America's coolest train stations?

Discussion in 'Guest Forum for Amtrak Questions' started by Keith Langston, Jun 23, 2019.

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  1. Jun 24, 2019 #26

    v v

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    Maybe it's no longer called a station, in the UK we'd probably call it a 'halt'. Whatever, passenger trains stop there and the fact that Glacier National Park is all around makes for a stunning location for a station/halt, in particular during the winter.

    Sorry if I've miss-understood this.
     
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  2. Jun 24, 2019 #27

    Rasputin

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    No problem at all and it is very interesting to learn the difference. I assume the OP was looking for cool and interesting station buildings.
     
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  3. Jun 24, 2019 #28

    SarahZ

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    @dogbert617 - Ann Arbor built a new station in 1983, and it is every bit as glamorous as an early-‘80s bus station. ;)
     
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  4. Jun 24, 2019 #29

    ehbowen

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    Ah. I was just remembering the days when even a small town...such as my paternal grandmother's home of Minden, Louisiana...would have an actual bus station, downtown, staffed by a ticket agent and not just a convenience store at the exit of the Interstate with a harried clerk pulling double duty. That is, if the small town even still has active bus service at all...
     
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  5. Jun 24, 2019 #30

    FunNut

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    I don't think anyone has mentioned San Clemente Pier, which is just an open platform right ON the beach. This is the station I use when visiting my daughter in San Clements, it's truly unique and only 2 Pacific Surfliners per day stop there.

    The next station north is San Juan Capistrano and it's right in the heart of the town, walkable to the famous Mission, several restaurants (including a steakhouse inside a group of old rail cars), and lots of nearby historic houses. I don't think there is an inside waiting room, the station is outside.

    The classic stations are beautiful (D.C., Portland, Los Angeles, etc.) but the outdoor stations in SoCal are truly unique. You could do a separate story on outdoor train stations.
     
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  6. Jun 24, 2019 #31

    MARC Rider

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    The station is the 1889 station built by the B&O. It was renovated a few years ago, and there are some historical displays in the waiting room. It's unstaffed, and MARC trains also stop there. The National Park Service may have some role in managing the place, as it was closed up tight when I visited Harper's Ferry during the lat government shutdown.
     
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  7. Jun 25, 2019 #32

    Twin Star Rocket

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    Kirkwood MO has a fine ex-Missouri Pacific depot. Boise ID ranked up there high when it was served by the now discontinued PIONEER. It still stands.
    Grand Central is a name that could apply to more than one depot across the U.S. I know you--and most people--mean Grand Central Terminal in New York City.
     
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  8. Jun 25, 2019 #33

    SarahZ

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    Seconded!
     
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  9. Jun 25, 2019 #34

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    That sadly is, for sure! And from what I saw on that website someone did on Trainweb, that Amshacks are sadly still in use in a few other places too(i.e. Grand Forks, ND, *Buffalo-Depew, Hammond-Whiting, and I believe a few others). Normal, IL used to have an Amshack too, but when a new transportation center was built there, ticketing and the waiting room moved over to that new transportation center. Not sure what the Amshack in Normal, IL is used for today, but I see it still stands when I have taken train trips to Saint Louis.

    And back to Ann Arbor, did Amtrak use the original train depot there before and till 1983? Hopefully, they did.

    *- I have heard Buffalo had an original train station, that looked really beautiful when I saw some online pics of it. There's a volunteer group that is maintaining that former building, but it looks like money would be needed to fully restore that station. Would be interesting if Amtrak moved back into that older depot building, if it was ever fully restored. I'm someone more familiar with Buffalo, would specifically remember the name of that older train station. And of course, more info about that former BUF station.
     
  10. Jun 25, 2019 #35

    SarahZ

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    I'm not sure. I can't find anything with a basic Google search. I'd have to do more digging.

    The Gandy Dancer restaurant opened in 1969, and the new station was built in 1983. I'm not sure where passengers waited in the meantime.

    Speaking of stations-turned-restaurants, if you're ever in Battle Creek, stop into Clara's on the River. The building is the old Michigan Central station, built in 1888. Plus, they have incredible Key Lime Pie.
     
