Springfield Union Station (Massachusetts)

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Springfield
UnionStation SpringfieldMA.svg
Springfield Union Station, July 2016.jpg
Springfield Union Station in July 2016 during renovations
Location 55 Frank B. Murray Street
Springfield, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°06′22″N 72°35′35″W / 42.106047°N 72.592936°W / 42.106047; -72.592936Coordinates: 42°06′22″N 72°35′35″W / 42.106047°N 72.592936°W / 42.106047; -72.592936
Owned by Springfield Redevelopment Authority (Union Station building, bus terminal, parking garage)
Amtrak (Train waiting area and platforms)
Line(s) New Haven–Springfield Line
Connecticut River Line
Berkshire Subdivision
Platforms 2 side platforms, 2 island platforms
Tracks 6
Bus stands 27
Bus operators Pioneer Valley Transit Authority
Peter Pan Bus Lines
Greyhound Lines
Construction
Disabled access Yes
Other information
Station code SPG (Amtrak)
History
Opened 1839 (original station)
1851 (first Union Station)
1891 (second Union Station)
1926 (third Union Station)
1973 (first Amtrak station)
November 1994 (second Amtrak station)
Rebuilt 2017 (third Union Station)
Traffic
Passengers (FY 2017) 89,629[1]Decrease 4.3%
Services
Preceding station   BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak   Following station
toward Chicago
Lake Shore Limited
Northeast RegionalTerminus
New Haven–Springfield Shuttle
Vermonter
toward St. Albans
ConnDOT
Hartford LineTerminus
Proposed
Former services
BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak
Montrealer
1972-1987
toward Montreal
New York Central Railroad
toward Albany
Boston and Albany Railroad
Main Line
toward Boston

Springfield Union Station is a train and bus station in the Metro Center area of Springfield, Massachusetts. Constructed in 1926, Springfield Union Station is the fifth busiest Amtrak station in the Commonwealth.[1]

A large-scale $94 million[2] renovation project restored the former station building, and it reopened in late June 2017 as a regional intermodal transit hub not only featuring Amtrak service, but serving as the new hub for the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) bus system in the area, along with the planned hub for Peter Pan Bus Lines, Greyhound service and Hartford Line commuter rail. PVTA and intercity bus services have moved in and are operating out of the station. Amtrak's present facility at Union Station is located within a building located along the tracks upon the viaduct situated along Lyman Street to the south. The rail station is slated to move into the Union Station main hall upon the completion of a new elevated boarding platform and elevators and stairs to the platform.[3]

History[edit]

Springfield's original station, constructed in the Egyptian Revival style in 1839
The first so-named Union Station constructed in 1851, ca. 1888 during its dismantlement
The second Union Station, ca. 1910

Springfield's grand Union Station was constructed in 1926 by the Boston & Albany Railroad to replace a smaller Union Station, which had been adorned in unique Egyptian-style architecture. The station was built for $5.87 million.[4] The station opened to the public on December 18, 1926.[5]

Springfield is exactly equidistant to both Boston and Albany at 89 miles (143 km) from each. The New York, New Haven & Hartford (including the Central New England Railway) and Boston & Maine railroads also utilized the station.

Already in the 1950s, the New York Central Railroad, parent company of the Boston & Albany, wanted to sell the grand Springfield station, calling it "a white elephant". The opening of the Massachusetts Turnpike in 1958 was said to have caused a 50% decline in passenger trips to Boston. By 1962, train departures had fallen from a 1920s-30s peak of 97 per day to fewer than 15 per day. The station was sold in 1970 to David Buntzman, a real estate speculator from Larchmont, New York.[6]

The 1926 main station building and baggage building closed in 1973 as passenger traffic could no longer justify the 221,000-square foot station[5] and the Boston & Albany intercity routes were taken over by Amtrak. The building had been neglected for a number of years and was in poor condition, and the required rehabilitation to the building was deemed too costly. After this, Amtrak opened a makeshift station at street level within the passenger tunnel, with the sole entrance being from Lyman Street. The connection from the tunnel to the old station was sealed.

In 1994 Amtrak constructed the present station building at track level and sealed off the passenger tunnel except for the present Lyman Street entrance and the southernmost stairway and elevator shaft to track level. A modern elevator was installed in the remaining open shaft to connect from street level to the new station building above.

