Train depot opens 133 years later in a new location

The Waterloo Depot is now open after a decade of work.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  If you wanted to take the Amtrak from Waterloo you had to wait in one small shelter with no air conditioning, heating or bathrooms. That’s not the case anymore.

“All that negativity and excuses of not using the trains is gone,” town council president David Bolton said Friday.

After working for a decade, the Waterloo Depot, built in 1883, is now open two blocks closer to the train platform with all the amenities, including WIFI. Outside there is a large, well-lit parking lot.

“The lighting and the easier access sidewalks and the interior space to wait is really valuable to the passengers because they’ll feel more comfortable and secure here,” town manager Tena Woenker said.

Lining the walls inside the restored Depot is several accounts of the town’s storied history of train travel.

“It’s important for us to let them know what the town is like and has been like,” friends of the Waterloo depot president Greg Iddings said.

It’s not only an improvement for people using the Amtrak train, it’s a shining jewel for the community.

“This town was founded because the trains came through here and I think honoring that is what we’re doing here today by opening it up for the public again,” Woenker said.

Town officials think the updates and new amenities will boost ridership past the 25,000 passengers a year at the depot.

“Waterloo is the third busiest station for Amtrak in the state of Indiana and we’re only 2,000 passengers a year behind second place, Lafayette, I would be surprised if we don’t pass that,” Bolton said.

The town also celebrated the opening a new Town Hall Friday. It is now in a building that was donated by a bank. The old building was bought and is now a coffee shop downtown.

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