Niagara Falls station (New York)
The Niagara Falls station in December 2014. An Empire Service train is waiting near the depot.
|Location||2701 Willard Avenue
Niagara Falls, New York
|Owned by||Owasco River Railway|
|Platforms||2 island platforms|
|Parking||15 long term and 15 short term dedicated parking spaces|
|Station code||Amtrak code: NFL|
|Closed||August 2016 (planned)|
|Passengers (2015)||31,831 2.5%|
The Niagara Falls station is an Amtrak train station in Niagara Falls, New York. It is the western end of Amtrak's Empire Corridor and serves the Empire Service and Maple Leaf lines. It is located at Willard Avenue and 27th Street on the outskirts of town, about three miles from Niagara Falls and the city's downtown. It is planned to be replaced by the Niagara Falls International Railway Station and Transportation Center in August 2016.
Rail service arrived in Niagara Falls around 1840, when the Buffalo and Niagara Falls Railroad completed the connection to Buffalo. As the town grew, prompted by the Erie Canal, the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge, and the Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Manufacturing Company, rail service increased. Eventually, three different passenger stations were operating at the same time. New York Central Railroad, which took over the Buffalo and Niagara Falls Railroad, built a new station downtown at Falls Avenue and 2nd Street in 1851. The Erie Railroad built its own station a block away at Niagara Street and 2nd Street. In 1887, New York Central built a new Union Station at Depot and 10th Avenue near the Suspension Bridge and the U.S. Customhouse; this became the city's main station and at its peak served ten different railroads.
New York Central's original downtown station burned down in 1888, and was replaced with a new Italianate facility. Erie Railroad shuttered its downtown station in 1901; the structure was relocated to 4th Street and was eventually demolished in 1930. In 1961, New York Central shut down its downtown station. Both it and the Union Station were demolished in 1964, ending passenger rail service to Niagara Falls for 14 years.
Current Amtrak station
Amtrak, in partnership with the State of New York, established the current station in 1978. For this purpose, they converted a former Lehigh Valley Railroad freight warehouse built in 1959 into a passenger station. The station is located on the edge of town, three miles from the falls and Downtown Niagara. Amtrak service began on October 29, 1978. More than 500 people attended the inaugural ceremonies, which included speeches by Congressman John LaFalce, New York Department of Transportation Commissioner William C. Hennessy, and Niagara Falls Mayor Michael O'Loughlin. As the ceremony concluded, the eastbound Niagara Rainbow rolled into the station.
In 1987, the city of Niagara Falls planned a project to establish a new station at the U.S. Customhouse, near the bridge. State and local governments are in the process of building the new multi-million dollar Niagara Falls International Railway Station and Transportation Center. This work is to be part of a three phase project titled the Niagara Falls International Railway Station. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection will share with Amtrak the complex consisting of the old customhouse and modern additions.
In October 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation released $16.5 million in funds from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program for work on the final phase of the International Station project. The new station completed in July 2016, is expected to open in August 2016, at which time the Lockport Road station will close.
The station is served by six trains daily:
- Empire Service (Amtrak), two eastbounds to Pennsylvania Station (New York City) and two westbound terminations.
- Maple Leaf (Amtrak/VIA), one eastbound to Pennsylvania Station (New York City) and one westbound to Union Station (Toronto).
- Fischer, Nancy (25 June 2016). "$43 million train station gets ready to open in Niagara Falls". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
- "Amtrak Fact Sheet, FY2015, State of New York" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
- "Niagara Falls, NY (NFL)". www.greatamericanstations.com. Amtrak. 2016. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
- "Service inaugural at Niagara Falls, N.Y. (1978)". Amtrak History & Archives. 29 October 1978. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
- "City receives final federal funding for new train station and transportation hub". Niagara Gazette. 28 October 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2010.
- "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.
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