Jackson, MS (JAN)
A city-led renovation of the 1927 Georgian Revival style station transformed it into a multimodal transportation facility while also jumpstarting downtown's revival.
300 West Capitol Street
Jackson, MS 39201
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 47,443
- Facility Ownership: City of Jackson
- Parking Lot Ownership: N/A
- Platform Ownership: Canadian National Illinois Central Railroad
- Track Ownership: Canadian National Illinois Central Railroad
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
The Jackson station and connecting freight house was built by the Illinois Central Railroad in 1927 after the railroad was elevated through downtown. In 1976, the station waiting room was renovated in conjunction with the nation’s bicentennial for the American Freedom Train tour. In 2003 the city of Jackson acquired the building from Canadian National (the successor to Illinois Central) and began a $20 million renovation of the 60,000 square foot multi-floor brick building, reopening it as the Union Station Multimodal Transportation Facility.
Amtrak was relocated to the former freight house section of the building, joining Greyhound and Jatran, the city’s bus network. The former passenger waiting room and ticket counter were converted into commercial office space. The project’s architects, Dale and Associates, received a 2005 Mississippi AIA Merit Award for the completed station. The renovation of the Georgian Revival structure included masonry repointing, wooden window repair, replacing the tile roof, and upgrades to the interior. An Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) grant and Jackson Redevelopment Authority funds financed the project. The station project was one of the first renewal efforts in downtown; dozens of buildings have since been rehabilitated, including the historic Hotel King Edward, which had closed in 1966.
The area around Jackson was first settled by Louis LeFleur and became known as LeFleur’s Bluff. In 1821 the Mississippi General Assembly, then located in Natchez, dispatched agents to search out a central location for a state capital. The region known as LeFleur’s bluff was settled upon as a desirable site and on November 28, 1821 the legislature authorized it to become the permanent seat of government in Mississippi. The new capital was named Jackson after Andrew Jackson, seventh President of the United States. The legislature first met in Jackson on December 23, 1822. In 1840, the line of the Clinton and Vicksburg railway reached Jackson, linking the landlocked capital to the state’s transportation network.
During the Civil War, Jackson became a center of manufacturing for the Confederacy. As such, it played a major role in the Vicksburg campaign and was the site of two important battles. The First Battle of Jackson was fought on May 14, 1863, between the forces of General Grant and General Johnson. Johnson had resolved to abandon Jackson as at the time his forces could not rival the numerically superior Union Army (though reinforcements were approaching). The battle was thus primarily a rear-guard action designed to stall Union forces and protect the bulk of the retreating Confederates from harm. As Jackson was a critical supply line for Vicksburg, Grant ordered General Sherman to destroy anything in Jackson of military value. The town was burned and looted – and the railroads damaged beyond immediate repair.
On May 16, Sherman’s forces left Jackson to reinforce Grant at Vicksburg, and Confederate forces retook the crippled town. The Confederate forces fortified Jackson in preparation for an attempt to break the siege of Vicksburg, which proved unnecessary when Vicksburg fell on July 4, 1863. General Sherman was dispatched to eliminate these forces, and surrounded the city in a weeklong siege. Finally, on July 16, 1863, the siege ended when Confederate forces fled from Jackson across the Pearl River. Upon its capture Union forces burned and razed the city, earning it the nickname “chimneyville” as the brick chimneys were all that was left standing.
Following the war, the city soon began to regain its glory and prominence. It became a railroad hub and a major stop on the New Orleans, Jackson, and Great Northern railroad, later to become part of the Illinois Central system. The state held its constitutional convention in Jackson in 1890, passing the first state constitution to disenfranchise African-American voters through poll-taxes and literacy requirements.
During the 1930s, Jackson’s economy was buoyed by the discovery of natural gas nearby. During World War II, Jackson’s Hawkins Field became the location of the Royal Netherlands Flying School (in exile), in addition to its usage by the U.S. Army Air Force Training Command.
Following the end of World War II, Jackson became the center of a new conflict, the Civil Rights movement. On May 24, 1961, more than 300 freedom riders were arrested in Jackson for disturbing the peace. During the Civil Rights era, activists launched a string of boycotts, sit-ins, and marches throughout the city. On June 12, 1963, the situation again intensified when Medgar Evers, leader of the Mississippi NAACP, was assassinated in front of his Jackson residence.
Today, Jackson continues to be largest city in the state, with the metro area encompassing two counties. It is the home to Jackson State University, a predominantly African-American institution, the University of Mississippi Medical Center and several private colleges. Jackson is home to numerous museums and cultural organizations, including the Old Capitol Museum, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Mississippi Museum of Art, the International Museum of Muslim Cultures, the Jackson Zoo, the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Museum, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, the Russell Davis Planetarium and the Mississippi Braves, a Double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. Jackson is also one of four hosting locations of the USA International Ballet Competition.
Amtrak provides ticketing and baggage services at this facility, which is served by two daily trains.
Station Building (with waiting room)
- 10 Short Term Parking Spaces
Number of spaces available for Amtrak passengers to park for the day only not overnight. Parking fees may apply.
- Accessible Payphones
- Accessible Platform
Accessible platform is a barrier-free path from the drop-off area outside the station to the station platform.
- Accessible Restrooms
- Accessible Ticket Office
- Accessible Waiting Room
- Accessible Water Fountain
- Baggage Storage
Baggage storage is an area where passengers may store their bags equivalent to 'left luggage' in Europe. A storage fee may apply.
- Bike Boxes
- Checked Baggage
- Dedicated Parking
- Enclosed Waiting Area
- Help With Luggage
- High Platform
A high platform is a platform at the level of the vestibule of the train with the exception of Superliners.
Self-service lockers are available in select stations for passenger baggage storage
- Long-term Parking Spaces
Number of spaces available for Amtrak passengers to park overnight. Parking fees may apply.
- Parking Attendant
- Pay Phones
- Shipping Boxes
- Ski Bags
- Wheelchair Lift
Wheelchair lift is a platform-mounted lift for loading passengers from low platforms onto trains that do not have onboard ramps.