America's Rail Station Renaissance

The latter half of the twentieth century saw the slow decline of train travel and the deterioration of America's grand railroad stations. Amid growing rail readership, the country is embarking on a new era of station construction.

1 minute read

July 24, 2013, 5:00 AM PDT

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


"Today, with train travel regaining ­popularity—Amtrak ridership has jumped 49 percent since 2000—and high-speed passenger rail projects or improvements under construction in California, Michigan, and the Northeast Corridor, another era of railroad station construction is dawning," writes Jeffrey Spivak. "This time, nearly every station project includes intercity train service, and most incorporate other forms of transit, too. In this era, then, train service is returning to some stations that had abandoned it, and rail hubs once again are seen as magnets for real estate activity and opportunity.

"What we’re seeing now is a real resurrection of train transportation in the United States," says Rod Diridon Sr., executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute, a public policy research center in San Jose, California. "We’re going to see a wholesale return of integrated rail transportation and the return of the station as the iconic focal point in downtowns."

Spivak surveys the variety of rail station renovation, new construction, and planning projects underway across the United States.

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