ALTON • Amtrak passenger trains will begin using the new Alton multimodal transportation complex Wednesday.
The new station, part of a major upgrade of the St. Louis-to-Chicago Amtrak corridor, replaces the 89-year-old Alton depot at 3400 College Avenue about two miles away.
Amtrak, in its announcement Thursday, urged passengers not to park at the College Avenue station if their return trip to Alton is on or after the switch to the new facility.
Riders getting off at the new station will have to make their own arrangements to get to the old station to retrieve their vehicle if they left it there.
Mayor Brant Walker said a ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for noon next Friday (Sept. 15.)
The switch has spurred a history-minded St. Louis area group, the American Association of Railroaders, to arrange for members and others to take the last train leaving the old Alton station and the first train using the new one.
The group's president, Rich Eichhorst, said the final train out departs at 11:35 p.m. Tuesday. It will arrive at the Amtrak station in downtown St. Louis about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, he said.
After spending a few hours there, the group will then take the northbound train leaving St. Louis at 4:35 a.m. and arrive at the new station at 5:20 a.m.
He said depending on how many take part, members will either "car pool" back to the old station to pick up their vehicles, take taxis or arrange for a bus.
He said the group is charging $25 for the round trip, which covers souvenirs to be handed out and transportation back to the old Alton station. Call 314-631-3131 for tickets.
The group also plans to offer an Alton-St. Louis round trip on Amtrak, with a picnic lunch, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 7 and Oct. 8.