My first Amtrak adventure started at the Sturtevant Depot, so this place has a soft spot in my travel heart, hence a whole article dedicated to it.
For people in Southeast Wisconsin, this depot can be the start of many adventures and can save you money! More on this later. Most of my trips, either by rail, bus, or air, start here.
Editorial note: I use the terms depot and station interchangeably in this article; both conductors and riders use both terms. The information was accurate at the time of publishing, but the info can change at any time.
The Pandemic and Amtrak
Due to the pandemic, a federal mandate requires appropriately worn masks on the train, station, and platforms.
A little on the Sturtevant Depot
The Village of Sturtevant (WI) built the depot in the Renaissance Business Park. The new depot is a mile north by rail of the original 1901 Milwaukee Road depot.
On August 14, 2006, the new depot opened with ADA-compliant facilities, improved safety, and more parking.
The new depot kept the trademark Victorian-inspired octagon tower complete and decorative brackets of the former depot’s design.
The original Milwaukee Road Depot now resides in a nearby Caledonia, WI, park.
Where to find the Sturtevant Depot
The station is located at:
9900 East Exploration Court
Sturtevant, WI 53177-1764
Fun depot facts
- Amtrak station code: SVT
- Annual station revenue FY 2020 $741,824 *
- Annual station ridership FY 2020 36,178 *
- The station and parking are owned and maintained by the Village of Sturtevant.
- The tracks and platform owned by Canadian Pacific/Soo Line
What trains you can catch at the depot
The Hiawatha is the only train that serves this depot. Amtrak runs 14 daily Hiawatha Trains (Monday-Saturday), 7 in each direction; on Sunday, trains 329 and 330 do not run.
The Empire Builder passes through but does not serve this depot. To catch the Empire Builder, take the Hiawatha to Milwaukee, or take it to Chicago for a more extended adventure.
The Stops of the Hiawatha
Northbound Hiawatha stops
After leaving the station, the northbound train stops at:
- MKA: Milwaukee Gen. Mitchell Airport (WI)
- MKE: Milwaukee Intermodal Station (Downtown Milwaukee, WI) (Final stop)
From Sturtevant to downtown Milwaukee is 23 miles, taking 29 minutes, averaging 47 mph, and reaching top speeds of 79 mph.
Southbound Hiawatha stops
The trip from Sturtevant to Chicago Union Station is 63 miles, taking 1.1 hours, averaging 57 mph reaching a top speed of 79 mph.
These services are NOT available
The Sturtevant Depot is unstaffed by Amtrak, meaning that checked baggage and bike services are not available. Ticket agents are also not available (ticket information is further down)
The station does not have wifi.
The station also has a Quik-Trak machine to purchase tickets; the machine only accepts credit and debit cards. More on tickets later.
Conductors provided trackside assistance to help you get on and off the train.
Amenities of the Sturtevant Depot
- ADA compliant
- The depot is climate controlled
- Benches are available in and outside the depot
- Trackside outdoor seating and shelters are available
- Vending machines for soft drinks and snacks
- Bubblers aka drinking fountains
- The bridge and towers help passengers to get safely over the tracks below.
- The towers are climate-controlled with both stairs and elevators.
Sturtevant Depot parking
In 2021, parking at the depot is a flat rate of $7 for up to 30 days of continuous parking. The Village offers monthly, six months, and yearly parking passes.
Before the Hiawatha arrives
Typically the northbound Hiawatha uses Track One, furthermost from the stations (you have to go up and over the bridge).
The southbound train often uses Track 2 (closest to the station).
But the Hiawatha can come in on either track, depending on how CP Railroad dispatches the train. Conductors will make several announcements over the depot’s PA system to alert passengers waiting how far away the train is and what track it is arriving on when it stops. Make sure you keep your ears open and headphones out close to the time of the Hiawatha’s arrival.
Be aware, occasionally, both north and southbound trains may arrive at the depot simultaneously, so listen carefully to what platform you need to be at when it comes.
If you face away from the depot, northbound trains (from Chicago) will come in from the right and southbound (from Milwaukee) from the left.
