First Selectman trying to save rail station
By Gregory A. Scibelli - Staff Writer
Windsor Locks - posted Fri., Jun. 3, 2011
Old rails are considered a thing of beauty to many historical enthusiasts. But several efforts, including one by the disbanded Windsor Locks Preservation Association, have gone unrewarded in an effort to help save a long-time rail system and a train station owned by Amtrak in Windsor Locks.
However, recent efforts by Windsor Locks First Selectman Steven Wawruck have caused the effort to pick up steam.
Wawruck is seeking to convince the Department of Transportation to transform a 150-year-old train station into a museum of sorts and preserve it as a historic building. The building would be moved to Main Streetin the downtown area.
He said the building could also be used as a restaurant or for business use, helping to improve the business district in Windsor Locks.
There is a 350-mile stretch of train track between New Haven and Montreal, Canada. President Barack Obama is planning to spend upwards of $8 billion in federal stimulus funds to complete a high-speed rail system all over the country. From those funds, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont will receive around $200 million.
The concept of preserving the building should be a huge relief to members of the WLPA, who recently donated their fundraising efforts to the Connecticut Trolley Museum after they were unable to reach a deal with Amtrak and gain support to work on the project with the Windsor Locks Board of Selectmen.
Co-Founder Barbara Schley said when the group disbanded, she hoped the Board of Selectmen would continue to pursue the project because the area is running out of historic buildings.
“This is something that we should be saving,” said Schley. “It was an important part of our culture.”
At this time, there are no plans to put a train station in Windsor Locks due to the potential for traffic jams. Wawruck will still look at the area, believing that Windsor Locks is an important junction for transportation in the area, especially with the area around Bradley International Airport.