Kannapolis has always been along an active Amtrak route since Amtrak took over the Southern Crescent in 1979. It didn't become a stop until the Carolinian entered service as a day train between New York and Charlotte via Raleigh and Richmond on May 12, 1990. The Carolinian has always served the station; the Crescent has always bypassed it. In the 1970s before Amtrak took over passenger operations from the Southern Railway Concord, 8 miles farther south was a nearby station stop on its two daily trains between Washington, Atlanta or New Orleans. In 1990 when the city of Kannapolis became a stop trains originally stopped at 306 South Main Street a block south of today's station (at 201 South Main Street). The current station with a modern single-story brick building opened in December 2004 with a ribbon cutting on February 23, 2005, costing $3.1 million.
The brick building is clearly designed to look like it could be an older station. There is a small copula in the middle of the building and a gabled roof. The building is divided into two different main sections, with a middle area forming a T. on the long portion of the T, Coming from Main Street is a community space, not normally open to the public. There is then a central area with services like restrooms, and a soda machine. Interior doors lead into the station's waiting room, open for an hour on each side of the 6 daily train departures and staffed by an NC Station attendant who all passengers must check-in with since the platform is for ticketed passengers only and gated off. The waiting room is simple and painted white. Glass floor to ceiling windows line the walls leading out to the platform. In the north corner is the small office for the NC Station attendant (along with a television for their personal use) with a Quik-Trak Machine directly outside of it and information panels on the walls. There are plenty of benches for waiting. The stop has free wifi. Cary and Rocky Mount are the only stations in North Carolina with this increasingly common amenity.
To board trains, passengers go outside the depot to a small plaza. A fence separates passengers from the platform with a gate in the middle of it (opened by the NC Station Attendant), with a canopy connecting the doors into the station and gate onto the platform. This new platform opened along with the new station in late 2004 and was originally completely exposed to the elements. A new $540,000 canopy had a ribbon cutting in October 2013. Today's low-level station platform is 400 feet long with a 140 foot long canopy across the southern half of the platform (ending 50 feet from the southern end). It is on the west side of the two-track line with no provisions for trains ever stopping on that track. The platform has a pink tactile warning strip. At each end of the platform two flowerpots serve as bollards. The canopies are in the same style as the station with brick posts supporting a modern canopy structure.
Directly north of the station between the tracks and Main Street, is Southern Avenue that begins along the northern side of the depot where B Street ends. The stations 30 parking spaces are along B Street. This leads north to the nearest grade-crossing at 1 Street. On the opposite side of the tracks without any fencing to prevent trespassers from crossing the tracks is Ridge Avenue that offers a decent view across to the depot.
All Photos: 17 July, 2014