A dilapidated rail station has found new life as a bus facility after undergoing a significant restoration and transformation led by Gannett Fleming and Sowinski Sullivan Architects. Located in downtown Reading, Pa., the Franklin Street Station that had served as the main station for the Reading Railroad Company starting in 1929 saw its last train depart in 1981 and stood in disrepair for more than three decades.
The dirty stone walls were marked with graffiti, the windows were broken, and the original concrete platform, walkways, and paving were cracked and broken. Inside, the leaking roof damaged the ornate plaster ceiling, walls, and cornices, and the building had become a refuge for pigeons. All electrical and mechanical systems were in need of replacement.
In an effort to salvage the building and convert the site into an intermodal facility, the Berks Area Regional Transportation Authority acquired the property. Gannett Fleming was selected as project engineers to team with prime consultant Sowinski Sullivan Architects to lead the transformation. The pigeons were ousted, and the grandeur was restored to give travelers modern comfort and convenience, while still maintaining the historic feel of the original station building. The tall windows, terra-cotta walls, terrazzo flooring, iron designs around windows, and the wall clock, all originals, are now thoroughly cleaned and restored.
Gannett Fleming performed surveys for the design, transit studies, planning, project management, and construction phase services for the project’s structural, electrical, lighting, telecommunications, mechanical, and site development engineering and landscaping.