Renovation[edit]

In October 2008, the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority and the Springfield Redevelopment Authority released a redevelopment plan for Union Station. The plan, estimated to cost $65.2 million, called for restoring the 1926 Union Station Terminal building for reuse as an intermodal rail and bus station and fully building out the first floor and main concourse with rentable commercial space and ticketing and waiting areas for both rail and bus. The baggage building was to be demolished and baggage tunnel sealed. A parking garage and bus bays for both inter-city and regional bus services (which would replace the Peter L. Picknelly Transportation Center a block away) would go on the footprint of the former baggage building. Additionally the pedestrian tunnel to Lyman Street would be restored, and the platforms raised for handicapped accessibility.[7] The final plan announced in December 2014, at a cost $75.7 million, additionally includes restoring and building out the upper floors of the 1926 station building to usable vacant "shell space". This would include only infrastructure and utility work on those floors, with final finishing work to be done by the eventual tenants based on their needs. This space is aimed for use by office or other commercial tenants.[8] By the time the station opened, the full cost had risen to $94 million.[2]

Demolition of the baggage building began on December 1, 2014, and was completed in early 2015. The only remnent of the baggage facility is a tunnel under the rail viaduct that was used for freight and baggage transport between the warehouse and the trains above. The only remaining entrance to this tunnel is a set of doors along the retaining wall in the bus loading area at the location of where the tunnel formerly connected to the warehouse although it is off limits to the public.[9] By February 2016 the parking garage had been assembled and restoration work on the station terminal building had begun, with new windows and roofing installed.[10] The restoration was nearly complete in March 2017 when officials took journalists on a tour and the grand opening occurred on June 24, 2017.[11]

Bronze re-dedication plaque at the Union Station Transportation Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The PVTA was the first transportation operator to use the renovated station; it began operations there on June 24, 2017, leasing 18 bus berths.[12] Peter Pan and Greyhound buses began operating out of Union Station on September 6, 2017. The companies ended their revenue-sharing agreement and began operating competing services three weeks later.[13]

Amtrak service located at Union Station continues to be located in Amtrak's building on the upper level near track 8. The passenger tunnel has been opened in a temporary configuration allowing passengers access between the newly renovated station hall and the existing Amtrak area. Amtrak is expected to move its passenger operations into Union Station sometime in 2018. MassDOT and Amtrak finalized designs for a widened high-level platform C along with stairwell and elevator access to said platform. The design was finalized in March 2018. The platform project is the last phase of the Union Station revitalization and its expected cost is 6.5 million dollars. The platform has been delayed due to insufficient space between the stairwell head house and the platform edge and the Federal Railroad Administration denied a waiver from the clearance requirement. The project was awarded to a construction contractor in May 2018 and MassDOT hopes that the platform will open in late 2018.[14]

The CTrail Hartford Line commuter rail service began operating out of the renovated terminal in June of 2018. The CTrail service utilizes the renovated concourse for ticketing (via ticket vending machines,) waiting, and boarding announcements (via electronic LCD board and PA) while Amtrak continues to use the old trackside station.

Services[edit]

An Amtrak Shuttle train at Springfield

The primary passenger rail service at Springfield Union Station is the New Haven–Springfield Shuttle trains connecting Springfield to the Amtrak's Northeast Corridor trains in New Haven. An additional 1-2 daily Northeast Regional round trips start or terminate their service at Springfield.

The station is also served the Vermonter and Lake Shore Limited trains. The Vermonter currently uses the north-south Connecticut River Line to Connecticut and Vermont, while the Lake Shore Limited makes use of the east-west Boston Line platforms as it continues to and from Albany, New York.

