Worst Amtrak Station?

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tim49424

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Worst station? Tomah, Wisconsin, by far. It's an old freight depot, I believe, and they've only used part of it for the Amtrak passengers. That part would consist of a very drab waiting area with a handful of seats and two bathrooms. During the summer, the weather there can get into the 90s and there is no air circulation inside and there are many flies. Outdoors, there is a bench to sit on, but it's not much better, unless you have a pretty constant breeze, otherwise you have to deal with mosquitoes. If you have any lengthy wait and are sitting on that bench, the occasional freight train will create a nice diesel smelling breeze for you. They've made slight improvements to the station, to comply with ADA regulations but nothing more. It's a pit of a station that I used to call my boarding station as I used to live 90 minutes north of there. I've been back there once since I moved back to Michigan in 2014 and just my luck, the Empire Builder was running five hours behind and it was a sunny day, no clouds in the sky and the heat index was in the upper 90s.
 

Cal

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Worst station? Tomah, Wisconsin, by far. It's an old freight depot, I believe, and they've only used part of it for the Amtrak passengers. That part would consist of a very drab waiting area with a handful of seats and two bathrooms. During the summer, the weather there can get into the 90s and there is no air circulation inside and there are many flies. Outdoors, there is a bench to sit on, but it's not much better, unless you have a pretty constant breeze, otherwise you have to deal with mosquitoes. If you have any lengthy wait and are sitting on that bench, the occasional freight train will create a nice diesel smelling breeze for you. They've made slight improvements to the station, to comply with ADA regulations but nothing more. It's a pit of a station that I used to call my boarding station as I used to live 90 minutes north of there. I've been back there once since I moved back to Michigan in 2014 and just my luck, the Empire Builder was running five hours behind and it was a sunny day, no clouds in the sky and the heat index was in the upper 90s.
Would you rather have a poor station building or no station building?
 

tim49424

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Worst by far? Worse even than a grade crossing in the New Mexico desert with no platform, and just a sign? Welcome to Lordsburg, New Mexico.

Sounds bad, yes. Worst by far? Nope.
What you’re describing isn’t a station. It’s a station stop without a building.
 
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tim49424

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Would you rather have a poor station building or no station building?
In this case none. I just am grateful to have my bland home station in Holland, which actually has ample room for passengers indoors and out, vending machine, full bathrooms and easy boarding. I’ll never take that place for granted, that’s for sure, especially having had to board in Tomah. When I used to live in Wisconsin and board there, most of the time I’d sit in my car rather than in the station. The last time I was there, I actually was visiting and didn’t have that choice.
 
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zephyr17

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What you’re describing isn’t a station.
It is a station stop. Therefore it is a station. It has exactly the same services as Tomah, zero. No agent, no ticketing, no baggage. The only service is Amtrak trains stop and open their doors. I'd be hard pressed to call one a "station" and the other not.

PS, by strict definition a "station" is a defined point on a railroad. It isn't a building. Both Lordsburg and Tomah are defined points where Amtrak trains stop to board and detrain passengers, and therefore are "stations". Again, by strict definition, if there is a building at a station, is a "depot".
 

tim49424

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It is a station stop. Therefore it is a station. It has exactly the same services as Tomah, zero. No agent, no ticketing, no baggage. The only service is Amtrak trains stop and open their doors. I'd be hard pressed to call one a "station" and the other not.

PS, by strict definition a "station" is a defined point on a railroad. It isn't a building. Both Lordsburg and Tomah are defined points where Amtrak trains stop to board and detrain passengers, and therefore are "stations". Again, by strict definition, if there is a building at a station, is a "depot".
I’ve never been to Lourdsburg so I don’t have any way of debating this, nor do I really care to, but I’ve been at Tomah station dozens of times and can say how deeply miserable an experience it can be if the train is running behind. I’m so glad I don’t have to do that again. If I return to Central Wisconsin via Amtrak I’ll book for Wisconsin Dells.

There was a plan, back when the stimulus package was passed back around ten or so years ago, to build a new station in a mini mall across the tracks. Walgreens had already signed on to the project and then the governor decided to decline the money. I should have learned that if something is too good to be true, it likely isn’t.
 

Cal

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I’ve never been to Lourdsburg so I don’t have any way of debating this, nor do I really care to, but I’ve been at Tomah station dozens of times and can say how deeply miserable an experience it can be if the train is running behind.
I'm sure it isn't pleasant, however I'm sure your experience will be a lot worse if the train is running hours late and you're boarding in Thurmond, WV. Can't even get to a nearby place to get something to eat.

