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4.22.2018

The Stately and Beautiful Johnstown Train Station

Today we continue our tour of Pennsylvania's train stations with a visit to Johnstown. This old Pennsylvania Railroad Station, and current Amtrak Station, is an absolute treasure. It was built in 1916 and designed by the renowned New York architect, Kenneth MacKenzie Murchison. Compared to most of the other remaining PRR stations, this station was a later addition. It was built as a monument to Johnstown being a major industrial and cultural center at the time. It was built around the same time as the Wilkinsburg Station during a time in which the Pennsylvania Railroad was elevating portions of their rail line to eliminate at grade crossings. Johnstown and Wilkinsburg were booming at that point, as was the railroad, which made at-grade crossings extremely dangerous. The construction of this station had a new practical purpose as the railroad elevated its line. The station, and all of the line improvements, cost 3 million dollars, not adjusted for inflation from 1916 levels. It survived the later deadly and devastating floods of 1936 and 1977. When the Pennsylvania Railroad was absorbed into Conrail, the station went along with it. It was later sold to private owners, who then donated the building to the Johnstown Area Heritage Association
This is an absolutely gorgeous building that has clearly seen some recent maintenance and restoration. This Beaux-Arts styled structure, with neoclassical elements is stately and incredible. It would have really been great to see this at the height of passenger rail. I would not mind seeing additional trains between the Keystone Corridor and western destinations. 

The main corridor to the island loading area.
They are working on restoring the old waiting room area, which they plan to use as a concert venue during the Flood Music Festival, and other events that the city holds. The marble based oak benches are original to the station. 
A display showing the treacherous terrain that the railroad was able to conquer, in addition to some of the historic sites and triumphs of the company through this journey.
At this point the station sees only two passenger trains a day, the eastbound Amtrak Pennsylvanian, and the Westbound Pennsylvanian. There is, however, an endless parade of Norfolk Southern freight trains that pass through. Immediately west of the station is the famed old Stone Bridge, which serves as a symbol of the 1889 Johnstown Flood.

Historic Structures has a decent write-up on the history of this building. I was really floored by the beauty of this station and I highly recommend checking it out.

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