Union Station is one of Worcester's most historic and architecturally significant buildings. Once referred to as a "Poem in Stone," its iconic towers greet travelers from the East and welcome visitors to Worcester's re-emerging Downtown. As the location of the region's premier intermodal transportation center, Union Station boasts multiple options for travel including high speed rail, commuter rail, inter-and intra- city bus services and taxi services as well as a parking garage. Currently Union Station tenants include: Amtrak, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and Peter Pan/Greyhound Bus Lines. The WRTA (Worcester Regional Transit Authority) Central Hub is located next door to Union Station as well.
Union Station is undergoing improvements to the platform, track and its accessibility to patrons. The upgrades will improve accessibility and safety, increase station capacity, enable two trains at the station at the same time, improve operations and schedules and provide flexibility for future expansion. In addition, at the existing commuter rail parking lot, there will be new elevators, stairways and pedestrian bridges. A new accessible walkway will connect the parking lot and station building. The platform project itself is estimated at $45 million and the MBTA is also making additional investments in related track improvements.
The WRA has been working with the Worcester Regional Food Hub to relocate the physical operations of the Food Hub to Union Station. The ground-level space is approximately 5,000 square feet and has a loading dock. The two primary components of the Food Hub's operations are a shared kitchen incubator and local food aggregation/distribution. The kitchen incubator has been an important asset to remove barriers for aspiring food entrepreneurs and the new space will grow the number of kitchens for both existing and new members. Many of the kitchen members have been minority, immigrant and lower-income entrepreneurs.
The Food Hub also aggregates local produce supporting regional farms and distributes to institutional buyers like the Worcester Public Schools, UMass and others. This aggregation system enables smaller farms to meet the volume required of institutional buyers and also helps get fresh local produce into important customer channels like the Worcester Public Schools. The Food Hub also works with the Regional Environmental Council and other food security organizations. The City of Worcester has allocated $1 million of ARPA funds towards the estimated $3 million project. The goal is to move the project into construction in 2022.