In the past a single Northeast Regional round trip (usually trains 142 and 145) would travel between New Haven and Boston via the so-called "Inland Route" via Springfield and the Boston Line, as opposed to the faster, electrified Northeast Corridor. In 2003, a problem pulled the Acela Express trainsets out of service and in an effort to find substitute rolling stock, Amtrak first curtailed the inland round trip to a three-car shuttle between Boston and New Haven before canceling it completely. Today, all normally scheduled Regional trains using the Inland Route only use the portion between Springfield and New Haven; in the event of a service disruption on the Northeast Corridor, trains may be scheduled to run via the complete Inland Route. One such occasion was the replacement of the Thames River Bridge movable span in June 2008, when Amtrak scheduled three round trips per day over the Inland Route to substitute for the complete suspension of regular Northeast Corridor service.[citation needed]

Bus operations[edit]

Union Station serves as the region's bus hub. The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, which operates local buses serving Springfield and surrounding towns, occupies 18 bus berths at the station. Springfield-based Peter Pan Bus Lines uses seven bus berths for intercity buses, and Greyhound uses the remaining two for its intercity service.[2]

Hartford Line[edit]

Springfield's renovated Union Station is the northern terminus for the Hartford Line, a commuter rail service. The service began operating out of Union Station on June 16, 2018. CTrail operated service uses the new Union Station facility for ticketing and waiting while Amtrak continues to operate out of the older station located trackside.[15] On July 24, 2017 the Connecticut Department of Transportation announced that a joint partnership between TransitAmerica Services and Alternate Concepts Inc. was chosen as the operator for the new service. This partnership operates similar commuter services in other markets. Amtrak continues its present intercity service on the line and will continue to own and maintain the infrastructure on the rail line between New Haven and Springfield.[16] In October 2017, Connecticut DOT revealed the details of the new service. The expanded service to Springfield Union Station from New Haven includes a total of six additional roundtrips, three of which are commuter trains operated by the new CTrail operator, and the other three of which are additional Amtrak Shuttles which brings the service to nine Amtrak round trips and three CTrail round trips.[17] On June 12, 2018, it was announced that additional rail service between Springfield and Greenfield would commence in June 2019 as part of a pilot program and run for 30 or 36 months. The service will stop at Holyoke and Northampton before terminating at Greenfield, and it will consist of two additional round trips, bringing daily service on that corridor from one daily train in each direction to three.

Possible future rail service[edit]

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Vermont Agency of Transportation have completed a study to examine the opportunities and impacts of more frequent and higher speed intercity passenger rail service between Boston and Montreal. The Boston to Montreal corridor runs from Boston to Springfield Union Station. From Springfield, the rail corridor follows the route of the Vermonter northerly through Holyoke, Northampton, and Greenfield, Massachusetts, and Brattleboro, White River Junction, Essex Junction (Burlington), and St. Albans, Vermont. From St. Albans, the corridor continues to the Canada–US border and onward to Montreal Central Station in Quebec. This study has been designated the Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative.[18]

Station layout[edit]

Springfield Union Station layout
Berkshire Subdivision
to Worcester
Chestnut Street
Dwight Street
Renovated station
Current station
1
2
4
6
8
Main Street
E. Columbus Avenue
New Haven–
Springfield Line
Berkshire Subdivision
to Albany–Rensselaer

The Union Station building, bus bays, and parking garage are located on the north side of the rail viaduct adjacent to Frank B. Murray Street. The Amtrak waiting room is located on the south side of the viaduct next to Lyman Street. A tunnel leads under the viaduct, allowing Union Station to be accessed from Lyman Street. The main hall in Union Station includes a waiting area for rail passengers, restaurants, retail spaces, and ticket windows for rail and intercity bus services; a PVTA local bus waiting area is located in an adjacent room.[19] Stairs and elevators lead from the tunnel to the rail platforms. Commercial space is located on the second and third floors.[20]

The rail viaduct holds six tracks, which are numbered 1, 2, 2a, 4, 6, and 8 from north to south. Tracks 1 through 2a are primarily used by CSX Transportation for freight service on their Berkshire Subdivision and are served by platforms 1 and 2. Tracks 4 through 8 (serving platforms 3 and 4) are currently used for most Amtrak service; they connect directly to the New Haven–Springfield Line west of the station, but only connect to the CSX tracks east of the station. (The Lake Shore Limited uses the CSX tracks for this reason.) West of the station, the New Haven–Springfield Line curves to the south while the Berkshire Subdivision continues on to cross the Connecticut River on a twin truss bridge. The Connecticut River Line connects to both lines west of the station, although it requires a backup move to reach tracks 4 though 8.

