South Station Tower | South Station Air Rights | Downtown

KriterionBOS

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A couple weeks ago, I took a train out of South Station for the first time since the construction got going. The interior of the station seems so much darker now. It definitely started to give me a Penn Station vibe.
Come to think of it...Penn Station is quite dark - considerably more so than Grand Central Terminal. It fits perfectly with NYC's grimy reputation haha.
 

HenryAlan

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I took a train to South Station last week for the first time in a few years. I was expecting proto-NYP, but was pleasantly surprised by a few things. First, the beam height above the platforms is really quite high, so I think the walk along the platforms will actually seem more open than now, given the low height of the canopies. Second, the concourse extension at the end of the platforms, that will be under the high vaulted ceiling, is significant. I suspect the end result will be quite open and airy, and aesthetically pleasing.
 

Vagabond

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I took a train to South Station last week for the first time in a few years. I was expecting proto-NYP, but was pleasantly surprised by a few things. First, the beam height above the platforms is really quite high, so I think the walk along the platforms will actually seem more open than now, given the low height of the canopies. Second, the concourse extension at the end of the platforms, that will be under the high vaulted ceiling, is significant. I suspect the end result will be quite open and airy, and aesthetically pleasing.
And hopefully not as blustery in the winter. Let's be honest, nobody is waiting on South Station platforms for the view inside the station... You're running to a train, or rushing to get out of the crowd.

Edit: The waiting area will remain customer-centric, and the new archways will add to the allure. The platforms? I'm happy they are now out of the elements.
 
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Lrfox

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And hopefully not as blustery in the winter. Let's be honest, nobody is waiting at South Station for the view inside the station... You're running to a train, or rushing to get out of the crowd.
It's never going to be the destination that Washington Union, Kansas City Union, or Grand Central, but it's Boston's premier railroad station and not everyone is sprinting to catch a train (try getting a seat around rush hour). Like any transit hub, it's important to have facilities for the people who are spending significant chunks of time waiting for their trains. South Station has a lovely exterior and some good bones. Making the concourse a bit less claustrophobic, increasing the amount of light coming in, and improving seating and dining options will go a long way toward improving the experience. Taking advantage of the historic structure to improve the visual appearance adds even more to the experience. Boston deserves a better gateway.
 

Stlin

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I was down there 2 weeks ago, and *no one was using it.* Even the friend I was with didn't want to go to the new side, so we ended up waiting in the MSG side. I did make a trip over though, and the old penn side was noticably busier, even if moynihan was much nicer. I don't know if it's just inertia, but it was very disappointing, though I suspect that old penn was mostly lirr/njt passengers.

That said, the fact it isn't connected on the mezzanine level is... A definite miss. The easy way to get between the old penn and Moynihan is to walk outside and across 8th, or down to a platform and up the other side, where you might pop out in the NJT waiting rooms. The lower level concourse path is still a confusing mess with terrible signage. (The signage to Moynihan points out up to 8th). The Amtrak waiting area in Penn isn't bad, per se, just not as nice as the Farley. I personally think Amtrak should give over that space to NJT, and stick to Moynihan.

But I don't think South will be anywhere close to becoming Penn; even with the new tower, the ceiling height is way higher than the canopies, and you're not waiting on the platforms anyways. The headhouse is more than fine, though I do think it's been over crowded by retail and needs more seating. I wouldn't be surprised if the open at the sides arches eventually get closed in for additional concourse space.
 
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vanshnookenraggen

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In defense of Moynihan almost none of the retail is open. People have complained that it feels empty and it is. But once things are open in the station it will have much more life. It is, unfortunately, redundant and further away from the CBD than Penn is. I'm glad to have it but it was definitely dreamed up in an older age.
 

Czervik.Construction

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I was in Moynihan Train Hall last week and was blown away. It is amazing - to retrofit a post office warehouse and turn it into a dramatic train hall. The main hall with the soaring open ceiling and skylights was a wonderful homage to the old Penn and the floor with the sleek staircases that disappear underground to the tracks was fantastic. Very accessible - as someone with a wheelchair bound relative, this was very well done. I will post some pics soon.
 

Czervik.Construction

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Here are my Moynihan Train Hall shots from a few weeks ago. When the light streams through, it is amazing. Although it is not super busy yet, the volume has been picking back up. The execution here is top notch. Lots of high ceilings in hallways, high quality finishes and lots of stone and metal. A good balance between past, present and future.







In another wing of the station, more skylights.


The ceiling in a random entryway along 31st street.
 
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vanshnookenraggen

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The lack of seating is annoying
There are two ticketed waiting rooms. The stores, which will have seating too, aren't open yet.
There are no random benches for fear of the homeless crackheads which live across the street.

The random seating issue isn't really an issue. It's something people online like to complain about. Honestly, it's a train hall. If I'm going somewhere and I'm early I can still sit in either of the waiting rooms. I think people just like to complain about things.
 

LtKije

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The random seating issue isn't really an issue. It's something people online like to complain about. Honestly, it's a train hall. If I'm going somewhere and I'm early I can still sit in either of the waiting rooms. I think people just like to complain about things.
I was just there for the first time on Sunday, and the lack of seating is a real issue, especially with covid and people trying to leave a little space between themselves and strangers. I was able to find a perch, but nearly all the seats were taken and many other people were forced to stand. Very unpleasant if you have luggage and particularly if traveling with kids. And lest you say “well it’s a train hall, you’re just passing through,” my train was delayed 45 minutes, and knowing Amtrak it could have been much longer.
 

HelloBostonHi

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We're well off topic from SS here but not having seating in the main waiting area in a train station isn't that abnormal, ever been to London Kings Cross? Once passenger traffic is back to normal it'll be full of people, the last thing you want is a bunch of benches in the middle, a main train hall is for short waiting, checking times, buying food, etc. Waiting rooms are for waiting. It just looks bad because traffic is down so much and shops are closed, same at KGX right now...

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So back to South Station...
 

LtKije

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I’d say the key differences with King’s Cross are that 1. Amtrak is often wildly delayed necessitating more seating for people stuck there for an hour plus, and 2. Amtrak doesn’t let you proceed directly to the track (King’s Cross is a terminal so presumably you can simply board your train if you get there early and it’s sitting at the platform). There is ample seating at nearby St. Pancras for the trains to France. Anyway, to keep things on topic, here are some pics of South Station I took last week. It’s coming along!
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Bos77

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I’d say the key differences with King’s Cross are that 1. Amtrak is often wildly delayed necessitating more seating for people stuck there for an hour plus, and 2. Amtrak doesn’t let you proceed directly to the track (King’s Cross is a terminal so presumably you can simply board your train if you get there early and it’s sitting at the platform). There is ample seating at nearby St. Pancras for the trains to France. Anyway, to keep things on topic, here are some pics of South Station I took last week. It’s coming along!
You can't just jump on a train at any London station and wait. They're all gate controlled, and give you ~10 min or less to board. The trains come and go very quickly, the downtime of trains at peak times is nil. The frequency of trains means you're usually not waiting very long for the next, so you just show up when you show up. St. Pancras is more shopping mall and hotel than station, despite the Eurostar trains. Waiting areas are passport controlled and woefully inadequate for the traffic (esp. holidaymakers with bulky luggage).
 

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