CRESTON, Iowa- The Restored Creston Railroad Depot will soon be hosting rail travelers again. The City has signed a lease with Amtrak to use the depot as a place for passengers to arrive and depart.
Amtrak trains pass through Creston twice a day, one eastbound, another westbound.
“We started working with Amtrak about three years ago,” said City Administrator Mike Taylor. “They had come to the City and asked if we’d be interested in letting them come back and use the restored depot, as an Amtrak site for passengers, that are getting off and on the train in Creston.”
Amtrak has signed a 20 year lease. The payment will be used to make around $700,000 in improvements to the building. That would include some cosmetic work, and bringing the building up to ADA standards.
For years Amtrak has used a small crew building for BNSF Railroad, as a place for passengers to arrive. The Depot looks the part of a classic railroad depot, with passenger benches, a chalkboard departure and arrival schedule, and an antique clock on the wall.
“I do know that one time this building was basically closed and empty there was nothing here, it was in very bad disrepair,” said Taylor. “I assume at that point in time Amtrak needed to work with Burlington Northern to have a passenger office.”
The City uses some of the first floor, and second floor, for City Council Chambers and City offices. The first floor depot waiting area has model trains, and some museum displays over the town’s railroad history. The City will retain all current uses of the building, even for receptions. The model train will also stay in the building.
Bill Barker is from Lenox. He remembers taking a small train called the Doodle Bug from Lenox to Creston.
“There was actually a freight business here in the depot beside the diner,” said Barker. “There was somebody that actually shined shoes, I remember coming up here as a kid, just like being in Omaha today.”
“We have a lot of freight trains every day both ways, we have a lot of rail employees that are here, they support the community and we appreciate everything that you do for the city,” said Taylor.