WATERLOO, IND. – On June 24, 2016, town officials were joined by representatives from Amtrak and the office of U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly to cut the ribbon on Waterloo’s upgraded intercity passenger rail station.
The event marked the completion of a 10-year project to restore the community’s historic 1883 depot and make it the centerpiece of the busy station. In 2010, Waterloo won a $1.8 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to support creation of an enhanced passenger facility. The town ultimately chose to relocate the historic depot – then used for community events – approximately 700 feet west to the southeast corner of Center and Van Vleek Streets, adjacent to the existing Amtrak platform.
“This train depot played a central role in Waterloo’s history, and it will once again play a significant role in its future. The train depot will…provide modern conveniences for [Amtrak] customers. I believe that ridership will increase as a result, as it’s a big upgrade from the current bus hut.” – Waterloo Town Council President David Bolton
It now houses a passenger waiting area and restrooms while still retaining space for community functions. A volunteer “Friends of the Depot” group coordinated the furnishings and created displays related to the depot and town. In addition to minor building renovations, the larger station project included construction of a paved parking lot, sidewalks and accessible walkways, as well as installation of ornamental street lighting, fencing, benches and landscaping. Next to the station is a park and playground that also benefit from the new parking area and landscaping.
“The new station in Waterloo is not just a front door to your community but a gateway to Northeast Indiana as a region. When first impressions mean everything, this community has ensured that the half-million passengers that use the Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited every year will put Waterloo high on their list of preferred stations next time they book travel with us,” said Amtrak Senior Government Affairs Specialist Charlie Monte Verde.
In conjunction with the depot celebration, the town also dedicated its new town hall earlier in the morning. Both projects are officially endorsed “Legacy Projects” of the Indiana Bicentennial Celebration. Residents and visitors were invited to attend open houses and enjoy refreshments at both sites. Live music and a railroad history presentation were also offered at the depot.
More than 20,000 passengers began or ended their journey at the Waterloo station in Fiscal Year 2015. It is served daily by the Capitol Limited (Chicago-Washington) and Lake Shore Limited (Chicago-New York/Boston). Waterloo is one of the busiest stops in Indiana, as it is the primary station for passengers from Ft. Wayne.