A three-year project to improve pedestrian access and parking at the Mount Joy Amtrak station got underway Wednesday.
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Leslie S. Richards hosted a groundbreaking event at the station to talk about the $25 million project, which will replace low-level platforms with covered, elevated ones that will make boarding trains easier.
The work builds on an earlier phase, completed in 2012, which added streetscaping, 69 parking spaces and a covered walkway between the parking lot and station.
Under the second phase, new platforms will be complemented by elevators, enclosed stair towers, and a pedestrian overpass between the east and westbound platforms.
The new station will meet the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act, PennDOT officials said.
“As it is now, the station consists of two small shelters on two paved low-level platforms situated in a deep trench, which is simply not accessible for some people,” Richards said.
Crews also will add more parking and stabilize a slope on the property.
More than 50,000 riders a year use the Mount Joy station. It is located on Amtrak’s Keystone Corridor, which links Harrisburg with Philadelphia and New York.
“These improvements will further enhance the center of Mount Joy and help boost the borough’s ongoing revitalization plans,” Richards said. “Transit plays a crucial role in building communities, and we have seen the results from more than a decade of upgrades to the Keystone Corridor.”
Ridership on the corridor has climbed to roughly 1.4 million a year. PennDOT has worked with Amtrak and the Federal Transit Administration to make more than $400,000 million in improvements to the corridor since 2000, cutting travel time between Harrisburg and Philadelphia to just over 90 minutes, with speeds of up to 110 mph.
Station improvements were also done at Elizabethtown and Lancaster and plans are underway for a new station at Middletown and improvements to the Coatesville station.
“Amtrak values its partnership with PennDOT and we look forward to working together to provide an upgraded station which will be accessible to all customers,” said Caroline Decker, Amtrak’s vice president of government affairs. “PennDOT’s leadership in improving the Keystone Corridor has contributed to a growth in ridership and demonstrated the value of intercity passenger rail service to the residents of the commonwealth.”