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Relocating Railroad Depot Buildings: The Complete Guide

The railroad revolutionized travel in the United States. A long, rich history surrounds this industry, much of which is cemented in the walls of historic railroad depots. Preserving these structures is crucial to understanding the past and the many ways the railroad has shaped our country.

Relocating railroad depots protects, preserves, and highlights these historic buildings. Are you considering relocating a railroad depot but unsure where to start? DeVooght House Lifters demystifies the process and offers insights that help you tackle your project.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about the process and why relocating railroad depot buildings can be a smart move for your business or community.

Why Relocate a Railroad Depot?

Railroad depots are multifaceted and multipurpose. Today, depots might serve as venues and community spaces and sometimes still serve as vital transportation hubs. Regardless of their use today, they hold historical significance and tell the story of the communities in which they’re located.

However, there are several reasons why relocating a depot might be necessary or beneficial, a few of which we’ll explore here:

  1. Urban Renewal

As cities evolve and grow, the need for urban renewal becomes essential and more pressing. Relocating a railroad depot can contribute to revitalizing urban areas by repurposing the original site for new developments while preserving the historical integrity of the depot.

  1. Infrastructure Upgrades

Aging infrastructure or the need for modernization may require relocating a railroad depot to accommodate new rail lines, improve safety features, or enhance efficiency in transportation operations.

  1. Community Development

Relocating a depot can stimulate economic growth and community development by strategically placing it in areas where it can better serve the needs of residents and businesses.

  1. Preservation

Sometimes, relocating a depot is necessary to preserve the building’s historical significance. Moving it to a new location where it can be restored and maintained ensures that future generations can appreciate its heritage.

The Process of Relocating a Railroad Depot

Relocating a railroad depot is a complex process that requires careful planning, coordination, and expertise. Here’s an overview of the steps involved:

  1. Assessment and Planning

The first step in relocating a train depot is to assess the structure’s current condition and determine the feasibility of relocation. This involves evaluating the structural integrity, historical significance, environmental impact, and logistical challenges associated with the move. A comprehensive plan outlining the relocation process, timeline, and budget is then developed.

  1. Permitting and Regulations

Obtaining the necessary permits and adhering to regulatory requirements is crucial for a successful relocation. This may involve obtaining approvals from local authorities, historic preservation boards, environmental agencies, and transportation departments.

  1. Site Preparation

Preparing the new site for the depot involves clearing the area, laying the foundation, and ensuring that it meets the necessary infrastructure requirements, such as utilities and transportation links, if applicable.

  1. Structural Relocation

The depot is carefully lifted, supported, and transported to its new location using specialized equipment and techniques. This process requires meticulous planning and coordination to ensure the safety of the structure, surrounding areas, and those involved in the project.

  1. Restoration and Rehabilitation

Once the depot is relocated, restoration and rehabilitation efforts begin to preserve its historical integrity and functionality. This may include repairing damaged elements, upgrading utilities, and enhancing accessibility while retaining its architectural character.

In some cases, very little repair or restoration is necessary. Consult with a historical preservationist or restoration firm to determine the most effective way to restore the depot so it most closely matches its original architecture and character.

  1. Integration and Activation

Finally, the relocated depot is integrated into its new surroundings, and efforts are made to activate the space for community use. This may involve hosting events, creating public amenities, and promoting local heritage tourism.

Choosing the Right Partner for Train Depot Relocation

Relocating a railroad depot is a significant undertaking that requires expertise in historic preservation, engineering, transportation logistics, and project management. Because these structures are precious, you want to partner with a contractor with the experience and expertise to get it right the first time.

At DeVooght House Lifters, we specialize in structural relocation and have a proven track record of relocating historic landmarks, including railroad depots, with precision and care. Our team of experts will work closely with you to assess your needs, develop a customized plan, and execute the relocation with the highest level of professionalism and integrity.

When our clients come to us for structural relocation services, we know it’s because the home or building in question is precious, and they want to preserve it. Railroad depots carry the weight of decades of history that shape your community and our country. We don’t take this lightly.

Every project is meticulously planned to ensure a safe, successful relocation, no matter what you’re moving or where you want it moved. We have the expertise to move what matters most. Bringing more than forty years of experience to the table, we’ll execute your structural relocation projects to the absolute highest standard. 


Relocating a railroad depot is a complex but rewarding endeavor that can breathe new life into communities while preserving their history and railroad heritage. By understanding the process and working with the right partner, you can ensure a seamless relocation that benefits both your organization or business and the community at large.


Contact DeVooght House Lifters today to learn how we can help you relocate your railroad depot.

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