Kingston station (Rhode Island)

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Kingston, RI
Kingston station from side platform, May 2017.JPG
Kingston station building and platforms in May 2017
Location1 Railroad Avenue
West Kingston, Rhode Island
Coordinates41°29′02″N 71°33′39″W / 41.4840°N 71.5607°W / 41.4840; -71.5607Coordinates: 41°29′02″N 71°33′39″W / 41.4840°N 71.5607°W / 41.4840; -71.5607
Owned byState of Rhode Island
Line(s)Northeast Corridor
Platforms1 side platform
1 island platform
Tracks3 [1]
Parking150 spots
Bicycle facilitiesYes
Disabled accessYes
Architectural styleStick/Eastlake
Other information
Station codeKIN
OpenedJune 1875 (current station)
RebuiltMay 31, 1998
October 30, 2017[2]
2019174,747[3]Increase 2.55%
Preceding station BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak Following station
Westerly Northeast Regional Providence
Former services
Preceding station New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Following station
toward New Haven
Shore Line Wickford Junction
toward Boston
Kingston Railroad Station
NRHP reference No.78000018[4]
Added to NRHPApril 26, 1978
Kingston, RI is located in Rhode Island
Kingston, RI
Kingston, RI
Location within Rhode Island
Kingston, RI is located in the United States
Kingston, RI
Kingston, RI
Kingston, RI (the United States)

Kingston 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. Current rail services consist of Northeast Regional trains in each direction, all of which stop at the station. Historically Kingston provided commuter rail service to Providence and Boston via Amtrak's commuter rail services. The MBTA is looking at extending their commuter service with the Providence/Stoughton Line.[5]


19th and 20th centuries[edit]

Kingston station in 1875

The New York, Providence and Boston Railroad opened in November 1837.[6] Since its tracks did not go through the village of Kingston, a new village - West Kingston - sprang up around the railroad station on Waites Corner Road.[7]

The station has remained in continuous use from the day it opened in June 1875. Historically, Kingston Station also served the Narragansett Pier Railroad. Travel time for the 8+12-mile (13.7 km) trip between Kingston and Narragansett Pier was approximately 20 minutes[8] before passenger service ended unofficially in June, 1952.[9] (In 2000 the former right-of-way was converted into the William C. O'Neill Bike Path.)

An Acela Express train passing through Kingston at 150 miles per hour (240 km/h)

By the 1960s, service to Kingston consisted of regional service from Boston to New York City, plus a single commuter round trip from New London to Boston.[10] 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.[10] This trip lasted until June 1977.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13]

The station was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 26, 1975 as Kingston Railroad Station.[4]

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.[14][citation needed]

Although all 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 top speed of 150 mph (240 km/h). 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 due to its high-level platforms, they occasionally do stop at Kingston in emergencies such as downed wires or problems with the locomotives.[15][note 2]

Railroad museum[edit]

For a time, half of the station was home to the Rhode Island Railroad Museum. The museum, operated by Friends of The Kingston Railroad Station, was open Sunday afternoons, and included old artifacts from railroads in Rhode Island.[16] Its highlight was an operating model railroad which depicted Kingston in 1948.[16] The museum was closed because the second half of the building is needed due to increasing ridership at the station. The area will be renovated and used as a second waiting room with outlets and extra seating.[17]

Infrastructure expansion[edit]

New high-level platforms under construction in January 2016

In 2009, RIDOT 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.[5] On June 29, 2015, Amtrak and local officials held a groundbreaking on the expansion of the station. This project will replace the current low-level platforms at the station with new, ADA-accessible high-level platforms and add a 1.5-mile (2.4 km)-long third track, allowing Acela Express trains to pass through the station while Northeast Regional or possible future commuter rail trains are stopped at the station. Construction work also incorporated installation of drainage, retaining walls and poles to support catenary wires for the new track as well as renovations to the interior of the station.[1] The project was projected to cost $41 million, of which $26.5 million was provided via a High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program (HSIPR) grant from the federal government and RIDOT, with Amtrak providing the remainder of the funding. Amtrak projected a completion of construction by summer 2017.[18] Renovations to Kingston station were officially completed on October 30, 2017[19][2]


Proposed commuter service[edit]

