Worcester Union Station

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Worcester Union Station

Postby gokeefe » Sun Jun 15, 2014 7:08 am

Alongside its counterpart in Springfield, Worcester Union Station is a prime example of an American passenger rail terminal with a bright future ahead of it. The station is currently served by the T's Framingham-Worcester line with service terminating in Boston at South Station.

The station is owned by the Worcester Redevelopment Authority, an agency of the City of Worcester and the Commonwealth of Masschusetts. The station was renovated from 1998-1999 at the cost of $32,000,000 and recently also added a 500 space parking garage in 2008.

Rail passenger service through the station is the subject of a number of initiatives including possible service extensions to Springfield, MA on the Inland Corridor Route and also a possible restoration of service between Portland, Maine and New York City.

Local leaders and aspiring office holders continue to support the extension of rail passenger service through Worcester to include possible additional Amtrak service.

[From masslive.com, local news and information website, owned by Advance Publications, published on May 19, 2014 as an editorial to the Springfield Republican]For proof that high-speed rail has a transformative economic impact, look no further than Worcester, whose economic growth over the past decade is due in large part to major improvements on the Framingham/Worcester line. A recent state report credited improvements in rail service as a “driving force” behind the significant economic revival underway in Worcester. Recognizing rail’s positive impact, the state further expanded its Boston to Worcester service in March.

We can also look to nearby Portland, Maine as another example. Portland is roughly the same distance from Boston as Springfield, yet enjoys more reliable rail service. Portland’s rail link to Boston directly or indirectly employs more than 200 people and is responsible for $5 million in goods and service sales each year. Currently, Springfield has only one daily train to Boston. Portland has five.

Furthermore, improving rail service already enjoys wide support from elected officials and the people of our region. Senate Majority Leader Stan Rosenberg has led successful efforts to upgrade the Pan Am rail line from Connecticut through Springfield and Northampton into Vermont, and has successfully advocated for funding to extend and improve the Norwottuck and Manhan rail lines in Amherst, Northampton and Hadley. Congressman Richard Neal has spearheaded renovation of Springfield’s Union Station, which is expected to be completed by 2016. The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, and its Executive Director Tim Brennan, provides invaluable regional coordination. Our region’s leaders know that a fast-growing economy in Western Massachusetts requires a fast-moving transportation system. The time is right to push this forward. As your state Senator, I will be part of that progress.
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Re: Worcester Union Station

Postby TomNelligan » Sun Jun 15, 2014 9:16 am

I remember the years when Worcester Union Station was an empty, vandalized ruin, and the post-reconstruction WUS indeed looks fantastic. Unfortunately, after 15 years the building still has a lot of unused retail and office space awaiting commercial tenants. Worcester in general is still an economically challenged city that needs a lot more downtown commercial activity to thrive, and while the revived rail station helps, in itself it has not been an anchor for local development or a creator of jobs beyond the coffee shop level.
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Re: Worcester Union Station

Postby gokeefe » Sun Jun 15, 2014 11:39 am

TomNelligan wrote:I remember the years when Worcester Union Station was an empty, vandalized ruin, and the post-reconstruction WUS indeed looks fantastic. Unfortunately, after 15 years the building still has a lot of unused retail and office space awaiting commercial tenants. Worcester in general is still an economically challenged city that needs a lot more downtown commercial activity to thrive, and while the revived rail station helps, in itself it has not been an anchor for local development or a creator of jobs beyond the coffee shop level.


Hopefully one part of improving this picture will be additional rail service. Having a landmark station is nice but its really meaningless without robust service. Even Springfield has far more service than Worcester and that station started its transformation a solid ten years after Worcester's was completed. The Amtrak service to New York Penn Station from Portland proposed by TrainRiders Northeast could potentially be a very significant part of such improvements.
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Re: Worcester Union Station

Postby EdSchweppe » Sun Jun 15, 2014 1:15 pm

gokeefe wrote:Alongside its counterpart in Springfield, Worcester Union Station is a prime example of an American passenger rail terminal with a bright future ahead of it. The station is currently served by the T's Framingham-Worcester line with service terminating in Boston at South Station.


Let us not forget Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited, providing Worcester with one round-trip daily to Springfield, Albany and points west. (Often running substantially late, mind, but still providing service.)
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Re: Worcester Union Station

Postby Cannonball » Sun Jun 15, 2014 6:58 pm

According to a May 23, 2014 news story in the Worcester Telegram the City Manager has proposed the following improvements for Union Station:
…$2 million will go toward improvements at Union Station, of which $1.6 million will be financed by federal transportation funds.

Among those improvements include the design and repair of walls and the drainage system, the replacement of the emergency generator, new interior and exterior signs, new roof access, replacement of train platform tactile caution matting, and the design and build out of new public rest rooms.
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Re: Worcester Union Station

Postby Literalman » Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:33 am

I saw the restored Worcester Union Station for the first time last year. It had been many years since I had been in Worcester, at which time the station was an Amshack. The restored station is very nice, but as mentioned above, largely empty. I have a few photos from last year's trip on my website: http://www.stevedunham.50megs.com/photos/WorcesterUnionSta.html
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Re: Worcester Union Station

Postby gokeefe » Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:24 am

Cannonball wrote:According to a May 23, 2014 news story in the Worcester Telegram the City Manager has proposed the following improvements for Union Station:
…$2 million will go toward improvements at Union Station, of which $1.6 million will be financed by federal transportation funds.

Among those improvements include the design and repair of walls and the drainage system, the replacement of the emergency generator, new interior and exterior signs, new roof access, replacement of train platform tactile caution matting, and the design and build out of new public rest rooms.


