Contains photographs of the Boston Railroad station - History

Contains photographs of the Boston Railroad station - History



Boston


Photo, Print, Drawing Boston & Providence Railroad, Stoughton Station, 53 Wyman Street, Stoughton, Norfolk County, MA

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If you were to walk . . . Boston’s North Union Station, 1895

A view of Boston's North Union Station on Causeway Street, 1895, via Detroit Publishing Company Photograph Collection, via Wikimedia Commons.

Any discussion on “Lost Boston” has to include Boston’s North Union Station, which once stood on Causeway Street, on the current site of the TD Garden (better known locally as “the Boston Garden” and by some as the “Fleet Center”). North Union Station, which consolidated the operations of four different railroads into one building, was completed in 1893 and demolished in 1928. Traffic through Boston’s North Union Station came mostly from Boston’s north and northeastern suburbs, although some traffic also originated from central and western Massachusetts, and even further afield from places like Maine, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Canada. Soon after it opened, the Boston Sunday Globe stated that a number of people equal to the then-population of the United States (62.6 million) passed through its entrance once in every two years.

Lowell Station, Image by Boston Public Library via Flickr

North Union Station, actually three adjoined buildings, was completed in 1893 and included the former Boston & Lowell Station, which dated from 1873 and was known as just ‘Lowell Station’ to the locals. Lowell Station, the left-most building in the photograph above (almost lost in the haze), had over 200 feet of frontage on Causeway Street and was 700 feet long. Built by General Stark, it replaced an even earlier station, the first on the location, which dated from 1857. The Lowell Station housed the head offices of the railroad and boasted some of the largest and most accommodating waiting rooms in the country. Opened in December 1873, the Lowell Station quickly became known, simultaneously, as one of the finest stations in the country, and as “Stark’s Folly” many Bostonians thought it too grand and expensive for Boston’s needs. Even after its absorption into the larger North Union Station, Lowell Station remained somewhat distinct, retaining its own waiting rooms and toilets. The station also housed the inward baggage room.

On the other end of North Union Station was the “office tower” (the right-most and closest building in the photograph above). The top two stories of the structure served mostly as offices. Its ground floor contained the outward baggage room and space that had been leased to the express companies. The Causeway Street frontage of the building included a 45-foot tower the reminder of the building measured over 300 feet in length.

Boston's North Union Station - Main Entrance, via Boston Architectural Club Catalog, via Wikimedia Commons

Connecting them was a central building sporting a rather elaborate set of stone columns, which had been designed by the architecture firm Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge, the same firm that designed Boston’s first skyscraper, the Ames Building, which also dated to 1893. In other photographs, the name “Union Station” appears, prominently carved above its entrance. Connecting these three main buildings were two corridor structures, known as ‘midways’. The view from the interior of one of the midways appears below:

Via "One hundred and fifty glimpses of Boston, Cambridge, Lexington, Concord" by J. F. Murphy, 1904 Via "One hundred and fifty glimpses of Boston, Cambridge, Lexington, Concord" by J. F. Murphy, 1904

The Causeway Street facade of the entirety of North Union Station spanned 586 feet and boasted as its main entrance an archway of cut granite some 80 feet wide and 70 feet high. Upon entering North Union Station through the arch, one would find the main waiting area, some 98 feet square, and filled with benches (or settees, as they were called) that could accommodate several hundred people. The men’s and women’s lavatories were provided on each end of the waiting area. Each boasted Italian marble, the latest innovations in plumbing, and were quite spacious – they could accommodate nearly 100 people. To the right of the waiting room was the parcel room, where up to 1000 pieces of luggage could be checked at once. To the left stood the ticket office, an elaborate system of sorting, processing and selling railroad tickets for the B&M railroad as well as other railroad companies. The ticketing system was so large and complex that it took 18 men to run it in 1894.

North Union Station, Boston, 1895, via Detroit Publishing Company Photograph Collection, via Wikimedia Commons. The scene outside Boston’s North Union Station wasn’t entirely unlike today’s. Foot traffic and vehicle traffic clogged Causeway Street and pedestrians needed to take care crossing the street to catch their train or meet their friends arriving from points north and west of the city. The scene above, from the Detroit Publishing Company’s photograph collection, dates from 1895. To arrive to, or depart from, North Union Station most relied on public transportation, i.e., electric cars, if they lived beyond a comfortable walking distance. The station’s hack stand was designed so that its waiting area was under the station’s roof, to protect waiting travelers from the elements, a luxury that was much appreciated by Boston’s masses.