When the Hiawatha arrives at the Sturtevant Depot
After the train arrives, conductors will open doors in two locations; these doors are usually a third of the way from each end of the train.
Conductors will regularly scan tickets after the train departs from Sturtevant and heads to Chicago. For Milwaukee-bound travelers, conductors may lift tickets before passengers board the train. (When in doubt, ask the conductor)
Seating is not reserved nor assigned on this train, so any open seat is available.
If a car is packed, try another car.
Amtrak Quiet Cars
Amtrak’s Quiet cars maintain a library atmosphere. Headphones are mandatory, talking on your phone is forbidden, and no loud talking or loud snoring.
You do not need a special ticket to use this car and if you cannot or do not want to maintain this atmosphere, try a different car.
The Quiet Car is the last car for Northbound trains or the lead car for Southbound. Look for overhead signs indicating this destination.
You can ask conductors before you board the train for this car’s location.
Food and alchohol on the Hiawatha
Amtrak does not permit alcohol consumption on the Hiawatha, and the train does not have food or beverage service.
Wifi on the train
The train does have free cell-based wifi.
You need a ticket to ride; since the Sturtevant Depot is unstaffed, you cannot buy tickets there from a human, but there are other options.
You can purchase tickets via:
- The Amtrak app
- Calling 1-800-USA-RAIL
- At the depot using the Quik-Trak ticket machine, cards only.
- By using cash onboard, but there is a fee (this option may not be availble.)
After buying tickets over the phone, online, or with the app, Amtrak sends an email with your eticket and receipt. The eticket can either be printed out or scanned from an electronic device.
Ways to get to and from the depot
- Taxies (phone numbers posted in the station)
- Public transportation (buses)
- Friends and family
- Airport shuttles
How I take advantage of this Depot
I learned a long time ago; this station has some advantages.
As you learned, parking is a one-time fee; you can park for up to thirty days. More extended parking may be available, but you will need to make arrangements first. The two Milwaukee stations charge around $8 a day, and driving to Chicago is a hassle and expensive.
I am an intermodal traveler, so I may need to catch another train, bus, or plane, and I found if I am going to be gone for a while, parking at the SVT Depot and taking the train can save me money, but it may take more time. If I can get the schedule to work, this is a great tip.
Taking the train to other Milwaukee Transport
If I fly out of Milwaukee, I take the Hiawatha to Milwaukee Gen Mitchell Airport from the Sturtevant Depot.
The airport runs shuttles to and from the Milwaukee Airpot Station (MKA). It costs around $10 to take the train to the airport.
Around trip and parking at Sturtevant Depot cost around $27; if you are flying and going to be gone for more than four days, this could save you money.
Connecting with bus services (Greyhound)
The Hiawatha will take you right to the Milwaukee Intermodal Station, where you can also catch bus services. The Hiawatha will cost $11.
Parking at the Intermodal is $8 a day.
Taking the train to Chicago Transport
The Hiawatha takes you to downtown Chicago; from there, you can walk to public transportation or hire a ride.
Getting to Midway
If you need to get to Midway, walk .3 miles to the Quincy Station (over the river and past the Willis tower). From there, walk up the stairs or take the elevator and follow the signs for the Orange line. Please stay on this CTA till the end because it terminates at Midway, about 30 minutes. The CTA will cost around $2.50 and approximately $24 for the Hiawatha.
Getting to O’Hare
To get to O’ Hare, walk 900 feet to the Clinton Station (you need to go underground). Please stay on the O’Hare CTA Blue Line till the end because it terminates at O’Hare. The ride takes about 49 minutes. The CTA will cost around $2.50 and approximately $24 for the train.
The other option is to take Metra’s North Central Service, which leaves out of the North Gate, the same as the Hiawatha. The train takes about 33 minutes. Once you arrive at the station, a bus takes you to your terminal. It will cost around $6.25 to take the train from Chicago Union Station and free shuttle. This train only operates on weekdays.
Chicago Bus Service
The bus terminal in Chicago is about a .4-mile walk from Union Station.