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Harpers Ferry station 'endangered'

August 27, 1999

From staff reports

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. - A pair of national foundations announced Wednesday they have jointly placed Harpers Ferry's old Baltimore & Ohio Depot on this year's list of the Top 10 Most Endangered Stations in America.

Placement on the 2-year-old list calls attention to the need for restoration of the train station, which was built in 1892, according to the Great American Station Foundation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The statement came in a news release from Harpers Ferry National Historic Park.

"Throughout the years, the former B&O Depot has fallen into disrepair and faces an endangered future," the release says, noting the National Park Service is negotiating with CSX Corp. to buy the station and refurbish it.

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The station serves as a stop on Maryland's MARC commuter line, and for Amtrak's Capital Limited daily runs to and from Washington, D.C.

Additionally, Harpers Ferry Mayor Walton "Kip" Stowell says he hopes the town can form a partnership with the national park to secure federal highway funding for the station.

It is unclear how much it might cost to improve the building, Stowell said.

"I know it would cost a lot. That is the reason the partnership is important," Stowell said Friday.

The station is open to passengers only at certain times, Stowell said.

Some large rooms in the train station could house interpretive programs to tell the history of the station, Stowell said.

The mayor said he would like the station to have a concession area where passengers could get coffee, food and newspapers.

With efforts progressing quickly to restore the B&O Roundhouse in Martinsburg, it is an excellent time to save the train station, said Stowell.

He speculated tourism programs could be set up involving the station and the roundhouse, such as scenic train trips between the two locations, said Stowell.

"It could be very exciting," he said.

Other stations on the Top 10 Most Endangered list are spread from Virginia to New Mexico. The closest to Harpers Ferry is the Seaboard Coastline Depot in Petersburg, Va.

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