East Lansing, MI (LNS)
The new Capital Area Multi Modal Gateway, opened in 2015, brings together Amtrak trains, intercity and local CATA buses and bike-sharing in one convenient location.
1240 South Harrison Road
East Lansing, MI 48823
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 66,313
- Facility Ownership: Michigan State University
- Parking Lot Ownership: Michigan State University
- Platform Ownership: Canadian National Illinois Central (Grand Trunk Western Railroad Co.)
- Track Ownership: Canadian National Illinois Central (Grand Trunk Western Railroad Co.)
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
Amtrak moved into the new Capital Area Multi Modal Gateway in January 2016. The station, which replaced a small building directly to the east, brings together Amtrak trains, intercity and local CATA buses and bike-sharing in one convenient location on the western edge of the Michigan State University (MSU) campus. The facility, which is run by the Capital Area Transportation Authority, sits at the convergence of two rail lines and is easily accessible from Interstate 496.
Increasing ridership in the 2000s led East Lansing and MSU officials to contemplate the construction of a larger, modern facility better able to accommodate present and future ridership needs. Partnering together, CATA, the city and university won a $6.28 million grant in 2012 for a new multimodal facility through the Federal Transit Administration’s Bus and Bus Facilities Livability Initiative.
In addition to the federal funds, the project was supported by the Michigan DOT through a $500,000 match. MSU also contributed approximately $3.2 million through the long-term lease of the property occupied by the multimodal center. Construction began in summer 2014 and lasted approximately one year, with bus operators moving to the facility in fall 2015.
As travelers arrive at the Multi Modal Gateway from Harrison Road, they are greeted by a landscaped greenspace that provides a beautiful vista of the building. Walls of glass are set in an interesting pattern that delights the eye while also allowing natural light to flood the station interior. A wide roof overhang protects travelers from inclement weather. The interior includes ticketing desks, a seating area, restrooms and space for concessions. Canopies cover the bus bays adjacent to the building. There is also ample on-site parking.
East Lansing was sited at the junction of two important American Indian trails, and by 1850, the Lansing and Howell Plank Road Company had built a toll road through East Lansing toward Detroit. MSU, today the largest educational institution in Michigan and eighth largest in the United States, was founded in 1855 as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan. It subsequently served as a prototype for other land grant institutions created under the 1862 Morrill Act. The college was established in what is now East Lansing in 1857.
In the first forty years, students and faculty lived almost entirely on campus. In 1887, professors William J. Beal and Rolla C. Carpenter created plans for Collegeville and developed it, as there were few places to live in the then-rural area immediately around the campus. Other subdivisions followed when a streetcar line was built in the 1890s. In 1907, the legislature approved the city charter for “College Park,” but changed the name to East Lansing.
When East Lansing incorporated, the college changed its name to Michigan Agricultural College and instituted an engineering school. The school was later consolidated when Ransom E. Olds gave the college $100,000 in 1917 for a new engineering building to be erected directly upon the foundations of the previous hall, which had burned the year before. By 1925 the curriculum had expanded well beyond the original mandate of engineering and agricultural studies, and the school was finally elevated to a university in 1955. Its name changed again, and since 1964 it has been known simply as Michigan State University. Today, the institution has an international reputation for academic excellence. In 2008, it was awarded the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams by the U.S. Department of Energy. The facility studies the properties of rare isotopes to better allow scientists to understand the origins of elements.
Lansing, at the confluence of the Grand and Red Cedar Rivers, was settled in 1835 when unscrupulous developers convinced a party of settlers from Lansing, N.Y., to come to central Michigan and invest in land that was in a floodplain and underwater most of the year—the neighborhood which is REO Town today. Nonetheless, many of the newcomers stayed and named their settlement Lansing Township after their previous home.
After Detroit’s capture by the British during the War of 1812, that city’s proximity to the Canadian border was viewed as a bit of a risk. In 1847, the Michigan House of Representatives, unable to come to a consensus about relocating the capital, finally decided to move it from Detroit to Lansing, which was located away from the international border and therefore viewed as more secure.
The village rapidly expanded and in 1859 was incorporated as a city. Most of what is now known as Lansing was a result of industrialization, which began with the founding of the Olds Motor Vehicle Company in August 1897. This company went through many changes, including a buyout, between its establishment and 1905 when its founder, Ransome E. Olds, started his REO Motor Company, which lasted for another 70 years in Lansing. Over the next decades, the city would become a major American industrial center for the manufacture of automobiles and automobile parts, among other items. Today, the city’s economy is diversified among government, health care, manufacturing, insurance, banking and education.
Train enthusiasts enjoy photographing two historic depots in Lansing. Erected from 1902 to 1903, the Grand Trunk depot near the Grand River was designed by Detroit architects Frederich Spier and William C. Rohns who also built the Dowagiac, Niles and Durand depots.
It is an excellent example of the Jacobean Revival style, featuring a classic square tower with decorative crenellations, a beautiful covered outdoor waiting area and architectural details such as a steeply-pitched terra-cotta roof and decorative brick with stone trim around the windows and doorways. Passenger service to the Grand Trunk station ended in 1971. By the time the Blue Waterservice began in 1974, through funds made available by the Michigan DOT, the building had already been sold and converted to a restaurant.
The Grand Trunk depot was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. After a period of abandonment, the depot underwent a $2.5 million restoration from 2011-2013 at the direction of the Lansing Board of Water and Light (BWL). It is now used for BWL board of commissioners meetings and training courses. A short distance away is the former Union Depot built in 1904 for the Michigan Central and Pere Marquette railroads. It also lost its passenger trains in 1971, but has operated as a restaurant since 1978.
The Blue Water service is financed primarily through funds made available by the Michigan Department of Transportation. Amtrak provides both ticketing and baggage services at the East Lansing station, which is served by two daily trains.
- 150 Long Term Parking Spaces
- Accessible Platform
- Accessible Restrooms
- Accessible Ticket Office
- Accessible Waiting Room
- Accessible Water Fountain
- Dedicated Parking
- Enclosed Waiting Area
- Help With Luggage
- Quik Trak Kiosk
- Ticket Office
- Wheelchair Lift