Of course, if you were “of means”, you might arrive in your own personal horse-drawn buggy, such as this gentleman appears to be doing:

North Union Station - Gentleman arriving, 1895, via Detroit Publishing Company Photograph Collection, via Wikimedia Commons. Like today, people rushed to and from Boston’s North Union Station. The station’s train shed was said to be the largest in the world, covering nearly 6 acres and boasting over 20 tracks.

Union Station, Boston - 1895, via Detroit Publishing Company Photograph Collection, via Wikimedia Commons.

Below, passengers disembark from an electric car outside Boston’s North Union Station. The station had an extensive newsstand just inside the main entrance to the left, as well as its own barber shop and restaurant.

Boston's Union Station - Arrivals, via Detroit Publishing Company Photograph Collection, via Wikimedia Commons. Boston's Union Station - Arrivals , via Detroit Publishing Company Photograph Collection, via Wikimedia Commons.

In the end, Boston’s North Union Station stood only for a few decades before it was demolished and replaced with the Boston Garden (and a new North Station) in 1928. The Boston Garden, itself demolished in 1997, and replaced by the TD Garden, saw many celebrities perform under its roof, including The Beatles (1964), James Brown (1968), the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead (multiple times). The Garden also saw many championship seasons from the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. Today, the TD Garden stands at the site, with yet another North Station underneath. Even in its day, the North Union Station had its detractors, who claimed the building’s beauty was too extravagant and came at too great a price. Others claimed its incorporation of three very different buildings was incongruous, and well, just plain ugly. Seen today, more than 80 years after its demolition, North Union Station is seen in a much kinder light. It becomes a part of the lore of “Lost Boston” and elicits a certain sense of nostalgia for a part of Boston that no longer exists.


Boston and Worcester Street Railway

During the 1940's and 1950's the bus line also included a route from Wellesley Hills Square (intersection of Routes 9 & 16) to Wellesley Square (intersection of Routes 9 & 135) with an occasional side route north on Weston Rd.,west and south on Manor Ave. back to Route 9 west. (This route also was reversed.) I very often used the B&W from and to my home off Weston Road, most often to and from Boston to the Park Square Station. My wife and I eloped, starting with a trip on the B&W bus. As I recall, the colors of the B&W were red and white.

The Wellesley area also was served by the M&B lines (Middlesex and Boston) with purple and yellow colored buses.

Re: Boston and Worcester Street Railway

hportze wrote: During the 1940's and 1950's the bus line also included a route from Wellesley Hills Square (intersection of Routes 9 & 16) to Wellesley Square (intersection of Routes 9 & 135) with an occasional side route north on Weston Rd.,west and south on Manor Ave. back to Route 9 west. (This route also was reversed.) I very often used the B&W from and to my home off Weston Road, most often to and from Boston to the Park Square Station. My wife and I eloped, starting with a trip on the B&W bus. As I recall, the colors of the B&W were red and white.

The Wellesley area also was served by the M&B lines (Middlesex and Boston) with purple and yellow colored buses.

Re: Boston and Worcester Street Railway

Following along the same basic thread, what was the color scheme of the B and W's freight motors?

Thank you for your help in advance,

Re: Boston and Worcester Street Railway

Re: Boston and Worcester Street Railway

Are there any current photos of the car? I have only seen the one on NERAIL. From what I understand, the car is the Boston, an upgraded parlor like car. When it was purchased away from the B&W was it damaged converting it into a shed like many other coops.

Re: Boston and Worcester Street Railway

Re: Boston and Worcester Street Railway

ted_roy wrote: Are there any current photos of the car? I have only seen the one on NERAIL. From what I understand, the car is the Boston, an upgraded parlor like car. When it was purchased away from the B&W was it damaged converting it into a shed like many other coops.

That photo shows me in the pic, lol. I toured Frank Hicks around that day. That is the most recent photo of the car. In the museum book by Ben Minich shows the one known photo of 149 in service.

About five years ago James Tebbetts looked at this body and gave it a price tag of about 250-300K to restore it.

