Monthly Archives: April 2014

Union Depot to Celebrate National Train Day with Family Activities and Entertainment, Amtrak Equipment and “Caliente”Track Inspection Car

April 28, 2014

Union Depot in St. Paul will celebrate Amtrak’s National Train Day Saturday, May 10 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with train-themed activities, a display of Amtrak equipment and the restored SP1952 “Caliente” Track Inspection Car, and entertainment for all ages.  The event, themed “Trains Matter,” will also be a celebration of the arrival of Amtrak and the return of passenger rail service at Union Depot earlier that week, on May 7.

The day will include performances by The Choo Choo Bob Show, displays of model trains, railroads, Amtrak equipment, the Track Inspection car, and refreshments.  At 1 p.m., ice cream infused with honey will be served to 500 lucky recipients.  The honey is from hives kept on Union Depot’s rooftop. There will also be an opportunity for guests to engage with the new Amateur Intelligence Radio (A.I.R.) by uploading their story about trains – stories will be broadcast throughout Union Depot in this innovative art installation and online at  Guests will also have the opportunity to participate in a contest to name the new Railfan picnic area on the grounds of Union Depot.

Throughout the day, there will be free shuttles between Union Depot and both the Minnesota OSCVR Transportation Museum and the Twin City Model Railroad Museum.  National Train Day is free and open to the public.  For more information please visit  

Union Depot to Participate in St. Paul Art Crawl with a Gallery of Works by 45 Artists and Display of St. Paul Saints Baseball Art

April 18, 2014

St. Paul’s historic Union Depot will participate in the 2014 St. Paul Art Crawl April 25-27 with a gallery of artwork by 45 artists and live performances by nine musical acts.  The historic structure is expanding its displays this year with three times the number of artists as in last year’s gallery.  Guests will have the opportunity to view works ranging from paintings to sculpture to jewelry and textiles.  The art galleries will be located in the Head House and Waiting Room at Union Depot.

There will also be an art display celebrating the St. Paul Saints and their future home in Lowertown.  For this project, 108 artists each created a work of art using a baseball.  The number 108 was chosen to reflect the 108 double stitches made of waxed red thread on a baseball.  All 108 creations will be on display.  Mike Veeck, co-owner of the St. Paul Saints, and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman will judge the art baseballs and award prizes to their favorites.

Some of the featured artists include sculptor Kelly Davies, mixed media artist Jill Lynne Ness and jewelry/handbag/accessories designer Tammy Rice of Stonyhill & Companies.

About the Artists:

Jill Lynne Ness:  Jill is an award-winning artist and writer.  Working through depression and struggles with a disability, Jill found inspiration in a paintbrush.  Her mixed media works meld words with bright, vivid colors and tactile textures.  For more information:

Kelly Davies:  Kelly is a sculptor who works with all metals, including aluminum, bronze, copper, and stainless steel, as well as stone, fiberglass and concrete.  His abstract works explore natural and spiritual elements with an emphasis on universal energy and natural motion.  For more information:

Tammy Rice of Stonyhill & Companies:  Tammy enjoys taking discarded and used materials and recycling them into new creations.  Upon learning that inner tubes take many years to decompose, she was inspired to work with them to design jewelry, handbags and other accessories.  She composes each design by hand, working with deconstructed inner tubes, metals and other components.  For more information:

Live musical performances will take place on stage.  Below is the schedule of acts:

Friday, April 25:                 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.:  Friday Night Project

7 p.m. and 9 p.m.:  Dirty Shorts Brass Band


Saturday, April 26:           1 p.m.:  The Friendly Beers

2 p.m.:  Community Ed Improv

3 p.m.:  Yeti Steady

4 p.m.:  Tortuga Jazz

6 p.m.:  Oak Ribbons


Sunday, April 27:              Noon:  David Ziffer

4 p.m.:  Rachael G and the Turn Back Nows


The performances and art displays at Union Depot are free and open to the public.  The Art Crawl show hours are April 25 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.; April 26 from noon to 8 p.m.; and April 27 from noon to 5 p.m. For more information visit

Union Depot Officials Announce Amtrak Arrival Date and National Train Day Celebration