The four current platforms were once all island platforms, with stairways to the under-track tunnel and cargo elevators to a separate tunnel serving the baggage building. Platform 3 will rebuilt as a high-level platform with direct stair and elevator access to the pedestrian tunnel in 2018.[3] Amtrak plans to move ticketing and passenger waiting areas to the main hall at a date to be announced. The current Amtrak facilities will likely be used by Amtrak police and as a crew base, which are currently located in trailer buildings adjacent to track 8.[citation needed]

Station services[edit]

The station offers a Commuter Variety newsstand that sells quick necessities, Dunkin' Donuts and Subway restaurants, and a Sixt car-rental.[21]

On June 6, 2017, Dietz & Company Architects, the largest architecture firm in the region, announced they would be occupying approximately 8,200 square feet (760 m2) on the second floor.[22]

On November 20, 2017, Peter Pan Bus Lines announced the signing of a lease for 21,000 square feet (2,000 m2) of office space at Union Station for the company's corporate headquarters. The company will occupy the entire third floor of the building.[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Amtrak Fact Sheet, FY2017, State of Massachusetts" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2017. Retrieved April 25, 2018. 
  2. ^ a b c Kinney, Jim (May 8, 2017). "Peter Pan Agrees on Union Station Move". The Republican. Springfield, Mass. Retrieved May 26, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "Rail News Roundup #12". Trains in the Valley. April 14, 2018. Retrieved April 25, 2018. 
  4. ^ Brennan, Tim (February 7, 2015). "Springfield's Union Station renovation key to Pioneer Valley's future". The Republican. Retrieved December 7, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Neal, Richard (May 14, 2017). "Mission Accomplished". The Republican. Springfield, Mass. p. S2. 
  6. ^ Phaneuf, Wayne; Joseph Carvalho III (May 14, 2017). "From Golden Age to Forgotten Resource". The Republican. Springfield, Mass. p. S10. 
  7. ^ Pioneer Valley Transit Authority; Springfield Redevelopment Authority (Mass.) (October 7, 2008). Redevelopment Plan for the Union Station Intermodal Transportation Facility (PDF). HDR, Inc. Retrieved December 7, 2015. 
  8. ^ Tuthill, Paul (December 12, 2014). "Officials Announce Full Build Out for Union Station". WAMC Northeast Public Radio. Albany, N.Y. 
  9. ^ Kinney, Jim (November 26, 2014). "Springfield Union Station baggage building demolition to begin Monday, Dec. 1". MassLive. Retrieved November 30, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Springfield Redevelopment Authority Page on Union Station". 
  11. ^ "Finishing Touches". The Republican. Springfield, Mass. May 14, 2017. p. S16. 
  12. ^ "Peter Pan move to Union Station could happen in September". 
  13. ^ "Peter Pan Bus Company to End Partnership with Greyhound". Associated Press. August 28, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Springfield's Union Station Platform Work". 
  15. ^ Porter, Mikaela; Owens, David (June 17, 2018). "Thousands Take A Free Ride On Hartford Line's Inaugural Run". Retrieved June 17, 2018. 
  16. ^ McGuinness, Dylan (July 24, 2017). "Commuter Rail Service Between Hartford And New Haven Will Begin In May 2018". 
  17. ^ "Hartford Line Official Inaugural Schedule" (PDF). Hartford Line. June 16, 2018. Retrieved June 18, 2018. 
  18. ^ "About This Project". Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative. Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 15, 2015. 
  19. ^ Kinney, Jim (May 9, 2017). "With Peter Pan bus deal in place, 1st floor of Springfield's Union Station nears 100% occupancy ahead of grand opening". MassLive. Retrieved August 19, 2017. 
  20. ^ Kinney, Jim (July 28, 2017). "Springfield's Union Station: What businesses are moving in soon?". MassLive. Retrieved August 19, 2017. 
  21. ^ Kinney, Jim (November 3, 2017). "Springfield's Union Station getting busy with fast food, rental car service and more open for business". Mass Live. Retrieved April 25, 2018. 
  22. ^ Kinney, Jim (June 6, 2017). "Dietz & Company Architects moving to Springfield Union Station". Mass Live. 
  23. ^ Kinney, Jim (November 20, 2017). "Peter Pan signs lease for Union Station offices". Mass Live. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]