Category Archives: Station locator

Jackson (JXN)

501 E. Michigan Avenue
Jackson, MI 49201

Wolverine at Jackson MI
Amtrak's Wolverine, train #350, arrives at the Jackson Michigan station. (Photo by Nathan Nietering.)
Jackson Station Painting
A painting inside the station depicts the type of Amtrak locomotive which ran on the line in 1976. (Photo by Nathan Nietering)

One of the oldest continuously operating passenger stations in the nation, the staffed Jackson station was built in 1876 and is nothing short of an architectural gem. The interior of the station was restored for the country’s Bicentennial, and removal of layers of old paint revealed gorgeous woodwork underneath, which was restored. Note the etched glass at the ticket window; it’s original, as are the wooden benches.

The depot’s location near the very center of town makes it easy to access from all directions. There are about 15 free parking spaces in front of the station. If this lot is full, more parking is available in the lot on the east side of the building. Although the station is staffed by an agent, he goes off duty at 4:00PM, and the waiting room is locked after that time. Still, the Jackson station is one of the few in the state that has a canopy over the boarding platform, which saves riders from having to drag their luggage through the slush and snow of Michigan winters. In nice weather, the platform can be a pleasant place to wait for an arriving train.

Jackson was up until recently a major railroad town, and still is home to an important railroad yard today. In the summer, railroad retirees often sit out on the platform to watch the trains roll past. They are usually excellent encyclopedias of railroad facts and lore and can be very pleasant conversationalists.

The station bulletin is the same style used by the New York Central railroad when it operated the station. (Photo by Nathan Nietering)

There is a soft drink vending machine in the station, and if anything more substantial is required, a decent coney island (short order restaurant) is located just next door. The area is served by the Jackson Transportation Authority; their buses operate along Michigan Avenue. Taxi phone numbers posted inside the station.

Amtrak station page:

Kalamazoo (KAL)

459 North Burdick Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49007

The Amtrak station in Kalamazoo has a long history dating back to the Michigan Central Railroad. (Photo by J.R. Valderas)

The staffed station in Kalamazoo underwent a year long renovation which was completed in the summer of 2006. Today, it is a fine example of historic preservation efforts, and is Michigan’s second busiest Amtrak station. It is located on the north edge of downtown, between Rose Street on the west side and Burdick Street on the east side. The large sandstone building (built in 1887) is the intermodal transit hub of Kalamazoo, and includes not only Amtrak, but Greyhound and Indian Trails bus lines, and city bus operator Kalamazoo Transportation Authority.

Metered parking is available along Burdick and Rose streets, and another metered lot is located across Rose from the station. A long term parking deck is located across Kalamazoo Street in front of the station building. Taxis are always present for train arrivals; the cab stand is located on the Rose Street side of the station.

The renovation work restored the station to much of its original grandeur. The confusing waiting room created during a 1970s renovation was restored to a more open setting, with a new wrought-iron and wood Amtrak ticket window installed at the center of the building. The bay window was restored, and original and duplicate wooden benches now grace the waiting room. A sundry and snack shop is open at the Rose Street (west) end of the building for passengers to make purchases. There is also a McDonald’s across Rose, and several other excellent but inexpensive restaurants within a short walk of the station.

The station’s only downfall is its close proximity to a local rescue mission, whose clients often drop into the station for brief periods of time. The Kalamazoo Police Department regularly has patrols through the station to keep the situation under control. Although the waiting room is much larger than just a few years ago, it can be a very busy place, and crowds often get quite large for popular trains. Station stops are often longer than normal due to the high passenger count here.

Downtown Kalamazoo has been revitalized over the past years and is full of interesting shops, restaurants, and parks. It is the home of Western Michigan University, and has such attractions as the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and Kalamazoo Pedestrian Mall. It is rich in history and preservation, and this is mirrored by the city’s consistent effort to maintain the beautiful station building.

Amtrak station page:

Lapeer (LPE)

73 Howard Street

Lapeer, MI 48446

Lapeer Amtrak Station (Photo by Larry Sobczak)

The Lapeer station is not easy to find; however, once there, parking is not a problem. Although unstaffed, the Greater Lapeer Area Transit Agency (GLATA), the owner of the station, has personnel on hand to open the station at train times. It is safe to leave your car here for extended periods.

GLATA also provides Dial-a-Ride service to the City of Lapeer and most surrounding Townships. Call (810) 664-4566 to reserve a ride BEFORE your trip.

GLATA has cleaned up and restored the station very nicely, which is also used for community meetings. There is a restaurant and a convenience store one block north of the station.

Interior of the Lapeer Amtrak Station (Photo by J.R. Valderas)

Amtrak station page:

New Buffalo (NBU)

 225 North Whittaker St.
New Buffalo, MI 49117

Located in the heart of downtown New Buffalo at 225 N. Whitaker St., the new station opened Oct. 26, 2009 to serve Wolverine Trains 354 and 355, which serves 15 cities from Chicago to Pontiac, Mich.; and Blue Water Trains 364 and 365, which operate to 11 cities from Chicago to Port Huron, Mich. As of Oct. 26, Amtrak’s Pere Marquette no longer stops in New Buffalo. The new station stop provides complimentary parking for up to 25 Amtrak passengers at a parking lot located just west of the station on Oselka Dr., parallel to the railroad tracks.

Public transportation is provided by Berrien Bus. Hours of service are limited, so check first.

Amtrak station page:

Niles (NLS)

598 Dey Street
Niles, MI 49120

Beautiful Niles Station is used by Amtrak for some service operations in Michigan. (Photo by Nathan Nietering)

The staffed Niles depot serves the twice-daily Blue Water and five of the six daily Wolverine trains. This historic station was built in 1892 in the Romanesque style and was considered the pride of the Michigan Central Railroad when it opened. It remains as one of Michigan’s most beautiful train stations today, and has been featured in several films throughout the years. An extensive restoration in the late 1980s moved the ticket windows from their original location to the east end of the waiting room, but uncovered and restored many of the original architectural features. The chandeliers, rounded windows and stained glass combine to make one feel like they are sitting in a Victorian jewel box. New platforms were added in 2003 and together with gardens and landscaping maintained by the local Four Flags Garden Club make this a very pleasant place to wait for a train.

Access to the station is easy from highway M-51 (North 5thStreet). Over fifty parking spaces are provided for passengers, and it is safe to leave vehicles here for extended periods. Information about local restaurants can be obtained from the ticket agent, who can also furnish taxicab numbers if no cabs are on hand when trains arrive. Amtrak provides a rack full of schedules and other information near the ticket office. Aside from the waiting room area, the remainder of the station is occupied by Amtrak offices for their track and signal departments. Amtrak owns 97 miles of high-speed track between Kalamazoo and Porter, Indiana, and bases most of their operations for this stretch out of the Niles Station and maintenance buildings located just across the tracks.

Downtown Niles is located several blocks south of the station down M-51, but is full of interesting stores, dining venues and historic buildings. It is known as the City of Four Flags because the British, French, Americans and even the Spanish each at some point laid claim to the land on which the city sits (the latter only occupying it for a single day). Niles is the entry point for passengers traveling to South Bend, Indiana, which is only ten miles to the south just across the state line. Some taxi services from Niles do cross the state line to the land of Notre Dame football. Niles Dial-A-Ride Transportation (DART) provides local transportation service, but days and hours vary. Check their website at <> or call ahead for the most up-to-date information 269.684.5150. Some Dial-A-Ride services do connect with Transpo, the South Bend city bus network. Call Dial-A-Ride for more information.

The waiting room inside the Niles station. (Photo by Lou Van Winkle)

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