After purchasing the classically-inspired depot from Norfolk Southern Railway, Anniston renovated it to serve as a busy intermodal center.
126 West 4th Street Anniston, AL 36201
- Annual Station Revenue (2014)
- Annual Station Ridership (2014)
|Facility Ownership||City of Anniston|
|Parking Lot Ownership||City of Anniston|
|Platform Ownership||Norfolk Southern Railway|
|Track Ownership||Norfolk Southern Railway|
|10 Short Term Parking Spaces||5 Long Term Parking Spaces||Accessible Platform|
|Enclosed Waiting Area||Pay Phones||Restrooms|
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The Anniston depot, a red brick classical revival structure, was designed by Milo R. Hanker for Southern Railway and built in 1925. The façade features a pediment over three large round-arched windows. Cream-colored stone is used for the base of the building and is also employed as trim around the windows and entryways. A marquee over the main doors protects passengers from inclement weather and is embellished with elaborate metalwork in the form of scrolls and curlicues. A true intermodal facility, the depot is also served by the city’s bus system and acts as the interchange point for all lines. In the future, city planners hope that intercity bus providers will also use the multimodal center.
Station improvements have been underway since 2001 when the city of Anniston purchased the facility for $55,000 from Norfolk Southern Railway. A full rehabilitation of the building was completed in 2008 using $645,600 obtained by the city through the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Enhancements (TE) program; the city provided a local match of $161,400. The TE program funds various improvements to surface transportation, including projects related to the preservation of historic transportation facilities such as railroad depots.
Anniston officials believe that the restored depot can be used to encourage economic development in the surrounding neighborhood. Future plans call for a three step approach: first, the transit loading area will be relocated to the east side of the canal to facilitate traffic flow, and a new sheltered platform will be constructed for passenger comfort; second, parking facilities will be laid out within easy walking distance to the north and southeast of the building; and third, a redesign of 4th Street between Noble Street and the multimodal center will improve access by car, bicycle and foot. The total estimated cost of this three-phase plan is approximately $2.1 million.
A major component of the pedestrian and bicycle enhancements is a proposed seven mile extension of the popular Chief Ladiga Trail from the north end of town down to the depot. Running 33 miles from northern Anniston to the border with Georgia, the paved path then connects with the Silver Comet Trail that continues eastward to the greater Atlanta metropolitan area. In Anniston, the new trailhead would be just south of the depot along the canal. The neighborhood would also gain a park on the west side of the railroad tracks, making for a pleasant gateway to the city for those arriving by train and bus.
Anniston is the seat of Calhoun County, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. In 1872 the Woodstock Iron Company, organized by Samuel Noble and Union General Daniel Tyler, built a large iron furnace in Anniston. An earlier iron furnace had been destroyed in 1864 by Union troops during the Civil War. Noble and Tyler also created a planned community that was innovative for its time. Chartered in 1879 as a “company town,” Anniston’s name reportedly came from “Annie’s Town”—after Annie Scott Tyler, the wife of railroad president Alfred L. Tyler. The town was not open for general settlement until 12 years later. Good planning and easy access to the railroad helped Anniston become the fifth largest city in the state during the first half of the 20th century. Anniston is still the center of an iron mining and cotton growing area, and factories produce appliances, pipes, chemicals, machine parts, industrial castings, yarn, and clothing. Today, Anniston’s downtown, which is focused on Noble Street, continues to undergo a revival as a regional shopping and dining district.
In 1917, the United States Army established a training camp at Fort McClellan, then just outside of Anniston. While it was in operation, Fort McClellan was home to an approximate military population of 10,000. The complex hosted the Army Chemical School, Army Military Police School, and other military institutions. In 1995, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission decided to permanently close Fort McClellan, and it was shuttered in 1999. Four years later, the Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge was established on 9000 acres of undeveloped land that was formerly part of Fort McClellan.
The Women’s Army Corps School was founded at Fort McClellan in 1952 and remained there until the group was disestablished in 1977. Its last director, Major General Mary E. Clarke, went on to become the Commanding General of Fort McClellan and the first female officer to ever command a major Army installation. On the other side of town, the Anniston Army Depot opened during World War II as a storage and maintenance facility and is today a major incineration site for stocks of chemical weapons.
This station is unstaffed, though a caretaker opens the waiting room prior to the arrival of the train. Amtrak provides neither ticketing nor baggage services at this facility, which is served by two daily trains.