Re: Boston and Worcester Street Railway

The next stop is Washington. Change for Forest Hills Trains on the Winter St. Platform, and Everett Trains on the Summer St. Platform. This is an Ashmont train, change for Braintree at Columbia.

Re: Boston and Worcester Street Railway

Thank you for clarifying the names I did know that but somehow it did not translate to the posting. As someone who lives on the old Worcester and Suburban RoW, I am very interested in this car. It represents the last car that was used in Worcester, excluding WCSR shop motor 038, that exists at least domestically. The problem is that none of the local Museums have time and resources to schedule a re-building of this scale. As was stated before, Seashore has other priorities, I volunteer at CTM, we have our hands full with a very large docket of cars being worked on. The car being the last of its kind in from the only real interurban that ran in Massachusetts should have a brighter future. Besides the ant problems, was there any structural damage done while it was used off the rails? Is it sitting on the correct trucks or just serviceable ones? Also does anyone know what the color scheme was for the car? Or the sister freight service cars?

Is there any grant/ ISTEA-21 monies that could be found for this car? Are there any problems with the car getting money from Massachusetts, but being located in Maine? Would it be a candidate to run in Lowell? Being a native car has its advantages, I hope.

Re: Boston and Worcester Street Railway

Thank you for clarifying the names I did know that but somehow it did not translate to the posting. As someone who lives on the old Worcester and Suburban RoW, I am very interested in this car. It represents the last car that was used in Worcester, excluding WCSR shop motor 038, that exists at least domestically. The problem is that none of the local Museums have time and resources to schedule a re-building of this scale. As was stated before, Seashore has other priorities, I volunteer at CTM, we have our hands full with a very large docket of cars being worked on. The car being the last of its kind in from the only real interurban that ran in Massachusetts should have a brighter future. Besides the ant problems, was there any structural damage done while it was used off the rails? Is it sitting on the correct trucks or just serviceable ones? Also does anyone know what the color scheme was for the car? Or the sister freight service cars?

Is there any grant/ ISTEA-21 monies that could be found for this car? Are there any problems with the car getting money from Massachusetts, but being located in Maine? Would it be a candidate to run in Lowell? Being a native car has its advantages, I hope.

Hi there, the Worcester trolley 149 just needs a friend like many others do. I am interested in this car also but I decided to raise money for the Middlesex & Boston trolley that served the western Boston suburbs. Both these two cars sit in the rear of Fairview barn. Over ten years with no grants etc I have raised 66K and the car is heading to the shop in 2010. It takes a project manager who will raise funds and build a file for the car "curitorial report, photos, history etc."

Lowell has our New Orleans car right now and would ideally rather an Eastern Mass St Ry car since that is the railway that served Lowell, but I could be wrong


Dudley Stickels Collection of Central New England Railway Photographs

Dudley Jordan Stickels , born 9 March 1917 , in Torrington, Conncecticut , was by trade a carpenter and a salesman. His love, however, was the railroad. Stickels collected and sold model railroad equipment, which led to his founding of an HO gauge model railroad club. He enjoyed visiting the New York, New Haven, & Hartford Railroad station in Torrington to admire the passing trains. He invested a great deal of his energy in collecting materials relating to the history of the Central New England Railway (CNE), which was at that time no longer in operation. His research interests were in that railroad line's history, routes, and equipment, and specifically in its steam locomotives. As a result of Stickels's study of the CNE, he began a substantial collection of steam locomotive photographs, some of which were used by railroad history author Lucius Beebe . Dudley Stickels died in North Carolina in 1992 .

Other railroads represented in this collection were gradually merged with the Central New England Railway . The CNE merged with the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad in 1927.

Extent

Language of Materials

Additional Description

Abstract

Organization

Series I: Negatives (undated, 1880s-1950s) is composed of negatives of images of locomotives representing the following railroads: Hartford and Connecticut Western Railroad Philadelphia, Reading & New England Railroad Central New England and Western Railroad Newburgh, Dutchess and Connecticut Railroad Poughkeepsie and Eastern Railway Poughkeepsie, Hartford and Boston Railroad New York and Massachusetts Railway Connecticut Western Railroad and the Central New England Railway .

