Kelso depot volunteers

Kelso depot volunteers, the self-proclaimed "Wednesday girls," Clara Todd, right, and Martha Korff can check schedules, help with ticket purchases and ensure passengers make their train connections.

Volunteers at the Kelso/Longview Train Depot are looking for a few extra helping hands to keep passengers informed and the train station running smoothly.

The Kelso/Longview Train Depot Volunteers formed in 2009 after a group from Olympia floated the idea at a Kelso City Council meeting. Dan Myers, who is president of the Kelso-Longview Train Depot Volunteers, was a Kelso councilman at the time and offered to spearhead the organization.

The train station currently has 26 active volunteers, but it needs about 13 more to maintain full coverage, Myers said.

Those interested in volunteering can pick up an application at the depot, located at 501 South First Street, Kelso, or call Myers at 360-423-9900.

Volunteers track and update the status of trains arriving at and leaving the station. Volunteers also keep the depot clean, announce the arrival of trains and keep a tally of the on- and off-boarding passengers from the 10 passenger trains that stop in Kelso each day.

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The volunteer position also involves making the travel process smoother for passengers. Volunteers manage and return lost items, offer transportation information, solicit donations of luggage for passengers in need, and help passengers find their boarding location, purchase tickets, or accomplish other tasks with which they need assistance.

Volunteers work four-hour shifts and work as much as they want. The depot needs volunteers for three periods during each day of the week:

  • 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Late trains often keep this shift until 9 p.m.)

The depot was built in 1912, 12 years before Longview was incorporated. It was extensively remodeled in 1994-95. More than 1,000 passengers board or depart a train in Kelso each month, Myers said.

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