Train Station Still There: Expansive, Expensive and Empty

In Niagara Falls

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This is the first thing you see upon walking in the front door, “Slavery is the next thing to hell,” and an uplifting message it is.

We periodically do a feature on the Niagara Falls International Railway Station and Intermodal Transportation Center because some folks still think it’s an asset to the city.

Problem is, the old train station served the city perfectly well. There was no need to build a $44 million replacement for that very serviceable facility, through which an average of less than a hundred passengers passed each day.

$44 million is approximately half of the budget of the city of Niagara Falls.

According to their guidelines, all that Amtrak would require for a train station here is a simple shelter. Instead, the city got a palace for which we are on the hook for heating and maintenance in perpetuity. Mayor Dyster’s budget line for the train station for 2017 was $380,486, with an anticipated payment of $173,000 being Amtrak’s share.

Wendel Companies, which was the major contractor for the Niagara Falls Train Station, made millions off the project.

Train ridership has steadily decreased over the years, and with the advent of electric, driverless cars, someday in the not-too-distant future, this facility will probably be converted into a homeless shelter or soup kitchen, something that, alas, is always in demand here.

The Discover Niagara shuttle picks up one person, who was walking down the street. Probably she wanted to flee the area before getting mugged or worse.

 

Empty ticket booth at 9:30 am on a Wednesday morning.

 

After a couple of minutes, someone emerged.

 

When was the last time you saw a payphone anywhere?

 

Near empty parking lot at 9:30 am on a weekday during the height of the tourist season.

 

The sheet of paper scotch-taped to the wall instructs you to take a selfie photo next to the barrel in which Annie Edson Taylor went over the falls.

 

Plenty of room to manspread here at the Niagara Falls International Train Station.

 

Nobody milling around the outside, around the front door, or sitting on non-existent benches. Then again, no benches = no loitering.

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