New policies on bathrooms ahead of Springfield-Hartford rail launch

(Western Mass News photo)

Train service connecting western Massachusetts to Connecticut is set to launch.

However, we are now learning that about half of the trains along the line will keep their bathrooms under lock and key after an ADA complaint was filed.

The launch of the new rail line is just days away, but the bathrooms won't be open for some time.

The CT-Rail is offering service expanded service between Springfield and New Haven, but the new line has one thing that is in need of updating: the bathrooms. "Certainly something like a bathroom can be easily overcome, but people should have some foresight with these issues," said Shane Brooks with CHD. The bathrooms aboard half of the trains on the line are not handicapped accessible.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation is leasing those cars from Massachusetts, which decommissioned them in 2013.

CTDOT said that they had plans in the works to upgrade the facilities, so they are ADA compliant, but that would take time.

The Federal Railroad Association - or FRA - initially approved the use of the bathrooms while they made the upgrades, but that decision was reversed. "There are already so many barriers that are seen and unseen when it comes to folks with mobility and other disabilities that we should be in-tune with breaking as many down as possible," Brooks added. The FRA told Western Mass News: "The FRA must enforce the law. CTDOT has been a good partner and we look forward to continuing to work together in ensuring full compliance with DOT ADA regulations." The Connecticut Department of Transportation added: "While we hope that the FRA will reconsider its position over the next several months, CTDOT is thrilled to launch Connecticut's first new passenger train service in 20 years,"

"We should be being proactive in ways to address and encourage compliance in all facets of living," Brooks said.

So for now, bathroom service will be limited for passengers riding the CT-Rail line. but we're told the bathrooms are set to be updated by 2019.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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