January 14, 2011

Renovated depot in Kingman opens this spring

February open house will mark end of decade in red tape limbo

Dusty footprints still spread across the floor of the newly-renovated Kingman Train Depot Thursday morning. The depot will be turned over to Amtrak in early spring, which will then add the finishing touches on its new waiting room there, including furniture. (JC AMBERLYN/Miner)

James Chilton
Kingman Daily Miner

KINGMAN - Renovation work on the historic Kingman Train Depot was completed late last year, but it may still be several months before Amtrak customers can expect to utilize the facility.

According to Kingman Public Works Projects Manager Kyle Taylor, the city is currently waiting for Amtrak to move into the structure, something he said isn't likely to happen until spring.

"The city doesn't have control over that, but I did speak to Amtrak (Wednesday) and they're looking to hopefully put some of their equipment in there in March or April," Taylor said. "It wouldn't be until after that that it would open up to Amtrak passengers."

The 103-year-old train depot had been in limbo for nearly a decade while the city wrangled with various governmental agencies to get the proper clearance for the project, which only got underway last summer. The rehabilitation, which was made possible through a $600,000 grant from the Arizona Department of Transportation, has seen the construction of a new platform, new exterior and interior work, and the creation of a space that has been set aside for use as a railroad museum - an appropriate

move given the city's namesake Lewis Kingman, who performed survey work for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad.

"It's basically the eastern half of the building is the museum and the western half is Amtrak," Taylor said. "There's two rooms on Amtrak's side. One room is going to be just a waiting room and the other part is going to be Amtrak's staff area."

Taylor said the exact details of who will run the museum and what objects will be featured there have yet to be decided. Public Works has taken proposals from both the Whistle Stop Railroad Club - a group of railroad hobbyists and former career employees - and the Mohave Museum of History and Arts. A final proposal for the museum is likely to come before the City Council for approval in the coming months.

In the meantime, however, Taylor said the city does plan to host a ribbon-cutting and open house for the newly-renovated train depot sometime in February, when members of the public will finally be able to get a glimpse at contractor T.R. Orr's interior handiwork.

"It'll be on a Saturday, probably the second or third Saturday I think," Taylor said. "Toward the latter part of February."