Posts Tagged ‘railroad stations’

Gulf Coast Corridor Station Funding Being Offered

February 2, 2021

Funding is available through the Southern Rail Commission for rail passenger stations in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama along the Gulf Coast High Speed Rail corridor.

SRC said it has access to $724,385 in federal funds earmarked to develop the Gulf Coast corridor.

Eligible projects include station and station area planning, design and construction, and multimodal station connections, including upgrades for disabled riders.

Applicant cities must describe the needs and improvements of their rail station.

An application also must describe how the proposed work would ensure safe access and better connectivity to and from the station, improve convenience for riders, develop new facilities and help spur the economic opportunity of station redevelopment.

The application deadline is 5 p.m. CST, March 5. A  pre-proposal conference call is scheduled for 2 p.m. CST, on Feb. 5. Feb. 5. To join the call, dial 425.436.6200 and use the passcode 100535.

More information is available at

Amtrak Service Expansion Threatens Historic Depot

February 2, 2021

An Amtrak service expansion may result in the demolition of an historic railroad station in Vermont.

The station, which was built in the 1850s is located in New Haven, Vermont, and said to be too close to tracks that Amtrak would use to expand service to Burlington.

The station is owned by the Vermont Agency of Transportation.

Officials say the station posts a safety risk because of its proximity to the tracks.

The station is currently occupied by a construction company that has been told to vacate the building by June.

Moving the depot is seen as a long shot option because of its cost and the need to have it moved by fall.

However, an effort is apparently underway to raise money to save and move the station, which was constructed by the Rutland & Burlington Railroad.

The depot is believed to have been built between 1852 and 1853 although there is no evidence available to indicate the date of construction.

Hoosiers Waiting for the Hoosier State

October 28, 2019

It’s a Friday morning in Lafayette, Indiana, and a crowd is gathering on the platform for the Chicago-bound Hoosier State to arrive.

The train is on time and will be in the station shortly.

It is a ritual that won’t be playing out much longer for today is the penultimate run of the northbound Hoosier State.

After Train No. 851 departs on Sunday morning the only Amtrak service in Lafayette will be the tri-weekly Cardinal.

No Time to Waste at Pesotum

July 26, 2019

A tardy southbound Saluki races past the former Illinois Central Railroad depot in Pesotum late on a Tuesday morning.

No. 391 had earlier met its northbound counterpart at Rantoul, where the southbound train was 24 minutes behind schedule.

It lost another 14 minutes between Rantoul and Champaign and by the time it reached DuQuoin it was 1 hour, 8 minutes down.

But through the “miracle” of recovery time, a.k.a. schedule padding, No. 391 pulled into Carbondale a mere 32 minutes late.

No passenger train has been scheduled to stop at the depot in Pesotum for several decades.

The Rio Grande Zephyr is Now Boarding

February 6, 2019

It’s early Sunday morning in Salt Lake City and the Denver-bound Rio Grande Zephyr is ready for boarding. The date is July 29, 1979.

I will ride the train all the way to Denver, enjoying the sights of the Rocky Mountains from one of the dome cars on the train.

Nos. 17 and 18 enjoyed one of America’s most scenic routes and Amtrak would have loved to have served it when it began operations in May 1971.

But the Denver & Rio Grande Western elected not to join Amtrak in 1971 so the remnant of the fabled California Zephyr continued to roll on.

Rising losses prompted the D&RGW to allow Amtrak to use its tracks between Denver and Salt Lake City and the Rio Grande Zephyr ended in February 1983.

Most of the RGZ’s route today is traversed by Amtrak’s California Zephyr.

Good Morning, Fargo

May 21, 2018

It was still dark outside as I awakened in my Superliner roomette aboard Amtrak’s westbound Empire Builder.

The train had stopped and I pulled back the curtains to see where we were.

The sun was just starting to climb over the horizon as No. 7 paused at the former Great Northern passenger station in Fargo, North Dakota.

From what I could tell the depot is now in part a bicycle shop.

The dawn of a new day also brought a certain amount of anticipation. By the time the sun set we would be in the Rocky Mountains in Montana.

It sort of worked out that way. Because we were running behind schedule, we didn’t make it into the Rockies until after dark.

Most of the day would be spent in Big Sky country, which in its own way is dramatic enough.

But for the next few hours I would be witnessing the North Dakota countryside.

Down the Steps to the Waiting Room

February 11, 2017


The Amtrak station in Mattoon, Illinois, has below-ground boarding, a result of an early 20th century project to lower the Illinois Central Railroad tracks through town.

The station used by Amtrak today was built at the same time that the IC tracks were lowered. The depot is now owned by the city, which paid to restore it several years ago.

Countless thousands of people have walked these stairs going to or from their train. They came from all walks of life and were traveling for every reason you can imagine.

One of them was a young man who with his new wife arrived by train in a trip to see her grandmother in a retirement home in nearby Sullivan.

As he ascended these steps he might have been thinking about the idea he’d just had during the journey about how to flesh out a song he had started writing years earlier.

His name was Steve Goodman and the song was City of New Orleans. We know what happened within a couple years after he climbed these stairs.

In Position as Required by Rule

December 17, 2016


The rear brakeman of Amtrak No. 4 stands watch in Lamy, New Mexico, on Nov. 1, 1981.

Amtrak’s eastbound Southwest Limited is making its station stop in Lamy, New Mexico, and the Santa Fe rear brakeman watches the boarding process from toward the rear of the train.

The two Superliner sleepers assigned to No. 4 today are on the rear end. I got to talking with this crew member during my journey, which began the night before in Los Angeles and would end early the next morning in Kansas City. Before he went off duty, he handed me the train bulletin for that day.

I made this image from the vestibule of the sleeper in which I had a room.

SPUD Tail Track Extended

December 1, 2016

The Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority has extended the tail track at the St. Paul Union Depot in Minnesota.

MinnesotaThe project lengthened the track by 251 feet to 1,302 feet. Although the station is used by Amtrak’s Empire Builder, a primary beneficiary will be the North Pole Express trains that use the depot.

The extended tail track will also provide more track storage space, giving the station greater flexibility to accommodate special and scheduled train service.

Officials also said the project will improve flood protection because an embankment holding the new track is designed to protect the station from 500-year floods.

Although there are no plans to do so, the tail track can be extended further to connect with an adjacent BNSF route.

The Trip Begins at the Station Front Door

November 4, 2016


Every trip on Amtrak begins at the front door of a station. In rural area and small towns, that front door isn’t much and might not be much of a door at all if the “station” is nothing more than a bus shelter facility.

But in Chicago, Amtrak comes and goes from the ever grand Chicago Union Station. The grandeur of the depot begins with its entrances, of which there are many.

Many passengers, Amtrak and Metra alike, enter Union Station through the Adams Street entrance. If you are here in late afternoon there will be  steady stream of commuters heading for their train  home.

But no matter the time of day, there is always at least a small crowd of people milling about this entrance during the day.