The Cotton Belt Depot was opened to the public in 1905 and continued service until the last passenger train, #8, departed in April 1956. In 1988 the Southern Pacific deeded the depot to the City of Tyler. The City restored the depot to her original beauty in 2003.
Today the depot facilitates the Cotton Belt Depot Museum in the old baggage section on the east end of the building. It is staffed by volunteers from the Cotton Belt Rail Historical Society, Tyler Tap Chapter. The Depot Museum has welcomed visitors from all 50 States, the District of Columbia and over 45 foreign countries. Over 300 visitors visit the depot each month and tours are conducted daily.