Amtrak trains will begin making daily stops in Ventura today, marking the first time in two decades that travelers will be able to board trains in the city.
The first passengers, however, will have to wait for the 8:26 a.m train on a platform that is still under construction. Amtrak officials were forced to open the unfinished platform because the Ventura stop is listed in Amtrak's spring schedule, which begins today, said Monica Nolan, an associate city planner.
The platform is the first phase of a two-part project between the city and the California Department of Transportation, Nolan said. The second phase, funded by a $250,000 grant from the state Transportation Commission, will begin this summer and will include the building of two additional passenger shelters and a place for public art.
The city will hold a grand opening for the finished platform April 22, a few days short of the 105th anniversary of the first train to stop in Ventura--April 27, 1887.
The last station in Ventura, on Front Street between Ash and Kalorama streets, was demolished in 1972 after the number of passenger trains declined, Nolan said.
"Trains have been passing through without stopping ever since," she said.