As the holidays approach, UR students might begin wondering how they will be traveling home. Traveling by train is one option, but this November and December, the Amtrak station in Rochester will be demolished, and the new station isn’t expected to be ready for passengers until September 2017. This news could leave students who travel by train questioning what to do once Thanksgiving and winter break arrive. A temporary station was opened this month, and will handle passengers in the time between the demolition of the old, 1978 station and the completion of the new station.

The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) states on their website that “the only change will be that passengers will enter a different set of doors in the temporary station during the construction of the permanent building.” The 1978 station was itself only meant to be a temporary station, after the old train station built in 1914 was demolished. After nearly thirty years and millions of passengers, NYSDOT decided it was time to build a permanent and updated train station in Rochester. The new station is designed to accommodate those traveling with baggage, with the website saying it “will make being a passenger a much more pleasant experience.” The station itself is a $29.5 million project, with the federal government footing most of the $18.5 million bill, and the city of Rochester and the New York state government picking up the rest. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter was an advocate for the building of a new station, and the Department of Transportation cites her as “instrumental in securing federal money for this project to advance rail transportation.”

Railway history in Rochester didn’t  begin with the 1914 station. The first Grand Station was  built in 1854 next to High Falls; another station replaced it 30 years later. It wasn’t until the 1914 station—designed by architect Claude Fayette Bragdon—was built that architects saw Rochester’s railway station as something at which to marvel. This building was demolished in 1965, and the current station was built, though it was only meant to be a temporary location.

The construction of the parking lots for the new station began this summer, along with improvements to railway bridges, but the demolition of the current building won’t begin until later this month. Starting in the summer of 2016, The Pike Company and LaBella Associates will begin construction on the new building. It will be constructed in the same location where the 1914 station once stood, and the temporary station will be right next door on Central Avenue. As for other forms of transportation, across the street, the Greyhound and Trailways bus stations will function exactly as they always have, and RTS will continue delivering students to the train station. “Many students travel by train to Rochester from all over the northeast to go the area’s several college and university campuses,” NYSDOT states on their website.

Callahan-Floeser is a member

of the class of 2018.

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