The depot, carefully restored to its original 1906 appearance, anchors the historic downtown, known for its numerous shops, restaurants and bed-and-breakfasts.
115 East Front Street Mineola, TX 75773
- Annual Station Revenue (2014)
- Annual Station Ridership (2014)
|Facility Ownership||City of Mineola|
|Parking Lot Ownership||City of Mineola|
|Platform Ownership||Union Pacific Railroad|
|Track Ownership||Union Pacific Railroad|
|Accessible Payphones||Accessible Platform||Accessible Waiting Room|
|Enclosed Waiting Area||Long Term Parking Spaces||Restrooms|
|Short Term Parking Spaces|
- Texas Eagle
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
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On June 10, 2006, Mineola’s historic station was rededicated to celebrate the completion of its restoration. From 1974 until 1996, the Amtrak Texas Eagle and its predecessor trains passed through the community of 5,000 without stopping. However, Mineola community leaders convinced Amtrak to make their city a stop, based on creative local marketing and a promise to renovate the train station. The renovation recaptured the depot's original 1906 appearance, which had been destroyed during a 1951 modernization project. In an effort to streamline the building, the railroad had replaced the hipped roof with a flat version and stripped away much of the depot's decorative detail.
The 2005 remodeling project included restoration of the building's exterior to its original design. The upper portion of the walls is painted a bright beige, which contrasts nicely with green trim around the windows and doors. Large metal brackets support a canopy that wraps around the structure. Other improvements to the site include new signage, parking, fencing, landscaping, and bicycle racks. There is also space for a future ticket agent’s office. The depot now features a Museum of Railroad Memorabilia as well as a restored caboose on the grounds.
The city used grants from the Texas Department of Transportation ($550,000), Mineola Development Inc. ($195,820) and the Meredith Foundation ($46,000 for a railroad museum) and raised additional funds ($13,000) to support the project. The multimodal depot is now known as the Mineola Transportation Plaza and won the “Best Building Restoration” award from the Texas Downtown Association in 2006; the city leases the property from the Union Pacific Railroad. In 2013, the downtown core, which includes the depot, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The recent restoration of the Mineola depot is fitting for a city that owes its existence to the railroad. Mineola came into existence when railroad companies began building lines through East Texas. Two railroads, the Texas & Pacific (T&P) and the International & Great Northern, raced to see which could get to Mineola first. It was a close race, but the I & GN reached Mineola 15 minutes earlier. Both railroads eventually became part of Union Pacific. According to some, the town was named by an I & GN official who laid-out the town site. The moniker came from a friend’s name--Minnie Patten--and that of his daughter--Ola.
Mineola was in the heart of East Texas timber country, making timber readily available for railroad tie-making and lumber. The construction of a T&P Railroad shop and the discovery of oil in Wood County in the 1940s caused growth as well. Two railroad hotels, Beckham (in the north) and Carleton Bay (in the south) served train crews on layovers between trips.
Mineola is home to many bed-and-breakfasts and antique stores. Events and festivals take place year-round. The Railroad Heritage Festival takes place in October. The Select Theater is also an attraction. The 70-year-old playhouse is the last remaining movie house in Mineola and plays an active role in the community. Willie Brown, the eventual Speaker of the California Assembly and Mayor of San Francisco was born and raised in Mineola before leaving after high school graduation. He was another of the advocates for the Amtrak stop in Mineola and rode the first Amtrak Texas Eagle to stop in Mineola in 1996.
The city is also the gateway to Tyler, Texas, 35 miles to the south. Tyler has been nicknamed the "Rose Capital of America" because of its large role in the rose-growing industry; about 20% of commercial rose bushes produced in the U.S. are grown in Tyler and Smith County and more than half of the rose bushes are packaged and shipped from the area. It has the nation's largest municipal rose garden and hosts the Texas Rose Festival each October, which draws more than 100,000 spectators.
Amtrak provides a Quik-Trak machine at this facility, but does not provide baggage services; Mineola is served by two daily trains.