NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y.—On Monday, June 9, 2014, local, state and federal officials gathered on Whirlpool Street to break ground on Phase III of the Niagara Falls International Railway Station and Intermodal Transportation Center, which will accommodate Amtrak, local buses, taxis and shuttles, as well as an Underground Railroad Museum and interpretive center. Amtrak serves Niagara Falls via select Empire Service trains (Niagara Falls-Albany-New York) and the Maple Leaf (New York-Toronto).
In a press release, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer stated: “For nearly three decades, the Niagara Falls International Railway Station has been a goal for the community…with the completion of this station, rail will once again be the conductor of the regional economy, with the potential to generate millions annually in tourism revenue from visitors coming from Canada and throughout the Northeast.”
Niagara Falls Mayor Paul A. Dyster added: “Someday soon, visitors will step off the train not in an industrial district far from the City center, but on the very lip of the great Niagara Gorge, just a short hop from the downtown center and the Falls itself.” City officials believe the intermodal center will anchor potential new development along Main Street on downtown’s northern edge.
The intermodal center will consist of a historic 1863 U.S. Customs House and a new, adjacent structure. The former will house the museum and a Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection unit, while the latter will include a passenger waiting room and possible retail uses.
The city divided the approximately $41 million project into three phases. Phase I, which cost $2.7 million and was finished in 2012, included stabilization of the customs house. Phase II, which cost $6 million, involved upgrades to the railroad bridge over Main Street. Phase III, now underway, is estimated to cost approximately $25 million and should take 18-24 months to construct. The project also includes upgraded tracks and signals and a dedicated passenger rail siding.
In 2010, the city won a $16.5 million T administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation. It completed the funding package and allowed design and construction to move forward.