Whether your community is considering renovating an existing rail station or constructing a new intermodal center, there are key points to keep in mind as you start your project.

Pen checking an item off a checklist
1) Identify and Contact Stakeholders

You should start by contacting the appropriate stakeholders.

The Amtrak Stations Planning team

We can provide you with examples of successful station projects of a similar scope, and have standard plans and photos for your use.

Station Owners

Station owners will play an important role in the development process. Station owners may include Amtrak, freight railroads, municipalities and private individuals(Ownership information is listed on each individual station profile page).

  • Amtrak must agree with any sale, lease or changes to the depot.
  • Amtrak retains the right to remain in an existing depot at a level of utility no less than what we have at that time any agreement between the community and the railroad is executed.
  • If a host railroad owns the depot, it may be open to the idea of selling or leasing it to a municipality, although concerns regarding access and liability provisions will need to be discussed.

State Department of Transportation (DOT)

The state will need to understand how your project may fit into the state’s transportation plan. They may also be helpful in obtaining grants and funding.

  • Rail Section within State DOT – In most states, there is a rail section within the DOT that deals with Amtrak and the host railroads.

State Historic Preservation Office

A great source of advice on renovating historically designated buildings, historic preservation tax credits and other topics.

2) Involve Stakeholders Early in the Process

Working on a rail station often involves many stakeholders, all of whom will need to be notified of your plans. At many stations served by Amtrak, ownership of the station property—tracks, platform(s), depot and parking—is divided among many parties. Contact stakeholders early on in the process so that they are aware of your intentions and can plan accordingly.

3) Consider Historic Preservation Regulations

Stations designated historic at the local, state or national level may be subject to special design guidelines or restrictions if you plan to significantly alter the exterior, which could be protected under the law. Although rare, some communities also have designation programs for public interiors.

If you are not sure your depot is considered historic, you can check with your local historic preservation commission or search the National Register of Historic Places. A building might be registered as an individual structure or be included as a “contributing structure” within a larger historic district.

4) Explore Accessibility Regulations

Amtrak is committed to ensuring that stations are accessible to all passengers, including travelers with disabilities. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other pertinent laws, Amtrak and station stakeholders are working to create accessible features and pathways that improve the station experience.

Staff from the Amtrak Accessible Stations Development Program will work with you during the planning, design and construction phases of your project to make sure accessibility features are incorporated into the station. To define the scope of work, Amtrak will coordinate and solicit cooperation from all stakeholders. Accessibility projects may include work in and around the depot, on the platform and in the parking area.