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Union Station Passenger Rail Platform Delayed

SPRINGFIELDSpringfield Redevelopment Authority (SRA) Director Christopher Moskal announced Tuesday that required design modifications will delay the opening of a new boarding platform at Springfield Union Station.

He said progress at the Union Station Regional Intermodal Transportation Center project continues to advance and he “expects that the Union Station terminal project itself will open on schedule in January 2017, albeit without the new boarding platform in operation.” He said that “includes the terminal building, the bus terminal, the parking garage and the passenger tunnel up to the current Amtrak lobby on Lyman Street.”

As a separate component of the overall project, MassDOT is committed to delivering a new boarding platform for Amtrak trains. This high-level platform, which will provide “level-entry boarding” for Amtrak passengers, was scheduled to be in operation when Union Station opened.

However, in reviewing the new platform’s design, Amtrak indicated that a waiver of two Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) design requirements would be needed. This waiver relating to the width of the new platform was necessitated by the unique configuration of the existing Union Station tracks. The SRA submitted the waiver request on March 10, 2016.

After discussions between FRA and MassDOT, FRA issued a letter on May 23, 2016, requiring full compliance with its design regulations. This FRA decision requires major modifications to the initial design of both the platform and the underground passenger tunnel. Accordingly, the project’s architect has been directed to prepare necessary changes to the project’s plans and specifications. The project team is currently working to finalize a revised schedule and budget.

Moskal indicated that MassDOT remains committed to funding related design and construction costs.

In the interim, he indicated that Amtrak passengers will access trains from the new terminal by passing through the renovated portion of the tunnel into the current Amtrak lobby and using the existing boarding platform on the Lyman Street side as they do today.

After the new boarding platform is completed, the Lyman Street end of the tunnel — the current Amtrak lobby — will be renovated and will reopen. This will result in a fully renovated passenger tunnel between the terminal and Lyman Street.

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