ROCHESTER, N.Y. – On October 6, 2017, Rochester welcomed federal, state and Amtrak officials to celebrate the opening of the city’s new intermodal station. Guests included Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Starting in the early 2000s, the city considered building a larger, fully accessible facility to better handle the station’s growing ridership. Concepts for the new station were developed with input from stakeholders including the city, residents, New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), Amtrak, CSXT, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority.
“Today we are taking another step forward to improve this city for today and for generations to come. The beautiful new Rochester train station is another testament to the transformation underway here in Rochester,” Mayor Lovely Warren said in a press release.
NYSDOT led the design and construction of the new station, which cost $44 million and took two years to complete. Local architectural firm LaBella Associates, which oversaw the design work, was inspired by the city’s former 1914 New York Central Railroad station, created by Claude Fayette Bragdon and demolished in the mid-1960s.
“This magnificent new train station will be the front door to the Finger Lakes, improving rail travel, enhancing passenger and commercial rail service while supporting tourism and regional economic growth.” – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
The new 9,500-square foot station features classic red brick construction with cast stone and granite used for rustication around the main entrance, quoins, coping and other accents. Bragdon’s work is specifically referenced through the principal façade’s three vaulted sections with inset round-arch windows. A broad canopy over the main entrance protects travelers from inclement weather, while a large clock is another nod to train stations of the past. New sidewalks make it easier to reach the station on foot, and there is plenty of bicycle parking.
Passengers enjoy a spacious and inviting waiting room with walls faced in stone. Retail areas include a Taste NY kiosk featuring locally made food and beverages, and there are also Amtrak ticketing, baggage and office spaces. Hanging in the public areas are colorful murals and large photographs depicting the city and the surrounding Finger Lakes Region. Large windows and skylights allow natural light to flood the interior throughout the day.
A tunnel connects the passenger building with the covered concrete platform. The facility includes two new dedicated passenger tracks, versus one at the old station. This reduces delays by allowing two passenger trains traveling in opposite directions to stop at the station, and permits freight trains to pass when passenger trains are stopped. The two-sided, high-level passenger platform is level with the train car doors, letting customers easily enter and exit the train.
NYSDOT contributed $23.4 million toward the project, and federal funding amounted to $20.4 million. The latter included a $15 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant won by the city and NYSDOT from the U.S. Department of Transportation and secured by Congresswoman Slaughter. The city contributed $500,000, and Amtrak contributed to the new Passenger Information Display System.
Nearly 125,000 customers began or ended their journey at Rochester in fiscal year 2016. The station is served daily by Empire Service (New York-Albany-Niagara Falls) trains, the Lake Shore Limited (New York/Boston-Chicago) and the Maple Leaf (New York-Albany-Buffalo-Toronto).