridor and the deliberate Penn Station Growth, MTA reported. 

The advice for the design three way partnership follows an open, aggressive RFP course of that attracted 5 proposals from corporations and joint ventures that have been reviewed and scored by representatives from MTA Building & Improvement, Amtrak, and NJ Transit, and assisted by a Technical Advisory Committee with further representatives from MTA Lengthy Island Rail Street (LIRR), Empire State Improvement and the New York Metropolis Financial Improvement Company. 

The bottom contract of as much as $57.9 million would develop the preliminary station design and would final for one 12 months, MTA reported. This contract contains choices overlaying preliminary design for enhancements to close by subway stations and design and engineering help because the station reconstruction strikes ahead. Moreover, MTA mentioned its Division of Variety and Civil Rights assigned a 22.5% Deprived Enterprise Enterprises aim to the contract. 

“We are excited to recommend a team that has a track record of designing projects that achieve world-class design excellence while improving safety and being constructible, our singular focus as we seek to finally give Penn Station’s 600,000 daily riders the station they deserve,” MTA Building & Improvement President Jamie Torres-Springer mentioned. 

“The work will take place on an aggressive timetable,” MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber mentioned. “The opening of Grand Central Madison in just a few months provides us with a once-a-century opportunity to rebuild Penn Station. With a sizable percentage of LIRR riders expected to shift their trips to Grand Central Madison, Penn Station will have five years with lower customer volumes before a new influx of customers arrives on Metro-North Railroad by 2027. The MTA wants to get most disruptive the work done before then, so I’m thrilled we are moving forward quickly with the design phase of this massive, long-delayed effort.” 

The complete undertaking is estimated to take 5-6 years to finish and comes with a price ticket of $6 billion-$7 billion.

* McAslan + Companions designed the 2012 transformation of London’s historic King’s Cross Station.

As a part of its Trolley Modernization Program, SEPTA has launched design ideas for brand spanking new stations (see one above), and is in search of public suggestions. In keeping with the transit company, many trolley stops at the moment “are simple signs along the sidewalk with few amenities. Trolley Modernization will introduce new stations that make it easy to find, level boarding that makes it easy to get on, and consistent service that makes it easy to get where you are going.”

The present station design ideas construct on enter from greater than 5,000 contributors who offered info on what stations ought to embrace and the way they will slot in with the communities SEPTA serves. The general public is once more being requested to offer suggestions—this time on potential station designs, colours and lighting for all trolley stations throughout the SEPTA system.

SEPTA has launched an online survey and will probably be internet hosting pop-up and virtual community events this fall all through Philadelphia and Delaware County.

STM on Sept. 21 reported that beginning Oct. 15, 2022, riders will probably be allowed to carry pet canine on the métro as a part of a nine-month pilot undertaking. To take action, riders should:

  • Journey exterior rush hour, Monday to Friday, between 10 a.m. and three p.m. and after 7 p.m., and all day on weekends and holidays. Moreover, canine is not going to be allowed throughout main occasions.
  • Make sure the canine wears a muzzle for all the period of the journey.
  • Preserve a agency grip on the canine’s leash, leaving not more than 49 inches of slack.
  • Enter the métro solely via entrances and entrance buildings owned by the STM. For now, Longueuil–Université-de-Sherbrooke station is excluded from the pilot undertaking, based on STM, which famous that discussions are below manner with the entities accountable for the outer entrances to this station.
  • Decide up and clear up any mess the canine could make.
  • Preserve the canine off all practice and platform seating.
  • Carry just one canine per buyer.

STM mentioned it additionally strongly recommends not utilizing the lead railcar, as it’s reserved for varsity teams, daycares, individuals with disabilities, and cyclists. It additionally advisable that clients not carry canine on escalators, resulting from danger of harm to canine.

Riders who use information and repair canine will nonetheless be allowed to carry them on the bus, métro and paratransit autos always, the transit company reported. All clients may also nonetheless be allowed to make use of the STM community with their pet in a cage or different closed container designed for that function; the present guidelines will nonetheless apply.

The métro pilot undertaking will enable STM to evaluate buyer and worker security; integrity and cleanliness of services and autos in addition to upkeep wants; affect on the standard of service offered to clients; and perceived transit expertise.

“We will properly assess the results of the pilot project, in a continuous manner, in order to make an informed decision on the implementation of such a measure in the metro network,” STM Board Chairman Éric Alan Caldwell mentioned.

“It is a big change for our teams and a first in the history of the Montréal métro, so we will do everything we can to create optimal conditions for this trial period,” added Nathalie Clément, Government Director of Bus and Métro Operations.

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