Category Archives: Station locator


200 South Railroad Street
Durand, MI 48429

The city of Durand has posted directional signs leading to the station. (Photos by Larry Sobczak)

The Durand Union Station has led a storied life that makes the Perils of Pauline look sedate. Fortunately for passengers, the historic depot still stands today. Access to the station is a bit difficult, as track owner Canadian National Railroad insisted upon closing the most direct crossing to the station. With the help of recently added signs, navigating to the station via Russell Street and a residential district is not nearly as confusing as it once was. Once at the station, plenty of free parking is available, and safety is not a question in this small town. There is no public transportation to this unstaffed station.

The station building is now owned by the non-profit Durand Union Station, Inc., and is home of the Michigan Railroad History Museum. Together, they have restored the 1905-built building bit by bit, and today it is home to several interesting displays about railroad history in Michigan. The Amtrak waiting room is maintained at the northern end of the building, and features a meticulously restored wrought-iron and wood ticket counter, though tickets cannot be purchased at this location. The waiting room is open for the morning and evening arrivals of the Blue Water, and has several wooden benches and a rack full of Amtrak travel information.

Durand has long been an important junction point for trains in Michigan, and remains so today. The station building is enormous for a town the size of Durand, but at one time over 100 trains a day passed through, including up to 42 passenger trains. Due to the volume and variety of trains which still pass through today, the station is a gathering point for hard core railfans from across the country. They can easily be identified as those carrying railroad radio scanners and video cameras monitoring and recording the train movements. The recently installed black fence along the tracks is not just for decoration, there is a $50.00 fine for trespassing on railroad property, and this is strictly enforced by both railroad and city police. Railroad safety is a big deal!

When Canadian National abandoned the station in 1974 and began preparations for demolition, the city undertook a monumental effort to acquire the building for preservation. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places and the task of stabilization and then restoration began. Cost saving alterations which occurred late in the building’s life were removed, and a new red tile roof was installed. The result is a lovingly restored train station which is one of the most distinctive in the country. Over one hundred years after the station was built, the waiting room is still open, and you can still buy a ticket to Durand.

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East Lansing (LNS)

1240 South Harrison Road
East Lansing, MI 48823

(Photo by J.R. Valderas)

The staffed East Lansing station is the hub for intercity land travel into and out of the state capital region.  Access is easy – simply take the Trowbridge Road exit from I-496/US-127, follow Trowbridge to Harrison Road (the first major intersection), turn south and cross the first set of railroad tracks, and the station is immediately on the right.  This location makes it convenient to people from around the greater Lansing area, and also to students at Michigan State University, as the station is located at the southwest corner of campus.  Parking includes 20 spaces in front of the station; if these are full, an additional 45 spaces are available to the side of and behind the station building.  Some spaces are marked with signs indicating an Amtrak permit is required, so be sure to check with the station agent if you park here to see if a permit is necessary or not. 

This station is also a stop on the Amtrak Thruway motorcoach to Toledo Ohio, which provides a guaranteed connection to the Lake Shore Limited and the Capitol Limited.  Contact Amtrak or a station ticket agent for details about this connection.

Vending machines are available in the waiting room, and there are also several convenience stores and restaurants within a short walk.  Local city bus service is provided by the Capital Area Transportation Authority, and the station is currently a stop on CATA  routes 20, 30, and 38.  Not all routes run at all times, so be sure to check ahead.  Taxi phone numbers are also posted in the station. 

East Lansing is home to Michigan State University, the largest in Michigan.  Adjacent Lansing is Michigan’s state capital, and the beautifully restored 1878 Capitol building is well worth a visit.  Also worth a visit is the Library of Michigan, and the Michigan History Museum, an excellent museum full of state history.  For decades, Lansing was home to the REO Motor Car Company, and the Oldsmobile Division of General Motors, and the R. E. Olds Museum pays tribute to these important components of the local past.  The Greater Lansing Visitors Bureau offers a look at many additional cultural and local attractions of the area. 

