This Art Deco masterpiece was built to handle over 200 trains and 10,000 passengers daily, as well as 1,500 New York Central employees. It included shops, a restaurant, soda fountain, parking garage and all other services required for daily passenger operations. Although the Central Terminal had the misfortune to open mere months before the onset of the Great Depression, the building was extremely busy during its first two decades of operation, with no period busier than during World War II. Following the War, passenger rail travel fell precipitously as automobiles and air travel began to dominate. In 1955, the New York Central Railroad put the Buffalo Central Terminal on the market, though there was little demand to purchase such a large building. With the decline of passenger rail service, the New York Central mothballed much of the sprawling Buffalo Central Terminal and created a small station within a station to service the remaining passengers.

In 1968, the Terminal complex was absorbed into the Penn Central Railroad following the merger of the Pennsylvania and New York Central Railroads. Penn Central continued to operate passenger trains from Buffalo Central Terminal until 1971, when Amtrak took over operations of the majority of intercity passenger rail service in the country. The final passenger train departed the Buffalo Central Terminal in October 1979, 50 years after this national landmark opened its doors.

An Art Deco icon integral to Buffalo’s architectural legacy, the Buffalo Central Terminal was placed on both the National and State Registers of Historical Places in 1984. Despite the last train having left the station in 1979, the Terminal’s importance as both a major piece of transportation infrastructure and a cultural asset in the greater Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood make its restoration a singular opportunity for the region.

Master Plan Era

Our Next Chapter Begins

2022

A Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI) is released to solicit Development Partner(s) for the reuse of the Buffalo Central Terminal.
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The CTRC is awarded $61 million through the Regional Revitalization Partnership, a major public and philanthropic initiative to spur economic growth on Buffalo’s East Side and across Western New York.
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The Central Terminal is award $1.5 million through the Broadway-Fillmore Downtown Revitalization Initiative to support enhancements to the Great Lawn.
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The Central Terminal receives a Community Placemaking Grant from the Project for Public Spaces to transform the Terminal’s Great Lawn from an under-designed, grassy lawn into a highly activated green space for the sharing of civic experiences.

2021

The Master Plan is completed after an extensive community engagement effort. Replacement of the former restaurant roof is completed.
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The Central Terminal, Broadway Market, and Broadway- Fillmore neighborhood are awarded a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) grant.

2020

Construction on the First Phase of the Passenger Concourse starts, replacement of the former restaurant roof to make the space clean and dry.

2019

The CTRC becomes a part of the East Side Avenues, an initiative born out of the Buffalo Billion catalytic investment.

2018

Empire State Development Corporation allocates $5 million for planning, design and construction improvements to the existing historic entry lobby and passenger concourse.

The Restoration Era

The Central Terminal Restoration Corporation Steps Up

2017

World Monuments Fund: Buffalo Central Terminal is named to the World Monuments Watch List as one of just 25 cultural heritage sites around the world.

2016

The East Side’s own Goo Goo Dolls film a music video at the Terminal. The movie Marshall films scenes in the concourse while completing $90,000 worth of cosmetic upgrades to the concourse.

2011

The Buffalo Central Terminal completes the 3-acre Urban Habitat Project, a regenerative pollinator conservation and green infrastructure project.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation holds its annual conference in Buffalo with sessions and receptions at the Central Terminal.

2012

Toronto antique dealer Robert Navarro donates an original light fixture back to the Terminal, and also returns the $3,000 raised by the CTRC to purchase the artifact.

2009

In honor of the Terminal’s 80th birthday, the concourse clock is officially returned permanently to the concourse.

2008

Large capital improvement projects are completed in the restaurant area and entrance.

The CTRC receives the Daniel B. Niederlander Award for “outstanding programming by a local heritage organization” from the Buffalo History Museum.

2007

The CTRC celebrates its 10th anniversary. Dyngus Day returns to the Central Terminal.

2006

Buffalo Central Terminal sees record-breaking numbers of visitors – including 20,000 in September alone, due to the first-ever Train Show, the Buffalo Brewfest and the annual Picnic on the Plaza Oktoberfest.

2005

The historic concourse clock is purchased and restored with $25,000 in support from M&T Bank.

2004

The Buffalo Central Terminal turns 75 – with a big celebration. The historic concourse clock is purchased and restored with $25,000 in support from M&T Bank.

