Posts Tagged ‘St. Paul Minnesota’

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.

Super Bowl to Affect Amtrak’s St. Paul Station

January 30, 2018

Amtrak has advised that some restrictions are in place at its station in St. Paul, Minnesota, due to the Twin Cities hosting the 2018 Super Bowl.

Passengers going to and from the station are advised to allow extra time due to the added security surrounding the game and its festivities.

The game will be played on Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

On Thursday (Feb. 1) a private party is being held at St. Paul Union Depot and only ticketed passengers will be allowed inside.

Passengers will be escorted to a secure seating area and there will be an alternate boarding route.

For passengers who need assistance, Amtrak personnel will be available to escort them to their train. St. Paul is served by Amtrak’s Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder.

Eau Claire Support Rail Service — Again

March 31, 2017

The Eau Claire city council this week voted to support a proposal to establish passenger-rail service between the Wisconsin city and St. Paul, Minnesota.

The vote came after a presentation by the West Central Wisconsin Rail Coalition, which is supporting a private section plan to start the service.

It is the third vote by the council in support of passenger rail, but other resolutions went nowhere due to lack of funding.

Eau Claire has never had intercity rail passenger service during the Amtrak era.

Not Much Longer to Wait

February 13, 2017

north-coast-hiawatha-september-24-1979-06

It is a Monday night at Amtrak’s Midway Station in St. Paul, Minnesota. I waiting for the Chicago-bound North Star to arrive and in the meantime the Seattle-bound North Coast Hiawatha is in the station.

A conductor stands by a vestibule looking for boarding passengers. It is ritual that he won’t be performing much longer for this train. In less than two weeks, Nos. 17 and 18 are slated to be discontinued as part of a massive Amtrak route restructuring.

A court order will keep the North Coast Hiawatha running for a few more days, but it will eventually succumb and intercity rail passenger service on the former Northern Pacific route will end.

The Empire Builder will continue to operate between Chicago and Seattle, but the “North Coast Hi” will be history.

This image was scanned from a slide and made on Sept. 24, 1979.

Avalanches Halt Empire Builder Again

February 10, 2017

Shortly after it was reopened, the route of Amtrak’s Empire Builder was closed again.

BNSF said that avalanches in Glacier National park closed its Hi Line near Essex.

Amtrak Empire BuilderThe closure came less than 48 hours after the railroad had reopened the line following avalanches that blocks the tracks at Marias Pass.

Railroad officials said warmer temperatures were a factor in causing avalanches because they were creating layers of unstable snow.

Thursday’s westbound Empire Builder was held overnight at St. Paul Union Depot and passengers bound for points between St. Paul and Minot, North Dakota, were taken to their destination buy bus.

Passengers going beyond Minot were to remain on the train. Amtrak said those passengers will be given a refund and taken back to Chicago on Friday.

Two other sections of the Chicago-Seattle/Portland train were to spend the night Thursday in Montana. This includes an eastbound and a westbound section.

Landslides in Washington State resulted in the cancellation of Amtrak’s Cascades service between Seattle and Portland until Saturday.

Also canceled is the Seattle-Los Angeles Coast Starlight.

SPUD Planning Rail Festival

February 23, 2016

St. Paul Union Depot will celebrate its 90th anniversary with a festival on April 30 and May 1 that will be co-sponsored by Kalmbach Publishing, the publisher of Trains and Classic Trains magazines.

The event will include historic and modern railroad equipment, discussions and photo sessions, vendors, model railroads and live entertainment.

MinnesotaEvent organizers said the festival will highlight the history and future of passenger train travel, the historic and current role of freight railroads in the region, and the area’s changing transportation trends and needs.

It will showcase SPUD’s role in the revival and growth of St. Paul’s downtown and Ramsey County since the depot was restored and reopened in 2012. The other co-sponsor is the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority.

SPUD opened in 1926, but construction had begun in 1917 and was slowed by World War II.
Nine railroads and more than 200 trains served the station, which cost $15 million to build and features a neoclassical style.

Among the special exhibits slated to be on hand are Milwaukee Road steam locomotive No. 261, the Amtrak exhibit train, Soo Line FP7 No. 2500A, Great Northern SDP40 No. 325 and Northern Pacific Railway RPO/Baggage/Coach No. 1102.

Also hand will be vendors selling books, model trains, and railroad memorabilia.

Until it reopened, SPUD had no passenger trains after its last trains departed on April 30, 1971, on the eve of the coming of Amtrak.

Amtrak returned to SPUD in May 2014 after a $242 million restoration project.

The Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder calls at SPUD daily. SPUD also is served by light rail trains and intercity and metro buses.