Thursday, November 12, 2009

Windsor Station (re-birth) ?? Maybe

Windsor Station maybe revamped & put back to use,as a transportation hub.according to a Gazette article from todays Gazette..........check it out if you like:

Transportation Reporter Historic Windsor Station may be reborn as a major transportation hub, welcoming trains, buses and tramways, The Gazette has learned.

The Agence métropolitaine de transport has presented its $520-million proposal to senior Quebec ministers in recent months and hopes to get the green light for the project by next summer, said AMT chief executive Joël Gauthier.

"We're talking about a brand-new intermodal station," Gauthier said.

"It's the renaissance of Windsor Station. We think this is a tremendously strategic site." The hub would be part of a major redevelopment of the area being planned by real- estate developer Cadillac Fairview, which bought Windsor Station this summer for $86 million. The company also owns a big piece of land at Peel and St. Antoine Sts. now used as a parking lot.

The Cadillac Fairview project is to include a hotel, condominiums and office space.

The new transportation hub - connected via pedestrian tunnel to the Bonaventure and Lucien L'Allier métro stations - would be used by: - Commuter trains now using Lucien L'Allier as their terminus, including the West Island/Dorion/Rigaud line, the AMT's second busiest.

- Buses of the Société de transport de Montréal and South Shore transit agencies.

- Montreal's planned new tramway network, part of which is to run on Peel.

- Amtrak's Montreal-New York City train, if Amtrak decides to move its Adirondack service to CP tracks, a move it has said it is studying.

The AMT is a provincial body that coordinates public transit in the Montreal region and operates commuter trains.

Windsor Station was built between 1887 and 1889 to serve as a station and the head office for CP Rail.

When it was built, it dominated Montreal's skyline, but its main concourse has not been used as a passenger terminal since the mid-1980s.

Dreams of reviving the grand station seemed dashed by 1996 construction of the Bell Centre, which sits between CP tracks and Windsor Station.

But AMT planners have found a way around the obstacle, Gauthier said.

Trains would circumvent the Bell Centre using elevated tracks over St. Antoine. Trains would arrive and leave from platforms in a new building on Peel and St. Antoine, Gauthier said.

Passengers would enter via Windsor Station's la Gauchetière St. entrance, where they would find ticket counters and commercial space, Gauthier said.

To reach train, bus and tramway platforms, passengers would then use an aerial passageway over St. Antoine.

Gauthier said the AMT has been working on the plan for almost a year. The impetus was a request from transit authorities for a downtown bus terminal, he said.

The South Shore bus terminal at 1000 la Gauchetière is overcrowded and there is no room to expand, he said. Meanwhile, the STM has been pushing for a downtown bus terminal. The new hub would be used by both STM and South Shore buses.

Integrating the airport train into the project would have many benefits, he said.

"It could mean that someone from the South Shore could take the bus with his luggage, go to the new intermodal station and connect to the airport shuttle," Gauthier said.

The AMT's plan would be feasible even if authorities opt to use Canadian National tracks and Central Station for the airport shuttle, he said.

But he said the CP tracks might make more sense for the airport shuttle, because growing commuter and Via Rail use of Central Station will make it difficult to put the airport shuttle there.

The AMT and the airport authority are still studying the airport shuttle route. They are to make public their recommendations at the end of this year or early next year.

Gauthier said he has presented the proposal to Transport Minister Julie Boulet and Finance Minister Raymond Bachand, who is also the minister responsible for Montreal, as well as to city of Montreal officials.

"The reception has been very good," Gauthier said. "Especially since they see the economic development potential of the Cadillac Fairview project and of our hub." It's a "tremendous project for the city and for the commuter, and so far the feeling that we get when we make presentations is great." Gauthier said the AMT is "still at the planning stage and we'll need to get the green light from Quebec and the city of Montreal." The Quebec government would pay for the hub, but the city would have to approve the project.

The green light could come as early as next spring or summer, Gauthier said. It would take at least two or three years to build the hub.

