December 6, 2011

Amtrak unveils revamped Kansas station

Photo courtesy of Chuck Hatler, Amtrak.

Photo courtesy of Chuck Hatler, Amtrak.

Amtrak unveiled more than $1.5 million in improvements to its Lawrence, Kan., station, including a 500-foot passenger boarding platform and access to parking with designations compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Repairs to the platform canopy and new exterior lighting designed to both improve safety and blend with the former Santa Fe Railway (ATSF) station have also been installed.

The depot was built in 1955 and designed by Warren Corman and Warren Jones, both graduates of the University of Kansas. The exterior has changed little since then and the interior retains almost of all its original appointments, furniture and materials.

As was common with ATSF stations, neon signs at the platform canopies identified the name of the city. Amtrak restored those signs and installed an Amtrak sign in neon that echoes the previous “Santa Fe” neon sign atop the building.

Amtrak worked closely with the City of Lawrence on the historic elements of the building, along with the state’s historic preservation office, the Federal Railroad Administration and the station’s current owner, BNSF Railway Co., the successor to the ATSF.

Depot Redux, a local volunteer group, worked with Amtrak on improving services at the station, including providing volunteers and staging events at the building located near Lawrence’s downtown.

The Lawrence station is served daily by Amtrak Southwest Chief train operating between Chicago and Los Angeles, with 6,410 passengers using the station in the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2011.

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