900 Front Street Needles, CA 92363
- Annual Station Revenue (2013)
- Annual Station Ridership (2013)
|Facility Ownership||BNSF Railway|
|Parking Lot Ownership||BNSF Railway|
|Platform Ownership||BNSF Railway|
|Track Ownership||BNSF Railway|
|Accessible Platform||Pay Phones||Wheelchair Lift|
- Southwest Chief
(510) 238-2671 (ph)
Local Community Links:
The current Amtrak stop in Needles consists of a platform at a freight yard. Although located near the street, the BNSF Railway has built a new covered shelter for Amtrak passengers and BNSF Railway crews. The shelter has a payphone and train information signage.
The "crown jewel" of the Harvey House chain restaurants, the historic station (El Garces) standing today was built beginning in 1906 and finished by 1908, after a fire ravaged a preceding Needles Depot just a few years earlier. By 1949 the restaurant closed its doors, but the building continued to function as office space for the Santa Fe Railway. However, even the office space did not last, as the Santa Fe decided to move its office location in 1988 to an old Santa Fe hospital facility south of the depot, which subsequently closed its doors entirely.
For the next five years, the station was ravaged by vandals due to its total vacancy. Consideration was given to demolishing the building, but in 1993 the Friends of the El Garces, Inc. was formed and petitioned the city of Needles to purchase and renovate the station. The actual purchase of the station by the city occurred in 1999. The historic building will receive an annual $1.67 million in earmarked U.S. Department of Transportation funds until the end of FY 2009. Additionally, the Friends of the El Garces, Inc. have held fundraisers over the years to help raise a portion of the estimated $10 million necessary to restore the facility. Further renovations are in discussion, the most ambitious of which are to refurbish the building enough so that it can reopen as a redeveloped upscale hotel and restaurant. There are no plans to allow Amtrak passengers to use the building.
Needles sits just off the western banks of the Colorado River in the Mojave Valley at the tri-state crossroads of California, Arizona, and Nevada. It is named for the sharp mountain peaks found at the southern end of the mountain range that runs along this same path. Originally, the land was occupied exclusively by the Mohave Indians, who had lived there centuries before European expeditions arrived. The first western community on the land would develop in 1859 on Camp Colorado, later known as Fort Mojave, a sanctuary for western travelers built by the U.S. Army. The city itself was founded in 1883, following railroad construction over the Colorado River from Topock in the Arizona Territory. In its earliest days, Needles was where goods traveling from California would be iced to continue their transit east.
This relatively small city of less than 5,000, which was incorporated as a California charter city in 1913, is intersected by three major highways: Interstate 40, U.S. Route 95 and the former U.S. Route 66. This community, although tiny, is known for several reasons. First, Needles experiences persistently extreme temperatures during the summer, often reaching 120°F, although it has been known to climb higher. Needles is one of several cities along the Amtrak Southwest Chief route that is mentioned in the "Route 66" song written by Bobby Troup and popularized first by singer Nat King Cole. Also, Needles' D Street School is where cartoonist Charles Schulz attended school. Schulz would later revisit Needles through his work in Peanuts, using it as the setting for the home of Snoopy's cousin, Spike.
Amtrak does not provide ticketing or baggage services at this facility.
Needles is served by two daily trains.