• 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
 
Cowford wrote: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.
You are right. I wrote that post with quite a bit more emotion than usual and perhaps too much. From a business standpoint I agree and understand completely what Maine Central did. In regards to the final statement regarding nostalgia I'm not entirely sure there's much of a difference. The historic preservation movement in Portland that originated as a result happened in the immediate aftermath. Going through some local history from Winthrop and their "Old Home Days" celebrations I find similar if not greater appreciation for history back then but far fewer instances of preservation.

I also agree that we would never want to return to the over regulated situation of the past. However, for the sake of its meaning to the community, for Portland's own self image and perhaps even as a statement on the importance of the mode itself I think there would be value to some kind of reconstruction to a scale that is reasonable towards cost and contemporary and future function.
  by CVRA7
 
Never knew that any large piece of the old Portland Union Station had been saved even though I probably have seen it while driving by on the highway dozens of times. Thanks for the info!
  by Cosmo
 
It's easy to overlook if you're just passing by. When I lived there (and I did a lot of walking then,) discovered it quite by accident.
  by markhb
 
gokeefe wrote:I also agree that we would never want to return to the over regulated situation of the past. However, for the sake of its meaning to the community, for Portland's own self image and perhaps even as a statement on the importance of the mode itself I think there would be value to some kind of reconstruction to a scale that is reasonable towards cost and contemporary and future function.
While I, too, hope to see a new Portland Transportation Center reminiscent of Union Station one day (complete with that tower clock), as a Portland taxpayer I have to hope they decide to forego the pink granite. According to WP the Conway quarries whence the original came from have been closed for 70 years (and are now protected by The Nature Conservancy), and hauling a similar product from Georgia seems likely to be quite pricey.

When TRNE was originally working on the project that became the Downeaster, and before there was discussion of terminating the service in Brunswick, Portland held a design contest for potential new train stations, intended to be behind the old MEC HQ building and adjacent to the shopping center (so what is now Margarita's parking lot). I remember one in particular that was essentially a transparent steel-and-glass rendition of Union Station that was gorgeous. Unfortunately, once the Brunswick discussion came up, Bob Ganley pulled the plug on the project on the grounds that we didn't need that much of a station if we weren't the terminal.
  by MEC407
 
The granite quarry in Wells is back in business, although not quite on the same scale as it used to be. They've got gorgeous pink granite there. :-D
  by MEC407
 
From The Portland Press Herald:
The Portland Press Herald wrote:Permits are also being sought to convert the sprawling train shed that originally covered Union Station, which was demolished in 1960, into a covered outdoor amphitheater. The venue, which would be allowed to seat up to 5,000 but could hold more with special permitting, is expected to feature music and circus performances this summer, Thompson said.

Original plans for Thompson’s Point were first introduced and approved on June 5, 2012. Since then, the project has continued to evolve. Last summer, developers bought an additional 2.5 acres in order to build a 2,500-person event center and a 730-car garage next to the train tracks used by the Amtrak Downeaster.
Read the rest of the article at: http://www.pressherald.com/news/Develop ... eoff_.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by MEC407
 
The old train shed will soon be getting a new life as an ice skating rink:

http://mainetoday.com/news/outdoor-ice- ... -portland/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by MEC407
 
From the Portland Press Herald:
Portland Press Herald wrote:Moving Suburban Propane to a city-owned parcel on Riverside Street has been a key goal of Thompson’s Point developers. It will free up a valuable rail-side parcel where developers want to build a new event center and an expanded transportation center to replace the existing bus and rail terminal just to the north.
. . .
If the propane facility is approved, the move would clear the way for a new events center and a new, larger transportation center that would service existing bus and rail services based out of the Portland Transportation Center, including Concord Coach Lines and the Amtrak Downeaster. It would also provide garage parking for an events center.

A preliminary sketch showed the transportation center and events center being connected by a sky-walk. But Patricia Quinn, the executive director of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, said there is no specific design for the transportation center and that it is only a “high level idea.”

“As that project moves forward it will give us the opportunity to maybe do a more in-depth needs assessment and figure out what next steps might be,” Quinn said. “We do hope to integrate a transportation center into an event center.”
Read the rest of the article at: http://www.pressherald.com/2016/03/25/d ... -portland/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by deathtopumpkins
 
Apologies if this has been discussed already, but if they're building an entirely new station, wouldn't make SO MUCH MORE SENSE to build it NOT on the Mountain branch? I'd like to see it built somewhere around the Congress St crossing - IIRC, around where the old union station was. This site is closer to downtown, would save significant time off Brunswick runs, and is operationally so much simpler for any trains going north of Portland.
  by gokeefe
 
deathtopumpkins wrote:Apologies if this has been discussed already, but if they're building an entirely new station, wouldn't make SO MUCH MORE SENSE to build it NOT on the Mountain branch? I'd like to see it built somewhere around the Congress St crossing - IIRC, around where the old union station was. This site is closer to downtown, would save significant time off Brunswick runs, and is operationally so much simpler for any trains going north of Portland.
NNEPRA did an extensive station site placement study. The conclusion of that study was that the former Union Station site was not in fact ideal for a series of reasons related to cost of acquisition and also accessibility.

Their conclusion was that West Commercial Street was the preferred location due to its proximity to the Old Port. Shortly after that study came out the Thompson's Point redevelopment was announced which included a new Transportation Center as part of that project. There hasn't been any discussion of station relocation since then.
  by BostonUrbEx
 
What the state needs to do is drop a cool $10 billion for NNEPRA. I mean, if they don't build a cut and cover tunnel under Commercial St through downtown, build a sprawling underground station downtown with pedestrian tunnels spidering as far as Congress St, build a brand new Back Cove trestle, completely rehab the track up to Yarmouth Jct, and build a Yarmouth Station then can we really say that Maine is open for business? They're discouraging businesses from staying/relocating to say they least if they don't go all in. Think of the children.
  by MEC407
 
You're five days early. :wink:
  by gokeefe
 
I think the interesting factor in all of this is that if it weren't for NNEPRA the Mountain Branch and Mountain Junction might have been taken out of service several years ago. Instead now there's signaled track and soon a new leg of the the junction will be built (it's next on NNEPRAs priority list after the Falmouth/Yarmouth/Cumberland double track segment) with all of the requisite signals and tie ins at County Way and Congress Street.

Amazing.
  by 690
 
Nevermind that the Mountain Branch still had customers on it. I'm all for passenger upgrades to existing lines, but I have a hard time believing that they would get rid of the remaining portion of the Mountain Branch and the junction just because there wasn't any passenger upgrades to "save" it.
  by gokeefe
 
690 wrote:Nevermind that the Mountain Branch still had customers on it. I'm all for passenger upgrades to existing lines, but I have a hard time believing that they would get rid of the remaining portion of the Mountain Branch and the junction just because there wasn't any passenger upgrades to "save" it.
I think that is a very fair point and perhaps that is the most fascinating question. Would Pan Am have provided good enough service to keep the customers that they had?

I'm not entirely sure they would have given the exceptionally low volumes from those shippers. The passenger upgrades made the entire issue a moot point and paid for the expense of the control points and maintenance of the switches.
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