Series II: Photographic prints (1880s- 1950s) is composed of photographic prints of images representing the following railroads: Central New England Railway New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Philadelphia, Reading and New England Railroad Connecticut Western Railroad Poughkeepsie and Eastern Railway Newburgh, Dutchess, and Connecticut Railroad Central New England and Western Railroad and New York and Massachusetts Railway .

Arrangement

The photographs were originally organized in albums. Each negative and photograph print was given a unique identifying number and placed in an archival quality sleeve and box. Each image was then described in an in-house (Access) database.

The unique identifying numbers were assigned to the images as they were removed from the album pages. Neither the placement of images on the pages nor the arrangement of the pages in the albums appeared to have any order.


Contains photographs of the Boston Railroad station - History

The Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society is composed of people who share a common interest in the history and operations of the Boston and Maine Railroad and other related railroads. READ MORE

The Boston & Maine Railroad Historical Society, Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization composed of people who want to share their knowledge, and learn more about, the history and operations of the Boston and Maine Railroad, its predecessors, and successors.

Formed in 1971 by a group of interested B&M employees and railfans, the B&MRRHS now has 1,010 active members. The Society fulfills its educational mission in several ways:

We publish the B&M Bulletin for our members, a glossy periodical that contains feature articles about all aspects of B&M equipment, locations, and service.

Every other month members also receive the B&MRRHS Newsletter, presenting railroad news, information about Society events, our popular “Modelers Notes,” and a sales catalog of B&M books, DVDs, clothing and souvenirs.

Volunteers for our 410 Committee maintain B&M 0-6-0 steam locomotive No. 410 and combination coach-baggage car No. 1244 situated on Dutton Street in Lowell. Within the “combine,” manned by Society volunteers in the summer months, visitors can view an interpretive exhibit of B&M history including material from our Archives and interesting items from our Hardware Collection.

Another group of volunteers, the Hardware Committee, maintains and preserves the Hardware Collection that includes signs, signals, tools, locomotive apparatus and railroad appliances—items that illustrate 175 years of New England Railroad history.

Our Archives Committee, working at our Archives location at 40 French St., Lowell, Mass., maintains a comprehensive collection of photographs, books, records, and information about the Boston and Maine Railroad and the railroads from which it was formed. It is available for research or general browsing. We also have started an on-line photo archive that lets us show off our photo collection to a wide audience.

Our Online Committee works to maintain the Society’s pages on Facebook and YouTube. Members also research, write and produce episodes of our web series Minuteman Tales as well as our podcast High Green. The Online Committee also produces virtual presentations and videos which feature B&M history and film our regular Society meetings.

Society members also man the B&MRRHS table at train shows and events throughout New England where information about the Society, membership applications, merchandise and other services are available in-person.

The Society meets monthly from September through May (no meetings, in June, July, or August). Members share railroad news and information and hear informative presentations by professional railroaders and railfans.

Meetings are usually held at Rogers Hall, 196 Rogers St., Lowell, MA 01852. The regular starting time is 3:00 p.m.

Articles and photos are actively sought for our publications, as is the donation of money, archival material, artifacts, or volunteer time. We are a recognized non-profit educational organization, and all donations are tax-deductible. We look forward to welcoming you to the Society and hope that you will be an active member.


CHAPTER 4, Forest Hills Extension

The extension of the elevated to Forest Hills was structurally less complex. With the exception of the Arborway crossing, plate girders, framed in both directions, were used in the structure. There are no extant contemporary records that explain this decision. Presumably economics dictated the use of a cheaper but less attractive system. Remnants of transmittal letters (in the MBTA files) indicate that the structure was approved by the Mass. Railroad Commission and by the City of Boston, and construction began on May 2, 1906 with the erection of the first bents at Guild Street. [1]

The same system that had been used earlier on Washington Street -- bents delivered to the site during the day and set in place by the traveller at night -- was employed. Numerous construction photographs and drawings illustrate how the work progressed and reveal the methods of steel erection and track laying at that time.

Again, progress in steel erection was rapid. By late August of 1906, the traveller had reached the Egleston Square station area and, by January of 1907, the structure was approaching Forest Hills. At this point, the chronology becomes unclear. The BERy annual report of December 31, 1906 notes that the company had not yet received approval for plans for new stations at Egleston and Forest Hills nor the changes at Dudley. Presumably, the management was preoccupied with the extra work on the Washington Street Tunnel and the numerous other projects then starting in Cambridge and East Cambridge.

