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by Beryl Frank

The Buffalo Central Terminal stands empty in 2010. No passenger trains run through the station. No people stand waiting in the ticket lines. Passenger service ended in 1979. What stands there in Buffalo, New York, is but a shell today.

The mechanisms to the clocks which kept time in the rail tower in which they were installed are now in storage. One might call this a ghost station of times which were better.

But go back to the year 1930. That was the year when Fellheimer and Wagner designed the railroad gateway to Chicago, Niagara Falls and Toronto. The measurements of the terminal are tremendous. The central mass of arches rose 271 feet which was above the station's northwest corner. It was in this tower that the four clock faces were installed. The timepieces could be seen in the residential neighbors which surrounded the station. And so it became an integral part of Buffalo and the people who lived there.

The main concourse was completed just six months before Wall Street's Black Friday when all the country could think of was the stock market. It had a vast high-arched ceiling which dwarfed the traveler when he looked up. The arches all stood high and the decorations were in the Art Deco style. It was indeed a grand concourse.

The Buffalo Central Terminal is a huge, empty place where only the ghost trains now run. From the four-color terrazzo flooring to the vaulted ceilings, it is a memory of people who rode the trains so long ago. The city of Buffalo and the state of New York once had other historic stations. Alas, today, they are all gone. But the Buffalo Central Terminal still stands on the skyline for all to see.

A view of the terminal from the southwest side June 7, 2007. [Photo by David Pope]

The clock which could be seen from four sides of the clock tower. This image was taken February 10, 2007. [Photo by David Pope]

The main concourse as it looked June 2, 2007. Note the high arches on the front and sides of the terminal. [Photo by David Pope]