My point is the same as @zephyr17's. Sounds bad, yes. Worst by far? Nope.
 

zephyr17

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I'm with Cal, yes, it sounds bad. Worst? It definitely has competition for that. Thurmond seems like a leading candidate. At Lordsburg and Deming, there are at least some businesses within walking distance. I'll throw Elko in, two separate Amsheds for westbound and eastbound, closest open businesses at the zero dark thirty train times there are probably at the I 80 interchange, a 3 mile walk away.
 

tim49424

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I'm sure it isn't pleasant, however I'm sure your experience will be a lot worse if the train is running hours late and you're boarding in Thurmond, WV. Can't even get to a nearby place to get something to eat.

My point is the same as @zephyr17's. Sounds bad, yes. Worst by far? Nope.
To each their own. I will stand on my opinion, which is just that. An opinion. Again, I can't compare it to Thurmond because I've never been there.
 

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Deming and Lordsburg may be among the least functional stops on the Amtrak network but they also seemed to fit the relatively remote and desolate areas in which they reside and neither disappointed me as much as Madison Square Dungeon. Calling that dump "Penn Station" is an insult which I cannot abide.
 

BCL

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



It may not be up to Amtrak to be able to do the much needed repairs, maintenance and cleaning.
Nobody mentioned it in the 4 pages so far, so I'll give it a shot.

The owner is the Texarkana Urban Transit District, which is a joint bus transit district across state lines. They mostly operate bus service and there's nothing on their website that indicates that they're responsible for the station building.

 

Willbridge

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Amtrak's priorities inevitably depend upon the level of enthusiasm or lack thereof, of the local politicians.
Absolutely correct. Denver Union Station was headed to being the atrium for twin office towers under the Federico Peña mayorship. A huge parking lot was proposed. Trains were to stop at an Amshack in Commerce City or at various single-track railyard locations under study. Due to term limits, the DUS project was completed under the third mayor after Peña.

My favorite, though, was Quebec City. The same mayor took credit for getting the trains out of town and then for the project of putting them back.
 

Willbridge

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Typical. There will be Republicans who voted against the infrastructure bill lining up at groundbreaking and ribbon cutting ceremonies when the money starts flowing.
Don't get me started. I learned a long time ago that the names on a bronze dedication plaque don't always represent who should have been honored. For a while one of my miscellaneous duties at Edmonton Transit was getting things named.
 

Bob Dylan

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Typical. There will be Repuplicans who voted against the infrastruture bill lining up at groundbreaking and ribbon cutting ceremonies when the money starts flowing.
This reminds me of one of my favorite stories that LBJ used to tell.

A teacher was applying for a job with a New School and the Principal asked them if they taught that the World was Flat or Round.

"..After thinking for a minute, the teacher said " I can teach it either way..!"
 

gtalum

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My parents don’t like Kissimmee or Tampa, though. They claim both stations are in “seedy” areas. However, these two stations are originals and provide an insight to the Golden Age of Rail Travel. Both stations are staffed and have security when open, so I did not feel unsafe.
Sorry to resurrect an old thread. Tampa Union Station used to be in a pretty bad area, but gentrification is rapidly approaching and in many cases is already surrounding it. It's pretty convenient to both downtown and to Ybor City (our "old town" and nightlife district).
 
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jis

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Sorry to resurrect an old thread. Tampa Union Station used to be in a pretty bad area, but gentrification is rapidly approaching and in many cases is already surrounding it. It's pretty convenient to both downtown and to Ybor City (our "old town" and nightlife district.
And it has a Publix close to it now, so that you can get excellent sandwiches and such from the Deli department. Very convenient.
 

20th Century Rider

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I couldn't believe the condition of the Amtrak station in this video at 23 minutes in. Seriously Amtrak? How embarrassing . . . and maybe even dangerous. Is there another station worse than this?

Yup... just got off the TE yesterday... and remember that station... and the food... or lack thereof. You are so on point with both the food service and shabby run down equipment. Although some disagree with my point of view... the Superliners are poorly designed to begin with... especially the stairwell where seniors slip and fall as they try to get bags up and down. The bottom level is referred by many as the 'dungeon.'

Amtrak is starving and dwindling away from lack of funds and lack of good management. :eek: :eek: :eek:
 
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TrackWalker

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Ah, yes. Texarcana.

During my adventure on the TE last spring we stopped there on a foggy night.

I thought I was a minor character in Stephen King’s short story “Willa.”
 
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