Niagara Falls station (New York)
The new station under construction in July 2016.
|Location||825 Depot Ave West, Niagara Falls, New York
|Owned by||City of Niagara Falls|
|Line(s)||Empire Corridor (Niagara Subdivision)|
|Platforms||1 side platform|
|Bus operators|| NFTA route 50
|Station code||Amtrak code: NFL|
|Opened||December 6, 2016|
U.S. Customhouse, June 2009. Note the railroad bridge on the right, then partially obscured by trees.
|Location||2245 Whirlpool St., Niagara Falls, New York|
|Area||less than one acre|
|NRHP Reference #||73001227|
|Added to NRHP||July 16, 1973|
The Niagara Falls Station and Customhouse Interpretive Center is an intermodal transit complex in Niagara Falls, New York. It serves Amtrak trains and Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority buses, and also houses U.S. Customs and Border Protection offices servicing the Canada–United States border and other facilities. It is on Amtrak's Empire Corridor and serves two Empire Service trains in each direction (terminating westbound) and one Maple Leaf in each direction daily. The station also provides a connection to NFTA Route 50 and the Discover Niagara Shuttle buses.
The facility consists of a complex built around the historic U.S. Customhouse, originally designed to service the U.S. side of the Niagara River border crossings from Canada. Completed in July 2016, the facility replaced Amtrak's former Niagara Falls station for passenger rail service on December 6, 2016. and also includes U.S. Customs and Border Protection, bus service, and a soon to be opened museum on the Underground Railroad.
To handle the large amount of goods exchanged over the border, the Lewiston customs house—the primary customs for the Niagara region—was relocated from Lewiston, NY to the Niagara Suspension Bridge in 1863.[Note 1] The customhouse served inspectors for the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge, Niagara Cantilever Bridge, Whirlpool Rapids Bridge, and Michigan Central Railway Bridge at various points in its history. With Niagara Falls receiving the second highest amounts of American imports at one point, the customhouse was once a very busy post for its inspectors. In 1911 the building was partially destroyed by fire but later rebuilt. Remaining in a US Customs capacity until the 1960s, it was sold to several different commercial owners before it was originally abandoned in 1998.
Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, the building is now owned by the city of Niagara Falls who purchased it in 2003. State and local governments later incorporated the customhouse into plans to build a new multi-million dollar train station and intermodal transportation center called the Niagara Falls Station and Customhouse Interpretative Center. The customhouse was restored over a 5 year period and built into the station.
The current complex utilizes the original Custom House as part of the station as a facility for U.S. Customs and Border Protection which is based out of the second floor along with modern additions. The first floor contains a museum for the Underground Railroad called the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad interpretive Center in honor of the former original bridge close by that took slaves from the United States into Canada in the 19th Century. The museum is expected to open in 2017.
After 30 years of effort to move Amtrak's Niagara Falls station to the Customhouse location, the building became part of the Niagara Falls Station and Customhouse Interpretive Center in a three-phase rebuilding project estimated to cost $44 million. Construction on the project began in August 2010 and in October 2010, the US Department of Transportation released $16.5 million in funds from the TIGER program for work on the final phase of the International Station project. The new station replaced the former Niagara Falls Amtrak station and also houses U.S. Customs facilities as the station is point of entry for travelers on the Amtrak Maple Leaf coming from Toronto, Canada.
A construction contract was agreed upon between the City of Niagara Falls and a local construction firm in April 2014 after delay over price overruns. Work began in May, 2014. City officials said the construction would take 18 months to two years to complete. The project was completed in three phases including the stabilization of the existing building and upgrades to the nearby bridge. The station was completed in July, 2016 although Amtrak service moving to the facility was delayed due to contract talks between the city and Amtrak. The completion of the station was celebrated with a sneak peek of it to the public which was called “Niagara Falls Amtrak Community Day” on July 30, 2016.
After a delay in a contract agreement between the city and Amtrak a 20 year lease was signed on November 9, 2016. Amtrak moved into the station on December 6 after the last train departed from the former Willard Avenue facility that morning.
Like the customhouse, the train station has two floors, with the main concourse on the first and passengers boarding the trains on the second. Shops will also be included in the train station section of the complex. The lawn in front of the custom house may be turned into more of a theater and interpretive area.
It is hoped that the new station and its closer location to the downtown area of the city will help spur public and private sector growth in the city.
Customs processing for the Maple Leaf
There are no pre-clearance facilities here or on the Canadian side. For passengers coming from Canada, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers handle passengers with processing through the station. For passengers going to Canada, Canada Border Services Agency officers process those passengers on board the train at the Niagara Falls Railway Station in Niagara Falls, Ontario just over the Whirlpool Bridge.
The station has one side platform to the north of the tracks.
|Street level||Exit/entrance and station building|
|Side platform, doors will open on the left or right|
|Track 1||← Empire Service alighting passengers only
← Maple Leaf toward Toronto (Niagara Falls, ON)
Empire Service, Maple Leaf toward New York City (Buffalo–Exchange Street) →
|Track 2||No passenger service|
- U.S. Customhouse (disambiguation) - A list of other historic customhouses
- National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- WKBW-TV (27 July 2016). "Lease agreement delays train service to new Amtrak Station".
- Fischer, Nancy (25 June 2016). "$43 million train station gets ready to open in Niagara Falls". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
- Fischer, Nancy (30 November 2016). "Amtrak service at new Niagara Falls station to debut on Tuesday".
- Brightly 1869, p. 468.
- National Park Service 2004.
- Gee 2008.
- "Cultural Resource Information System (CRIS)" (Searchable database). New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2016-03-01. Note: This includes Cornelia E. Brooke (May 1973). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: U.S. Customhouse" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-03-01. and Accompanying three photographs
- "Niagara Falls gets $16.5M grant for Amtrak station". WCAX.com. 29 October 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2010.
- "USDOT doles out TIGER II grants for 75 transportation projects". Progressive Railroading. 21 October 2010. Retrieved 21 October 2010.
- Besecker, Aaron (19 April 2014). "Falls train station is back on track".
- Hsieh, Cresonia (30 July 2016). "A look at the new $43 million Niagara Falls train station".
- Fischer, Nancy (9 November 2016). "Amtrak and Niagara Falls reach agreement on train station".
- "New Amtrak train station in Niagara Falls set to open". Niagara Gazette. December 6, 2016. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
- Elzufon, Rachel (13 July 2015). "Structure up in new Niagara Falls Amtrak station".
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Niagara Falls Station and Customhouse Interpretive Center.|
- Amtrak – Stations – Niagara Falls, NY
- Niagara Falls Underground Railroad interpretive Center
- Niagara Falls, N.Y. (Great American Stations)
- Photos of train station construction from the Niagara Gazette and finished photos from the The Buffalo News
- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) No. NY-6152, "U.S. Custom House, Whirlpool Street at Lower Arch Bridge, Niagara Falls, Niagara County, NY", 14 photos, 5 data pages, 2 photo caption pages