Acquired by the city from Norfolk Southern Railway and subsequently restored, the depot is a busy commuter rail stop that also houses a tourist information office and railroad exhibits.
Annual Station Ridership (FY 2023): 43,221
- Facility Ownership: City of Manassas
- Parking Lot Ownership: City of Manassas/Lawrence and Anna Bachanan
- Platform Ownership: Norfolk Southern Railway
- Track Ownership: Norfolk Southern Railway
The first Manassas Junction rail depot was a small log building located to the east of the present station and on the north side of the tracks where the Alexandria and Orange and Manassas Gap railroads crossed in 1852.
In July of 1861, this tiny railroad community became one of the most important places in American history as the site of historic battles in the Civil War. Both Union General Irvin McDowell and Confederate General J.T. Beauregard recognized the importance of the town’s location: by capturing the railroad junction, the Union would take possession of the best overland route to Richmond, the Confederate capital. The Confederacy was prepared to defend the junction at all costs. Confederate soldiers, under the command of Generals Joseph E. Johnston and Thomas Jonathan (Stonewall) Jackson marched to the site of the First Battle of Bull Run through the Thoroughfare Gap in the Bull Run Mountains.
After the Civil War, the first depot on the present site was a long frame building constructed in the 1880s following the typical depot designs of the Richmond and Danville Railroad Company, which purchased controlling interest in the Orange & Alexandria in 1886. This frame depot was dismantled in 1904 and replaced by a brick passenger depot. On June 25, 1914 a fire broke out in the baggage room and the depot burned, leaving only the foundation and walls.
Work on the third and present depot was completed in October 1914, in a red-brick Victorian style with a ceramic tile-covered hipped roof. The structure partially incorporated the walls of the burned depot, which measured about 20 feet by 77 feet, and had four new rooms; an office, a ladies’ waiting room, men’s waiting room and a baggage and express room. The “new” structure is about 32 feet longer than the earlier one permitting a modified room arrangement and included the addition of an umbrella shed on the front and east side, the installation of electric lights, and an attractive tile roof.
In the 1990s, the city of Manassas acquired the depot from Norfolk Southern Railway and restored the structure under the direction of The Manassas Museum System. Renovation was completed in 1997 after two and a half years of work by the city of Manassas Department of Historic Resources. The redesign was done by Dalgleish, Eichman, Gilpin, & Paxton; construction by Mass Contracting; and exhibits by PRD Group, Ltd.
Rehabilitation included returning the building as closely as possible to its 1914 look while accommodating modern uses. Restored features include paint colors, repointed brick, new plaster, overhaul of all mechanical systems, addition of fire and security systems, wood moldings, reproductions of original doors and light fixtures and return of the distinctive clay tile roof, made by the same company that did the 1914 roof. As for the $575, 000 cost, an Intermodal Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) grant paid $336,000; the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, $215,700; and the city of Manassas, $24,000.
Today the structure houses the offices of Historic Manassas, Inc.; the Tourist Information Center; and the James & Marion Payne Memorial Railroad Exhibition Gallery, operated by the Manassas Museum System.
On October 1, 2009, Amtrak Virginia, a partnership between the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation and Amtrak, oversaw the extension of one daily roundtrip Northeast Regional train between Lynchburg, Manassas, Washington, D.C. and points north along the Northeast Corridor. The popular new service provides communities along the US 29 corridor with more travel options and direct links to destinations as far as Boston.
Manassas is an independent city located within Prince William County in northern Virginia. The town, incorporated in 1873, became the county seat in 1892. Since the 1950s, Manassas’ growth and development has been strongly influenced by its position as a “bedroom” community of Washington, D.C.; Virginia Rail Express (VRE) commuter rail brings much of the traffic through the station.
The depot also has a place in music history. In 1972, the platform served as the backdrop for the cover of the Stephen Stills album, Manassas, made with fellow ex-Byrd Chris Hillman. The “Manassas” sign on the station’s overhang serves as the title for the album.
Northeast Regional service within Virginia is funded in part through grants made available by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
- ATM not available
- No elevator
- No payphones
- No Quik-Trak kiosks
- No Restrooms
- Unaccompanied child travel not allowed
- No vending machines
- No WiFi
- Arrive at least minutes prior to departure
- Amtrak Express shipping not available
- No checked baggage service
- No checked baggage storage
- Bike boxes not available
- No baggage carts
- Ski bags not available
- No bag storage
- Shipping boxes not available
- No baggage assistance
- No payphones
- No accessible restrooms
- No accessible ticket office
- No accessible waiting room
- No accessible water fountain
- No high platform
- No wheelchair
- No wheelchair lift