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Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Back on track

REGION

It was years in the making, but yesterday public officials celebrated bringing train, bus and commuter rail services under one roof at Union Station in Worcester.

Greyhound and Peter Pan long distance bus lines will now operate more than 50 buses a day from the station. Travelers now have the option of taking a bus from Union Station to Boston, Hartford, Springfield, Albany, Providence and other destinations.

The new bus service will compliment Amtrak service and MBTA Commuter Rail service, as well as local bus services that already operate from the station.

Making those transportation options available from the station has taken at least seven years and dozens of local and state officials were on hand yesterday to celebrate. Among those in attendance were Congressman James McGovern and State Senator Ed Augustus.

Worcester City Manager Michael O'Brien, who hosted the event, called the sound of trains and buses drowning out his voice at the podium "music to my ears."

Originally built in 1875, Union Station closed in 1972 when train ridership fell due to the construction of several major highways including the Mass Pike.

For decades it remained abandoned until community activists fought to see it saved, obtaining state and federal grants for a $32 million renovation of the building as a transportation hub.

-- Megan Woolhouse

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