SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Very soon, Springfield’s historic Union Station will be open to the public due, in large part to one man’s persistent efforts.
Congressman Richard Neal launched his career in politics, 40 years ago Friday. It was a celebratory night for Congressman Neal, as longtime friends, family and supporters gathered at Union Station to recognize his accomplishments.
After being closed for 44 years, Union Station will once again be the transportation hub of western Massachusetts. From the beginning of his political career, it’s been Richard Neal’s dream and goal to renovate and reopen Union Station.
Neal told 22News, “I think that there were a series of setbacks along the way, but we never took our eye off the ultimate achievement, and that was to rehabilitate a very important part of western Massachusetts history and we did it!”
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said, “People thought it would never happen. There might still be some people to say Union Station did happen. MGM is happening. The largest railway company manufacturing company in the world CRC is happening. That happened in Springfield too.”
Judge John Payne of Springfield remembers when Congressman Neal ran for city council 40 years ago, announcing his candidacy at Union Station, which had already been closed for four years.
Payne said, “We spent a couple of days getting it ready. We had some friends who were electricians, to set up some power. And then we had just an enormous crowd on that particular night. It really was the start to Congressman Neal’s political campaign and political career.”
And more than $90 million in renovations later, Union Station will finally reopen to the public on Sunday.