Today in Transportation History – 2005: A Multimodal Train Station Opens in Milwaukee

A train station was opened in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to provide direct service to General Mitchell International Airport in that metropolitan area. The groundbreaking for the Milwaukee Airport Railroad Station had taken place during the summer of 2004. Those cutting the ceremonial ribbon for the formal debut of the facility on January 18, 2005, were Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle; Herb Kohl, a U.S. senator from the Badger State; and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

The Milwaukee Railroad Station is located just south of Wisconsin Highway 119 and near the western edge of General Mitchell International Airport. The facility accommodates travelers using Amtrak’s Hiawatha Service train route between Milwaukee Intermodal Station (in the downtown section of the city) and Chicago Union Station. Shuttle buses provide transportation between the station and the airport.

This direct rail-air link was highlighted by Frank Huntington, supervisor of rail projects and property management for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, at the time of the station’s opening. “We’re hoping that it will help everybody involved, the airports, the airlines and also the general public to get them that transportation service,” he said in an interview with the Marquette Tribune (a longtime student newspaper for Milwaukee-based Marquette University).

The Milwaukee Airport Railroad Station was only the fourth Amtrak station to provide direct service to an airport. The first of these depots was the train station that opened at Baltimore/Washington International Airport (now known as Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport) in 1980 and operates as a stop for several Amtrak intercity services. About a decade after that Baltimore-area facility opened, a depot at Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport (now known as Bob Hope Airport) in southern California began serving as an Amtrak connection. Newark Liberty International Airport Station, which provides direct access to its namesake New Jersey airport via monorail, opened in 2001.

The Milwaukee Airport Railroad Station achieved another distinction in 2006 when Mayor Barrett awarded the facility an Urban Design Award for its architectural form and for serving – in the words of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – as “a Prairie-style transportation symbol.”

For more information on the Milwaukee Airport Railroad Station, please check out

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