In the next few months, MetroLink riders in Missouri will have a warmer experience taking the train.
Starting next week, a number of Missouri MetroLink platforms without heaters will have them installed. Shrewsbury, Clayton, North Hanley, Delmar Loop, Central West End, and Civic Center Stations were part of the first phase of heater installations. The following MetroLink stations will have heaters installed soon (in order):
3. Brentwood I-64
4. Richmond Heights
7. Rock Road
8. UMSL South
9. UMSL North
10. Union Station
12. Arch-Laclede Landing
Metro started rolling out MetroLink platform heaters in Missouri in February this year. (Those lucky enough to commute from Illinois have already been enjoying MetroLink platform heaters all winter long, since the last one was installed at the East Riverfront Station in 2009.)
These heaters are a delight to the cold commuter. Installed overhead inside a new windshelter canopy, the heaters are activated by a push-button switch that will light them up and keep you warm for fifteen minutes before automatically switching off (to save energy).
This project started with an evaluation of power. (Not that kind; this kind!) When MetroLink was built, we knew how much power each station needed to run your basic transit platform. The heaters add to the electric load, so in some cases equipment had to be updated to handle moving extra power from the poles to the station. We also had to worry about space in the conduits – some older stations were built with less extra conduit capacity; the newer ones (like Cross County stations) have lots of extra space (for now!). Finally, our electricians and contractors need to work around our customers – generally we think it’s a bad idea to be working on a MetroLink platform during peak use times, so our project schedule has to accommodate shorter work hours.
The heaters do make a transit commute in chillier weather more comfortable. So keep an eye out for heaters at a MetroLink station near you. As each heater is successfully installent, we will announce it on our Twitter and Facebook pages.