Robert S. Peabody's daybooks for 1907 indicate that the BERy's committee of architectural advisors met repeatedly during that year reviewing designs, not only for Forest Hills Station and the Arborway crossing, but also for the Causeway across the Charles River to East Cambridge. [2] By early 1908, the designs for all stations had been approved, and work resumed on the elevated structure crossing the Arborway and on the Forest Hills Station itself. Peabody, the chief architect to the BERy, appears to have decided to have a line of single massive piers supporting the main line structure. At this point, where the structure crossed the Arborway, the piers would be encased in concrete and made to look like rough hewn stone. Peabody and his committee of architectural advisors chose the same solution for the BERy crossing over the Charles River Dam (the Lechmere extension), which was designed at the same time.

The crossing of the Arborway was a particularly sensitive design problem, since the architects wished their structure to harmonize with both the landscape design of Frederick Law Olmsted and the nearby Forest Hills Railroad viaduct, a massive granite bridge designed by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge from preliminary plans by the landscape architects and constructed approximately ten years before. Peabody chose concrete treated to simulate masonry as a suitable compromise. This BERy station was also intended by the Mass. Railway Commission to connect with the then important Forest Hills commuter railway station and the West Roxbury branch line of the New Haven Railroad.

The new design for Dudley Station took an already sophisticated multi-level scheme and enhanced it. A new southbound platform for trains going to Forest Hills was constructed over Washington Street along the West Loop of the terminal. The mainline continued out toward Guild Street and along Washington Street to Egleston Square. Two new pedestrian bridges connected a new southbound platform with the existing terminal. The northbound platform built in 1900 was lengthened to receive the longer eight-car trains.

At the same time, numerous changes were made on the surface level. The most interesting additions consisted of the two pavilion-type waiting rooms that were placed inside the old loops. The trolley loops were also enclosed. Work on the new platform began in the summer of 1908. November 22, 1909 was the opening date for extended service from Forest Hills to Sullivan Square. Yet we know that heavy steel work was still in progress under the southbound platform after that date. Progress photos show that, while the new platform and bridges were almost complete, work on the framing of the new loop enclosures was just beginning in October of 1909. Work on Dudley Terminal was essentially completed by the summer of 1910, but final roofing was still being done in September of that year.

Dudley Terminal has always been a busy area, and minor changes have constantly been made in the interior to improve passenger flow and expedite movement of transit vehicles. In 1948 the east pavilion was completely rebuilt to allow use of the trackless trolleys that were replacing the old electric streetcars in the Roxbury/Dorchester area. The center pavilion was removed and a new roof with factory skylights installed. Gradually the service at the West loop was phased out. In the early 1970's, that loop was completely demolished. Old photographs are the only record of the appearance of Dudley Station in its prime. By the 1960's, the MTA had substituted bus service for the trackless trolleys. The surface area under the station (Ziegler Street) formerly used by trolley lines became a major bus connector (MA-14-28 through MA-14-43).

Egleston Station was planned to relieve Dudley Terminal and serve as a collection point for passengers coming in by streetcar from points in Jamaica Plain and Dorchester. In its construction, concrete passenger platforms were used for the first time on the line. Originally a stairway descended right into the middle of Washington Street at the intersection of Columbus Avenue. In 1916 a trolley barn built with a low cost factory type of construction was added as a station for surface loading of passengers. A bridge and escalator connected the new structure with the existing structure. The architect for the station is unknown.

Forest Hills Station was an extension of the Arborway crossing of the main line. Designed by the architect Edmund S. Wheelwright, a member of the advisory committee, under the direction of R.S. Peabody, it was framed of heavy steel encased in concrete. The BERy built an extension of the regular steel bent construction system, beyond the station, to allow trains to reverse direction over a diamond shaped crossover. This work also included construction of a spur-track incline out over the present Arborway yards for storing trains. On November 5, 1921, the Forest Hills station structure was extended southward. A storage yard was built, and the Arborway inclined yard was removed. By 1923, a new car repair shop had been built which replaced the smaller shops and storage yards at the Guild Street yard. [3]

Green Street Station. When the BERy submitted its first proposals for the Forest Hills extension to the Mass. Railroad Commission, the plans included a site for a passenger station at Green Street, but that particular location was not utilized at first. It was only after the extension had been opened that the BERy decided to build Green Street Station in 1910. The simplest construction method was used: a suspension system of hanging the lobby from the bottom of the tracks and building a steel-frame concrete platform with canopy on top of the structure. The station was completed and opened in 1912 and served as a local station for commuters from the neighboring sections of Jamaica Plain.

