Digest: Amtrak will pay $2.25 million, fix stations to settle ADA discrimination claims

News Wire Digest second section for Dec. 3: NS lays off workers at Bellevue, Ohio, yard; Springfield, Ill., buys homes affected by rail relocation project
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Tuesday morning rail news:

Amtrak to pay $2.25 million, repair stations to meet ADA standards

Amtrak will pay $2.25 million to settle claims it discriminated against disabled passengers by failing to accommodate those passengers at its stations. The Washington Post reports the passenger railroad will also fix dozens of stations over the next decade to accommodate people in wheelchairs or with limited mobility, under the terms of a settlement announced Wednesday. This follows a U.S. Justice Department investigation into claims dating from 2011, 2012, and 2013 that some stations violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. Amtrak had 20 years after the law took effect in 1990 to meet its requirements. The railroad said it will complete improvements at 90 stations within the next decade and begin work at another 45.

Norfolk Southern lays off workers at Bellevue, Ohio, yard
Norfolk Southern has reportedly laid off dozens of workers at its Bellevue, Ohio, yard. The Sandusky Register reports that Bellevue’s economic development director reports 22 electricians, 27 machinists, and 22 laborers were let go. The railroad did not confirm the numbers but spokesman Jeff DeGraff told the newspaper it continues to “changes to our operations as a result of evolving market demands, the recovering economy and our pursuit of efficiency gains and customer service. These changes include how our facilities operate and their staffing levels.” NS shut down the hump at Bellevue, which had been the east’s largest classification yard, earlier this year [see “NS confirms idling of hump at Bellevue yard,” Trains News Wire, June 17, 2020].

Springfield homes affected by rail project are purchased by city
Two Springfield, Ill., homeowners who said construction of a rail line relocation project had taken a toll on the value of their homes and their quality of life are having their homes purchased by the city of Springfield. The State Journal-Register reports Brandi Tolley’s Sixth Street home was purchased for $103,500 plus $8,000 in moving expenses; Neil Davis’ home on Fifth Street was purchased for $88,000 plus $5,000 in moving expenses. The homes were close enough to the project to suffer from the effects of the Springfield Rail Improvements Project, but not close enough to qualify to be bought under Federal Railroad Administration guidelines. The owners began attending city council meetings this summer, bringing attention to their plight [see “Digest: Amtrak Talgo trainsets moved to Beech Grove …,” Trains News Wire, Aug. 24, 2020].

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