When Amtrak's westbound "Empire Builder" from Chicago pulls into Minot today it will be the first time passengers can board and leave the train since June.
Effective today, passenger service has been restored to Minot. The passenger service was discontinued when the Souris River flooded in late June and extensively damaged the depot.
During the past weeks the "Empire Builder" has been stopping in Minot for fueling, but Minot passengers have had to go to Stanley, Rugby or Williston to board the train or disembark.
Eloise Ogden/MDN • Dawn Ward, ticket agent at the Minot Amtrak depot, works Monday at a desk in the former baggage area, now ticket office, which also is the mechanical office.
Eloise Ogden/MDN • Dan Valley, Amtrak district manager for North Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota, is in Minot working on the repairs of the historic Minot Amtrak depot after the Souris River flood. This photo, taken Monday, is in the main waiting room which won’t be ready for use for awhile, but there will be a temporary one.
Eloise Ogden/MDN • Georgianna Smith, right, of New Town, was the first person to buy an Amtrak ticket at the Minot depot Monday since Amtrak passenger service has been restored to the city. Doneta Skinn, left, station agent, helps Smith. The former baggage area has been turned into the waiting area and ticket counter.
Repairs have been made to the historic station, with a waiting area and ticket counter set up in the former baggage area.
As a result, checked baggage service remains suspended until more repairs are made to the building damaged earlier this year by flooding.
Personnel were busy on Monday getting ready for passenger service at the depot today.
Georgianna Smith, New Town, stopped by the depot Monday morning to find out if she could buy a ticket for her brother. Doneta Skinn, station agent, helped Smith, who became the first person to buy a ticket since passenger service has resumed. Dawn Ward and Andrew Maragos are ticket agents at the Minot depot.
Passengers now will be entering and leaving the depot through doors west of the normal main doors.
"We appreciate the patience of our customers and are pleased to announce the restoration of service in Minot," said Daryl Pesce, the Chicago-based Amtrak general superintendent.
Dan Valley, of Milwaukee, Amtrak district manager for North Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota, has been in Minot for more than three weeks working on the depot repairs. He's been in Minot off and on since the flood, he said.
Valley said everything in the depot, including the new furnace, now is mobile and can easily be moved out of the building if necessary.
Amtrak and local contractors were able to complete the work to reopen the depot ahead of the busy Thanksgiving holiday travel period, although more repairs to the building and the boarding platform are expected next year.
Marc Magliari, with Amtrak Media Relations in Chicago, said Amtrak has spent $200,000 on the depot repairs so far.
Amtrak plans to restore the depot to what it was before the flood. Before the flood the depot had under gone a major restoration project.
Tonight the eastbound "Empire Builder" from the West Coast is scheduled to make its first passenger stop in Minot since the flood disrupted the service.