2003

The Preservation League of New York State selects the Terminal as one of seven most endangered properties, the first Erie County building to receive this special designation.

The Grunge Era

Stabilization Begins

1997

In August, the Buffalo Central Terminal property is transferred to the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation. After almost 20 years of neglect and abuse, CTRC principals and visionaries Scott Field, Tim Tielman and Tom Hryvniak lead the way in beginning to preserve this landmark.

1993

The train concourse, owned by Amtrak, is leased to private contractor for heavy equipment storage

The Anthony Fedele Era

The Auction of the Buffalo Central Terminal

1986

Anthony Fedele defaults on taxes and US Bankruptcy Court Judge John W. Creahan orders foreclosure sale, the city puts the Buffalo Central Terminal up for auction. Thomas Telesco wins the terminal for $100,000. He is the only bidder.

1985

NY State Energy Office energy surveys are requested by Buffalo Central Terminal owner Tony Fedele for the remaining five buildings of the Central Terminal Plaza complex and are carried out by J.M. Hague III, P.E.

1984

The Buffalo Central Terminal is placed on State and National Registers of Historical Places. Nominated by Julia S. Stokes, NY Deputy Commissioner for Historic Places, confirmed nomination in a letter by Orin Lehmen, Commissioner, NY State Office of Parks and Recreation and Historic Preservation and State Historic Preservation Officer.

1981

Train concourse bridge from the terminal is demolished to allow passage of taller freight cars on the Belt Line. Property is separated.

The Disco Era

The Doomed Penn-Central System

1979

Amtrak abandons the Buffalo Central Terminal on Oct. 28, in favor of using its new Dick Rd. station in Cheektowaga, and the reopened downtown exchange station. The last train leaves the Buffalo Central Terminal on Oct. 28. Anthony Fedele & Galesi Realty purchase the Buffalo Central Terminal for $75,000.

1976

Penn Central RR, Lehigh Valley RR, Erie-Lackawanna RR, Lehigh & Hudson River RR merge to form Conrail. Conrail now owns the Buffalo Central Terminal.

1971

Amtrak is created. Amtrak takes over majority of the intercity passage service in the US, using the Buffalo Central Terminal as its Buffalo terminal until Oct. 28, 1979.

1970

Penn Central Railroad declared bankrupt

The Civil Rights Era

The End of the Twentieth Century Limited

1968

New York Central Railroad and Pennsylvania Railroad merge, forming the Penn Central System, the terminal’s second owner.

1966

Pullman Service Building, Coach Shop, Ice House and Power House demolished to reduce taxes and maintenance.

The Golden Age

The Decline of Passenger Travel

1959

Public Service Commission allows New York Central Railroad to abandon Buffalo-Niagara Falls Service.

1956

Due to loss of revenue and decline in train use by the general public, the BCT is put on the market for $1,000,000 (1/14th of its original cost). It does not sell.

The Post War

The Rise of Rail in Support of the War

The Terminal was an essential hub for moving troops, goods and services during the war years.  If you have a Central Terminal story from this era, please share it with us via info@buffalocentralterminal.org.

The Great Depression

Surviving the Great Depression

The 1930s were pretty stable as far as transportation needs, even during the Depression. If you have a Central Terminal story from this era, please share it with us via info@buffalocentralterminal.org.

The Roaring Twenties

The Buffalo Central Terminal Opens for Business

1929

BCT construction completed. Grand opening June 22nd. Grand opening includes Chamber of Commerce Gala attended by 2,200 people, the largest event in Buffalo at that time. At 2 p.m., the first train departs from the terminal: the Eastbound Empire State Express.

1928

Steel work raised throughout the year, last rivet driven in December. All iron work done by Premier Fireproofing owned by Otto Klotz.

1927

Patrick Crowley, president of New York Central Railroad, elected architects Fellheimer & Wagner to design BCT. Construction begins on the 17-floor office tower and terminal.

1926

Site preparation starts. Sewer and drainage systems and 30 miles of track laid. Lindbergh Dr. built (now Memorial Drive). Groundbreaking for underpass south of terminal allowing William St. (most direct connection to downtown) to cross under New York Central main line.

1925

New York Central Railroad, The City and Grade Crossing, and the Terminal Station Commission signed an agreement to allow BCT to be built at its present location, 2.5 miles from downtown business district.

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