The Amtrak Pere Marquette service provides
one roundtrip train a day
from Grand Rapids MI to Chicago in the morning, and a return trip in the
Chicago IL - CHI
GPS: 42.109207,-86.484718 St Joseph - Benton
Harbor MI - SJM
GPS: 42.314417,-86.111784 Bangor MI - BAM
GPS: 42.791275,-86.097541 Holland MI - HOM
GPS: 42.956211,-85.678806 Grand Rapids MI - GRR
Aerial shots were taken from
www.bing.com/maps. The snap-shots
from Bing are made with Snagit, a
Techsmith product... a great
tool if you have never used it!
Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels
inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have
something to add or correct.... credit is always given! Contact info
I remember driving into Benton Harbor many years ago,
maybe around 1999 or so, and couldn't help to have this wierd feeling,
because Benton Harbor used to be the home of Heathkit Electronics, a longone
manufacturer of electronic kits for kids of all ages :-)
When I was there, the town thoughtfully marked the way
to the depot with plentiful "train station" signs, don't know if they are
still there or not. I was very lucky to catch the one train a day
heading north to Grand Rapids!
Nice swing bridge to the north, with good access for
pictures in the adjoining park.
station in St. Joseph station was constructed for the
Pere Marquette Railroad (succeeded by CSXT) in 1913 on
the shore of Lake Michigan and stands opposite the
Silver Beach County Park. Its large covered platform,
extending to either side of the main building, was
likely built to handle heavy summer traffic to and from
lakeside resorts. This stucco and wooden structure
features a gabled roof and central clerestory windows.
The small waiting room occupies a part of one side of
the station today, while the rest is occupied by Silver
The city of
St. Joseph purchased the station from the Chesapeake &
Ohio Railroad in 1986 for $10,000. Between 1971, when
Amtrak began, and 1984, when Amtrak’s Pere Marquette
service began, the station stood unused. The city
undertook general building renovations including
plumbing, heating, and air conditioning, electrical
repairs and upgrades, surface repair and painting, the
installation of new windows, a new roof system and a
parking expansion. The renovation was undertaken to make
the property functional again with the aim of bringing
in a commercial tenant. It was not a historical
In consideration for the city
committing to operate the renovated facility as a
terminal for 20 years following the project completion,
a dedicated waiting area was constructed as part of the
renovation. The entire project began in 1988 and was
completed in mid-1989.
The renovation cost approximately
$352,000 and was funded in part by the Michigan
Department of Transportation. The state contribution was
$140, 000, and the remaining costs were funded by the
city’s Lakefront Tax Increment Finance Authority.
Since the renovation, several
restaurants have operated in the station and its current
occupant has been in the station since 2005. This
restaurant conducted significant renovation and
redecoration of the facility; most of the visible work,
except for the windows, has been theirs.
Cute little trestle just north of the station with easy
access from the station for pictures, afternoon sun better from station
Grade crossing to the south.
The Bangor Depot was built in 1926 by the Pere
Marquette Railroad to replace a earlier wooden station that burned.
Beginning in 1984 and through 1991, the depot served as both a passenger
station and as the home of the Kalamazoo Toy Train Works. Because of the toy
trains manufactured in the station and its Amtrak service, Bangor became
known as "Train City USA". Following the termination of toy train
manufacturing in 1991, the building was vacated and Amtrak passengers had to
wait for their train in a small shelter located next to the empty and
Early in 2004, the depot was purchased by Beacon
Specialized Living Services, a healthcare services provider. Under their
ownership, the empty attic of the original depot was replaced by a second
floor, doubling the floor space of the old depot.
The city retained ownership of the far south end of the
building. Originally a covered portico, in later years it was enclosed
and used as the passenger waiting room.
In July 2004, the city got a $125,000 Michigan DOT
grant to rebuild the waiting room and platform. Work is to include a
new floor, new doors and windows, rebuilding the bathrooms, and refinishing
the original waiting room benches. Amtrak owns the platform.
About half the grant will be paid to Amtrak for rebuilding the platform. The
project was to be done by April 2005.
The rebuilt waiting room opened May 6, 2005, with a
brief ceremony ending with the arrival of the Amtrak train. Building tours
and an open house followed.
Just north of the new waiting room, in what was
originally the waiting room, is a delightful, upscale coffee shop,
The Bangor Coffee Depot, featuring an
extensive menu, G-scale trains on display, a large collection of old photos
and artwork, and a patio on the trackside platform.
The main entrance and lobby for Beacon offices is on
the depot's west side, in what was the freight room. The
freight room scale remains intact. Stairs lead to the company offices on
the second floor. The first floor was restored with minimal changes to the
original floor plan. The agent's office became a
conference room. There is a larger meeting room in what may have been a
second waiting room.
Historical architectural purists might not like the
changes to the Bangor depot. But really, the only things lost were the two
dormers. More important is that the depot, and most of its features, were
saved, restored, and put to good use.