Southern Pines May Soon Get Funding To Restore Train Depot
Posted July 18, 2003 2:35 a.m. EDT
SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. — The Moore County town of Southern Pines has been trying for years to get federal funds to restore an old train depot. Now, the town's efforts may be about to pay off.
The depot, built in 1899, that was once a major transportation hub in the Sandhills is practically closed, except for two Amtrak trains that make daily stops. Those who wish to ride on the trains cannot get tickets from the depot. You must buy them in advance from travel agencies.
Mayor Frank Quis has campaigned for federal funding to restore the old depot and show future generations how the town came about. Word of the restoration is good news for merchants like Mary Margaret.
"I believe it will still be used as a passenger train station, but they plan to build a boutique inside and fix up the outside, which will be great for our area," she said.
"I must say it's very frustrating to not be able to show people progress. We can talk about it, but until you actually see some work begun, we have nothing to show for it," Quis said.
The frustrations are far from over. The final approval for the project must come from Amtrak, but Congress has just handed Amtrak a smaller budget. The president of Amtrak has agreed to sign the release of federal funds, but there is no word on when that will happen.