Yuma Needs a Proper Depot December 11th, 1994
The historic Yuma rail passenger depot was gutted by fire started by faulty wiring in May, 1993, and the remains were demolished by the City of Yuma this past summer. The depot’s missionÂ tile roof had been caved in by the blaze and the sad charred walls, surrounded by a sagging chain link fence, were all the remained for nearly 18 months.
Abandoned as a transportation facility over 20 years ago, the City took title to the building and used it to house the Yuma Art Center. Amtrak passengers, as they have for many years, use a tunnel underneath the tracks to get to the station platform. This tunnel and platform were once part of the depot complex which saw as many as seven passenger trains a day each direction. Today, no structure stands were the depot, originally constructed in 1926 and for many years Yuma’s transportation hub, once proudly stood. The director of the Yuma Art Society says that the expense of salvaging the depot would have been too great.
Currently there is not even a public telephone within walking distance. Waiting facilities are minimal.
An idea has arisen which has great merit, however; the director of the art society has proposed that a grassy park be built on the old station grounds. The park would feature outdoor artwork as well as acting as a waiting area for train passengers. If lighting, telephones,Â and covered waiting areas are included, this would be a real and lasting improvement.
Yuma is Arizona’s third largest metropolitan area, and deserves a better rail passenger facility. Perhaps the active support of ARPA and Amtrak could make this park a reality. But as of today, nothing is being done; Yuma Amtrak passengers still wait for their tri-weekly train in the dead of night.