But when we made it down to Harvard at 2:35, the countdown clocks said it was 3 minutes until the next train! Nathan checked his subway map app, and it turned out our train was late. We decided we would still try to make the 2:55, despite a horrible cramp on my part. The train came in, and we got on at the back of the second car to be able to make it up the stairs as quick as possible at South Station. As we got closer to our destination, we made the realization that we would have only a minute and a half to get to the Commuter Rail.
At Park Street, Nathan checked a Commuter Rail app to find out that our train was on Track 1. Good - it would be a pretty straightforward run. As the subway car pulled into South Station, we slipped through just as the doors opened. Nathan ran up the escalator while I climbed the stairs two at a time, and we burst into the main station. I took the lead, dodging through the crowd while glancing up at the departure board to see that the train hadn't left yet. And lo and behold, there it was on Track 1, slightly behind schedule but waiting there in all its glory! We had made it.
And once we got to Worcester Union Station, it was clear that it was all worth it.
|Is it a cathedral? No, it's the station building!|
|You can see "P & W Railroad" in the background on the bridge for the Providence and Worcester freight line running here.|
|What is this, a hotel?|
|Awwwwwww, yeah. Okay, that probably looks tiny. I recommend clicking it to make it bigger.|
|Looking further around the concourse.|
|Clearly the most functional room in the building.|
|The curved staircase leading up.|
|The concourse...from above.|
|The hallway to the parking garage.|
|Inside the garage.|
|The ticket office in the garage.|
|The machines and the stairs.|
|Okay, I had to include two, since this view is so great.|
|Man, Worcester has some great staircases!|
|Hmm...I think we've left the nice part of the station behind.|
|Well, it would appear that the word "focus" has left my vocabulary...|
|The WRTA facility.|
|Inside the main building.|
|The sheltered bus area.|
|Oh, yeah, I forgot this was a Commuter Rail station! Here's the platform...from above.|
|Oh dear...that is not a good picture.|
|An outdoor section along the building.|
|The bike area.|
|This is pointless...|
|These trains are so great...|
|Three trains: a freight shunter, the Amtrak again, and a good ol' Commuter Rail train.|
Ridership: As you would expect, this is one of the busiest Commuter Rail stations on the system; 8th busiest, to be exact, with 1,475 riders per weekday. This is way more than the station's parking, so many riders must walk or take the bus here. Speaking of the bus, as the WRTA's hub, Worcester's bus station can get very busy. I'm not sure specifically how busy, since the WRTA doesn't seem to publish ridership statistics, but it was quite crowded the whole time I was here. As for intercity buses, the terminal seemed to have a decent amount of people waiting. Finally, there's Amtrak ridership, which really isn't much. On the once-a-day Lake Shore Limited, ridership amounts to a total of 8,439 riders per year, or 23 riders per day! Wowee!
Pros: I...I don't even know where to begin. I mean, the Commuter Rail platform is essentially high level for the most part, the station has a bunch of parking, and both bus terminals are packed with amenities! And the Grand Hall...woah. There are so many other amazing little details that make Worcester amazing, but I've basically listed them all in the review already.
Cons: The glaring problem with Worcester is its people, in that the station can feel quite sketchy, especially in the bus areas. However, I feel like this isn't the station's fault, more the fact that...well, it's Worcester! Other than that, I do wish the station had larger and more obvious bike parking to encourage more cycle commuters. Oh, and the Commuter Rail facility is kind of a mess to get into for trains.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Well...I'm not sure if what kind of stuff you'll find in Worcester's downtown, but this station is right in it! Try not to run into any strange people.
Final Verdict: 9/10
Wow...this is such an amazing station. I mean, the Grand Hall alone is majestic! I would most definitely put Worcester on the same level as South Station - it's that good. There are so many different parts of the station, all with amenities, and they're all connected with really good signage! Yes, the place is a bit (okay, a lot) sketchy, and it could use some more bike parking, but come on. The Grand Hall alone gives this place a 9/10, not to mention every other amazing thing here!
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