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November 20, 2003 02:33 AM
Broken: Amtrak's Acela restroom locks
Taking a trip on Amtrak's Acela service (which, as a whole, was very nice), I saw several incidents where passengers opened unlocked restroom doors on other passengers who were using the facilities.
The lock/unlock sign in the restroom seems to indicate that moving the vertical handle to the left will lock the door. But pulling the lever to the left latches the door shut. It doesn't lock the door, which still can be opened from the outside.
The actual locking mechanism is the small, recessed switch below the handle. It shows a bit of red when in the locked position, green when unlocked. Unfortunately, given the position of the sign and the small size of the mechanism, it's easy to overlook it and think the door is locked when it actually is not.
Here are two photos taken from inside the restroom: the first photo taken from a standing position trying to approximate what a passenger would see; the second taken straight on. Both are a bit blurry since they were taken on a moving train.
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