New Buffalo, MI (NBU)
Early settlers were attracted by the potential for a harbor where the Galien River empties into Lake Michigan. The current downtown depot is located between the harbor and lake.
226 North Whittaker Street
New Buffalo, MI 49117-1161
Annual Station Ridership (FY 2022): 19,564
- Facility Ownership: N/A
- Parking Lot Ownership: City of New Buffalo
- Platform Ownership: Amtrak
- Track Ownership: Amtrak
On October 26, 2009, the New Buffalo station relocated to its present site about 0.6 miles north of the former Amtrak stop. The station provides an open-air shelter with roof on a concrete platform and is located downtown, one block from the Lake Michigan shore and New Buffalo harbor.
New Buffalo’s growth has been along its lakefront and downtown. Since 1984, the former station had sat on the south side of town along CSX-owned railroad tracks, and it was served by the Pere Marquette (Chicago-Grand Rapids). Jimmy Gierczyk, a local real estate developer, approached Amtrak in 2004 and offered to construct a new platform on the Amtrak-owned rail line through town, at no cost to either Amtrak or the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). In exchange, he asked for an agreement to stop two daily trains in each direction at the new station. The city as well as MDOT and other political entities supported this proposal. Groundbreaking took place in November 2008 and concrete was poured in spring 2009.
Due to the station relocation, the Pere Marquette stopped serving the town, but New Buffalo was added to the schedules of the Blue Water (Chicago-Port Huron) and Wolverine Service (Chicago-Pontiac) trains. The ongoing maintenance of the station is done by the city, and the developer set aside new parking spaces dedicated to the facility. He also built condominiums close to the station, intending to create attractive residences for people wishing to commute into Chicago, about an hour and fifteen minutes away by train.
Since the opening of the new station, service has increased to seven daily trains. Obsolete signage from the old station was donated to the New Buffalo Railroad Museum, across the highway from the former Amtrak stop.
In the late 17th century the St. Joseph River was explored by Father Jacques Marquette, opening the area to other European traders and eventually settlers. In 1834, Captain Wessel D. Whittaker’s ship Post Boy ran aground in a November storm near present-day Grand Beach. On his way to St. Joseph to report the loss, he saw the area at the mouth of the Galien River where it empties into Lake Michigan, and envisioned a harbor to rival his home port of Buffalo, N.Y.—and went to Kalamazoo to purchase the land. He returned the next year with $13,000 in investments, as well as friends and relatives, to develop the area. In 1836, New Buffalo incorporated as a village.
The harbor was not actually developed for commercial use in the 19th century. However, the railroad provided the necessary commerce that shipping did not bring to this farming community. The Michigan Central Railroad came through, terminating the line in New Buffalo in 1849. This terminal between Detroit and Chicago encouraged the growth of hotels and saloons in the town. However, this boom only lasted until 1853, when the Michigan Central completed the line to Chicago.
The Chicago & Michigan Lake Shore Railroad built through in 1869, on what would become the present-day CSX tracks. In 1882, the Chicago and West Michigan Railway came through, and this was one of three railways that would be consolidated into the Pere Marquette Railway, which was incorporated in 1900 and began running through New Buffalo in 1903. (The Pere Marquette Railway has since been succeeded by CSX Transportation.) Passenger service ceased in 1971, but in 1984, Amtrak began running the Pere Marquette with financial support provided by MDOT.
Isaac O. Smith, in 1893, turned a portion of his lakeside farm into a resort for travelers to Chicago’s grand Columbian Exhibition; and in 1903, the Congregational Assembly for Bible students began a trend of creating summer camps in the township. As early as 1911, the Grand Beach area became a popular summer resort area. Growth of the Pere Marquette in the 1920s made that railway a major employer in New Buffalo until the late 1940s. Tourism from Chicagoans, however, became increasingly important to the town’s economy. With the increasing use of the automobile, the state built its first tourist center in the town in 1934, calling it the “Gateway to Michigan.”
In 1947, the first marina facilities opened, but it was not until the 1960s—when Paul Oselka began dredging the harbor and the channel to it—that the safe harbor became a reality. Today the town provides a large, modern refuge harbor, and around-the-clock public boat launch, and a full service transient dock facility. Sport fishing and the city beach and lakefront park, along with the Sima nature preserve provide other attractions. Additionally, in 2007 the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi Nation opened the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo making the town even more of a vacation destination.
The New Buffalo Railroad Museum, established in 1989, occupies a replica of the original Pere Marquette depot, close by the site of the former Amtrak station.
The Blue Water and Wolverine Service are financed primarily through funds made available by the Michigan State Department of Transportation.
Platform with Shelter
- 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 30 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
- Same-day parking is available; fees may apply
- Overnight parking is available; fees may apply
- No payphones
- Accessible platform
- No accessible restrooms
- No accessible ticket office
- No accessible waiting room
- No accessible water fountain
- Same-day, accessible parking is available; fees may apply
- Overnight, accessible parking is available; fees may apply
- No high platform
- No wheelchair
- Wheelchair lift available
Station Waiting Room Hours
Ticket Office Hours
Passenger Assistance Hours
Checked Baggage Service