Broken transportation center elevator to be fixed in October

Equipment originally broke in July

The trackside elevator for the 10th Avenue pedestrian bridge that links the downtown Altoona Transportation Center with the Amtrak platform has been out of order since late July and won’t be fixed until October, according to an Amtrak spokeswoman.

The elevator is out of service because of a seal that requires a replacement part that needs to be manufactured, said Beth Toll, public relations manager for the passenger rail corporation.

Amtrak has been “informing our customers to make alternate plans, if they require elevator service to (or from) the platform,” Toll stated in an email.

Amtrak is “pushing the manufacturer to expedite the production of this part, so the repair can be made,” she added.

Gallitzin native Mary Rubino of Philadelphia encountered the problem recently when she arrived in Altoona for a visit to her old hometown and a fellow passenger told her she’d need to use the steps to reach the bridge.

“I thought she was joking,” Rubino said.

The other passenger offered to carry Rubino’s bags up the steps, but Rubino declined.

When she returned to the station for the trip back to Philadelphia, and found the elevator still broken.

Rubino then spoke with the stationmaster, who told her that, because of the need to manufacture a part, the repairs could take a while — and that one alternative would for travelers like her to leave or disembark at Tyrone or Johnstown.

“I said, ‘Cut the nonsense,'” Rubino recalled.

She has no intention of asking friends from Gallitzin to travel so far to pick her up, she said.

She is able to lug her suitcase up and down the steps, but others are not, she said.

Amtrak leases the station, including the elevator, from the

Altoona Redevelopment Authority, Toll said.

“We are focused on getting this elevator back in service,” she wrote. “We apologize for any inconvenience.”

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.