A BRO reader has sent along a rail proposal that he feels would benefit all of Buffalo, not just Canalside (where he believes local politicians have been planning to position the Amtrak station the entire time). The reader is intimately familiar with the Central Terminal and feels that Buffalo is about to miss out on a grand opportunity.
As a private citizen with no standing in the community I have been trying to bring attention to an idea that I believe addresses all the issues on the table while also giving a tremendous boost to local tourism.
The gentleman that I am referring to has brought up the idea of bringing a Budd Car Service back to Buffalo. Budd Cars are self contained automotive train cars that were in service up until the 50s. These cars look like train passenger cars, but are self sufficient in getting around the city. If The Central Terminal was chosen as the preferred location for the new Amtrak Station, then the Budd Cars could be disseminated to various locations, including Canalside and Larkinville, with minimal expense.
Picture this: A train from Toronto heads to Niagara Falls, where passengers would then connect at the new Amtrak Station, before heading to Buffalo (The Central Terminal). Once at the terminal, the Budd Car Service would be full operational, taking passengers in myriad directions, to their final destinations.
There are a number of advantages to bringing back the vintage Budd Cars. First, they are cheap and readily available, according to the BRO reader, who is a huge rail enthusiast. Next, the cars can use existing rail, and there is no need for the overhead electric wires that trolleys require. Then, due to the size of the self contained car (60′ to 70′ long), huge costs are eliminated because the destination platforms can be much, much smaller. The cars could run on a frequent schedule, ensuring that there would be few waits.
There is no question that the Central Terminal should be the location. Using existing rail and adding siding to alleviate congestion near the International Bridge would provide the cheapest and quickest way to connect Buffalo to the millions that visit the Falls every year. Vintage Budd Cars (self propelled passenger cars) run on a regular schedule would open up those visitors to all that Buffalo has to offer. In this scenario all trains would stop at the Central Terminal and the NFTA Budd cars would now connect to a smaller more practical stop Downtown. If you add the fact that Ontario is studying bringing the Go Trains to Niagara Falls in Canada I believe this proposal would be a tremendous boost to all of Western NY.
According to the BRO reader, rail fans would go nuts for the concept, and it would add another tourism dimension to the city. He said that Buffalo desperately needs a rail champion that understands all of the moving pieces, not just politicians that tend to throw darts without thinking about the longterm vision and requirements of a growing city.
Lead image: Vintage Budd Car – Wikipedia