• Portland Maine Passenger Stations

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

Moderators: MEC407, NHN503

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  by gokeefe
 
markhb wrote:
gokeefe wrote:Like some I wonder if the City, with the support of MDOT will make an attempt to build a new "landmark" station as a replacement of sorts for Union Station. The amount of land available for this project at Thompson's Point is substantially more than would have been available elsewhere, especially as the Downeaster prepares to move their layover facilities to Brunswick.
It's definitely worth noting that the current plans for the Thompson's Point project, with the Red Claws arena and the parking garage moved to the Suburban Propane property, show a "future skybridge" aimed towards the parking lot adjacent to the current PTC. My assumption is that that is the intended location for a new station. With all maintenance and overnighting moved to Brunswick, that would (I think) give them room to build a 2-track layout with a center platform, which I believe is NNEPRA's goal.
In reference to the Suburban Propane property here is this October 21, 2013 article from the Bangor Daily News that I came across while doing some research:
PORTLAND, Maine — Portland city councilors agreed on Monday night to sell three acres to developers working on the long-awaited Thompson’s Point project, a step seen as necessary in helping the $100-plus-million multi-use development advance.

In a series of moves at its Monday night meeting, the Portland council sold approximately three acres of city property on Riverside Street to Thompson’s Point Development Co. Inc. for $285,000, and then gave first reading to proposed changes to a tax deal with the developers that would reroute nearly $33 million in new property tax revenues over 30 years back into the project.

Combined, the moves allow the developers to relocate Suburban Propane from the high-value Thompson’s Point lot to the Riverside Street property — clearing the way for an event center and parking garage.

The $105 million project, known as the Forefront at Thompson’s Point, will also include two office buildings, at least one restaurant, a sports medicine lab and a hotel, among other things.
Looks as if things continue to move forward. I would imagine we will see construction starting in the spring.
  by gokeefe
 
For reference:

Archetype Architects, 48 Union Wharf, Portland, ME 04101 have copies of a handful of their conceptual drawings for the Forefront on their website.
  by MEC407
 
The latest Forefront at Thompson's Point news, from The Portland Press Herald:
The Portland Press Herald wrote:Thompson Point developers have now designed a master plan covering the entire project, and will submit site plans for individual buildings for Planning Board approval as the project proceeds. Building the entire development is expected to take six to 10 years.
. . .
The new plan calls for up to 120 residential condominiums, additional building space, a wider variety of uses and an increase in traffic. It also calls for renovating and re-using four existing buildings, some of which had served the railroad, that had been originally slated for demolition.

A former train shed originally used at Union Station, which was demolished in 1960, will be converted into a multi-use building that will open on an outdoor amphitheater.
. . .
Developers also purchased a small strip of land to the north of the point from the New England Passenger Rail Authority, and freed up more land for residential condominiums near what will be a hub for rail, bus, marine, and road connections at the site of the existing Portland Transportation Center.
Read the rest of the article at: http://www.pressherald.com/news/Portlan ... plan_.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Also, I don't know if any of you have driven past Thompson's Point on I-295 lately, but the old Union Station train shed looks VERY different all of a sudden. It seems to be just a metal skeleton now. The roof panels and wall panels have all been removed.
  by MEC407
 
Video from WMTW-8: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4eXdN1xte0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by MEC407
 
MEC407 wrote:Also, I don't know if any of you have driven past Thompson's Point on I-295 lately, but the old Union Station train shed looks VERY different all of a sudden. It seems to be just a metal skeleton now. The roof panels and wall panels have all been removed.
This is what it currently looks like:
0130141618.jpg
0130141617.jpg

For comparison, these photos show what it previously looked like:

http://thebollard.com/files/2011/08/tp_cover.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://photos.wikimapia.org/p/00/00/10/83/39_big.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
  by gokeefe
 
Wow! Interesting to note that some of the old (ancient...) conduit for lighting fixtures still appears to be attached to the underside of the roof.
  by markhb
 
The current Thompson's Point plan is available in some detail on the Portland Planning Board's site. The current plan for the train shed is for it to be an open -sided building, serving as a support building for the stage to be built on its east side (where the overhanging things are). Nothing public on a replacement train station yet, other than its mention in NNEPRA's goals listing.
  by gokeefe
 
Fascinating to think of some portion of Union Station becoming part of a public facility again.
  by MEC407
 
Two additional photos of the train shed in its current state:
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
  by gokeefe
 
Thanks for those detail shots MEC407! Interesting to see Union Station "out in the open" again.
  by MEC407
 
From The Portland Press Herald:
The Portland Press Herald wrote:
To understand the Union Station story, we have to go back to the Great Fire of 1866. Started by a firecracker thrown into a pile of wood shavings on Commercial Street, the fire destroyed more than 1,500 buildings and devastated downtown Portland. A low tide doomed firefighting efforts, because the harbor supplied the water.

After the devastation, Portland constructed a pipeline, which is still in use today, to bring drinking water (and firefighting water) from Sebago Lake to the city. Like the great phoenix, Portland began to rebuild itself immediately. Buildings sprang up, including architectural gems like a marble post office, a new City Hall, the Customs House and Maine General Hospital (now Maine Medical Center).

By the late 1800s, Maine’s tourist industry was growing rapidly and almost all came to Maine by railroad, using Portland as a strategic point of entry.
Read the rest of the story at: http://www.pressherald.com/opinion/Main ... tion_.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by gokeefe
 
The more I read about this the more I think that the only real answer is to ensure that the next passenger station in Portland, wherever it may be, reconstructs some of the features of Union Station in part if not in whole.
  by markhb
 
I have heard that at least one of our City Councilors has leanings in that direction (and don't forget that the original clock still exists, in working order..... ;).
  by gokeefe
 
markhb wrote:I have heard that at least one of our City Councilors has leanings in that direction (and don't forget that the original clock still exists, in working order..... ;).
The photograph alone is perhaps one of the most powerful reasons why this could happen. Had only a mere pile of rubble been captured or the tower intact just before destruction the image would not be anywhere near as powerful. But instead what was produced was incontrovertible evidence of the single greatest act of vandalism against a historic property in Maine's history. The fact that the demolition appears to have occurred without obstruction from the public only leads to an indictment of the general public of Portland at the time and their partial complicity in the act. Of course we all know by now the terrible pangs of conscience that arose in the aftermath and it speaks well of the City but the wound remains and every single time the photo is brought up I'm sure it hurts. The only way to fix it is to rebuild something of similar stature and significance. The Germans rebuilt thousands of public historic structures from piles of rubble and dust. Given today's technology it wouldn't be terribly hard to do the same for a new Union Station.
  by Cowford
 
GO'K, with respect, such words as "vandalism", "indictment" and "complicity" are inflammatory. I agree that the razing of Union Station was unfortunate, especially considering the uninspiring strip mall that replaced it. But vandalism? In 1961, what could have been done with this 73-yr old building? In the eyes of the owners, it was a liability and pretty useless for any other applications. Mainers apparently weren't cloaked in nostalgia as they are today and, instead, were looking forward.

Continuing efforts to tie Maine's pax rail future to its past do more harm than good.
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