Milwaukee, WI Intermodal Station is one of contrasts. The platform area is decrepit with a train shed that is falling apart and a project is underway to replace it and rehabilitate the platforms. The stop is at a grade and there is a level crossing slightly south of the station where all trains entering and leaving can be seen. Presently there are 3 tracks that trains can actually platform at, tracks 2 and 3 are rarely used except sometimes by the Empire Builder if there is a conflict with a Hiawatha Service train. Freight trains also run through the station on these tracks. The platform for these two tracks has old signage leading to a pair of concrete walled ramps down into a dark dreary tunnel (with neat yellow signs) beneath the tracks and back up to the station exiting at Door 2. Beyond the 3 tracks that platform are some sidings that include some vintage private rail cars and sidings to store Hiawatha train sets. The train shed has a roof that is dreary looking and falling apart, with a number of glass portions that are skylights. It is also extremely dark at night. The northern end of the island platform (beyond the switches that end track 1) are exposed to the elements and at the extreme northern end is a concrete canopy that doesn't cover too much. Track 1 is the side platform closest to the station building with a single entrance from Gate 1 with an old hand painted sign above saying Depot Entrance. There is a single pointless arrow Milwaukee sign that is the only sign with the station's name for the entire platform area.
The station itself and waiting area is inside the modern Milwaukee Intermodal Station completed in 2007. It serves not just Amtrak but also intercity bus services, with the Greyhound branded ticket counter providing the ticketing for all buses. This is a large glass building with glass walls out to the drop-off loop and beyond to St Paul Avenue. There are large Amtrak and Greyhound logos embedded inside these walls where there isn't glass as well. There are numerous benches and even potted trees, along with cafe tables with red chairs along the main waiting area just beyond the entrances from the street. The Amtrak ticket office is towards the east end of the building and next to it is a small corridor that has the baggage office and leads to the two gates out to the platforms. Above both ticket counters are mosaic murals. Next there is a cafe, and some vending machines are also avalible in the main waiting area. At the western end of the station building is the Greyhound branded ticket counter that also provides tickets to the other bus major intercity bus lines: Jefferson Lines and Indian Trails. Wisconsin Coach Lines also serves the station. The bus bays are beyond the western end of the station building facing the railroad tracks.
2016 Update:The platform area at the Milwaukee Intermodal Station finally received a well-needed $22 million rebuilding with a ribbon cutting on June 22, 2016. The new rebuilt station consits of 3 platforms covering all five of the tracks that pass through the station. Canadian Pacific Freight trains pass through on any track at dispactures discretion. There is a side platform for track 0, then island platforms for tracks . All platforms are extremely long (could fit perhaps a 14 car Empire Builder) and low-level (At one point during the design process it was thought high-level platforms would be required after the cancelation of the Wisconsin Talgos order means Horizon cars would be used indefinately. Common sense luckily prevaled). The platfomrs are mostly in (the extreme northwestern ends are completely exposed to the elements with just lampposts) an airway and white train shed with many modern skylights. Posts with tall vertical Lit Totems above them provide indirect light under this shed. Access to the platform complex is through the same automatic doors via Track 0. The platforms are now connected by an interior overpass bridge. The bridge has a blue spport stucture providing a nice contrast, along with blue lined (suprisingly not glass) elevator shafts, staircases and escalators. There is a single escalator to the island platforms, while the entrance to the overpass from track 0 has two escalators always set to one for each direction. The former decrepit underpass is still there, the ramps replaced with staircases, sactioned off from regular passenger use. The new platform area provides a nice welcome to Milwaukee and complements the other station renovations nicely. Sinage on the new platforms is not standard with Milwaukee WI lettered in all caps along the various lighting sactions, on signs (with beams at two levels) and embedded in the platform floor. Adding to the modern feel of the new platform is the elegant unnessarily cable stained bridge that North 6th Street uses to cross over the western end of the platforms, allowing nice views into the station.
Photos 1 & 2: 14 July, 2006, 3 & 4: 24 October, 2011, 5: 2 November, 2011, 6-27: 5 November, 2011, 28-65 on 2 July, 2013; 66-71: 24 October, 2016; 72-93: 25 October, 2016; 94-102: 27 October, 2016
Last Updated: 27 October, 2016