Kelso Multimodal Transportation Center

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Amtrak inter-city rail station
Kelso WA (Amtrak station) 01.jpg
The transportation center with the clock tower in the background
Location 501 South First Avenue
Kelso, Washington 98626[1]
 United States
Coordinates Coordinates: 46°08′32″N 122°54′47″W / 46.14215°N 122.91316°W / 46.14215; -122.91316
Owned by City of Kelso & BNSF Railway
Platforms 1 side platform
Tracks 2
Connections Greyhound Lines
RiverCities Transit
Parking Yes
Disabled access Yes
Other information
Station code KEL
Opened 1912
Rebuilt 1995
Passengers (2016) 31,660[2]Increase 2.07%
Preceding station   BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak   Following station
Amtrak Cascades
toward Los Angeles
Coast Starlight
toward Seattle
  Former services  
toward Seattle
Discontinued in 1997
toward Chicago
Location of the Kelso-Longview Amtrak Station
Location of the Kelso-Longview Amtrak Station
Location of the Kelso Multimodal Transportation Center within Washington

The Kelso Multimodal Transportation Center (also known as Kelso–Longview and previously as the Kelso Burlington Northern Train Depot) is an Amtrak train station located immediately south of Kelso, Washington, United States. The station also serves the neighboring city of Longview, which is located just across the Cowlitz River. The station is served by Cascades and Coast Starlight trains. Greyhound Lines provides national and regional bus service, while RiverCities Transit provides local transit. Shuttle vans, taxis and rental cars can also be hired at the station.


The Kelso Train Station was originally built by the Northern Pacific Railroad. The first small depot was a wooden structure in the 100 block of Front or First Avenue. By 1906 the citizens of Kelso petitioned the Northern Pacific Railroad for a better passenger and freight depot. This was granted and a new, brick passenger and a wood freight depot was built. A grand opening reception was held February 12, 1912.[3]

View of the station from the platform

In 1970 the Northern Pacific Railway merged with several other railroads to create the Burlington Northern Railroad. The station remained in active freight service until the early 1980s when Burlington Northern suspended freight service there and transferred that service to the Portland, Oregon hub.

The station became an Amtrak stop in 1981. The station was manned by a ticketing agent until the 1990s when the station was locked up due to vandalism.

In the mid-1990s the station underwent extensive remodeling to make it look like the passenger stations of a bygone era. The station's interior and exterior received face-lifts and rebuilds, and a 30-foot-tall (9.1 m) clock tower was constructed outside the station. The clock can be seen from across the Cowlitz River at the Cowlitz County Hall of Justice and as far north as the higher points in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Kelso. The refurbished station was formally dedicated on September 23, 1995.[3]


Although the Amtrak Cascades runs between Eugene, Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, there is no train that starts at one terminus and ends at the other. However, each day eight Amtrak Cascades trains (four northbound and four southbound) stop at the Kelso Multimodal Transportation Center.[Note 1] The Coast Starlight has a simpler, less frequent schedule and runs daily in each direction between Los Angeles, California and Seattle.[Note 2] (The next northbound stop on both Amtrak trains is in Centralia and the next southbound stop is in Vancouver.)

The center serves as a stop for Greyhound on its way to either Portland or Seattle. River Cities Transit the bus service which serves both Kelso and Longview stops at the center.

Boardings and Alightings[edit]

Year 2011[6] 2012[7] 2013[8] 2014[9] 2015[10] 2016[2]
Total 26,972 26,560 28,892 30,326 31,017 31,660
YOY Difference - -412 2,332 1,434 691 643
YOY Difference % - -1.52% 8.78% 4.96% 2.28% 2.07%

Historical events[edit]

November 1993 accident[edit]

A head on crash between a Burlington Northern and Union Pacific train occurred just south of Kelso on November 11, 1993. Five crew were killed in the accident and subsequent fire, which was fueled by approximately 10,000 U.S. gallons (38,000 L) of diesel fuel on board the trains. The double track corridor in the area served around 60 passenger and freight trains per day, making it one of the busiest rail corridors in the United States at the time of the accident.[11] The Kelso station was used as a staging area for Burlington Northern's Incident Response Unit.

Station remodel[edit]

In 1994 and 1995, the station was inundated with water damage when the nearby Cowlitz River peaked over the dike at 22 feet (6.7 m) and flooded the basement and platform area, which ultimately led to the approval of the remodel.

Other events[edit]

In 1993, a special Burlington Northern train made a stop at the station while it was carrying the company's CEO and board members on an inspection of the system. Numerous special events are held at the station each year, the most notable of which is the Kelso Christmas Celebration at which the mayor lights the Christmas tree that adorns the clock tower and Santa Claus makes a visit via the Amtrak Cascades train.

Between 2001 and 2004, the Kelso City Council held its meetings in the station's basement, because City Hall had been torn down to make way for a new bridge spanning the Cowlitz River.[citation needed]

In 1996, a steam-powered locomotive made a journey past the station on its way to Seattle.[citation needed]


  1. ^ As of 20 February 2016 the new Amtrak Cascades schedule is as follows:[4]
    • Southbound trains:
      • Train 501 stops at 9:47 am (originating in Seattle and heading to Portland, Oregon)
      • Train 513 stops at 1:37 pm (originating in Vancouver, British Columbia and heading to Portland)
      • Train 507 stops at 4:32 pm (originating in Seattle and heading to Eugene, Oregon)
      • Train 509 stops at 8:27 pm (originating in Seattle and heading to Portland)
    • Northbound trains:
      • Train 500 stops at 9:10 am (originating in Eugene and heading to Seattle)
      • Train 506 stops at 12:50 pm (originating in Portland and heading for Seattle)
      • Train 516 stops at 3:40 pm (originating in Portland and heading for Vancouver, British Columbia)
      • Train 508 stops at 7:40 pm (originating in Eugene and heading for Seattle)
  2. ^ As of 11 January 2016 the southbound Coast Starlight (Train 11) is scheduled to stop at 12:19 pm and the northbound (Train 14) is scheduled to stop at 4:54 pm.[5]


  1. ^ "Kelso, WA - Longview (KEL)". Amtrak. Retrieved 12 Jan 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Amtrak Fact Sheet, Fiscal Year 2015, State of Washington" (PDF). Amtrak. Nov 2015. Retrieved 17 Jan 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "Kelso Train Depot". City of Kelso. Archived from the original on October 19, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Amtrak Cascades" (PDF). Amtrak. 20 Feb 2016. pp. 2–3. Retrieved 29 Jul 2016. 
  5. ^ "Coast Starlight" (PDF). Amtrak. 11 Jan 2016. p. 2. Retrieved 29 Jul 2016. 
  6. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, Fiscal Year 2011: State of Washington" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2011. p. 1. Retrieved 6 Jan 2015. 
  7. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, Fiscal Year 2012: State of Washington" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2012. p. 1. Retrieved 6 Jan 2015. 
  8. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, Fiscal Year 2013: State of Washington" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2013. p. 1. Retrieved 6 Jan 2015. 
  9. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, Fiscal Year 2014: State of Washington" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2014. p. 1. Retrieved 12 Jan 2016. 
  10. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, Fiscal Year 2015: State of Washington" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2015. p. 1. Retrieved 12 Jan 2016. 
  11. ^ "Transportation". Washington Emergency Management Division. Retrieved 6 Feb 2010. 

External links[edit]