Located on North Dakota's Drift Prairie, Minot was incorporated in 1887. The community recently completed a full renovation of the 1905 red brick Great Northern Railway depot.
Minot, North Dakota
400 1st Avenue S.W. Minot, ND 58701
- Annual Station Revenue (2015)
- Annual Station Ridership (2015)
|Facility Ownership||BNSF Railway|
|Parking Lot Ownership||BNSF Railway|
|Platform Ownership||BNSF Railway|
|Track Ownership||BNSF Railway|
|20 Long Term Parking Spaces||Accessible Platform||Accessible Restrooms|
|Accessible Waiting Room||Accessible Water Fountain||Baggage Storage|
|Bike Boxes||Checked Baggage||Dedicated Parking|
|Enclosed Waiting Area||Help With Luggage||Restrooms|
|Shipping Boxes||Short Term Parking Spaces||Ski Bags|
|Ticket Office||Wheelchair||Wheelchair Lift|
- Empire Builder
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
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The Great Northern Railway depot, located northwest of downtown near the Souris River, was built in 1905 and today serves as the Amtrak stop for Minot. The structure originally included a gabled roof and red brick exterior, but it was greatly altered during renovations in the early 1970s. The gabled roof was swapped out for a flat one, and the brick was covered with stucco. Inside, the interior was modernized by covering the marble floor with tile.
In 2003, the volunteer-led Amtrak Depot Restoration Committee formed to work toward a full rehabilitation of the structure. Three years later, it secured a $290,000 grant through the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Enhancement (TE) program, which specifically allocates funds for the restoration and preservation of historic transportation facilities. The city matched those funds with $70,000, later supplemented with an additional $40,000.
When the total cost of the work was estimated at approximately $750,000, the Committee decided to scale back its plans and focus on an exterior restoration. Work officially kicked off as part of the first National Train Day celebration on May 10, 2008. Contractors removed the stucco from the walls, but because they were not in a good enough condition to withstand the harsh North Dakota weather, Hight Construction laid a new brick exterior over the original walls. New windows and doors were also installed. Craft Builders of Minot built a pitched roof with two cross gables; it has a large eave that protects passengers from inclement weather while they wait outside for the arrival of the train. The total expense of the exterior work totaled nearly $440,000.
In 2009, the city applied for funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to cover the cost of the interior renovation, and it eventually won an additional $469,460 disbursed through the TE program. The city contributed $32,000 from its infrastructure fund to cover architect’s fees. Plans called for enlarging the waiting area by moving the Amtrak crew room behind the ticket office. The work carried out by R&K Contractors captured the spirit of the early 20th century through the installation of wood wainscot, tile flooring, wood benches and a pressed tin ceiling whose copper color complements the woodwork’s warm tones. Electrical and mechanical systems were also overhauled for passenger comfort, and the restrooms were brought into compliance with ADA standards. An added nod to the depot’s past came in the form of decorative grills over the ticket windows. To celebrate the renovation, a ribbon cutting was held on December 9, 2010. In attendance were officials representing the town, Amtrak and the Federal Highway Administration, as well as townspeople.
Unfortunately, not a year after the depot project wrapped up, Minot experienced extensive flooding when the Souris River overflowed its banks in spring 2011. Valiant efforts were made to preserve the building, which was surrounded by a wall of sandbags, but the basement flooded and two feet of water covered the first floor. The station remained closed to passengers through the summer while Amtrak undertook $200,000 in basic repairs to the building and the platform. A temporary waiting area and ticket counter, located in the old baggage room, opened to passengers in November 2011. In fall 2012, Amtrak gave R&K Contractors notice to proceed with the next round of improvements, including repairs to the waiting room's tile floor and wall paneling. Work was completed by April 2013, and a few weeks later, on National Train Day, the city held an open house to show off the renovated facility. That September, 15 handsome wood benches were installed in the main waiting room. The Minot Area Community Foundation, which supports both local and national charities and charitable causes, funded the project through a $30,000 grant.
Minot, located on the Drift Prairie of north-central North Dakota, is the seat of Ward County and the fourth largest city in the state. In 1886, as James J. Hill’s Great Northern Railroad (GN) ended its westward push for the winter, a tent town sprang up overnight on the site where the railroad workers camped. The suddenness of its appearance earned the town the moniker “The Magic City.” The railroad chose the town site to be on land owned by then-homesteader Erik Ramstad, who relinquished his claim but later became a city leader. The town was named after Henry D. Minot, a railroad investor and friend of Hill’s, and the city was incorporated on June 28, 1887.
The GN is considered to have been America’s premier northern transcontinental rail route, running from St. Paul, Minn. to Seattle. James J. Hill retains a special place in railroad history and lore, and is known as the “Empire Builder.” Whereas most transcontinental lines were built with federal assistance in the form of land grants, the GN did not partake of this method. Hill’s business acumen guided the planning and construction of the railroad. Much of the upper Midwest and West was sparsely settled, so instead of racing across the continent, the GN developed the regions through which it travelled as it steadily moved toward the Pacific. This action helped settle the land and created a customer base. Hill the businessman actively sought to establish trade links with Asia, and the railroad is credited with putting sleepy Seattle on the map and transforming it into an important and powerful Pacific Ocean port.
The Soo Line Railroad later built a line up from Valley City to Canada, crossing at Minot in 1893. The Soo Line station in Minot still stands, and has been on the National Register of Historical Places since 1978. During Prohibition, Minot was nicknamed, “Little Chicago,” as it was a central hub of Al Capone’s liquor-smuggling operations. Parts of the tunnels through which the smugglers transported their goods can still be accessed. In the 1950s, federal funding built an Air Force base near the city, Minot Air Force Base, and the Garrison Dam on the Missouri River, about 50 miles south of Minot. Minot Air Force Base is home to the 5th Bomb Wing and its squadron of B-52H Stratofortress bombers. Minot AFB is also home to the 91st Missile Wing.
Minot’s Midwestern setting and laid-back attitude sometimes hides its sizeable arts community: the city can boast an art museum, a symphony orchestra, an opera company, several dance and theater troupes, and much more. Nearly 40% of the city’s residents are of Scandinavian descent, and not only does the city have a Scandinavian Heritage Park, but every October since 1977, Minot has hosted the Norsk Høstfest, North America’s largest Scandinavian-American festival. The North Dakota State Fair is also held every summer in Minot.
Amtrak provides ticketing and baggage services at this station which is served by two daily trains.