Richmond Main Street Station in 2008
|Location||1500 East Main Street
|Owned by||City of Richmond|
|Platforms||1 side platform|
|Passengers (FY2015)||45,062 annually 10.35%|
Main Street Station and Trainshed
Richmond Main Street Station in 1971
|Location||Richmond, Virginia, USA|
|Architect||Wilson, Harris, & Richards|
|Architectural style||Beaux Arts, Other|
|NRHP reference #||70000867|
|Added to NRHP||October 15, 1970|
|Designated NHL||December 8, 1976|
|Designated VLR||July 7, 1970|
Richmond Main Street Station, officially the Main Street Station and Trainshed, is a historic railroad station and office building in Richmond, Virginia. Originally built in 1901, it is currently served by Amtrak, and is planned in the future to become the northern terminus of the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor as well as an intermodal station with Richmond's city transit bus services, currently performed by Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC). With uppermost sections located adjacent to the James River Bridge of Interstate 95, it is colloquially known by locals as The Clock Tower. It is a U.S. National Historic Landmark.
Starting in 2018, the station will be a stop along the GRTC Pulse bus rapid transit line.
Richmond's Main Street Station in the downtown area was built in 1901 by the Seaboard Air Line Railroad (SAL) and the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O). Seaboard had newly introduced service to Richmond, and C&O had consolidated the former Virginia Central Railroad and the Richmond and Allegheny Railroad, which had previously maintained separate stations.
The ornate Main Street Station was designed by the Philadelphia firm of Wilson, Harris, and Richards in the Second Renaissance Revival style. In the 1950s, Seaboard shifted its Richmond passenger service to Broad Street Station (now the Science Museum of Virginia), but C&O maintained offices in the upper floors, and its passenger service continued at Main Street Station until Amtrak took over in 1971. In 1970, Main Street Station and its trainshed, one of the last surviving trainsheds of its type in the nation, were added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 1976 it was designated a National Historic Landmark.
In 1972, Hurricane Agnes caused the James River to flood the station. The damage was so severe that Amtrak moved its Richmond stops to Richmond Staples Mill Road, a much smaller suburban station in Henrico County, in 1975. To make matters worse, the station was damaged by fires in 1976 and 1983. Rail service did not return to Main Street Station until 2003, when it was renovated and returned to service on December 18.
As of summer 2017, the station is served by two daily Northeast Regional trains (one terminating at Norfolk and the other terminating at Newport News), with a third southbound service to Newport News on Fridays. Northbound trains provide direct service to Union Station in Washington, Pennsylvania Station in New York, and South Station in Boston, among other stops.
Local officials hope to increase the number of trains by extending some service which currently terminates at the suburban Henrico County station, Richmond Staples Mill Road. More importantly, Main Street Station is located on the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor (SEHSR), a passenger rail transportation project planned to connect with the existing high speed rail corridor from Boston, Massachusetts to Washington, D.C., known as the Northeast Corridor (served by Amtrak's Acela Express and Northeast Regional services and many commuter railroads) and extend similar high speed passenger rail services south through Richmond and Petersburg in Virginia through Raleigh and Charlotte in North Carolina. Since first established in 1992, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has since extended the corridor to Atlanta and Macon, Georgia; Columbia, South Carolina; Jacksonville, Florida; and Birmingham, Alabama.
Most funding for the SEHSR to date has been by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the states of North Carolina and Virginia. Both states already fund some non-high speed rail service operated by Amtrak on their behalf and own locomotives and passenger cars. The first large section of the SEHSR, from Washington, D.C. through Virginia and North Carolina south to Charlotte, is planned to be in service by 2020 depending on funding availability.
In 2018, the station will be a stop on the GRTC Bus Rapid Transit's Broad and Main Street Line.
There are also plans for Main Street Station to become an intermodal station with Richmond's city bus services operated by GRTC, a public service company owned jointly by the City of Richmond and Chesterfield County.
The Main Street Station appears as the exterior of the Mommy Market in the 1994 film Trading Mom. It also served as a backdrop for a 2004 episode of the TV series Alias, posing as the British Embassy in Vienna.
Media related to Richmond Main Street Station at Wikimedia Commons