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Platform Length Delaying Amtrak in FM

The hurdle that Fort Madison must clear to bring passenger rail service to Riverview Park is getting shorter.

The city has renovated and elevated the former Santa Fe Depot, but Amtrak cannot move its operations there until a platform is built.

The city’s original plan called for a 500’ long platform.

Amtrak Spokesman Derrick James says that is not long enough to meet federal standards.

He says a platform must be as long as a passenger train (roughly 1,200’) so people can access all doors.

James says the final decision on the length will be made by the Federal Railroad Administration and Burlington Northern/Santa Fe.

He says negotiations between all parties have reduced the possible length of the platform to about 950’, which he thinks would be the shortest it could go.

City Manager Byron Smith says Fort Madison is reviewing the budget for the project to see if there is any extra money available to build a longer platform.

He says if there is not enough money, a new revenue source will have to be identified.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.