Renovate Depew station, build new one downtown
If we take increasing Amtrak ridership as the most important consideration in selecting the location of Buffalo’s new train station, it becomes apparent that we need to build a new station downtown and refurbish the station in Depew.
A new downtown station would make Buffalo an attractive rail destination, increasing its Amtrak ridership from the east as well as from Niagara Falls and Toronto. A beautiful station near the foot of Main Street would also encourage Buffalo residents to try the train. While we want Amtrak riders to use public transit to get to and from a downtown station, many will come by car out of necessity or convenience – and they should be accommodated with ample low or no-cost parking. The easier it is to ride the train, the more people will.
The Depew station is dated, though functional. Significantly, it is well placed and convenient for suburban Amtrak riders. Plus, it provides access to trains going west as well as east. Moreover, it has safe, free, long-term parking – a big plus – which should be expanded.
I am a rail enthusiast and the Central Terminal tugs at my heartstrings. It’s undeniably a historical landmark whose wonderful concourse is filled with memories of Buffalo’s remarkable railroad past. I hope the terminal is saved and repurposed through another means. It’s just not in the right place to boost Amtrak ridership and serve Buffalo’s contemporary rail needs.