Private cars unwelcomed at Washington Union Station

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WASHINGTON — Private varnish will become a rare sight at Washington Union Station for the foreseeable future as concourse modernization work limits the switching and layover of private railcars in the Nation’s Capital. Amtrak has already denied several private car trips originating in Washington Union Station as soon as early May, citing recent changes in private car operating policies and to accommodate station construction and improvements.

“The concourse modernization project is impacting ability to accommodate private car access at the station,” Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods confirms with Trains News Wire.

Construction workers have started reconfiguring the concourse area to increase passenger capacity and provide passengers with new amenities and better access. The project, part of Washington Union Station’s 2nd century plan, is a long-term and comprehensive program designed to double train capacity and expand station facilities through several projects spanning the next 20 years.

Construction is underway and affecting several station platforms within the terminal, hindering the railroad’s ability to accommodate private car moves and layovers. Specifically, Amtrak has notified private car operators that private varnish may no longer be switched onto or off of almost all trains in Washington, D.C., and may not park in the terminal.

The construction and restrictions on private car operations within Union Station are expected to last for as long as two years.

For one nonprofit operator, the news has forced the cancellation of several upcoming excursions. The Washington, D.C. Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society recently notified passengers that three trips onboard the Dover Harbor had been cancelled and a stationary on-board venue at Washington Union Station was also annulled. All registered participants are being refunded, according to a notice published on the organization’s website.

When asked, Amtrak could not confirm the number of private car trips that have been affected by the Washington Union Station work.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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