Centralia, WA (CTL)
Centralia is located where the Chehalis and Skookumchuck rivers meet. The Northern Pacific Railroad opened the red brick depot in 1912 to accommodate the city’s booming population.
210 Railroad Avenue
Centralia, WA 98531
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 25,871
- Facility Ownership: City of Centralia
- Parking Lot Ownership: City of Centralia
- Platform Ownership: BNSF Railway
- Track Ownership: BNSF Railway
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
The Centralia depot was constructed by the Northern Pacific Railroad and opened in 1912 to accommodate the city’s population boom of that era. The station was placed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1988. The city and the Washington State Department of Transportation (DOT) purchased the depot, spurred by the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroad merger, and began restorations in 1996.
The city hired an architectural firm experienced in historic restoration, Easters and Kittle of Issaquah, Wash., to begin work on the deteriorated building, platform, and parking lot. Seismic retrofit, heating-ventilating-air conditioning (HVAC) upgrades, fire suppression, enhanced utilities, and better lighting were also included in the plan. The first phase of construction consisted mainly of exterior work. Four tons of pigeon residue was removed from the attic, dormers replaced, new tile roof installed, brick tuck-pointed, and new utilities stubbed in, as well as parking lots added.
The next phase restored the interior, bringing a new terrazzo floor, stripped and varnished woodwork, polished brass and new tile. New HVAC and an elevator were installed, adding nearly 3,000 square feet of commercial space on the second floor. The restoration was completed in April, 2002 and celebrated at Centralia’s first annual Railroad Days event. The total project cost was $4.4 million with funding from the city of Centralia, the Washington State DOT (Rail Branch Division), the Washington State Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation, the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board, the Federal Highway Administration, and Amtrak.Further cosmetic renovations and modernization of services were also undertaken in late 2003.
In the 1850s, George Washington, a freed slave and adopted son of Anna and James Cochran, went west to settle, and began a claim where the Skookumchuck River joins the Chehalis River. He was the fourth settler in the area, and occupied his claim to begin farming and building. However, the Oregon Territory had just passed a law barring settlement by African-Americans; Washington then had his adopted parents, who came out to join him, file a claim under the Donation Claim Act for 640 acres. Subsequently, when the Washington Territory came into existence, the Cochrans deeded the property to Washington.
When the Northern Pacific Railroad crossed their land in 1872, Washington and his wife, Mary Jane, realized that they lived in the strategic center between Kalama on the Columbia River and Tacoma on Puget Sound, and filed a plat for a town in 1875, which they named Centerville. The town was incorporated on February 3, 1886. However, there was confusion with another Centerville township in Washington State, so they changed the name to Centralia in 1891. By that time, the town’s founder had sold 2,000 lots, and the location had indeed proven itself to be a central spot on the rail line up to Tacoma.
Though his wife, who helped found the town, died in 1888, Washington remained active and took a critical interest in civic affairs until his death. He was noted for his willingness to help his fellow residents in many ways, including selling property for little money down, offering loans at no interest, and providing work when there was little available. During the panic of 1893, when Centralia along with much of the rest of the nation went into a decline for most of a decade, Washington’s willingness to assist and his efforts at a private relief program kept the town from failing. When he died in 1905, he was much mourned, and was buried in the cemetery he had donated, from a church he had long supported.
This facility has a waiting room and is staffed by Amtrak employees. Centralia is served by 12 daily trains. The Amtrak Cascades are primarily financed through funds made available by the Washington State DOT and the Oregon Department of Transportation.
This is one of two cities named Centralia that is served by Amtrak; the other is in Illinois, on the routes of the Illini, Saluki and City of New Orleans.
- 25 Short Term Parking Spaces
- 25 Long Term Parking Spaces
- Accessible Payphones
- Accessible Platform
- Accessible Restrooms
- Accessible Ticket Office
- Accessible Waiting Room
- Accessible Water Fountain
- Baggage Storage
- Bike Boxes
- Checked Baggage
- Dedicated Parking
- Enclosed Waiting Area
- Help With Luggage
- Pay Phones
- Quik Trak Kiosk
- Shipping Boxes
- Ski Bags
- Ticket Office
- Wheelchair Lift