Meridian, MS (MEI)
Established in 1860 at the intersection of the Mobile & Ohio Railroad and the Southern Railway of Mississippi, the city has a rich railroad heritage that includes the renovated Union Station.
1901 Front Street
Meridian, MS 39301
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 10,179
- Facility Ownership: City of Meridian
- Parking Lot Ownership: City of Meridian
- Platform Ownership: Norfolk Southern Railway
- Track Ownership: Norfolk Southern Railway
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
The renovated Amtrak station (also called Meridian Multi-Modal Transportation Center and locally Union Station) is part of the Meridian Downtown Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The original Union Station was completed in 1907 in Mission Revival style and at a cost of $250,000. It included a central tower and east and west wings along Front Street. The tower was demolished in 1940, and the west wing in 1966. The remaining east wing served as the Amtrak station prior to renovation.
Led by Mayor John Robert Smith, Meridian established a Multi-Modal Transit Study Committee to investigate the potential of such a facility. Following a series of town meetings, architectural plans were drawn up to reconstruct the Union Station tower to house Amtrak, Greyhound, and the Meridian Transit system, with taxi service to the Meridian Regional Airport, trolley loops through downtown, and office space for Norfolk Southern Railway. Meeting rooms on the mezzanine level were designed for community activities. The existing east wing would house Meridian’s economic development agency and a former Railway Express Agency building would be converted into a railroad museum.
With a cost of nearly $7 million, Meridian’s Union Station was awarded $5.1 million in federal and state grants from the Mississippi DOT, including the first ISTEA grant ever awarded by the state for a historic reconstruction project. All of this money was funneled into construction costs. Local funding came in the form of $1.4 million from Certificates of Participation. Finally, Amtrak granted an unprecedented $431,000 for this exemplary project. The new MMTC was officially dedicated on December 11, 1997.
This project has leveraged more than $135 million worth of public-private investment in the Depot District, including office space, retail shops, and a data processing/computer training center, apartments, restaurants, and vital records storage buildings. Other private-sector development is under way, as well. Meridian’s tremendous success story has provided ample inspiration for other small cities wishing to renovate their passenger stations and their downtown areas.
Meridian is the county seat of Lauderdale County, the fifth largest in Mississippi. Meridian’s history is inextricably linked with the railroads. Established in 1860 at the intersection of the Mobile & Ohio Railroad and the Southern Railway of Mississippi, the city relied heavily on the transport of goods by rail for support.
During the American Civil War, much of the village was burned to the ground by General William Tecumseh Sherman in the Battle of Meridian in 1864. After the war, the city rebuilt and prospered: between 1890 and 1930 Meridian was the largest city in Mississippi and a manufacturing center and entered a “golden era.” Industry profits helped finance the construction of most of the city’s major buildings, such as the Grand Opera House in 1890, the Wechsler School in 1894, two Carnegie Libraries in 1913, and the Threefoot Building, Meridian’s tallest, in 1929. Since 1950, population has declined, due to the waning influence of the railroads; however, a recent influx of evacuees from Hurricane Katrina has reversed that trend somewhat.
Meridian contains nine historic districts, including the Depot District surrounding the rebuilt Union Station. The Grand Opera house has been fully restored to its 1890s state. The Meridian Museum of Art, which opened in 1970, shows over 30 exhibitions annually, featuring both modern regional artists as well as historical works from the 18th and 19th centuries. A large public art project, Around Town Carousels Abound, has placed carousel horses restored by local and regional artists around the city as a benefit for the Hope Village for Children.
Meridian was also the home to Jimmie Rodgers, often acknowledged as the “father of country music.” The annual Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Festival is held every May, and has become a showcase for musical talent over the past 50 years.
Amtrak provides ticketing and baggage services at this station, which is served by two daily trains.
- 10 Short Term Parking Spaces
- 15 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
- Shipping Boxes
- Ticket Office
- Wheelchair Lift