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The History of
Union Station

The story of the rebirth of Springfield’s Union Station was a 40-year saga that began with a promise to save a landmark teetering on the brink of extinction.

Even more about the project:
Springfield Redevelopment Authority


Railroad Link from Worcester to Springfield

The railroad link from Worcester to Springfield opened and its directors hired George Washington Whistler, father of the famous painter, to lead the effort to push over the Berkshires and connect with Albany.

First Springfield Station


Connection Complete

The connection was complete and Springfield was positioned at the crossroads of rail traffic for the next 125 years.

Early Springfield Union Station


Opening Day of Union Station

An estimated 30,000 people toured Opening Day of Union Station. Springfield’s fourth and newest facility, with its gleaming terrazzo floors, had a restaurant, lunch counter, barbershop, shoeshine parlor and small shops to service the hundreds of daily passengers who boarded up to 130 trains, every 24 hours.

Depot at Springfield Station


The Massachusetts Turnpike

The Massachusetts Turnpike, part of the Interstate Highway System, opened. Only a year later, the New York Central line in Springfield reported a 50 percent decline in passengers riding the train into Boston.


Penn Central

Penn Central sold the Union Station building to a New York real estate developer.


Station Closure

Due to the reduction in ridership, the property owner closed the doors of the station when Amtrak moved to a small space, accessible via Lyman Street.

Station Closed


Saving a Landmark

Assistant to Springfield Mayor William C. Sullivan, Richard E. Neal launched his bid for Springfield City Council with a promise to save the decaying landmark, kicking off a 4-decade long fight to save Union Station.

Touring the Station


Touring Station Revivals

Within days of taking office, Richard E. Neal, now Springfield’s mayor, was touring other northern cities to look at their successful train station revivals.


The Fight for Redevelopment

The Springfield Redevelopment Authority acquired the building for $1 and begin to look towards implementing a plan for Union Station. The former property owner fought the takeover in court and it was another seven years before a Federal Judge ruled the city was in the right and could finally move ahead with the redevelopment. Richard E. Neal, now a congressman, was able to use his role to help raise the money for the project and the Committee on Public Works set aside the first sizeable funding of $15 million.


The Highway Bill

With the signing of the Highway Bill several more millions became available for the Union Station project.


Dream to Reality

Senator Edward M. Kennedy traveled to Springfield with a check for $1.25 million, bringing the dream of saving Union Station closer to reality.


Springfield Redevelopment Authority

$29.7 million in Federal Transit Administration funds were made available for the project. The money was transferred to the Springfield Redevelopment Authority which began the hiring of HDR Architects, P.C. to design the project along with Shadley Associated Landscape Architects. Skanska USA Buildings was named project manager.


A Ceremonial Groundbreaking

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Raymond H. LaHood traveled to Springfield to join Congressman Neal in announcing that funding for shovels-in-the-ground was in place and the project was a go. In August, Daniel O’Connell & Sons was selected to manage the revitalization of the station and Phase 1 began in November with a ceremonial groundbreaking. Congressman Neal, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and Governor Deval Patrick announced $4 million in state funding at the event and gathered with SRA officials for a few whacks with sledgehammers at the wall of the baggage building.



Deconstruction and Reconstruction

The deconstruction and reconstruction of Union Station lasted four years and one month, officially ending on December 31st. Hundreds of union employees worked on the project as the great hall was gutted to the bare walls and rebuilt. Parts of its storied past were restored and utilized, including the original clock that hung at the entrance, a wooden train schedule board and a 90-year-old baggage cart. After 86 years, the original Terrazzo floors were gleaming once again!


Open House

Thousands turned out for an open house on June 25th to celebrate the dream of saving Union Station and its transformation into a state-of-the-art intermodal transportation center, serving not only train passengers, but Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, Greyhound and Peter Pan Bus Line patrons.

Rededication plaque


CTrail Hartford Line

CTrail Hartford Line, a commuter rail service, began operating out of Union Station on June 16th.

Hartford Line CT Rail


Platform C

Amtrak’s 328-foot long high-level Platform C opened in January and included historic elements like the existing overhead canopy steel structure.

Amtrak Added


Linking Springfield and Boston

In September the long-held dream of linking Springfield and Boston with fast, frequent passenger trains – picked up steam when the commonwealth, Amtrak and CSX freight railway received $108 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation to cover track improvements along 53 miles of railroad between Springfield and Worcester.

Press Conference
Photo by Hoang ‘Leon’ Nguyen / The Republican


Cybersecurity Center of Excellence

Construction on the Richard E. Neal Cybersecurity Center of Excellence began on the concourse-level.

Announcing Cyber Security Center
Photo by Don Treeger / The Republican