NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) – In a few months, passengers won’t use the railroad station on Lockport Road in Niagara Falls.
They’ll use the Niagara Falls International Railway Station and Transportation Center on Main Street. It will connect passengers from New York City to Toronto.
“It’s going to take all of these tens of thousands of tourists who have been getting off the train and freight yard on the outskirts of the city and put them right on the look of the Niagara River Gorge,” Mayor Paul Dyster of Niagara Falls said.
Crews are currently putting the finishing touches on the railway station. It will be occupied by Amtrack and the Department of Homeland Security will have an office to handle customs. There will also be an Underground Railroad Interpretive Site. Dyster said in the 1850’s Harriet Tubman used that site as a location to help slaves escape the South and find freedom in Canada.
“A historic site where there’s an Underground Railroad Interpretive Center. So your first visit to Niagara Falls you don’t even have to leave the train station,” he said.
According to the city’s senior planner, Thomas DeSantis, the three-phase, $43 million project, is about 80 percent complete. Construction is expected to be finished in June.
Once it opens, city officials expect ridership to increase. “We’re in a good place I think strategically to benefit and increase the number of visitors coming to Niagara Falls,” Dyster said.
When it opens, Amtrack will cover 50 percent of the railway’s expenses, the rest will be covered by the city. The mayor hopes restaurants or retailers set up shop to help offset the costs.
“Now we’re going to have a brand new state of the art facility that we can all be proud of,” said Dyster.