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"New" Buffalo Station

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PVD

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The area outside of the city has a number of reasons for continued service that you pointed out. Lots of folks live out that way and don't want to drive into the city. It is a very short cab ride from the Exchange St area to lots of hotels and business locations. The Central Terminal is a classic building, but without a major change to the makeup of the city involving significant redevelopment, a massive infusion of money, and extension of the light rail, just doesn't make sense.
 

Seaboard92

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Central Terminal really was built in the wrong neighborhood to start with. It has always been outside of the downtown area. And it’s abandonment hasn’t helped the area. Now if it were redeveloped back into a train station I believe you would see some transport oriented development

At one time Buffalo also had a separate station for the Lackawanna/ NKP as well.
 

jiml

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When one lives close to Buffalo and has watched its changes over the years, you can only applaud what they've done. The improvements along I-190 have been nothing short of remarkable, but they always seem to run out of money. For Toronto baseball fans the interest in Buffalo has grown exponentially over the past few seasons. It's great having our AAA team with all its top prospects a 90-minute drive away. That's why a Toronto train stopping at Canalside would be a hot item. Extending it further to Orchard Park during NFL season wouldn't be a bad idea either, with the lengthy car lines at the border on game weekends.
 

jis

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If Depew is going to be the continuing suburban station for Buffalo it needs to get a second platform. It is not really a viable station with a single platform for any passenger traffic significantly above the current level on this extremely busy and congested freight main line.

Coming to think of it, Syracuse needs that too.
 

PVD

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I believe Syracuse is actually built for a second station track....Waiting at Depew, the amount of passing freight traffic you see is considerable. I could see an island platform serving 2 tracks sooner than a second platform. If Erie County could grab the bull by the horns, it might help regional transit in a meaningful way. Major destinations like the airport, North Campus of SUNY/UB and the football stadium are not in the city, rather than spending any large sums on Amtrak service, the region would probably benefit more by looking at extending the light rail in a meaningful way.
 
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Eric S

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I believe the "unused side" of the Syracuse platform was intended to be used by an extended OnTrack (the former sorta/kinda regional/commuter rail service) but the needed overpass work was never completed.
 

jiml

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If Depew is going to be the continuing suburban station for Buffalo it needs to get a second platform. It is not really a viable station with a single platform for any passenger traffic significantly above the current level on this extremely busy and congested freight main line.
Not a bad idea, but could be tough to do in its present location. There are currently 4 tracks, all used, and they're tight together owing to the adjacent 4-track bridge over Dick Road, so no space for an island platform without taking one track out or reconfiguring the bridge and adjacent tracks. One possibility that would be less expensive than this, and with less effect on CSX, might be a standalone platform in the industry parking lot on the north side with a pedestrian bridge over all 4 tracks. Given the severity of winters in that area it would need protection from wind and snow. This might also solve the problem of westbound Amtrak trains having to switch through several tracks to reach the current platform.
 

PVD

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I was thinking about moving the building back to convert the existing, but as you point out the proximity to the bridge makes that impractical. Your idea is better, although often unpleasant, a tunnel might be easier than a bridge since the bridge would need to be high enough for double stacks, ADA ramps would be difficult, and 2 elevators would be both expensive and a maintenance headache.
 

velotrain

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I was thinking about moving the building back to convert the existing, but as you point out the proximity to the bridge makes that impractical. Your idea is better, although often unpleasant, a tunnel might be easier than a bridge since the bridge would need to be high enough for double stacks, ADA ramps would be difficult, and 2 elevators would be both expensive and a maintenance headache.
I also like the bridge idea for the OP's reasons, but just how does a tunnel solution not need elevators also - or very long underground ramps?
 

jis

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I believe the "unused side" of the Syracuse platform was intended to be used by an extended OnTrack (the former sorta/kinda regional/commuter rail service) but the needed overpass work was never completed.
Actually, the second platform needs to be on the north side of the main line tracks, or go to the Rochester model, getting rid of the current platform. What is important is to reduce conflicting moves across the flow of traffic to get to platforms. Just adding another track to the current platform does not achieve that.
I also like the bridge idea for the OP's reasons, but just how does a tunnel solution not need elevators also - or very long underground ramps?
The tunnel solution definitely makes it easier to provide very good protection from the elements though, which is kind of important at any station in upstate New York.
 

