Worst Amtrak Station?

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Anderson

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So, Balto-Penn used to be really bad upstairs. I think there are a few other stations that have been in pretty bad shape (though some were largely due to pure age...Osceola, IA was "quaint" but it was a 100+-year-old wooden structure that sometimes felt like it would have blown over in a stiff breeze). But Texarkana is probably on a short list of "worst-condition stations" if you exclude things like deteriorated platform ends and the like.
 

Qapla

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Since the Texarkana station straddles the state line - who owns the station? Amtrak? Texas? Arkansas?

The Arkansas-Texas border bisects the structure; the eastern part, including the waiting room and ticket office, are in Texarkana, Arkansas, but the western part is in Texarkana, Texas, meaning stopped trains span both states. The station was built in 1928 and was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
The present structure replaced an earlier Texarkana station on the same site, and was opened for business on April 17, 1930
Owned by Jeff Sandefur
It may not be up to Amtrak to be able to do the much needed repairs, maintenance and cleaning.
 

Cal

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I was there recently and was very surprised to see that as the train station.
 

Ziv

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I was thinking that Deming’s Amshack without a paved platform was bad, maybe the worst.
Wrong! Texarkana is an embarrassment. Heck, one person with a push broom could make a slight but noticeable improvement in 30 minutes by sweeping and then moving debris. Making it fit for use would take a lot more, of course.
 

zephyr17

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Looks great next to the station that was literally falling down at Sanderson, TX (since torn down), or Beaumont's infamous slab, now replaced by a nice, though unstaffed, shelter .

While it is a decrepit, poorly maintained old station that was designed for much more service than 1 train a day, it is staffed and maintains stations services. That makes it one of the better stations in my book.

As a matter of perspective, I have been riding Amtrak literally since its inception on May 1st 1971. Throughout the 1970s, decaying edifices such as Texarkana were common. KC was one, Detroid MC was another. St. Louis Uniion before they moved to the trailers was another. Decaying stations were the rule, not the exception. Amtrak's physical stations are generally much better now, many of the old ones still in use have been gloriously restored.

I'd rather see a staffed, though decaying, Texarkana than a grade crossing in Deming.
 

MARC Rider

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So, Balto-Penn used to be really bad upstairs.
How long ago was that? Even back in the 1960s and 1970s when I was a kid, I don't remember the Baltimore station being that bad, and after the station was restored in 1984, it was actually pretty nice.
 

zephyr17

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Looks like the set of a post-apocalyptic SciFi movie. But the lone plastic chair situated on the platform helped. ;)
You never saw Detroit's Michigan Central station shortly before Amtrak stopped using it. Texarkana is a gleaming showpiece next to that.

There first big hall after entering from the street was unlit, huge, dark, decaying vaults. You walked down a passage between two plywood walls with lights on them with the huge dark cavern surrounding you. When you got the next area, there were was plaster falling, lighting was adequate but dim. Huge dim space with a few passengers wandering around. The passage to the platforms reeked, and I mean reeked, of urine.

It was by far the creepiest place I have been in. I think it was closed less than a year after I was there.
 

Bob Dylan

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Looks great next to the station that was literally falling down at Sanderson, TX (since torn down), or Beaumont's infamous slab, now replaced by a nice, though unstaffed, shelter .

While it is a decrepit, poorly maintained old station that was designed for much more service than 1 train a day, it is staffed and maintains stations services. That makes it one of the better stations in my book.

As a matter of perspective, I have been riding Amtrak literally since its inception on May 1st 1971. Throughout the 1970s, decaying edifices such as Texarkana were common. KC was one, Detroid MC was another. St. Louis Uniion before they moved to the trailers was another. Decaying stations were the rule, not the exception. Amtrak's physical stations are generally much better now, many of the old ones still in use have been gloriously restored.

I'd rather see a staffed, though decaying, Texarkana than a grade crossing in Deming.
Ths once Grand Buffalo Central Terminal is the one that comes to mind when discussing decaying, poorly maintained Stations.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Looks great next to the station that was literally falling down at Sanderson, TX (since torn down), or Beaumont's infamous slab, now replaced by a nice, though unstaffed, shelter .
All indications are that Sanderson does not need or want Amtrak service but the fact that it exists anyway is kind of amusing to me. My guess is that the motivation is to provide UP a window for freight to pass by Amtrak.
 
