Amtrak Wilmington Station completes phase one of improvements project
Improvements at Amtrak’s Wilmington train station are complete.
$11.6 million was spent on two new escalators and interior stairways, handrails, and automated doors among other ADA compliance improvements.
Amtrak MidAtlantic Project Manager Neil Yersak says this completes phase one of an overall improvements project in Wilmington. Phase two will include HVAC and water infiltration repairs, costing about $65 million.
“These are indicative of the change in our culture, shifting back to these means of public transportation, community transportation," Yersak says.
Senior Advisor to President Joe Biden and Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator Mitch Landrieu says $22 billion was invested in Amtrak in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. He notes railway travel is more climate-friendly than by car or plane.
“The president always says if trains are faster and better and cost-efficient, then people aren’t going to get in their cars and go to as many places," Landrieu says. "We pretty much run on a car economy but we have to build a new clean energy economy because climate is a huge problem.”
The Wilmington station was the 20th busiest on Amtrak’s network in fiscal year 2023, serving over 600,000 customers.
Landrieu says making stations more accessible and keeping them clean and efficient can help grow that number and make the rail system a key part of public transportation.
Amtrak has invested almost $800 million since 2011 in accessibility upgrades and improvement projects at 119 stations – 20 stations were brought into ADA compliance in fiscal year 2023, including Wilmington. Another 35 are expected to be brought into compliance in 2024.
Amtrak says they are on a path to provide 100% accessibility by 2029.