Currently, Kingston is one of only three stations on the Northeast Corridor - along with adjacent stations Westerly and Mystic to the south - that is served exclusively by Amtrak, with no commuter rail service. In 1994, a Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) report indicated that the Northeast Corridor was the most viable route for commuter service in Rhode Island.[20] That same year, a Federal Railroad Administration report estimated that Kingston-Providence service would begin in 1999.[21] 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.[22] However, the 2003 Environmental Assessment and a 2009 report studying service to Woonsocket did not discuss extending service further south than Wickford Junction.[23][24] Service to T.F. Green Airport began in December 2010, and to Wickford Junction in April 2012.[10]

The completed northbound high-level platform, photographed in September 2016

However, that same year, the application for funds for the third track was noted as a prerequisite for the extension of commuter service.[5]

Bus connections[edit]

Two RIPTA bus routes connect the station to the URI campus and major cities in Rhode Island:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Kingston Station Capacity Expansion". Amtrak. October 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Reed, Raimondo Cut Ribbon on Kingston Train Station Upgrades" (Press release). Office of Jack Reed. October 30, 2017.
  3. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, FY2019, State of Rhode Island" (PDF). Amtrak. June 2020. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  4. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c Chris Barrett (31 December 2009). "Kingston MBTA stop project proposed". Providence Business News. Archived from the original on 10 January 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  6. ^ Karr, Ronald Dale (1995). The Rail Lines of Southern New England. Branch Line Press. pp. 123–127, 130–132. ISBN 0942147022.
  7. ^ "Kingston, RI (KIN)". Great American Stations. Amtrak. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  8. ^ "A Bit of Information About Kingston Station". Friends of Kingston Station newsletter: 1. Spring 2012. It also served the Narragansett Pier Railroad, a seven-mile long railroad that ran to Narragansett Pier. The running time between Kingston and Narragansett Beach was 20 minutes (try that today on a Friday afternoon!)
  9. ^ Votava, Bob (21 April 2010). "A Brief History of the William C. O'Neill Bike Path". Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  10. ^ a b c Belcher, Jonathan (1 July 2013). "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district" (PDF). NETransit. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  11. ^ Baer, Christopher T. (August 2011). "PRR CHRONOLOGY: 1977" (PDF). Pennsylvania Technical and Historical Society. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 May 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  12. ^ National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) (30 April 1978). "National Train Timetables". The Museum of Railway Timetables. p. 18. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  13. ^ Hebert, H. Josef (August 26, 1981). "New Amtrak Network Keeps Most of System Intact". Associated Press. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  14. ^ "Historic station burns". Lowell Sun. December 13, 1988. p. 3. Retrieved April 18, 2018 – via
  15. ^ "Acela Halted at Kingston for speeding again?". Friends of Kingston Station newsletter: 1. Winter 2008. Yes, every so often the Acela actually has been witnessed at a full stop in front of the Kingston Station. On Labor Day weekend of 2007, the crowds had a real show! ... A regularly scheduled Acela to New York encountered a pantagraph problem which required attention, so it was decided by the dispatchers to transfer the travelers to the following Acela set and bring it up on the station side.
  16. ^ a b "Museum". Friends of the Kingston Station. Archived from the original on 24 November 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  17. ^ Railroad of Rhode Island (September 17, 2017). "INTERIOR OF KINGSTON STATION. These shots were taken Sept 17. They show (more or less) what the interior of the old museum space is going to look like..." Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  18. ^ Mark Schieldrop (June 29, 2015). "Ground Broken on Third Track at Kingston Station". Patch. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
  19. ^ Kendra Gravelle (November 3, 2017). "Renovations complete at Kingston Station". Narragansett Times. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  20. ^ "Rail Corridor Feasibility Study" (PDF). Rhode Island Department of Transportation. November 1994. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 April 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  21. ^ Office of Railroad Development (July 1994). "Northeast Corridor Transportation Plan - New York to Boston (Appendices)". Federal Railroad Administration. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  22. ^ Edwards and Kelcey, Inc (July 2001). "South County Commuter Rail Service Plan" (PDF). Rhode Island Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 April 2009. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  23. ^ "South County Commuter Rail Environmental Assessment" (PDF). Rhode Island Department of Transportation. February 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  24. ^ Jacobs Engineering Group and Oak Square Resources (9 June 2009). "Rhode Island Intrastate Commuter Rail: Feasibility Study" (PDF). Rhode Island Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 May 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2009.


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Although Kingston did not have full-length high platforms until 2017, the mini-high platforms were 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.

External links[edit]