Amtrak to Move to SPUD on May 7

After numerous delays and false starts, Amtrak has announced a firm date for when it will begin using St. Paul Union Depot in Minnesota.

The Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder will begin stopping at SPUD on May 7.

Nos. 7, 27, and 807, are scheduled to arrive at SPUD at 10:03 p.m. and depart at 10:10 p.m. Nos. Nos. 8, 28, and 808, are scheduled to arrive at 7:52 a.m. and depart at 8 a.m. The first eastbound train will arrive at SPUD on May 8

These are slightly different times than the Empire Builder has at Midway station, which will still be used by Amtrak to add coaches and/or private cars.

The Empire Builder currently passes SPUD each day on its way to and from Midway Station, which opened in 1978. Amtrak passengers in St. Paul will use the Kellogg Entry, a new entryway that will have a ticket counter and baggage services. The Empire Builder will use Gate C on the southernmost end of the depot large waiting room. SPUD presently serves as a terminal for Jefferson Lines, Megabus, Metro Transit, and Minnesota Valley Transportation Authority bus services. On June 14, Metro Transit’s Green Light Rail Line will open with a stop in front of the station. The Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority and Amtrak will celebrate the arrival of Amtrak with a free event on May 10, National Train Day. The event will include exhibits on-site and in the nearby railfan park area, which has a view of the wye east of the depot.

A schedule of events will be announced in the coming weeks at www.uniondepot.org and through social media. Burlington Northern train No. 9, the Afternoon Zephyr from Chicago to Minneapolis, was the last passenger train to use SPUD on the evening of April 30, 1971, the day before Amtrak took over the majority of U.S. passenger rail service.

After the trains left, the Union Depot tracks were removed and train sheds torn down, but the head house of the building was renovated for use as offices, restaurants and condominiums. The massive rear concourse and waiting room was purchased by the U.S. Postal Service and used for storage, while the area below the concourse was paved and used as a staging area for trucks serving the neighboring post office.

The concourse went unseen by the public from 1971 to 2012, except when it was used for an exhibition of artifacts from the Titanic in 1999.

SPUD reopened as a multi-modal transportation hub on Dec. 8, 2012 following a $243 million restoration.

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