To ensure there are "no cost overruns," Gauthier said, the $520-million price tag includes cost contingency and takes inflation into account.

Windsor Station is an iconic Montreal landmark that was saved from the wrecker's ball in the 1970s when CP wanted to raze it to make way for a redevelopment.

"Windsor Station looks like a bank, or even the cloisters of a medieval church," according to the McCord Museum.

"The interior of the station was filled with arches and marble pillars; the effect on the public of this majestic architecture was intentional. In the 19th century the railway was one of the most important civil institutions in Canada." ariga@ - A new train shuttle linking Trudeau airport and downtown Montreal, if authorities choose the route on Canadian Pacific tracks.


The new hub, connected by pedestrian tunnels to Montreal's métro network, would be used by: Commuter trains now using Lucien L'Allier as their terminus, including the Dorion/Rigaud line, the AMT's second busiest.

A new shuttle linking Trudeau airport and downtown Montreal, if authorities choose the route that takes Canadian Pacific tracks.

Buses of the Société de transport de Montréal and South Shore transit agencies.

Montreal's planned new tramway network, part of which is to run on Peel St.

Amtrak's Montreal-New York City Adirondack train, if Amtrak decides to move the service to CP tracks, a move it has said it is studying.


Bob Bisnett said...

This could be interesting. Lots of memories associated with Windsor station. My dad worked there. I worked there for a summer in the 60's. My grandfather was night station master there in the 1920's. But that's so so long ago.


Les F said...

I think your right Bob, this is an interesting idea,and the building certainly was important in the history of Canada not just Montreal,So if it can be used as a transportation hub once again,then that seems to be a good idea..Bob your family has so much history in there as well,do you have any old photos from inside there by chance ? If so it would great to see them. HF&RV

Bob Bisnett said...

I wish I did have some. I may, but if so, they are in a shoe box in a closet. I know......a hell of a way to keep them. I'll have a hunt through them over the next week and see what I have. This is a long overdue personal project that I have to undertake.

In the meantime, do you remember the wonderful Christmas tree that was erected in Windsor Station each year? I also remember my dad telling me about a train that overshot the end of tracks and came partway into the station. Also, the little counter / restaurant in the concourse had what I remember as the best Bran Muffins I ever had..............apologies to anyone here whose mom had the best.

Anyway, I ramble. I'll see if I can find any pictures.


william Cooper said...

Future of trains.

Bob Bisnett said...

Well, I hunted through my boxes of photographs and sadly had none of Windsor Station either the outside or the inside. I guess the lesson there is take pictures, take pictures , take pictures. The things we take for granted later become memories and it sure would be nice to browse through the photos.


Les F said...

I agree Bob ,take pictures x3,....I think you can never take too many pictures...but the trick too is to Remember where we put them (present day not withstanding,with all the hard drives out there) Oh well we'll continue to search,& find old Montreal stuff, around the net. HF&RV

Les F said...

Here's a few quick shots from Windsor Station & the Windsor Hotel ,plus a couple of others,If you want to see more Montreal Photo's checkout the photo section on my page/site, if you like as Ihave shared most of tthe albums here ,but I may have missed a few,if there are any photo albums you want to see here,then let me know.
Also if any of the members (or non members who read these posts,want to see or find anything in particular,then just ask ,and I'm sure someone here will try to find it for you.......and of course feel Free to Participate by posting your own photos too.we appreciate the input ....HF&RV


Bob Bisnett said...

Some memorable shots of inside Windsor Station. And I love the shot of the Christmas Tree. My dad would take me down to see the tree each year. It wasn't always the best tree, but it's part of wonderful memories now.

Thanks Les


Les F said...

Just adding some more old photogrpahs & recounts from newspapers of Windsor Station & things arounf teh area,including to recounts of a train wreck that hapenned at Windsor Station,many years ago.

These shots are public domain shots from the BNQ site ( Mazicotte) albums........Maybe some of you may find these of some interest................Cheers !! HF&RV