BNSF evaluating roads

Passengers and others using the Minot Amtrak Depot have no other choice but to use the BNSF road, a road with potholes, dips and other damages. It’s the only access to the depot.

Drivers on the road between the Minot Amtrak Depot in southwest Minot and Third Street Northeast, have a bumpy route on the road owned by BNSF and running near the BNSF Railway tracks.

The road is continuously used, despite its extensive damages.

BNSF officials are aware of the road’s problems and last year did some patching.

Amy McBeth, of Minneapolis, BNSF public relations director for this region, said Saturday, “We have been in contact with the city and are evaluating maintenance options and longer-term solutions for the road.”

Well used depot

The Minot Amtrak Depot is a well used facility.

In fiscal year 2012, Minot had 37,169 Amtrak boardings and departures.

Overall, in North Dakota, the ridership number was 154,864, up 40.7 percent from fiscal year 2011. In fiscal year 2012, Montana’s ridership was up 16.2 percent and Minnesota’s ridership was up 6.7 percent compared to fiscal year 2011.

Amtrak’s Empire Builder train that goes through Minot, was greatly impacted by flooding during fiscal year 2011.

Amtrak officials reported the company spent about $3.8 million on goods and services in North Dakota in fiscal year 2012. Most of that money was spent in Minot, about $2.5 million, and in Fargo, about $1.2 million.

The Souris River flooded the Minot Amtrak Depot in June 2011, resulting in an extensively damaged building. Several months after the flood, Amtrak restored passenger service to the depot in November 2011.

A depot restoration project is under way.

Marc Magliari, media relations manager with Amtrak Government Affairs and Corporate Communications in Chicago, said the waiting room is still being worked on. He said when it is completed, they will work on restoring the baggage area that has been serving as a temporary ticket counter and waiting area. R& K Contractors Inc. in Minot is in charge of the restoration project.

Magliari said an open house at the depot is being planned for later.