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does buffalo need a new union station

A Few Pictures, and a Few Remarks, Showing the Present Conditions Prevailing in Buffalo, Also the Work Being Done to Better the Aggravated State of Affairs.
Reprinted from the Buffalo Times, February 1, 1903.

That there is a vital need in Buffalo for a new and modern union station no one will dispute. That Buffalo is entitled to such a station because of her size and commercial importance and because of the great future that lies before her is a fact that none will gainsay. That the station should be built at once is somethings that every Buffalonian is agreed upon.

A Times man yesturday talked with a couple of the members of the Union Station Commission and asked them is there was anythings new in the Union Station project; if there were any new ideas or sites that were lieky to be taken up. On the quest ion of new ideas and new sites there was a negative answer in each case. The commissioners said that at the next meeting betwen them and the railroad men, which is to be held in this city, the Hamburg site will be discussed and that that site wi ll continue to be discussed until it is finally disposed of in on way or another.

Asked as to what they thought of President Newman's suggestion that the union station should be located on the East Side, east of Fillmore Avenue and south of William Street, they said they were were not at liberty to discuss matters which had been dis cussed in the secret conference, though it can be stated on high authority that not one of the commissioners is actually in favor of the station being located in that part of the city. (??!!)

The commission is practically a unit on the Hamburg site, and it would be useless to approach the railroads if it were divided on the proposition as to where the station should be located.

So, the Hamburg site still holds the boards. Its disposition will depend entirely upon the result of the conference to be held later on between the Union Station Commision and the railroad men. One of the purposes of this coming meeting is to discuss t he Hamburg site and it is the hope of the commission that it will be able to convince the railroads that those "operating and engineering difficulties" which have been mentioned are more or less mythical.

It is known that the New York Central once had plans drawn for a union station on the Hanburg site, and it is now asked why the railroad finds it inadequate at this stage of the proceeding, long after the plans have been drawn and shown to the men who are interested in the project.

Buffalo has four railroad stations, the Central on Exchange Street, the Erie on the same thououghfare, the Lehigh Valley at the corner of Washington and Scott Streets, and the Lackawanna at the foot of Main Street. The Central is the largest of the fou r. Out of it run the trains of the Central, the West Shore, the Lake Shore, the Pennsylvania, the Michigan Central, and other railroads.

Out of the Erie station run the trains of the Nickel Plate, the Buffalo & Southwestern and other lines. Out of the Lehigh station run the trains of the Lehigh and the Grand Trunk. Out of the Lackawanna station run the trains of the Lackawanna.

The Present Stations
As stated before, the Central station is the largest of the four. Its passenger room is large, compared to the others, yet it is not large enough. Time and again it is filled and it is impossible for passengers to get seats. The same situation exists sometimes in the other stations, but that's likely to happen in the biggest and best station in the country, when traffic is unusually heavy.

The chief disadvantage in having four different stations is the transferring of passengers. Persons will travel over one section of the country to continue their journey on another line, and that sometimes entails a march to another station, some block s away. If there were a union station, with all the railroads under one roof, that would be obviated.

None of Buffalo's four railroad stations has very attractive surroundings. To the south of the Central station is the Hamburg Canal, filled up and stench gone, to be sure, but yet a sight that makes the true Buffalonian blush. On the north side of the Lehigh Valley station is the same old Hamburg Canal. On the north side of Exchange Street, opposite the Erie station, is a freight yard, while the Lackawanna station is really in a freight yard.

All these things, while not counting one iota against the railroads, make the need of a new union station apparent and everyone believes that the union station should be put up on the best possible site. The Hamburg site, as stated before, is favored by the Union Station Commission.

Newman's Proposition
As told in THE TIMES a day or two ago, President Newman of the New York Central decalred at the recent conference in New York that he thought the new union station should be located east of Fillmore Avenue and south of William Street. At a fi rst glance such a location might seem to be far out of the way, yet when it it gien deep consideration, it is found that the location would not be such a bad one after all.

The Grand Central Station in New York is not by any means in the heart of the city. Starting at No. 1 Broadway, one has to travel many blocks to reach it. The same is true of the station in Boston, the biggest and best railroad depot there being far re moved from the business center of the city. If Buffalo's union station were built , say near the corner of Fillmore Avenue and Broadway, it would make, in some ways, an ideal site. Broadway is a wide street.

The run from Fillmore Avenue to Main Street is made in a few minutes, so that no argument can be brought against it on the ground that too much time would be required to go to and from the station.

History of the Movement.
The union station project in Buffalo, while we hear more about it than we ever did before, is by no means new. It has been discussed for many years. At different times different commissions have taken hold of the matter and things began to look as if Buffalo surely would have the much-needed union station in a very short time.

Then the thing would be forgotten for a while and then brought up again, only to be allowed to take another slumber. Now, however, it has been awakened for keeps. Every citizen is alive to the interest of the city. Every citizen knows that a union stat ion is needed. Every citizen is willing to do what he can do to make the union station a reality, and even if it does appear today that a union station for Buffalo is yet afar off, perhaps tomorrow something may develop that will bring it much nearer.

It is significant that, no matter how far back a union station was discussed, the site that came first into the minds of everyone was that bounded by Michigan, Washington and Scott streets, which is the Hamburg site, and no one will be surprised if, af ter negotiations, that is the site finally decided upon.

The Buffalo Union Station Commission is going to keep everlasting at it until a station is assured.

Editors note!
It seems unusual for us to look back and see this topic discussed in a newspaper. You have to remember that the railroads were Buffalo's lifeline and since passenger trains were truly the only way to get around the country, railroad depots were very important places. It's funny to read how they considered the Fillmore and William location a dead issue when in fact that is where they built Central Terminal. The area of the Hamburg site is roughly across the street from the old Exchange Street Station. Today, the area where the depot would have been built is used by the new Marine Midland arena.