Michael E. Traynor
Chief Development Officer
Location: 2 Washington Square - Map It!
Date Completed: 1911.
Date Renovated: July 2000.
Building Size: 75,358 square feet.
Services Provided: Rail service, bus service, taxi service, hall rentals and free Wi-Fi access.
Union Station, one of the Commonwealth's most beautiful structures, underwent a magnificent restoration in 1998-1999. Today it serves as an inter-modal hub, hosting Amtrak, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority commuter rail service to Boston, taxi service, as well as both intra- and inter-City bus services and free Wi-Fi access.
The development of Union Station and the Washington Square area is a major initiative of the City Administration. See for yourself how today's Union Station is most devinitely Not Your Grandfather's Union Station! (01:49)
The $32 million dollar renovation of the building has created arguably the City's most beautiful building, which has attracted a diverse mix of tenants. These include:
Known as "the Beautiful Portal to the Heart of the Commonwealth," Union Station has served Worcester residents as well as visitors to the area as a transportation hub and a defining landmark for the City. Railroads were first introduced to New England over 175 years ago. In 1835, the first trains arrived in Worcester, marking the beginning of an industrial and innovative era. The Boston & Worcester carried passengers to Boston, a trip that took 3 ¼ hours and cost $1.50.
Several small depots were built around the city, the largest being the original Union Station at Washington Square, completed in 1875. Union Station was distinguished by a 200-foot Norman-style clock tower and two granite lions guarding the entrance to the train shed. After the start of the train service in the area, Union Station became a bustling transportation hub with more than 10,000 passengers traveling through Worcester on a daily basis. This resulted in dangerous at-grade crossings both on the roads and on the trolley tracks.
A new $750,000 French Renaissance-style Union Station, located at Washington Square, opened its doors in 1911, servicing 140 trains and well over 10,000 passengers daily. Twin towers, each 175 feet high, anchored the building on both sides of the grand entrance. The lions that originally guarded the train shed entrance were moved to East Park on Shrewsbury Street (renamed Christoforo Colombo Park). Inside the grand structure, the interior featured marble and terra cotta finishes, stained-glass ceilings and solid birch benches.
In 1926, the vibrations from the increasing rail traffic caused the towers to crumble and they were dismantled. The last trolley passed by the station in 1945, the Massachusetts Turnpike caused a decrease in train travel through the 1960s, and the station closed in 1972, leaving little hope for potential reuse of the magnificent structure. The Worcester Redevelopment Authority acquired the building in 1995, commencing a $32 million restoration project, re-opening its doors to the people of Worcester in July 2000.
In July 2008, a new 500-space parking garage was completed behind Union Station, giving commuters and visitors a convenient means of parking directly next to this transportation hub. The overall structure and design of the garage is the perfect complement to the historical architecture of this beautifully restored building. General questions about parking within the City should be referred to the DPW&P Customer Service center by calling (508) 929-1300. Complaints regarding incidents within the garage, specific questions about rates charged or hours of operations can be directed to our garage managers by calling (508) 799-1535.