Amtrak station page:

Flint (FLN)

1407 South Dort Highway
Flint, MI 48503

The access to the Flint station is somewhat better marked than most. The facility is in an area that is isolated from any businesses. The area has recently had a major transit facility constructed next to the Amtrak station, and the main problem now is a tight parking situation. It is safe to leave cars here for extended periods.

The Flint station is an “Amshack” design, and it is just about the right size for the current traffic load. The real plus is an agent who not only keeps it immaculate, but who also plants and maintains attractive flower plantings around the station. The station has vending machines, but there are no restaurants within walking distance.

Local bus service is provided by the Flint Mass Transit Authority. Buses for route # 20 stop across the parking lot from the station; consult the authority regarding bus connections to other routes.

Although local website links are not the best, Flint offers a lot to do for the visitor. Although still primarily an auto-factory town, Flint has excellent museums, educational facilities, and many interesting places worth a visit in the immediate area.

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Grand Rapids (GRR)

431 Wealthy Street SW
near Market and Wealthy Streets SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Grand Rapids Station (Photo by J.R. Valderas)

The unstaffed Grand Rapids station is at the corner of Market and Wealthy Streets. Although rather small, the station is in good shape and received a needed facelift just a few years ago. A lot of 45 free parking spaces are directly adjacent to the station. If needed, an overflow “long term” lot is located across the intersection of Market and Wealthy. The station lot regularly fills up on weekends, so be prepared to walk from the overflow lot during busy travel times. The area is safe, and you can leave your car here for an extended period without worry.

 A caretaker keeps the waiting room in excellent shape. Inside is a rack full of Amtrak schedules and travel information for passengers to peruse. The walls have several unique photos of trains in Grand Rapids during the first half of the 20th Century, and are worth a look. The waiting room does not have vending machines, and is only open for the morning and evening Pere Marquette’s. In a small adjoining room a Quik-Trak Self-Service Ticketing Kiosk has been installed by Amtrak; this room is accessible from the outside and is open throughout the day. Grand Rapids is one of the few stations in Michigan that have a platform canopy, to protect passengers from the wide variety of Michigan weather conditions encountered here.

Local public transit is provided by The Rapid, Grand Rapids’ bus line. For schedule information, call (616) 456-7514. Local taxi phone numbers are posted in the station. The station is separated from the downtown area by several blocks, but a short cab ride will get you to the center of downtown. Downtown Grand Rapids has developed a pretty good nightlife in recent years, and the area is currently seeing some significant growth. It is home to such cultural attractions as the Public Museum of Grand Rapids, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.

A large crowd of spring break travelers prepare to board the Pere Marquette at the Grand Rapids Station on April 1, 2006. (Photo by Jim Hulsebus)

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Holland (HOM)

171 Lincoln Avenue
Holland, MI 49423

Passengers gather their belongings as Amtrak’s Pere Marquette arrives to the Padnos Transportation Center in Holland, Mich. on Jan. 23, 2005. (Photo by J.R. Valderas)

The unstaffed Holland station was extensively remodeled in the 1980’s, and turned a rather spartan station building into an exceptionally attractive facility. Located right at the entrance of Windmill Island Gardens, the station has 34 free parking spaces. The area is quite safe, and cars can be left for extended periods. The station serves Amtrak, Indian Trails intercity coach service and Macatawa Area Express (MAX) buses; the waiting room hours are from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM Seven days a week.

The interior is attractive and comfortable, and a Quik-Trak Self-Service Ticketing Kiosk has been installed by Amtrak. The exterior has outstanding landscaping, and in good weather, the exterior walkways are so pleasant that many passengers prefer to wait outside. There are vending machines inside the station.

Macatawa Area Express (MAX) service is available for the morning train, but only Monday through Saturday. Call (616) 355-1010 for details.

Much of western Michigan’s Lower Peninsula was settled by the Dutch, and Dutch names are by far still the most prevalent in this area. Holland is the heart of Michigan’s Dutch country, and retains a distinctive Dutch flavor that goes well beyond the souvenir shops. Downtown Holland is a short walk from the station, and is sparkling clean, friendly and delightful. Be sure to visit Holland during its Tulip Time Festival, an annual event in May which draws visitors from all across the nation.

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