Station agent retiring; Minot Amtrak Depot renovation nears completion

Doneta Skinn, station agent at the Minot Amtrak Depot, won’t be on the job when the depot renovation project is completed in a few weeks. She’s retiring and today is her last day at work.

But Skinn already has seen plenty of action at the depot, especially two years ago when the Souris River flooded the depot and left the recently renovated building extensively damaged in the aftermath of the flood.

Skinn, who began working for Amtrak in July 1998, has been station agent since 2004.

Marc Magliari, media relations manager with Amtrak Government Affairs & Corporate Communications in Chicago, said the renovation of the depot is planned to be finished by the end of April. He said the intent is to return the historic waiting room and ticket counter to the condition it was before the flood.

Magliari said the renovation project also has involved some adjustments made to the restroom fixtures and floor to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Mike Geyer, who is in charge of the renovation project for R&K Contractors Inc., Minot, said everything from 6 feet and down in the waiting room is new, including paneling, trim, cabinetry and the floor ceramic tiles.

R&K Contractors also did the work in the depot before the flood when a major project was done to restore it historically accurate.

Shortly before the flood hit Minot in June 2011, the depot was shut down from that time until Nov. 15, 2011, when passenger service resumed. Since then, a temporary waiting area and ticket counter has been set up in the west end of the depot.

While the depot was closed for those several months the train continued to make fuel stops in Minot but passengers could not get on and off. Most passengers used the depots in Stanley or Rugby during that time for boarding or getting off the train.

In November 2012, Skinn and Andrew Maragos, also with the Minot Amtrak station, and Dan Valley, their former supervisor and district manager of stations, were honored by Amtrak officials in Washington, D.C., for their work to save the Minot station when the Souris River flooded and then to restore Amtrak services to the city.

When the renovation project is complete, the west end of the building will return to its original function as the baggage area and garage.

There are future plans at the Minot depot, including parking lot improvements and making a larger platform, but Magliari said he did not have information on that timeline at the moment.