Station News Written by Everett Stuart of North Kingstown Rhode Island
Historic Station Reopens!
With much excitement, Amtrak ticket agents and customers have just returned to the historic Kingston Station. Although there is still some interior work yet to be completed, the carpenters, painters and other tradesmen had things far enough along by Feb. 3rd for rail passenger operations to move in. Now there is electrifying excitement in the air as station visitors enter the beloved old building and examine the faithful restoration work.
For many months our members have been observing progress on the new parking lot and exterior station renovations. We have anxiously waited for the public to be able to see the inside work. Upon entering we see the walls are painted an attractive yellow with the original dark stained wainscot paneling on the lower six feet. New maple flooring has been installed in the north waiting room. The restrooms have been completely redone and feature a pleasing combination of mostly green floor tiles. All woodwork has been attractively refinished, including the original benches, which the Friends had redone. All new utility systems - sprinklers, heating/air conditioning, fire alarm, electrical and plumbing - are in place. Interior work remaining to be done includes installation of the chandeliers and completion of the expanded ticket office in the south waiting room. Visitors to the reopened station are very impressed with the work. If you have not visited the station lately, please make it a point to stop by and look it over - inside and out!
You are invited to the Friends of Kingston Station Annual Meeting
Our Annual Meeting will be held at 7:30 PM, Tuesday, March 3rd in the station. Please join us as we review the activities of the past year and plan for the future. We would like to hear from you, our members, about your concerns and expectations. The Board of Directors have several projects outlined for the next year, or so, and we want your suggestions. The Board of Directors is elected by the members at the Annual Meeting. If you are interested in being nominated to serve on the Board of Directors, please phone Chairman David Whelan at 783-4430 or Everett Stuart at 295-1311. (If you are unable to attend the Annual Meeting and have suggestions and comments, please mail them to us.) We look forward to seeing you at the Annual Meeting!
Friends of Kingston Station 1997 Board of Directors: David Whelan - Chairman; Jack McCabe - Secretary; Steve Musen - Treasurer; Frank Heppner; Bernadette De Ascentis; Martha McCabe; Craig Stedman; Stewart Schnieder; and Everett Stuart.
E-mail Friends of Kingston Station at: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit our web site: http://trainweb.com/kin
The Friends' Board of Directors is busy planning for a number of projects and issues:
On the front burner is the grand opening celebration that is scheduled for May 31st The Friends are coordinating this event - working with Amtrak, RIDOT, politicians, local organizations and others. By May the station's finishing touches should be completed, including landscaping. We hope to have a fun event for everyone with entertainers and educational dispalays. There may even be a special train visit to the station! If you would like to help, or desire a booth to display your wares at this big event, contact Martha McCabe at 789-5374 (or e-mail her at: email@example.com).
Of particular concern to the Board is the future maintenance of the station and its grounds. We intend to work cooperatively with RIDOT and Amtrak to assure that the station is kept in an attractive condition. We want a station that all Rhode Islanders will be proud to have as a gateway to the state.
Construction will begin in a few weeks on the bikeway that is to run along the old Narragansett Pier Railroad right of way. The Friends have approached RIDOT about salvaging the rails that are to be removed as part of the bikeway project. The Friends intend to clean out the old turntable pit that is located south of the station's parking lot and establish a historical exhibit. The turntable pit was partially filled by the railroad in the 1950's and is located within a few feet of the new bikeway. We hope to install the salvaged rails on the south side of the pit as part of the exhibit. Users of the bikeway will be able to read signs telling of the local short line railroad that played a major role in the history of Peacedale, Wakefield and the Pier.
Board member Martha McCabe is preparing a history of the station and its surroundings. She has established an archive and will be coordinating a historical display in the station.
Another project the Friends hope to act on is the relocation and renovation of the former switching tower. The tower, which now sits on the north side of Rt. 138, would be relocated to the site between the new bus loop and the tracks. This would have the tower and the station close to one another and have the tower nearer the tracks, more in keeping with its historical purpose. This project will be a major undertaking for our organization - requiring substantial volunteer time and fund raising.
If you are interested in helping with any of these projects, or know someone who is, please let us know. Attend the Annual Meeting, write to us, or call Dave Whelan or Everett Stuart. We are anxious to hear from you.
Historic baggage wagon refurbished
Board members Dave Whelan and Craig Stedman spearheaded the project of restoring the former Narragansett Pier Railroad baggage wagon that was donated to the Friends. With the help of a local steel working shop, they bebuilt the wagon, complete with a new wooden deck and attractive paint job. The friends hope to have the wagon on display in the station soon. A special "Thank You" to Arnold Lumber Company of West Kingston for assisting the Friends by storing both the baggage wagon and the station benches for many months.