One of the city’s most unremarkable buildings has been demolished. The Exchange Street Amtrak station (BFX) is now just a memory, or bad dream in this case. Work crews demolished the building swiftly, finally putting it out of its misery. The lone Lilliputian structure was, for far too long, Buffalo’s only urban Amtrak station and considered an embarrassment to the city.
For a hot minute, it looked as if the closure of this station would mean that Buffalo would see a glorious new station built at Canalside, or even better, The Central Terminal, but for reasons still unknown, it was decided that Exchange Street would ultimately be the chosen location for a new $27.7 million depot.
Although far removed from any meaningful downtown destinations, including the Metro Rail, once built, there will be a covered pedestrian walkway underneath the I-90 that will lead people away from the remote station, which will be great in the wintertime – thank God we finally got Uber!
In the meantime, a temporary station has been constructed to accommodate Amtrak passengers, which looks to be a slight improvement over the last station. Fortunately for the decision makers on this project, the bar has been set so low at this site in the past, that anything built is going to be lauded. It’s just too bad that we didn’t shoot for the moon on this project, which is what everyone was hoping for.
The ultimate hope would be that as Buffalo continues to rebound, there will one day be a need for another station in years to come… a Central Terminal perhaps?
For the lowdown on how all of this came to pass, here’s a fascinating take on the development.