Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
Tue, May 21

Railroad boards up Amtrak station, hopes to reopen when funds are available<BR>

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway recently closed and boarded up the windows of the Amtrak station at Fourth Street and Andy Devine Avenue because vandals broke the windows, a BNSF spokeswoman said.

The company eventually plans to reopen the depot.

"Our hope is to restore it," said Lena Kent, director of public affairs for BNSF in San Bernardino, Calif.

"Our intent is not to create an eyesore."

However, she said the problem is finding the funds to refurbish the building.

Earlier this year, the railway removed asbestos from the station, which Amtrak has rented for several years.

Meanwhile, Amtrak is using the Quality Inn on Andy Devine as a temporary depot, said Kevin Johnson, manager of media relations for Amtrak in Chicago.

Amtrak customers who formerly waited at the station may take a shuttle l courtesy of the Quality Inn.

Amtrak currently operates a Los Angeles-bound train that arrives in Kingman from Chicago daily at 11:55 p.m., Johnson said.

A Chicago-bound train arrives in Kingman from Los Angeles daily at 2:33 a.m.

A total of 4,326 passengers boarded or departed from Amtrak trains in Kingman during the fiscal year ending Sept.

30, 1999, Johnson said.

That is down from 4,685 passengers from the previous fiscal year.

Passengers may continue to buy Amtrak tickets over the Internet or by calling the toll-free number, (800) 872-7245, Johnson said.

Amtrak hopes that "something can be worked out" to reopen the station in the BNSF building, Johnson said.

Amtrak hopes the city will buy the building and renovate it.

However, Parks and Recreation Director Darel Fruhwirth referred to a letter that BNSF sent the city in March indicating that BNSF would not sell the building or rent it to other parties.

"We would like to see the building used," Fruhwirth said.

"Amtrak wants to move back into that building."

Amtrak officials from Los Angeles and Chicago met with city officials on Sept.

20 to discuss the status of the station, City Manager Lou Sorensen said.

"They had thought the city closed the depot," Sorensen said.

Built in 1907 by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, the former railroad depot is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

BNSF vacated the 2,500-square-foot building during the summer of 1999 when the railway moved into a 3,564-square-foot maintenance facility built on Railroad Avenue.


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