First day of service for Amtrak’s experimental platform in Ann Arbor

Amtrak and RLE International (an engineering firm) worked with the Michigan Department of Transportation to develop an innovative system for getting people easily onto trains. People needing wheels for their mobility have been a special concern, given that many trains’ floors are several feet above the level of the platform at most stations around the USA. With this system, gentle slopes lead up to a platform at the same height as the floor of train coaches. To allow freight trains to pass the platform safely, however, it must be a couple of feet from the train. This system bridges the gap with a sliding platform that can be remotely controlled by Amtrak iPhones, or deployed manually.

The first, experimental installation was built at the Ann Arbor, Michigan, Amtrak station. Dedicated on July 23, 2015 – the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act – the platform was not put into regular service until September 23, when it was used for train 353, Wolverine service Detroit/Pontiac to Chicago. The first full day of use, September 24, bagan with the station-stop shown in this video by train 351, also to Chicago.