PVD

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Since the tunnel doesn't need the height that a bridge requires, long shallow ramps would be required, but they could be legal and require much less maintenance than elevators. A broken elevator would be a major problem if you had a wheelchair passenger or baggage carts.
 

jiml

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I was thinking about moving the building back to convert the existing, but as you point out the proximity to the bridge makes that impractical. Your idea is better, although often unpleasant, a tunnel might be easier than a bridge since the bridge would need to be high enough for double stacks, ADA ramps would be difficult, and 2 elevators would be both expensive and a maintenance headache.
I considered a tunnel, but thought the bridge might be cheaper. Most heavy rail transit systems have both options varying by station complete with elevators, although I realize the relative frequency of trains makes the cost easier to justify. This is a relatively "safe" area with a small town vibe, so a tunnel is unlikely to become anything to be afraid of.
 

velotrain

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The tunnel solution definitely makes it easier to provide very good protection from the elements though, which is kind of important at any station in upstate New York.
While granting that a tunnel provides more natural protection, it's certainly possible to build protected elevated passageways for a snowy environment - just look at the Minneapolis Skyway.
 

PVD

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You have a bridge in Albany, but the station is higher than the tracks, so it only needs escalators and elevators at one end. at one end. Also, baggage can still be brought downstairs in the building and bought across the tracks. But elevators at each end are expensive, and the number of trains and passengers in Depew is quite a bit less.
 

jis

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I suppose stations like Emeryville have over bridges with elevators at both ends. And the facility is not for reaching another platform but to cross the busy tracks. Crossing over to the island platform is at ground level pedestrian crossing across the side platform track, something hard to do at high platform station on the Empire Corridor.

Emeryville probably has much more pedestrian traffic across the tracks there than Syracuse or Depew does between platforms.
 

Eric S

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As a point of comparison, Depew served about 104,000 passengers last year on 8 daily trains and Sturtevant WI (SVT), which does have a pedestrian overpass with elevators on each side, served about 83,000 on about 14 daily trains. I seem to recall when SVT was built that the overpass was supposedly cheaper than dealing with utilities and CP's concerns about tunneling under the tracks - not sure if CSX would have similar concerns that might drive up the cost of a tunnel. Of course, unlike BUF, SVT does not offer baggage service.
 

velotrain

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Sturtivant, WI.jpg

Well, if CP was concerned about two tracks, how do you think CSX will feel about four?
 

velotrain

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There's active work being done to bring it back to life for other purposes, https://www.buffalorising.com/2019/08/the-future-of-the-central-terminal-you-can-almost-taste-it/
and there was major disappointment over the decision to rebuild Exchange St. Station instead of having all Buffalo trains stop at the Terminal.

The majority opinion seemed to be that it's just too far from downtown with no major transit connection (unlike Depew ;-), although proponents felt reactivating it could help spur redevelopment in East Buffalo. There was an indication that one of the mayoral candidates (not currently serving) was unhappy with the Exchange St. decision, but even if elected it seems unlikely he'll be able to overturn it. So it looks like Buffalo is stuck with two stations at least for another couple of decades, and likely longer.
 

jiml

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As a point of comparison, Depew served about 104,000 passengers last year on 8 daily trains and Sturtevant WI (SVT), which does have a pedestrian overpass with elevators on each side, served about 83,000 on about 14 daily trains. I seem to recall when SVT was built that the overpass was supposedly cheaper than dealing with utilities and CP's concerns about tunneling under the tracks - not sure if CSX would have similar concerns that might drive up the cost of a tunnel. Of course, unlike BUF, SVT does not offer baggage service.
I believe the LSL is the only train with baggage service, so not really a big deal for its westbound to continue using the existing south platform. It also continues on the more southerly set of tracks at "the fork in the road" where Empire Service trains head towards Niagara Falls.
 