Egleston Square Sub-Station. The extension of the Main Line to Forest Hills required the construction of a sub-station at Egleston Square for the conversion of alternating current generated at the South Boston Plant to direct current for use in this portion of the rapid transit system. The station was designed by Robert S. Peabody and consisted of a steel framed building to house the sub-station equipment. The exterior was of stucco trimmed in brick (MA-14-56).


And This Is Good Old Boston

South Station with Atlantic Avenue Elevated line.

As some will know, there was once an elevated train line that ran over Atlantic avenue and around the waterfront of the city. The line was part of the original rapid transit plan for the city, a partner to the underground Washington street line. The postcard above shows the elevated structure at South Station. The line followed a loop along Atlantic avenue, Commercial street and Causeway street to North Station.

Boston's rapid transit lines, 1930s.

What fewer people may know is that the Atlantic avenue elevated line was a branch of the main line that would run from Forest Hills to Everett. The map above shows the system with its stops. Coming from the south, a train could either go straight into the downtown tunnel, or turn right at Herald street, and left again on Harrison avenue, in to Beach street, turn right, and then left again and come alongside South Station and follow Atlantic avenue from there. This waterfront route gave people access to South Station, and to what was then a working waterfront, including the ferries that ran both north and south.

Possibly the State Street station.

Atlantic avenue El, just before being torn down.

During the 1920s, jobs on the waterfront were disappearing. The rise of the automobile and the construction of the Sumner Tunnel to East Boston helped kill the ferry service, and ridership declined on the Atlantic avenue line. A wreck at the turn at Harrison avenue and Beach street caused the through route from the main line to Atlantic avenue to be cut, and the Atlantic avenue line became a shuttle between South and North Stations. In 1942, the elevated tracks were taken down and scrapped.

Atlantic Avenue El coming down.

Train running under Atlantic Avenue elevated tracks.

But there's more to Atlantic avenue and trains!

Union Freight Railroad tracks running down Atlantic avenue and spur lines to the wharves and markets (click on image to see larger version).

Atlantic avenue was also the route of a street-level railroad line, the Union Freight Railroad. The line allowed rail access directly to the waterfront wharves and the markets and warehouses on the land side of Atlantic avenue. There is a mention of a 99 year lease for the Atlantic avenue right of way, but apparently the company gave up its rights as the Boston waterfront lost its freight traffic.

Oops! Boxcar goes off the tracks under the Atlantic avenue El.


3 thoughts on &ldquo Remembering the Boston & Maine Railroad &rdquo

Although the Andover and Wilmington RR is long gone, one of its buildings still survives in North Andover which was still part of Andover when the railroad was built. It is apparently unclear whether this was a station, freight house, or railroad offices. The building can be seen on Google Street View here: https://www.google.com/maps/@42.7061164,-71.1331898,3a,90y,77.19h,82.72t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sqhIBeWxacW9Vtb23MoFlpw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Never knew much about this road, as never came to St. Louis, do remember seeing a stray boxcar at times. Barringer is a big local name, his collection is at UMSL.

As I grew up in New York State before moving to California in 1973, and my very first railroad job was with America’s very first railroad (the B&O), I am particularly interested in your “Fallen Flag” articles! Please continue the series!


Contents

19th and 20th centuries Edit

The New York, Providence and Boston Railroad opened in November 1837. [6] Since its tracks did not go through the village of Kingston, a new village - West Kingston - sprang up around the railroad station on Waites Corner Road. [7]

The station has remained in continuous use from the day it opened in June 1875. Historically, Kingston Station also served the Narragansett Pier Railroad. Travel time for the 8 + 1 ⁄ 2 -mile (13.7 km) trip between Kingston and Narragansett Pier was approximately 20 minutes [8] before passenger service ended unofficially in June, 1952. [9] (In 2000 the former right-of-way was converted into the William C. O'Neill Bike Path.)

