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Weather helps workers restore train station to former glory

By Pam Cunningham, Reporter
Published On: Mar 19 2012 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 20 2012 05:19:56 PM CDT

Renovations to the old Franklin Street Station in Reading are chugging right along.

READING, Pa. -

Renovations of the old Franklin Street Station in Reading are chugging right along.

BARTA plans to use the building as a new bus station.    

Dennis Louwerse, CEO of BARTA, took 69 News on a tour of the station, which is in the midst of a $4.3 million renovation project. Construction started this past fall.

"A lot of people talk to me and say I took the last train out in 1981," said Louwerse.

The interior fell into disrepair over the years, but crews are bringing it back.  They're working on the interior, but because of the warm weather, they started on the exterior of the building, as well.

"Very fortunate by weather," said Louwerse. "Our construction teams have been doing very well for us in terms of staying on schedule," said Louwerse.

BARTA has had the building since 2005, but said securing funding and putting together the plans took some time.  Now that it's under construction, an end is in sight.

"This was the hub for many years of transportation, if you go back to the 30s, and now we brought it back," said Louwerse.

It's scheduled to open in the fall. There won't be passenger trains, but there will be plenty of buses.

"Often we have 35 or 40 buses going out of there an hour. We don't have enough room," said Louwerse about the current transportation center across the street.

Louwerse said he sees even more demand.

"We have plans for more expansion for regional connections," said Louwerse. "Along with that, we had the opportunity to save a very historic building."