April 2, 2014

Passenger rail service will return to Union Depot in St. Paul on May 7 with the evening arrival of the Amtrak Empire Builder from Chicago, officials with Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority (RCRRA), owners of Union Depot, announced today.  The Amtrak station on 730 Transfer Road will close after the Chicago-bound Empire Builder departs that morning.  Operations will move to Union Depot’s Kellogg Entry at 240 Kellogg Blvd., E., in the Lowertown neighborhood of St. Paul for the arrival of the evening train. Beginning May 7, the westbound Amtrak schedule will show the Empire Builder (Train 7/27) arriving at Union Depot at 10:03 p.m. and departing at 10:10 p.m.  Beginning May 8, the eastbound Empire Builder (Train 8 /28) is scheduled to arrive at 7:52 a.m. and depart at 8:00 a.m.  These are slightly different times than are used at the Transfer Road station. At Union Depot, Amtrak travelers can connect from more than 500 destinations to intercity buses (Greyhound, Jefferson Lines and, Metro Transit and MVTA bus services.  In June, Metro Transit’s Green Line will provide additional capacity to a growing and diverse regional transportation system. “With Amtrak, the range of transportation options at Union Depot expands opportunities for travel connections throughout the Upper Midwest and beyond.  Our beautifully restored building is achieving our vision as a multimodal transit facility and a unique gathering place for people – whether they are travelers passing through, living in St. Paul, stopping in the area for business, or here to attend one of many social or cultural events this region has to offer,” said Ramsey County Commissioner Rafael Ortega, chair, RCRRA.  “It has been more than 42 years since Union Depot welcomed rail passengers through its doors in downtown St. Paul.” The Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority and Amtrak invite the community to celebrate inaugural Amtrak trains at Union Depot with a free event celebrating National Train Day on Saturday, May 10, 2014.  Indoor and outdoor activities will take place.  Exhibits will be on-site and the Railfan picnic area will be open to view the Amtrak Empire Builder’s departure toward Chicago and to observe the wide variety of freight trains traveling through the Division Street wye.  A complete schedule of events will be announced in the coming weeks on Union Depot’s website (, through social media and in local community media. “Just in time for National Train Day, Empire Builder passengers will have better access to all the Twin Cities have to offer from Union Depot with more local and regional connections, enhanced amenities and a historic waiting room hosting community events,” said Mark Murphy, the Amtrak General Manager for the Empire Builder and other overnight trains nationally. “Amtrak service returned to the Union Station in Kansas City in 2002, after a 17-year absence, and we moved back into Denver Union Station this year, after stepping aside for major intermodal improvements,” Murphy said. “These historic buildings can be saved, be made more relevant to the transportation network and serve as ‘front doors’ to their communities and to the future.” Transportation passengers boarding the Empire Builder or intercity buses receive priority parking in Lot B at Union Depot.  Parking for Train Day guests will be available in Lots A and C.  Passengers and guests may also access Union Depot by bicycle, skyway, street-level entrances and local bus service. The Amtrak Empire Builder will arrive at Union Depot’s Gate C on the southernmost end of the expansive waiting room.  Amtrak passengers from both Chicago and western states will experience the history of the Empire Builder’s namesake, James J. Hill, when they step into Union Depot.  Hill was one of the nine founders of the St. Paul Union Depot Company, which built the original Union Depot in 1881.  Here, passengers started and returned from life’s great journeys and daily travels, as many as 20,000 a day in the 1920s. The beautifully appointed waiting room welcomed newcomers to Minnesota and echoed with the footsteps of Minnesotans called to serve their country.  It greeted employees each day, many of whom settled nearby with their families to take advantage of a wide range of job opportunities.  Beginning May 7, there will be new stories of travel to be shared with future generations. Union Depot reopened as a multi-modal transportation hub in 2012.  Since then, thousands of people have enjoyed a wide variety of public events, marveled at the magnificent restoration, soaked in the creativity of art installations, musical performances, and accessed local and regional bus services.  The last passenger train left Union Depot in 1971, and in 1974, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  In 2013, the tracks were placed along the new passenger train platform.