555 Railroad St.
Trackside, Bangor Michigan Depot; John Langdon
Bangor, MI Depot, June 2004

Trackside, Bangor Michigan Depot
Bangor, MI Depot, May 1998

The Bangor Depot was built in 1926 by the Pere Marquette Railroad to replace a earlier wooden station that burned. Beginning in 1984 and through 1991, the depot served as both a passenger station and as the home of the Kalamazoo Toy Train Works. Because of the toy trains manufactured in the station and its Amtrak service, Bangor became known as "Train City USA". Following the termination of toy train manufacturing in 1991, the building was vacated and Amtrak passengers had to  wait for their train in a small shelter located next to the empty and deteriorating depot.

This station had the dubious distinction of being number one on the Great American Station Foundation's 1998 list of the "Top 10 Most Endangered Stations in America".

Hoping to spur an economic redevelopment project, the City of Bangor bought the depot in November 2001. For more information, including a floor plan and pre-restoration photos of the interior, see the City of Bangor's depot web page.

Early in 2004, the depot was purchased by Beacon Specialized Living Services, a healthcare services provider. Under their ownership, the empty attic of the original depot was replaced by a second floor, doubling the floor space of the old depot. .

New Interior, Photo by John Langdon
New Interior, June 2004

The city retained ownership of the far south end of the building. Originally a covered portico, in later years it was enclosed and used as the passenger waiting room.

In July 2004, the city got a $125,000 Michigan DOT grant to rebuild the waiting room and platform. Work is to include a new floor, new doors and windows, rebuilding the bathrooms, and refinishing the original waiting room benches. Amtrak owns the platform. About half the grant will be paid to Amtrak for rebuilding the platform. The project was to be done by April 2005.

New Waiting Room, Bangor Michigan Depot
New Waiting Room, June 2005

The rebuilt waiting room opened May 6, 2005, with a brief ceremony ending with the arrival of the Amtrak train. Building tours and an open house followed.

Just north of the new waiting room, in what was originally the waiting room, is a delightful, upscale coffee shop,  The Bangor Coffee Depot, featuring an extensive meun, G-scale trains on display, a large collection of old photos and artwork, and a patio on the trackside platform.

Bangor Coffee Depot
Bangor Coffee Depot, June 2005

The main entrance and lobby for Beacon offices is on the depot's west side, in what was the freight room. The freight room scale remains intact. Stairs lead to the company offices on the second floor. The first floor was restored with minimal changes to the original floor plan. The agent's office became a conference room. There is a larger meeting room in what may have been a second waiting room.

Historical architectural purists might not like the changes to the Bangor depot. But really, the only things lost were the two dormers. More important is that the depot, and most of its features, were saved, restored, and put to good use.

Lobby in Bangor depot
Beacon's Front Desk

The Amtrak Bangor page has information on available services and schedules.

Postcard view of Bangor depot
Old Postcard view of the Bangor Depot

May 1999, Updated August 2005
Louis Van Winkle
Michigan Passenger Stations Home Page

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