By the 1960s, service to Kingston consisted of regional service from Boston to New York City, plus a single commuter round trip from New London to Boston. [10] When Amtrak took over intercity service from Penn Central in May 1971, Penn Central was not given license to discontinue the commuter trip. When permission was given in 1972, it was replaced with a state-funded Westerly-Providence round trip also stopping at Kingston. [10] This trip lasted until June 1977. [11] From September 1976 to October 1977 and January–April 1978 Amtrak's Clamdigger ran local service from Providence to New Haven with a stop at Kingston. The Beacon Hill replaced the Clamdigger in April 1978, running local from New Haven to Boston. [12] Faced with declining ridership and the loss of state subsidies, the Beacon Hill was discontinued effective October 24, 1981, leaving Kingston with just intercity stopping service. [13]

The station was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 26, 1975 as Kingston Railroad Station. [4]

An organization called "The Friends of Kingston Station" was instrumental in preserving the station and assuring its restoration after a fire there on December 12, 1988. [14] [ citation needed ]

Although all Northeast Regional trains stop at Kingston, Acela Express trains do not. Kingston is located on one of several sections of track where the Acela Express is permitted to run at its top speed of 150 mph (240 km/h). Kingston and Mansfield are the only stations where the Acela will pass through at full speed on tracks adjacent to platforms. [note 1] Signs and automated announcements warn passengers of the potential danger. Since it is the only station between New London and Providence which can deboard passengers from Acela trains due to its high-level platforms, they occasionally do stop at Kingston in emergencies such as downed wires or problems with the locomotives. [15] [note 2]

Railroad museum Edit

For a time, half of the station was home to the Rhode Island Railroad Museum. The museum, operated by Friends of The Kingston Railroad Station, was open Sunday afternoons, and included old artifacts from railroads in Rhode Island. [16] Its highlight was an operating model railroad which depicted Kingston in 1948. [16] The museum was closed because the second half of the building is needed due to increasing ridership at the station. The area will be renovated and used as a second waiting room with outlets and extra seating. [17]

Infrastructure expansion Edit

In 2009, RIDOT requested American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funds for engineering of a siding and platform that would allow local trains to stop at the station, possibly including future MBTA Commuter Rail trains on an extension of the Providence/Stoughton Line. [5] On June 29, 2015, Amtrak and local officials held a groundbreaking on the expansion of the station. This project will replace the current low-level platforms at the station with new, ADA-accessible high-level platforms and add a 1.5-mile (2.4 km)-long third track, allowing Acela Express trains to pass through the station while Northeast Regional or possible future commuter rail trains are stopped at the station. Construction work also incorporated installation of drainage, retaining walls and poles to support catenary wires for the new track as well as renovations to the interior of the station. [1] The project was projected to cost $41 million, of which $26.5 million was provided via a High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program (HSIPR) grant from the federal government and RIDOT, with Amtrak providing the remainder of the funding. Amtrak projected a completion of construction by summer 2017. [18] Renovations to Kingston station were officially completed on October 30, 2017 [19] [2]

Proposed commuter service Edit

Currently, Kingston is one of only three stations on the Northeast Corridor - along with adjacent stations Westerly and Mystic to the south - that is served exclusively by Amtrak, with no commuter rail service. In 1994, a Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) report indicated that the Northeast Corridor was the most viable route for commuter service in Rhode Island. [20] That same year, a Federal Railroad Administration report estimated that Kingston-Providence service would begin in 1999. [21] In 2001, RIDOT released a potential operations plans for South County commuter rail service from Westerly to Providence, with a stop at Kingston plus infill stops at Wickford Junction and T.F. Green Airport. The report considered the service as an extension of Shore Line East, an extension of the MBTA's Providence/Stoughton Line, or a stand-alone service. [22] However, the 2003 Environmental Assessment and a 2009 report studying service to Woonsocket did not discuss extending service further south than Wickford Junction. [23] [24] Service to T.F. Green Airport began in December 2010, and to Wickford Junction in April 2012. [10]

However, that same year, the application for funds for the third track was noted as a prerequisite for the extension of commuter service. [5]

Two RIPTA bus routes connect the station to the URI campus and major cities in Rhode Island:


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