La Plata, MO - Depot Inn & Suites
Address: 1245 North Brown Street Phone: 660-332-4669
Web Site: Depot Inn & Suites
Location/ Directions: 10 minutes south of Kirksville on MO-63.
Average Price (Checked Nov 2016): $99.00 AAA Rated: n/a Stars: (n/a)
About Hotel: 1-Floor, 30-Rooms, Interior Corridors,Rocker recliners (standard rooms), Desk/work space, 27" flat-screen televisions, DVD players, hair dryers, Iron and ironing board, Free local calls (including Kirksville), Free In-Room WiFi and Wired Internet Access, Free Continental Breakfast, 24/7 FREE Coffee Bar, Microwave/Refrigerator in every room, Heated Indoor Pool, Guest Laundry, Business Center, Exercise Room, Gift Shop and General Store, Free shuttle from Amtrak Station, Free shuttle from Kirksville Airport, Rental Car pick-up / drop-off on premises, Train Watching Shelter (Enclosed and heated), Pool Table, Game Tables (for card games),Patio complete with BBQ grill/tables/chairs/umbrellas. Secure Fenced Play Area for small children, Putting Green, Jungle Gym and Sandbox, Bicycles.
Note about this property*: Normally we would not list this motel on our web site since there is not a railroad view from the motel. This is a railroad themed motel with an added bonus; a short walk (or drive) from the motel grounds is a great train-viewing platform. The viewing location is located on the north side of BNSF Railways TransCon Mainline . The train watching location consists of an outdoor deck, enclosed shelter with electric and heat for the winter. Inside the shelter there are a couple of tables and chairs, a ATCS monitor, and if I'm not mistaken, a scanner-radio. On the deck there are more chairs and plenty of space to set up a tripod for photos/video. There is also a barbecue, a very small parking lot.
Railroad View from Motel: No view from the room itself, unless you consider the live camera available to watch on your room television! That's right; each room has a channel on the television that you can tune into the live camera mounted on the train viewing platform. The camera also has night vision, which helps you view trains at night. When you hear a train-horn outside, just turn your channel to the camera! There is also another channel where you can check the ATCS monitor. For those not familiar with ATCS; its a live monitor that resembles a train-dispatchers board. Once you understand how to read the screen, you can tell where trains are located, and which direction they are authorized to move. Makes it hard to miss a train!
Railroad View from La Plata Train-Watching Platform: Excellent for train-watching. Since its located on the north side of the tracks; I have to give it just a "Very Good" rating for photography. On sunny days, light will be on the wrong side of the tracks most of the day. There is a positive; Since the viewing platform is above the top of the trains, you will be shooting downward, so your pictures will not get "washed out". From what I understand, the village owns the train-platform, and the motel maintains it. So, its open to anyone year round, motel guests or not...but than again, why would you stay anyplace else! The platform is less than 1/4-mile from the motel; accessed by a narrow but long dirt path. Active people can walk, if you have camera gear and a tripod - you may as well drive. Note the parking area is very small, enough for a few cars. Campers and other larger vehicles should not try to access the viewing platform. Entrance to the viewing platform can be found at an unmarked driveway located behind the Mexican Restaurant next to the Depot Inn.
Railroads past Hotel: BNSF Railway / Amtrak (#3 + #4 daily) / Union Pacific via trackage rights. The line is BNSF Railway's TransCon Mainline (former Santa Fe "Steel Thruway", LA to Chicago). This is a busy line, with about 70-trains during a 24-hour period.
Notes: Food choices in La Plata are limited to a Mexican Restaurant next door (supposed to be really good), or Casey's General Store (convenient store) serving pizza and other hot and cold choices.
Photo Comments: The motel is kept in excellent condition, a picture inside Room # E shows the wide screen TV tuned into the live web camera. This channel comes in handy if your in the motel and hear a train horn outside. You'll never miss a train. A photo of the shelter at the train-viewing platform. Tracks are on the back side of this structure.
BNSF Train: A Westbound BNSF train is about to pass the train viewing platform. This westbound train is zooming past in the late afternoon sun.
Amtrak train # 4: The eastbound Southwest Chief makes a stop at the La Plata station (white building seen to the right of the train). Amtrak's specially painted 40th Anniversary locomotive # 145 stopped just short of the viewing platform. Once it departed, roster shots were easy to capture.
Union Pacific train: A eastbound Union Pacific double stack train heading to the Chicago area is powered by 5 locomotives on the front and another on the rear. Several trains on this line can be found using Distributed Power, meaning an extra locomotive on the rear or middle of the train. Union Pacific acquired these track-age rights though the buyout of the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1996.
RailfanMotels.com - Originally reviewed September 2013, revisited September 2016.