Worcester Union Station
Before and After Restoration
A little bit about the Worcester Massachusetts Union Station
The current railroad station is a replacement of the original Union Station built in 1877. This station was opened in 1911 by the Boston & Albany
Railroad. The train station was designed by the Philadelphia architects Watson and Hackle and was modeled after a Roman basilica. The 175 foot tall towers
were removed in 1926 because the vibrations from the passing trains, both passenger and freight, were weakening them. The station was closed in 1972 and
fell into a state of disrepair eventually being boarded up. It was refurbished in 1999. New steel frame towers were added in the restoration to match the
original ones that were removed in 1926.
I took a number of photographs of the inside of the station in 1981 after the station was closed and boarded up. I took photos of the restored station
in March of 2003. In 2003 I tried to shoot photos that matched photos I took in 1981. I was successful in some instances. In other areas the restoration
closed off access to some of the areas I shot in 1981.
click on a photo to enlarge it
Union Station in Worcester, Mass
Old and New side by side
The main hall - the main waiting room. In 1981 the hall was littered with pieces of the ceiling and walls and the benches were still in place nine years after the station was closed.
The ceiling in the back of the station. The glass and much of the material was missing in 1981
Inside the main hall. In 1981 much of the brick walls were bare and the glass was missing from the vaulted windows. The structure of the ticket booth
stands beaten and naked. The clock, missing in 1981, has been put back into place.
Much of the wall behind the booth was bare brick in 1981; the glass in the arch and in the ceiling skylight were all missing. A restored doorway
from the main hall to the arrival and departure area is quite a contrast.
The main waiting room looking toward the side of the station with the NY,NH&H platform. At the end of the hall there is a dining room.
Above is office space that was originally occupied by various railroads.
The hall behind the waiting room. Passengers arriving and departing pass through here to get to the station platforms. The stairway to
the balcony is visible in the recent photo.
The skylight in the main hall. Before restoration the exposed framework was all that was in place, and some of that was missing. When
the station first opened the glass dome was decorated with the state seal. The seal has been replaced and can bee seen at the top of the near dome.
The back hall was the arrival and departure area. A baggage claim room was off of this space. These rooms were originally used as a
smoking room or a cafe or the station master's office??? They are now the ticket windows.
The entrance at the front of the station seen from Washington Square. The names of the railroads that served the station are
engraved in the stone above the arches.
Boston and Albany * New York New Haven and Hartford * Boston and Maine
A lion's dirty face has been scrubbed clean. The pre-restoration photo shows a plant growing on top of the lion's head.
The right side doorway of the front entrance.
Worcester Union Station in 2003 after restoration
A few shots of Worcester Union Station taken in 2003, about four years after the refurbished train station was opened. The platform
on the side of the first photo was used by the New Haven railroad. The station is a very majestic building when illuminated at night.
Worcester Union Station before restoration -- 1981
After entering the station in 1981 there were no obstructions of any kind to stop me from gathering photos. The station's mechanical and structural elements were not
hidden and easy to photograph. The exposed framework was an invitation to access places that would show the sad state of the once majestic station.
The pulleys used by freight and mail elevators were exposed for all to see in the tired station. The signs painted onto posts in
the baggage claim area looked just like they did when the station was closed.
These are the rafters above the main waiting hall. The skylights no longer had glass panes allowing the weather access to the inside
of the station.
A collection of views into the main hall from the second floor office space.
Outside of the station in 1981
We see an ornate decoration, the platform for Boston and Albany(B&A) (the B&A was owned by the New York Central Railroad), the platform for
the New Haven Railroad (NY,NH&H), and the bridge over Front Street for the NY,NH&H rails that ran north to Barber's Crossing.