• Franklin Street Station in Reading to be restored

  • Discussion Related to the Reading Company 1833-1976 and it's predecessors Philadelphia and Reading Rail Road and then the Philadelphia and Reading Railway.
Discussion Related to the Reading Company 1833-1976 and it's predecessors Philadelphia and Reading Rail Road and then the Philadelphia and Reading Railway.

Moderator: Franklin Gowen

  by jrevans
I just read an article stating that the Franklin Street Station in Reading is going to be restored:

The U.S. Senate has approved $1.5 million in federal funding for the restoration of the old Franklin Street train station in Reading. Officials say BARTA will use the money to pay for the design, engineering, and construction required to restore the historic building once owned by the Reading Railroad. When it's finished, they say it will serve as an important transportation hub and an economic and urban revitalization stimulus for the region. The Senate also approved awarding $250,000 to the city of Reading's lighting and street enhancement initiative. The money is part of the 2008 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Bill. It now awaits final approval by the full Congress and the President.
Here are the two pictures that are linked to the story (who know how long they'll last...)


Anyways, that is pretty neat and hopefully the station will see passenger rail traffic again some day.

Here are some details about all of the associated grants:

http://specter.senate.gov/public/index. ... 5d48cd5b18

  by Tom Jacobs
This is encouraging news, I just hope it's only the first round of funding, because I don't think $1.5M is enough.

Back in the mid/late 90s when the RCT&HS was exploring various sites for a Reading Company Museum, the station was on our list. At that time, the estimate for repairs and redevelopment was around $3M (and that was 1997 dollars...).

I just hope that if they move forward with the restoration, they preserve the character and architecture of the building, including the interior, and don't simply modernize the inside and leave the shell.

  by jrevans
Update on the Franklin Street Station.

Q: What does the future hold for the Franklin Street Station?

Matt Parisi can remember leaving downtown Reading from the Franklin Street Station bound for Philadelphia.

As a boy growing up in Reading, Parisi and his family took train trips to Philly.

There was a large horseshoe-shaped bend on the route, and passengers could see the locomotive pulling them along, Parisi recalls.

On the train, Parisi would get an ice cream cone before pulling into Philly, eat at the Horn & Hardart Automat and shop for school clothes on South Street.

"It was fun on the train, and everyone was friendly," he said.

The last passenger train pulled out of Reading in 1981. With that, the slow decline of the Franklin Street Station began.

Parisi moved to North Carolina and lost touch with news from the Reading area. He recently wrote to the Reading Eagle, wondering if the Franklin Street Station still stands.

It does, and the trains might someday return to Franklin Street.

The Franklin Street Station is owned by BARTA, which is planning to renovate the historical station and use it for expanded bus service.

While time and the elements have taken their toll, many of the station's architectural flourishes remain. The original Italian tile still graces the lobby walls, and the baggage claim and lunch counter still look as they did during the glory days of rail.

BARTA has expanded four of its routes and hopes to use the renovated Franklin Street Station to alleviate overcrowding at the adjacent BARTA Transportation Center, said Dennis D. Louwerse, BARTA executive director. BARTA is also looking at regional services to several neighboring counties, and those buses also would use the Franklin Street Station, he said.

But perhaps the greatest promise for the revival of the station is the proposal to establish passenger rail service between Norristown and Wyomissing. Franklin Street would be one of three Berks County stops on the line.

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission is studying whether there is enough funding available to make the project feasible.

One idea under consideration is to make Route 422 from Douglassville to King of Prussia a toll road to pay for road repairs and the train service. However, the toll road proposal has a lot of commuters riled up.

For now, BARTA is moving ahead with making the Franklin Street Station a public space again, trains or not.

"We are going to make it look like it did before," Louwerse said.

Bigger image:
http://reisolive.readingeagle.com/olive ... =primitive
the actual amount granted is 2.1 million. there will be a small transportation museum with rolling displays in the station. No, we don't plan on having equipment displayed outside at least not at this site.
  by jrevans
According to the info here:
http://www.bctv.org/special_reports/gov ... 3ce6c.html

and the attached picture from there, restoration work on the station is in progress.

Looks like they may be changing/fixing some stuff on the roof's stone edging.
  by trackwelder
nice to see some progress on this. having a functioning station near the terminus might be more of an incentive to reactivate this service.
  by pennsyboy1962
Hi All I work directly across the street and as of this point the roof of the passenger portico is being removed and the iron structure is being sandblasted. The rails and switch in the lot have been removed I will keep updating this if you all like
  by jrevans
pennsyboy1962 wrote:Hi All I work directly across the street and as of this point the roof of the passenger portico is being removed and the iron structure is being sandblasted. The rails and switch in the lot have been removed I will keep updating this if you all like
Thanks for the update. Yes, any additional information as the project progresses would be nice to hear! Thanks!
  by pennsyboy1962
Hi All Updating you all on the progress on the station... The sand blasting of the Passenger Platform is nearing at an end, I will be happy for the silience, The lot has been cleared of a paved surface and drainage pipes layed. it appears there will be curbing installed along the Parking Garage on the western side of the parking lot. Also as to the picture of the repairing of the stonework along the roof area, it was done to support the Air Conditioning units as the Original roof structure is not upto bearing that type of weight Best Regards Paul
  by jrevans
Apparently, the restoration of the station is going to cost $70,300 more than planned, according to the reading eagle newspaper:

After starting the renovation work on the former train station at Seventh and Franklin streets, crews found that some of the materials inside were in worse shape than they thought and needed to be replaced, Louwerse said.
They also found some different materials from what they were expecting. Those wouldn't be strong enough to support upgrades such as heating, ventilating and air conditioning units on the roof.
  by pennsyboy1962
Hey Everyone, Here's an update for mid July... Two coats of primer have been layed on the iron work of the Passenger Platform at the station. One coat of grey and one coat of red primer and the top coat of Dark Green looks real nice! Lot of work going on in relationship to putting a good base down for the parking lot currently. Jim you might want to take a few pics again! best regards Paul
  by pennsyboy1962
Hello All, Time to give you all an update on the progress on the old station, New curbing is in place on the western end of the parking lot which appears to have left room for grassy areas or some type of plantings. Currently the roof over the passenger platform is being replaced now that painting of the iron work is completed.
  by jrevans
There was a nice article about the Franklin Street Station today in the Reading Eagle newspaper:

Here are some snippets from the article:
Work on the restoration, fueled by about $5 million in state and federal grants and about $200,000 from BARTA, started in November 2011. The project is nearly finished, and Louwerse said he expects a grand opening sometime in the next few months. The agency's staff and board of directors toured the facility Tuesday.
The refurbished Franklin Street Station will once again become Reading's transportation hub, Louwerse said, noting that it should be easy to connect it with the rest of BARTA's system.
It's across the street from BARTA's downtown parking garage and within a block of the transportation center at Eighth and Cherry streets that was completed in 2002.
Though most proposals to restore passenger rail service between Reading and Philadelphia have fallen apart as proponents struggle to find funding support, Louwerse said he's confident that eventually it will happen. And when it does, he said, the Franklin Street Station will still be right along the rail line.
It looks quite nice to me! It sure would be nice if they restored passenger rail service to Philly from there.

And there were eight pictures in the article too, here are links to a few of them:

The tall walls inside of the station.

Another interior shot showing the benches.

Another interior shot. You can see the new glass vestibules to help with HVAC.

The ticket windows.