Kingston Railroad Station (Rhode Island)
Historic station building at Kingston Railroad Station
|Address||1 Railroad Avenue
West Kingston, RI
|Platforms||2 side platforms|
|Opened||June 1875 (current station)|
|Rebuilt||May 31, 1998|
|Owned by||State of Rhode Island|
|Passengers (2013)||152,403 6.4%|
Kingston Railroad Station
|Location||South Kingstown, Rhode Island|
|NRHP Reference #||78078000018|
|Added to NRHP||April 26, 1978|
Kingston Railroad Station is a historic railroad station located on the Northeast Corridor in the village of West Kingston, in the town of South Kingstown, Rhode Island. It was built at this location in 1875 by the New York, Providence and Boston Railroad, replacing earlier stations dating back to the opening of the line in 1837. Part of the station building is now a railway museum, while the other serves as a waiting room for Amtrak passengers. Although it currently only sees intercity service, with 9 daily Northeast Regional trains in each direction, Kingston is a proposed stop for commuter service to Providence and Boston as an extension of the MBTA Commuter Rail Providence/Stoughton Line.
The New York, Providence and Boston Railroad opened in November 1837. Since its tracks did not go through the village of Kingston, a new village - West Kingston - sprung up around the railroad station on Waites Corner Road.
The Kingston Station has continued as a railroad station from the day it opened in June 1875 to the present. Historically, Kingston station also served the Narragansett Pier Railroad. Travel time for the 8 1⁄2-mile (13.7 km) trip between Kingston and Narragansett Pier was approximately 20 minutes before passenger service ended unofficially in June, 1952. (In 2000 the former right-of-way was converted into the William C. O’Neill Bike Path.)
By the 1960s, service to Kingston station consisted of regional service from Boston to New York City, plus a single commuter round trip from New London to Boston. When Amtrak took over intercity service from Penn Central in May 1971, Penn Central was not given license to discontinue the commuter trip. When permission was given in 1972, it was replaced with a state-funded Westerly-Providence round trip also stopping at Kingston. This trip lasted until June 1977. From September 1976 to October 1977 and January–April 1978 Amtrak's Clamdigger ran local service from Providence to New Haven with a stop at Kingston. The Beacon Hill replaced the Clamdigger in April 1978, running local from New Haven to Boston. Faced with declining ridership and the loss of state subsidies, the Beacon Hill was discontinued effective October 24, 1981, leaving Kingston with just intercity stopping service.
An organization called The Friends of Kingston Station was instrumental in preserving the station and assuring its restoration after a fire there on December 12, 1988.
Although most Northeast Regional trains stop at Kingston, Acela Express trains do not. Kingston is located on one of several sections of track where the Acela Express is permitted to run at its full 150 mph (240 km/h) speed. Kingston and Mansfield are the only stations where the Acela will pass through at full speed on tracks adjacent to platforms.[note 1] Signs and automated announcements warn passengers of the potential danger. Since it is the only station between New London and Providence which can deboard passengers from Acela trains, they occasionally do stop at Kingston in emergencies such as downed wires or problems with the locomotives.[note 2]
The Rhode Island Railroad Museum is located in the southern half of the station building; it is free and open on Sunday afternoons from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. and by appointment. The museums features displays and offers volunteer opportunities.
In 2009, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation requested American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funds for engineering of a siding and platform that would allow local trains to stop at the station, possibly including future MBTA Commuter Rail trains on an extension of the Providence/Stoughton Line.
Proposed commuter service
In 1994, a RIDOT report indicated that the Northeast Corridor was the most viable route for commuter service in Rhode Island. That same year, an Federal Railroad Administration report estimated that Kingston-Providence service would begin in 1999. In 2001, RIDOT released a potential operations plans for South County commuter rail service from Westerly to Providence, with a stop at Kingston plus infill stops at Wickford Junction and T.F. Green Airport. The report considered the service as an extension of Shore Line East, an extension of the MBTA's Providence/Stoughton Line, or a stand-alone service. However, the 2003 Environmental Assessment and a 2009 report studying service to Woonsocket did not discuss extending service further south than Wickford. Service to T.F. Green Airport began in December 2010, and to Wickford Junction in April 2012.
However, that same year, the application for funds for the third track was noted as a prerequisite for the extension of commuter service.
Two RIPTA bus routes connect the station to the URI campus and major cities in Rhode Island:
- "Amtrak Fact Sheet, FY2013, State of Rhode Island" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
- "Kingston, RI (KIN)". Great American Stations. Amtrak. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- Karr, Ronald Dale (1995). The Rail Lines of Southern New England. Branch Line Press. pp. 123–127, 130–132. ISBN 0942147022.
- Votava, Bob (21 April 2010). "A Brief History of the William C. O’Neill Bike Path". Retrieved 3 May 2012.
- Belcher, Jonathan (1 July 2013). "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district" (PDF). NETransit. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- Baer, Christopher T. (August 2011). "PRR CHRONOLOGY: 1977". Pennsylvania Technical and Historical Society. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) (30 April 1978). "National Train Timetables". The Museum of Railway Timetables. p. 18. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- Hebert, H. Josef (August 26, 1981). "New Amtrak Network Keeps Most of System Intact". Associated Press. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- Chris Barrett (31 December 2009). "Kingston MBTA stop project proposed". Providence Business News. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- "Rail Corridor Feasibility Study". Rhode Island Department of Transportation. November 1994. Archived from the original on 24 April 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- Office of Railroad Development (July 1994). "Northeast Corridor Transportation Plan - New York to Boston (Appendices)". Federal Railroad Administration. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- Edwards and Kelcey, Inc (July 2001). "South County Commuter Rail Service Plan". Rhode Island Department of Transportation. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- "South County Commuter Rail Environmental Assessment". Rhode Island Department of Transportation. February 2003. Archived from the original on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- Jacobs Engineering Group and Oak Square Resources (9 June 2009). "Rhode Island Intrastate Commuter Rail: Feasibility Study". Rhode Island Department of Transportation. Retrieved 10 August 2009.
- Attleboro, T. F. Green Airport, and Wickford Junction are also located on 150 mph (240 km/h) sections, but these stations have platform tracks not normally used by the Acela.
- Although Kingston does not currently have full-length high platforms, the mini-high platforms are sufficient for deboarding passengers if required. Of the other stations between New London and Providence, Mystic and Westerly have only low-level platforms, while the platforms at T. F. Green Airport and Wickford Junction are located on non-electrified sidings.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kingston (Amtrak station).|
- Amtrak – Stations – Kingston, RI
- Friends of Kingston Station
- Rhode Island Railroad Museum
- Kingston Amtrak Station (USA Rail Guide -- Train Web)
- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) No. RI-400, "Kingston Railroad Station, Railroad Avenue, West Kingston, Washington County, RI", 13 photos, 18 data pages, 2 photo caption pages
- Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) No. RI-19, "Northeast Railroad Corridor, Amtrak route between CT & MA state lines, Providence, Providence County, RI", 35 photos, 4 photo caption pages