Springfield Union Station (Massachusetts)
Springfield Union Station in July 2016 during renovations
|Location||66 Lyman Street
|Owned by||Springfield Redevelopment Authority (Union Station, future bus terminal, future parking garage)
Amtrak (current station and platforms)
|Line(s)||New Haven–Springfield Line
Connecticut River Line
|Platforms||2 side platforms, 2 island platforms|
|Station code||Amtrak code: SPG|
|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)|
|Passengers (FY2016)||93,650 24.83% (Amtrak)|
Springfield Union Station is an Amtrak railroad station in Springfield, Massachusetts. Constructed in 1926, Springfield Union Station is the fifth busiest Amtrak station in Massachusetts. Amtrak passengers currently use a small station across the tracks. Union Station in 2017 completed a $94 million renovation project to reopen as the city's railroad station and primary bus terminal. A new parking garage was also included in the project.
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. The station opened to the public on December 18, 1926.
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.
The 1926 main station building and baggage building closed in 1973 as passenger traffic could no longer justify the 221,000-square foot station 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.
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. 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. By the time the station opened, the full cost had risen to $94 million.
Demolition of the baggage building began on December 1, 2014, and was completed in early 2015. 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. The restoration was nearly complete in March 2017 when officials took journalists on a tour, with a grand opening scheduled for June 24, 2017.
The primary 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, instead of Boston.
Current long-distance services comprise Amtrak's Vermonter and the Lake Shore Limited "Boston section." The Vermonter currently uses the Connecticut River Line to Connecticut and Vermont, while the Lake Shore Limited makes use of the Boston Line platforms as it continues to and from Albany.
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.
Union Station will also serve as the region's bus hub. The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, which operates local buses serving Springfield and surrounding towns, will occupy 18 bus berths at the station. Greyhound and Springfield-based Peter Pan Bus Lines will use the other nine for intercity buses, replacing Peter Pan's longtime depot a block away on Main Street.
Possible future service
Commuter rail service has been proposed for the rail corridor running between Springfield and Greenfield with four daily round trips. A 2014 state transportation funding bill included $30 million for acquiring used MBTA Commuter Rail rolling stock and new locomotives for the service.
Additionally, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Vermont Agency of Transportation are conducting 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.
Springfield Union Station layout
Union Station is situated on a grade elevated plot of land one block wide and approximately four blocks long. The main passenger entrance was via the now-closed train hall on the north side of the station and located east to the former express freight facility with a second entrance on the south end from Lyman street (the present Amtrak entrance.) The eight former station tracks were accessed via an underground concourse between the train hall and Lyman Street that utilized stairs and elevators to connect to the platforms. A separate baggage and cargo tunnel with large freight elevators up to headhouses on track level existed to the west of the passenger concourse for transporting baggage and freight from the trains to the former baggage and freight warehouse west of the train hall. The former elevator headhouses remain an important visual element to the station as they have been adorned with large Amtrak logos.
Today the station consists of six tracks; tracks 1, 2 and 2a serve CSX's Boston Line and tracks 4, 6 and 8 serve the Amtrak's New Haven–Springfield Line. Amtrak trackage is independent from CSX. Amtrak trackages connects with Boston Line track 2A via dispatcher controlled switches at either end of the track. Each of the low level platforms retain the stairs and elevators which connect to the now closed concourse/street level. The current Amtrak station building is at track level adjacent to Track 8 and trains are reached by crossing the tracks at designated walkways. West of the station platforms the Amtrak New Haven-Springfield line immediately curves to the south while the CSX Boston Line continues on to cross the Connecticut River on a twin truss bridge.
The current construction project will restore the station's train hall and bring the station back to its 1926 through 1970s configuration with entrances on both the north (Frank B. Murray Street) and south (Lyman Street) sides, using the underground tunnels to reach track level. The abandoned passenger elevator and stair headhouses will return to service, though the baggage tunnel and freight warehouse will not and have been demolished.
- "Amtrak Fact Sheet, Fiscal Year 2016, State of Massachusetts" (PDF). Amtrak. December 1, 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- "Amtrak Fact Sheet, FY2014, Commonwealth of Massachusetts" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
- Kinney, Jim (May 8, 2017). "Peter Pan Agrees on Union Station Move". The Republican. Springfield, Mass. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
- Brennan, Tim (7 February 2015). "Springfield's Union Station renovation key to Pioneer Valley's future". The Republican. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
- Neal, Richard (May 14, 2017). "Mission Accomplished". The Republican. Springfield, Mass. p. S2.
- Phaneuf, Wayne; Joseph Carvalho III (May 14, 2017). "From Golden Age to Forgotten Resource". The Republican. Springfield, Mass. p. S10.
- Pioneer Valley Transit Authority; Springfield Redevelopment Authority (Mass.) (7 October 2008). Redevelopment Plan for the Union Station Intermodal Transportation Facility (PDF). HDR, Inc. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
- Tuthill, Paul (December 12, 2014). "Officials Announce Full Build Out for Union Station". WAMC Northeast Public Radio. Albany, N.Y.
- Kinney, Jim (26 November 2014). "Springfield Union Station baggage building demolition to begin Monday, Dec. 1.". MassLive. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
- "Springfield Redevelopment Authority Page on Union Station".
- "Finishing Touches". The Republican. Springfield, Mass. May 14, 2017. p. S16.
- Stacom, Dan (4 December 2015). "Springfield-To-New Haven Commuter Rail Cost Increases, Service Begins In 2018". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
- Fritz, Anita (February 4, 2014). "Train platform will have access from Olive Street, transportation center". The Recorder. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
- "Session Laws: Chapter 79 of the Acts of 2014". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 18 April 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-18.
- "About This Project". Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative. Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2015-01-15.
- Phaneuf, Wayne E.; Carvalho III, Joseph; Boyle, Margaret L. (2017). Saving Union Station. The Republican. ISBN 978-0-692-85718-2.
- Simon, Ellis B. (2016). "Springfield Union Station". Passenger Train Journal (2016-4): 18–23. Archived from the original on 2016-12-27.
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