Longview Junction Depot remodeled to original condition.
LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) -
If it were not for the Southern Pacific Railroad, Longview, Texas, may not exist. They bought 100 acres in 1870 and put in a depot at what was then the end of the line.
On Saturday, May 10, the City of Longview will hold a dedication ceremony at the newly remodeled Longview Train Depot. The Union Pacific Railroad will be on hand for the ribbon cutting.
If you live in Longview, you've probably met Natalie Rabicoff. She's active in many Longview events and doesn't hesitate to do volunteer work, especially when it comes to the Longview Junction Depot and Amtrak.
“It’s this train that moves people and freight environmentally safely. It’s this train that, when 911 happened, Amtrak took those people’s tickets and got them out of New York and out of Washington,” Rabicoff said.
Griff Hubbard, Revenue Manager for Amtrak's Texas Eagle, has worked with the rails for 43 years and is excited to see the depot restored to what it was in 1939.
"Amtrak has moved into the original ticket office and waiting rooms. When you come down to tour the facility, you're going to see this rail station exactly as it looked in May of 1939 when it first opened, and the great news is that here in the twenty-first century, it's being used for the purpose for which it was designed," Hubbard relayed.
That's something that Longview City Council member Kasha Williams thinks is a very important piece of the bigger picture.
"Here we are in Longview, Texas, with rail, plane, bus; we have a vibrant transit system as well, and those attributes working together, those areas working well together synergistically, can have a great and most profound impact on our community," Williams pointed out.
The 1939 depot floor plans were used as a template to bring the depot back. When some suggested architectural changes Griff was quick to ask a question:
"Do you think they got it wrong? They had it perfected, and the good news is we're historically pure here," Griff added.
Other than a few technological upgrades, it's the same as it ever was, right down to the safe reinstalled where it was supposed to be.
The Longview Depot Dedication takes place at 11 a.m. on Saturday May 10, and if you happen to be downtown for AlleyFest, you can catch a shuttle to the depot, see the ceremony, and check out the free Amtrak exhibit train parked at the depot.
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