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zephyr17

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Often with Amtrak facilities banished to a small room at the rear.
Unfortunately, with one, two, or three trains a day instead of like 60, they don't need any more than that. If they had the whole space of, say, KC Union Station, which they did at one point, they couldn't afford to maintain it or even heat it. The grand old stations with service far less than they were designed for are better off as multi-use buildings or museums, with Amtrak leasing space, so that they can be maintained in some semblance of their former glory.

You prefer the station in the parking garage that Amtrak had for many years in KC to being in a corner of the magnificently restored Union Station? Or maybe the plastic bubble squatting in a rotting hulk they had the last years before the parking garage?

Or being expelled entirely as in San Antonio or St. Louis?
 
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Speaking of buses, who remembers when the chartered Greyhound that shuttled passenger's between the Cheyenne station and the train stop at Borie, Wy. was the station? For quite a while. The station agent even rode the bus to handle the checked baggage.
One advantage...they did not have to make double stops on a long train...the bus took passengers to their assigned cars once the train was stopped.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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Unfortunately, with one, two, or three trains a day instead of like 60, they don't need any more than that. If they had the whole space of, say, KC Union Station, which they did at one point, they couldn't afford to maintain it or even heat it. The grand old stations with service far less than they were designed for are better off as multi-use buildings or museums, with Amtrak leasing space, so that they can be maintained in some semblance of their former glory.

You prefer the station in the parking garage that Amtrak had for many years in KC to being in a corner of the magnificently restored Union Station? Or maybe the plastic bubble squatting in a rotting hulk they had the last years before the parking garage?

Or being expelled entirely as in San Antonio or St. Louis?
There's also a big difference between having a section of the original station and being relegated to the basement or a nearby building. In Kansas City, the Amtrak area is still in the original station and is accessed by walking through the main hall. Meanwhile, there are other stations such as Pittsburgh and Indianapolis where the original main station building is now used entirely for other purposes.
 
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Speaking of buses, who remembers when the chartered Greyhound that shuttled passenger's between the Cheyenne station and the train stop at Borie, Wy. was the station? For quite a while. The station agent even rode the bus to handle the checked baggage.
One advantage...they did not have to make double stops on a long train...the bus took passengers to their assigned cars once the train was stopped.
Fun fact...the concrete pad on which that station in Borie once stood is still there. Its a decent place to park your car and watch/photograph Union Pacific trains as long as the weather isn't too crazy. Right across the street is a shooting range, so while you're not watching trains you get to hear plink..plink..plink.
 

zephyr17

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There's also a big difference between having a section of the original station and being relegated to the basement or a nearby building. In Kansas City, the Amtrak area is still in the original station and is accessed by walking through the main hall. Meanwhile, there are other stations such as Pittsburgh and Indianapolis where the original main station building is now used entirely for other purposes.
Agree wholeheartedly. The Indy station is a disgrace, it's in the part of the old REA space across the street (Illinois Ave) and on the other side of the viaduct from the Union Station head house. The ironic thing is they're using some of the station's original platforms, and access could probably be re-established from the Union Station side.

Using just the tracks and platforms and no part of the station qualifies as "expelled entirely" in my book, so Indy and San Antonio are in the same boat, uses the platform, but in a different and inadequate building. San Antonio's is too small and Indy's is just rank.

I am just happy they let Amtrak back in to KC Union Station after the restoration and didn't make them stay in the parking garage.😉
 
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Bob Dylan

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IT is
The station I've been least impressed with is the one in Oklahoma City. Broken windows, some boarded up, some not. A rather dismal place to wait to board a train.
It definitely needs some work, could be a nice little Station!
 
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Cal

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I haven't been to the Oklahoma station in a few years now. All times I was there I didn't hang around for more than 5 minutes.
 

FrensicPic

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A lot of stations aren't even owned by Amtrak. "Leasing" space and putting up signage.
 
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