Buffalo Considers Expansion of MetroRail

Buffalo’s Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority is considering two proposals for future development that would add a new passenger stop at the former Lackawanna terminal downtown, according to a report in the Buffalo News. Opened in 1917 by the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, the headhouse was demolished in 1979, while the two-level trainshed was retained by NFTA to use as storage and a maintenance base for its light rail line which opened in 1984. The downtown waterfront area is seeing an explosion of redevelopment, and NFTA is looking for ways to better serve downtown visitors.

The first proposal would build a station along South Park Avenue, the second would build a station on the Buffalo River side. The streetside option would “eat up” available real estate, while the riverside option would potentially take away space from the trainshed. Both options would include a proposal to develop the unused second level, which still contains platforms and trackbeds, though the connecting ramps leading up to them were demolished more than 30 years ago. Connecting the new passenger stop to the nearby arena would also be a major component. NFTA also expressed an interest in extending rail service south along existing railbeds to serve a proposed new Buffalo Bills football stadium.

While no specific proposal has been discussed or funded, NFTA officials will hold hearings to make a final recommendation. Once a plan has been selected, development partners and funding options will be identified.

—Passenger Train Journal

This article was posted on: December 22, 2015