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All Aboard For St. Paul

St. Paul, Minnesota’s historic Union Depot arrives “On Time ALIVE in John W. Diers’s beautiful new coffee table presentation,, “St. Paul Union Depot”. This spectacular read is a landmark history of St. Paul’s Union Depot & a tale of a bygone era when travel & adventure meant passenger trains. St. Paul Union Depot was among the busiest & best-known places in the city-one of the largest depots in the nation & St. Paul’s link to the world.  St. Paul Union Depot had 9 platforms, 21 tracks, & well over 140 trains coming & going each day. AND get this:. at its peak in the 1920’s, the Union Depot processed more than 20 million pieces of mail each year. Practical rather than pretentious, the Union Depot served St. Paul for more than 50 years-complete with a restaurant, drugstore, infirmary, & playrooms for children. MILLIONS of people bought tickets & walked through its lobby & concourse to board waiting trains. It sent children to summer camps & schools, & young men & women to wars. The depot hosted U.S. presidents & presidents-to-be, international royalty, famous authors, (I image my hero, F. Scott Fitzgerald, boarded a train or two back in his day), movie stars, & the rich & famous-but it also sheltered the homeless & the troubled seeking a warm place on a cold night. Though it closed in 1971 after years of declining passenger rail service, TODAY the St. Paul Union Depot is once again being revived as a Twin Cities transit & commercial hub, just as rail travel throughout the United States experiences a renewal. In “St. Paul Union Depot, author & train lover, John W. Diers brings to life the sights & sounds & the behind-the-scenes inner workings of what was in its time the most important rail passenger station west of Chicago. He captures an era when competing railroad companies came together & agreed that 1 depot was better than 9! Of more interest, though, “St. Paul Union Depot” is about the people-the stationmasters, gatemen, switchmen, ticket clerks, mail handlers, train directors, locomotive engineers, & others who were employed there, as well as the millions of passengers who passed through its doors. If you’re a rail fan like the Puffman, you’ll want to check out this wonderful reading adventure. All the pictures are outstanding! Diers, by the way, is now an independent consultant on transit operations & has worked in management in the transit industry for 40 years. He has written for “Trains” magazine & has served on the board of the Minnesota Transportation Museum. “St Paul Union Depot” was just published back in May from University of Minnesota Press. Visit & then sit back & do some “armchair traveling”. It’s the NEXT best thing to riding AMTRAK’s Empire Builder! As Shelby Mayor, Dr. Larry Bonderud likes to say, All ABOARDDDDDDDDDdddddddddd…………..

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