New Grand Rapids Amtrak Station on track for Fall 2013

From Fox 17 News

Project leaders with The Rapid held a public meeting Tuesday night at The Rapid Central Station in Grand Rapids to discuss the AMTRAK project. They’re asking the public to give their input on the project, especially riders who use the train service.

“I’m excited to see it happen, the current station is outdated and unsafe during loading,” said Gregg Pullano, a junior at Grand Valley State University who uses the AMTRAK service out of Grand Rapids on a regular basis.
“From here I go to Chicago for a day trip or the weekend, or I’ll connect to other trains. I think it will be nice to have it closer to the Greyhound buses and the downtown scene.”

The Rapid plans to construct a new AMTRAK Passenger Station, and accompanying track improvements, next to the Rapid Central Bus Station off Grandville Avenue. The proposed site is south of The Rapid Central Station and the Wealthy Street overpass. The project includes a new hub and new spur rail from the existing CSX mainline near the corner of Buchanan Avenue and Pleasant Street. The new track would extend north towards The Rapid Central Station, making it one stop shopping for travelers.

The existing station at Wealthy Street and Market is outdated and small with limited parking. The new station would be a modern facility with two engines and on-site storage and maintenance equipment. No more turning around or moving the trains for overnight parking on Ann Street.

“As the train boards, it blocked Wealthy and Market creating back up, another problem was the fact that there was no place to maintain the train at that location,” said Project Manager Mark Fedorowicz who has worked with a team of engineers to fix these problems.

The $4.6 million project already has funding secured.

Last November, The Downtown Development Authority approved $850,000 in funding for design and construction.

The costly part is the relocation of the train tracks. That funding was secured through a federal railroad grant for $3.8 million.

Project leaders expect to break ground on the project in April and complete the project in October of 2013.