Springfield Union Station Memories

Do you have a favorite memory or photo of Springfield Union Station?

The McNulty’s: A Family Tradition at Union Station

James “Peanuts” McNulty worked in the ticket office for over 40 years, retiring after Amtrak took over and the main station closed. His position was Chief Ticket Clerk and his office was a small area at the back of the ticket office called “The Cage” because it resembled an old fashioned scissor gate elevator.

One of his favorite jobs was making the travel arrangements for the nuns of the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse who attended summer schools in other states.

Grandfather Frank McNulty
Grandfather Frank McNulty
Father – James McNulty
Father – James McNulty

James formed close friendships with some of the men he worked with, including John O’Connor, John Torpey and “Skip” Dowling.

Submitted by his daughter, Marilyn (McNulty) Shine
Springfield, MA

Fond Memories

“I grew up in the Springfield area and remember traveling on the New Haven Railroad to New York and back to Springfield Union Station, around Christmas time. I recall the benches, a brass baggage stand, just in front of the ticket counter, and a lunch counter to the left, when entering from Frank B. Murray Street. As a teenager I went to the station to see the Flying Scotsman train come through.”

Submitted by Bruce E.
Lancaster, PA

Second Trip

“My first train trip was from Thompsonville to Springfield on a cloudy afternoon on a late fall day, with a nursery school class. I was 4 years old. My next visit was the adventurous start of my second train trip – my parents took me with them to visit friends in Washington DC. While we were awaiting train 169, the “Washingtonian”, before dawn that morning, we received word that some express cars had derailed approaching the station and our train would be delayed. As we waited for an announcement to board the delayed train, a commotion broke out on Liberty Street with the arrival of the Springfield Fire Department.  A fire had been discovered in the “Hash Room” which was part of the mail handling facility. My Dad took me out onto Liberty Street to watch the excitement. We eventually made our trip and returned to find that the New Haven Railroad’s roundhouse, along the Connecticut River, had burned down in our absence.

I would go on to occasionally visit Union Station through the years, and in 1973 I asked about job opportunities with Amtrak which led to a 40 year plus railroad career.”

Submitted by William S.
Plantsville, CT

Watching the Boxcars

“I remember Union Station well from my early childhood in the 1950’s. My dad, Art, worked for the Railway Express Agency for 30 years after he returned from WW 2. He was an administrator in the offices within the Baggage Building. The office windows were between the truck loading platform and the Hotel Charles.

I remember going to pick him up from work with my mom and being allowed to walk through what seemed to be an enormous room where the freight was sorted and sent out. The drivers and freight handlers all knew my dad and they struck me as the biggest, strongest men I had ever met. They all seemed to be looking out for me.

The best part was being allowed up to the platform to watch boxcars being loaded and freights and passenger trains stopping in Springfield. It seems like a million years ago but they were wonderful memories that a boy will carry forever. I hope to take my grandson down to Springfield soon on the Vermonter. He needs some memories too!”

Submitted by Mike T.
Meriden, NH

Brought to Life

“I was lucky as a child to have ridden numerous trains out of Springfield. It has impacted me to this day as a railfan. Numerous shopping trips were made with my mother and aunt to Hartford, NYC, Albany and Boston aboard the New Haven or the Boston & Albany.

I recall stepping up to the ticket windows and then sitting in the cavernous waiting area. A barber and shoeshine would be busy near the entrance. A counter with snacks, magazines and newspapers was on the other side. The train announcer was hard to understand with his booming voice that echoed loudly through the waiting area, causing excitement as you got ready to board. We would proceed through the tunnel to the doors marked with the proper track and I would nearly run up the stairs always hoping to see the locomotives for our train.

It was a special treat to be on the platform for the arrival from Chicago of one of New York Centrals premier trains “The New England States Limited”. This train was the second most important train in the entire New York Central system, second in importance only to the “20th Century Limited”.  The headlight could be spotted as it came across the Connecticut River bridge. The grey “lightning striped” paint scheme of the locomotives with nearly matched stainless steel, streamlined passenger cars marked the train as “special”.

It created wanderlust and some envy to be a passenger on it. As it passed into the station for its stop, the cook always seemed to be hanging out a Dutch door on the dining car, with his chef’s hat and white garb and apron, looking over the crowd that was about to board in Springfield.  The smartly uniformed conductor and trainmen would occupy the doorways keeping an eye on the crowd until the train stopped.”

Submitted by John C.
Southampton, MA

A Passion for Trains

“During the 1950’s and early 1960’s, my grandmother Rose and my mother Renee lived in Springfield and Renee’s older sister, Marian, lived in Manhattan. Several times a year Rose would visit Marian, and of course, she would take the train from Union Station. My mother and I would take her to the station, sometimes taking a bus to get there. Going downtown was always a big deal, and I would get giddy as we entered the train station. It was a beautiful building, active with station employees working and strangers coming and going from every direction. As a very young girl, I developed a passion for trains and the beautiful architecture of train stations.”

Submitted by Linda N.
Longmeadow, MA

Army Days

“A Springfield native, I travelled to and from Union Station many times during my Army days, 1968-70. Coming home on leave, I’d sometimes jump off the slowly moving train as it slowed to a crawl in the South End and walk home. Friends would see me off from the old terminal building when I had to go back to the Army. I always loved the ride along the Connecticut River and then my city coming into the horizon. I couldn’t be happier that Springfield is finally getting its grand old train station back.”

Submitted by Stephen J.
Los Angeles, CA

Tuskegee Airman

My father left from Union Station as the only Tuskegee Airman from Holyoke, MA, on September 3, 1942.”

Submitted by Daniel

Boot Camp

“I remember pulling into Union Station after Boot Camp and "A" school (Navy) . I was so excited to be home, I left my bags at the Station. Luckily after a few hours, I returned and they were still there. I had a great ride all the way from Memphis via Chicago to Springfield. Great memories! Everyone was so nice, and I couldn't buy a drink!!! Those were great days!!!

Submitted by Guy Egan
Springfield, MA