New Amtrak Stations Shine
In 2016, Amtrak worked with communities, state departments of transportation and freight railroads to build or renovate more than a half dozen stations across the country. We shared a few of our favorites earlier this year, now check out some of the latest improvements to stations near you.
Niagara Falls, New York
In December, a brand new train station was opened along Depot Avenue West in this city noted for its famous falls. The approximately $43 million, 46,000-square foot building is visually divided into three components: an historic federal customs house containing a U.S. Customs and Border Protection unit and the future Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center; an orange brick structure housing the Amtrak waiting room and concession spaces; and a two-story lobby and sweeping staircase. A soaring clock tower on the eastern end of the property creates a landmark visible up and down Main Street.
Just before Thanksgiving, this community about 80 miles south of St. Louis became the newest stop in the Amtrak national network. The greater Arcadia Valley – noted for its charming small towns, historic sites and wilderness areas – had not seen regular passenger rail service since it was discontinued in 1968, prior to the creation of Amtrak.
Our Town Tomorrow, a local non-profit focused on community revitalization, led the six-year advocacy and planning effort for the new stop. Customers primarily use a new concrete platform next to the historic 1941 depot that now houses the chamber of commerce and historical society. Three days before service officially began on Nov. 20, 2016, the community gathered for a day-long celebration that ended in a glittering fireworks display as the southbound Texas Eagle made a ceremonial stop.
Dwight is a stop for Lincoln Service trains serving the busy Chicago-St. Louis corridor, where the Illinois DOT and Federal Railroad Administration are coordinating a multi-year project to upgrade the tracks for 110 mph service.
As the building moves towards the railroad, it widens, and the dramatically angled roof rises to its highest point. Walls of glass provide views out toward the tracks and create a bright and airy waiting room. The depot includes accessible restrooms and complimentary Wi-Fi.
About a block to the northeast of the new station stands the old 1892 depot, home to the Dwight Historical Society, and just across the street is an early bank designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
East Lansing, Michigan
Located on the western edge of Michigan State University (MSU), the new Capital Area Multi Modal Gateway conveniently brings together Amtrak Blue Water trains, financed through funds made available by the Michigan DOT; intercity and Capital Area Transportation Authority buses; and bike-sharing. Glass panels are arranged in an interesting pattern that also allows natural light to flood the station interior.
Whether grand and historic, or small, but important, Amtrak stations play a vital role to the communities they serve. Check out Great American Stations to learn more about these and other local stations.