Posts Tagged ‘SPUD’

SPUD Tops 1 Million Visitor Mark

October 8, 2019

St. Paul Union Depot has hosted more than a million visitors and seen the leasing of all its available commercial space, both firsts since the renovated station reopened in 2012.

The million visitors include Amtrak passengers, those riding the light rail system serving the station and shoppers and attendees of various events.

SPUD is served by Amtrak’s Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder.

Renovation of the station cost more than $240 million in federal, state, and county money.

Local government entities still provide about $6 million of SPUD’s $8.2 million annual budget.

The largest other revenue source is parking revenue at $1.3 million.

Among the events annually held at SPUD are an annual Christmas tree lighting and European Christmas market.

Thus far this year the depot has hosted 400 private events.

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.

Empire Builder Moves to St. Paul Union Depot

May 8, 2014

For the first time in its 43-year history, Amtrak trains began stopping this week at St. Paul Union Depot.

Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman cut a ceremonial ribbon on Wednesday to make the occasion. The first Amtrak train to stop at SPUD was the westbound Empire Builder.

“Today in our nation, we tear every institution down and they begin to disintegrate,” said Boardman in his remarks to the crowd. “When we lose it, that’s when we understand the essential nature of institutions, be it rail passenger service, the postal service, even our military branches. These are the things that make this country a leader in the world. We need to make the right decisions for rebuilding our infrastructure, and our positive attitude — not the negative model that we quickly grab as a nation today.

“The reality of the United States is we need to think about rebuilding these things in a positive way. This community [St. Paul] has reclaimed its imperatives through a learning of the essential loss that you had. Thank you for bringing Amtrak to the St. Paul Union Depot.”

Federal Railroad Administration Deputy Administrator Karen Hedlund and local officials were on hand to inspect the new depot platform.

Amtrak P42DC No. 186, sleeper Pacific Cape, and Amtrak business car No. 10000 were on display. Boardman told Trains magazine that Amtrak would support the operation of a second Chicago-St. Paul train.

He said that once the new passenger cars ordered by several states enter service that Amtrak would have equipment available for the proposed service. Amtrak’s Midway Station in St. Paul saw its final train Wednesday afternoon when the eastbound Empire Builder arrived at 12:37 p.m. and departed at 12:54 p.m., more than five hours late.

Midway Station opened on March 1, 1978, to replace the Great Northern Station in downtown Minneapolis. Amtrak will continue to use the tracks at Midway Station for switching cars on and off the Empire Builder.

Amtrak to Move to SPUD on May 7

April 4, 2014

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.

Empire Builder to SPUD Maybe in March

January 11, 2014

Amtrak’s Empire Builder could begin stopping at St. Paul Union Depot in March.

SPUD has recently been converted into a downtown transit hub.

In November, the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority signed a 20-year lease with Amtrak stipulating that service begin in the first quarter of 2014, but no more specific date was provided.

Amtrak will pay the Ramsey County $144,500 in 2014 to lease 3,800 feet inside the depot with that cost rising 3 percent every year over the lease.

Work was also done at SPID to link existing freight lines with the station. The $23 million project came out of a larger $234 million budget to renovate the 90-year-old depot.

The project was completed in December 2012 and SPUD is now a hub for busses and bikes. When the Central Corridor opens in summer 2014, light rail trains will stop at the depot.

Kevin Roggenbuck, a senior planner with the railroad authority said some track and signal work is still being done in advance of Amtrak’s move.

The current Twin Cities Amtrak station, located in the St. Paul Midway area, is expected to be demolished or sold once Amtrak moves out of it.