In a facility where there is probably always more to do it is really good to see the City spending capital funds on "state of good repair" projects as well as some finishing touches that will make it easier to fully fund capital upgrades in the future for any planned service additions. At this point it would seem as if the only thing missing is more trains. Hopefully that will be sooner rather than later.
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Re: Worcester Union Station

Postby Rockingham Racer » Tue Jun 17, 2014 1:12 pm

The phenomenon here is that there are not enough intercity trains--yet. While there's loads of commuter trains to/from Boston, commuters don't spend long at any station they use! So, when the TrainRiders Northeast proposed service to NYC comes to pass, and more trains Boston-NY via Worcester and Springfield come to pass, perhaps there will be enough longer distance train passengers to put people into the station.

And yes: they did a great job in the restoration!
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Re: Worcester Union Station

Postby Station Aficionado » Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:56 pm

Rockingham Racer wrote:The phenomenon here is that there are not enough intercity trains--yet. While there's loads of commuter trains to/from Boston, commuters don't spend long at any station they use! So, when the TrainRiders Northeast proposed service to NYC comes to pass, and more trains Boston-NY via Worcester and Springfield come to pass, perhaps there will be enough longer distance train passengers to put people into the station.

And yes: they did a great job in the restoration!

I think it's tough to generalize. GCT is a pretty happening place, and nary an intercity passenger in sight. Granted, that's New York, but there will always be higher numbers of commuters than LD riders. I don't know enough about the current economy/status of downtown Worcester to comment, but I'd be cautious in assuming that the addition of a (relatively) few intercity passengers will be the catalyst to a booming station.
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Re: Worcester Union Station

Postby johnpbarlow » Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:01 am

WUS is located at the west end of Shrewsbury St which has a dozen or so very good restaurants (eg, Via, One Eleven Chop House, Flying Rhino, etc) so a WUS-based restaurant would seem workable. However, when I last visited WUS in early April, its one restaurant (Luciano's?) was out of business. Perhaps it's because parking close to WUS is more difficult than it is for the other Shrewsbury St establishments. Downtown Worcester, across Foster St from WUS, isn't an much of an attraction (except for the DCU Centrum Arena) as it is undergoing quite a bit of renewal with the demolition of the former Worcester Commons Outlet Mall.
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Re: Worcester Union Station

Postby gokeefe » Sun Nov 30, 2014 3:53 am

Two major developments directly adjacent to or in the immediate area of Worcester Union Station are moving forward:

From the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

WORCESTER — The developer of an already-approved 350-unit apartment complex off Franklin Street, near Union Station, now wants increase the size of the project to 600 units.

DOK Realty LLC has petitioned the Planning Board for an amendment to the site plan that was approved in January for a $35 million apartment complex project, known as Franklin Street Lofts, to incorporate additional land that has since been acquired by the developer.

According to records at the Worcester Registry of Deeds, an 11,380-square foot property at 274 Franklin St., adjacent to the original development site on Arctic Street, was acquired for the project on Aug. 7 for $1.07 million.


From masslive.com:

WORCESTER – There are still some I’s to be dotted and T’s to be crossed, but the price is right and a deal is moving forward for the city to sell a parcel of land off of Washington Square rotary to a hotel developer.

The Worcester Redevelopment Authority Friday directed deputy city solicitor Michael Traynor to finalize the sale of a 40,700-square-foot property for $150,000 to the First Bristol Corp. of Fall River.

First Bristol plans to use the property in conjunction with another parcel it already owns to build a 120-room hotel overlooking Union Station, the rotary and Interstate-290, though city officials stressed that the building would not interfere with the view of the iconic railroad station.
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Re: Worcester Union Station

Postby trainhq » Tue Dec 02, 2014 6:26 pm

Might actually be a few more trains at Worcester too in a few years.

http://www.telegram.com/article/2014112 ... 11229841/0

Hard to say how serious this is; CR on the P & W was looked at a while ago,
but never implemented. Wouldn't cost all that much to do it; nice stations at either end already and good well maintained track in the middle. Be interested to see what they come up with here.
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Re: Worcester Union Station

Postby The EGE » Tue Dec 02, 2014 6:57 pm

Unlikely at best; my thoughts on that are here.
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Re: Worcester Union Station

Postby trainhq » Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:25 pm

Yes, I'd say all of the remarks on that thread are pretty accurate. Remember, however, that the Cape Flyer was implemented for low budget in a similar situation; there were existing stations and good/fair tracks, they just needed to put trains on and run them. There is an existing station at Woonsocket, but it's hard to say how much work would be needed there. And yes, other stations could get probably get filled in later (Uxbridge? Grafton?), if the service were successful, but they could have wooden platforms and small parking lots (see Wareham station).

My bet is some kind of public-private partnership with local or state transit agencies (who would have the clout to negotiate station usage rights BTW) might work best, as it seems unlikely that a profitable private service could be implemented. What they might do instead is show that a relatively low money-losing public service could be implemented, and then contract with the states to do it (maybe that's what their plan is all along!) The point is, there are many ways to work things out. Don't just completely discount it.
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Re: Worcester Union Station

Postby Cannonball » Sat Jan 03, 2015 11:52 am

Central Massachusetts Inaugural Celebration for new Mass. Governor on Jan. 9 at Worcester's Union Station.
The day after being formally sworn in at the Statehouse, Governor-elect Charles D. Baker Jr. is taking his inauguration party to Worcester. Mr. Baker and lieutenant governor-elect Karyn E. Polito will host a "Central Massachusetts Inaugural Celebration" Jan. 9 at Union Station.

More: http://www.topix.com/forum/city/shrewsb ... A75PNCD791
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