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  11. Jun 25, 2019 #36

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    I remember the station in Battle Creek(at least when I rode Wolverine years ago past there), didn't look anything too special. Good to see a restaurant relocated the old building, so that it wouldn't get demolished after it stopped serving passengers in the 1980s: https://www.claras.com/BChistory.shtml

    Also for older stations, have to say the original depot building in Fargo, ND(a late at night stop, unfortunately) looks nice, per google street view( https://goo.gl/maps/DA8TXesjLVSxKdWu9 , look on the right). Amtrak uses a building to the left, which I suspect(though have no idea, have never boarded/disembarked a train at this station) probably wouldn't have as much charm as the older building does, with its clock tower. The original depot building, now houses a bicycle business of some sort today. Finally per street view, Sandpoint, ID's station(per street view, and I see it's still in use), looks very nice as well(also a late at night stop, so unless the train was hours late, most passengers would never see this station in daylight): https://goo.gl/maps/rTfpYMFyuB9wGzLN7
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
  12. Jun 25, 2019 #37

    jimmrl

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    The one station you will not see on this list is the Houston station, what a dump.
     
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  13. Jun 25, 2019 #38

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  14. Jun 25, 2019 #39

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    The downtown Buffalo station was indeed undergoing refurbishment and was featured prominently in a New Year's Eve broadcast on a local TV station (can't remember if this year or last). The focus was more on the beauty of the building and the work being done - think it's to adjoin a modern office building, than the fact that trains ever did or will again stop there. Passenger traffic will also dictate how much is expended on Amtrak there. The suburban Depew station is quite busy, owing in part to its large (free) parking lot and proximity to the airport with hotels, etc. The stop at downtown Buffalo (on the Maple Leaf at least) is very brief, with few passengers boarding or disembarking.
     
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  15. Jun 26, 2019 #40

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    Not surprised probably more use the Depew station, vs. downtown. Though you'd think there would be a little more, at least when it comes to the fact it's near a few neighborhoods and U. of Buffalo. And now that I think about it, doesn't Empire Service trains(to Niagara Falls, NY) also stop at the downtown Buffalo stop?
     
  16. Jun 26, 2019 #41

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    Yes, in addition to the Maple Leaf, 2 ES trains a day each way. We park at Depew for all the reasons mentioned - you'll see Ontario plates there all the time, plus the Maple Leaf really doesn't connect to anything. We often do a plane-train combo as well, e.g. fly to Chicago, Cardinal to NY, Empire Service back to BUF. Depew is 5 minutes from the BUF airport, which markets itself as the "Toronto Alternative". If you've experienced YYZ you'll understand.
     
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  17. Jul 2, 2019 #42
    I know... I have actually taken the Amtrak to Ann Arbor numerous times! It's gross haha
     
  18. Jul 3, 2019 #43

    MikefromCrete

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    So, have we covered just about every Amtrak station (and some non-Amtrak stations) in the country? It will take the original poster several years to analyze all the suggestions. Almost every place, except Houston, I guess.
     
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  19. Jul 3, 2019 #44

    zephyr17

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    In common North American usage, any place that a passenger train stops for passengers is a "station". We don't use the term "halt".

    In North American narrow technical rail usage, any named point in the employee timetable on the railroad is a "station". Most "stations" in that usage don't have buildings or passenger trains stopping at them. The building is a "depot".
     
  20. Jul 3, 2019 #45

    Dakota 400

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    Maybe it's time for a thread titled "America's uncool train stations/depots?

    If so, may I nominate Cumberland, Maryland's depot as a prime candidate for that title?
     
  21. Jul 3, 2019 #46

    zephyr17

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    Okay, I'll bite. My nominee uncool station:

    Benson, AZ
    http://www.trainweb.org/usarail/benson02.jpg

    Used to be the Beaumont, TX slab would have been the hands down winner, but they built a nice depot looking shelter there.
     
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  22. Jul 3, 2019 #47

    zephyr17

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    Buffalo Central Terminal.
     
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  23. Jul 3, 2019 #48

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    That's a helpful description, thank you.

    So, even if where a train stops regularly is just a piece of dirt would that be termed a station as I think I saw something like that in Montana. There was somewhere to park a few cars next to the track but didn't see any form of building, maybe I missed it but don't think so.

    The discussion was about Essex MT which has a regular platform but not much else, in the UK we'd call that a station or a halt depending possibly? on the amount of usage
     
  24. Jul 4, 2019 #49

    Rasputin

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    I believe that in many parts of the U.S. and Canada, "depot" is not commonly used and "station" is the more common term used to describe the building where passengers can wait for the train.
     
  25. Jul 4, 2019 #50

    zephyr17

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    I agree, which I why I said station is common North American usage. I also said use of station as a named railroad location and depot as building was narrow and technical.
     
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