neroden

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The "missing link" in Buffalo planning is the extension of Metrorail from downtown to the Airport, which would go past Buffalo Central Terminal and past the Walden Galleria. This has been in very-long-term plans for a long time, and NFTA owns most of the land (bought from some defunct railroad or other), but it keeps getting indefinitely put off, and it's starting to be at risk of having a few key pieces of land built over. Maybe if the extension of Metrorail to the SUNY Buffalo north campus gets funded and is successful people will be willing to fund the Airport line. This is a valuable route to have for many reasons.

If that's done, relocating Depew station to Buffalo Central Terminal becomes even more logical. Certainly nobody wants to put any money into the existing Depew location.
 

jiml

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The "missing link" in Buffalo planning is the extension of Metrorail from downtown to the Airport, which would go past Buffalo Central Terminal and past the Walden Galleria. This has been in very-long-term plans for a long time, and NFTA owns most of the land (bought from some defunct railroad or other), but it keeps getting indefinitely put off, and it's starting to be at risk of having a few key pieces of land built over. Maybe if the extension of Metrorail to the SUNY Buffalo north campus gets funded and is successful people will be willing to fund the Airport line. This is a valuable route to have for many reasons.

If that's done, relocating Depew station to Buffalo Central Terminal becomes even more logical. Certainly nobody wants to put any money into the existing Depew location.
I spend more time south of Buffalo than I used to, but recall the abandoned right-of-way near the older Marriott hotel in Amherst and not far from SUNY. Think it might have been Erie-Lackawanna. It has been earmarked for transit for a very long time and I wonder what obstacles have been added in recent years.
 

daybeers

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As jiml reported in the Stations that should be replaced thread, the new Buffalo Exchange Street station in New York opened on 11/8/2020. Below is an excerpt from the linked article.
Located near such popular destinations such as Canalside and KeyBank Center, the new station was constructed on the same grounds as the previous, 66-year-old Amtrak Station, but was elevated and moved closer to the street to improve access and visibility. The structure was also designed to accommodate the future expansion of intercity bus service and additional train routes, creating a truly intermodal transit center for downtown Buffalo.

The new station was woven into Buffalo's urban fabric, with improved connectivity to the city's light rail system – via a new covered pedestrian plaza – and increased accommodation for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists. With its larger size and modern design, it offers additional seating, more parking, a designated drop-off and pickup area, and a redesigned platform to make it easier and safer for passengers to board and depart trains.

The new station has a capacity of more than 40 seats and the image of a Buffalo is featured at the center of its Terrazzo floor. The previous station's low-level platform was replaced by a new, longer, train-level platform for easier boarding. It also features new lighting and a canopy.

A Taste NY kiosk will serve local food and beverages, encouraging visitors and New Yorkers alike to experience the quality and diversity of New York-made products while supporting local agricultural and food businesses. The kiosk was open on October weekdays, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., and has added evening hours in November, from 6-9 p.m. Offerings include snacks, fruit, hot and cold beverages, pastries and sandwiches New York vendors, including coffee from McCullagh Coffee Roasters (Buffalo) and milk chocolate candy from Kelly's Country Store (Grand Island). The current product list is available here. Additional products will be added to the menu in the coming months.

Energy-efficient and environmentally friendly materials were used in the new station's construction and the facility is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
I really like the food & beverage kiosk idea from local businesses! I couldn't find how long the platforms are, but this is an incredible improvement over the old station. Just wish it wasn't directly below a loud, busy interstate and that the LSL stopped there :(
 

adamj023

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Lake Shore Limited stops at the older Buffalo Depew station. Not sure if or when that station will get upgraded as well.
 
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