North Station expansion to be complete by late fall

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BOSTON (AP) – North Station, which serves five commuter rail lines and Amtrak’s Downeaster service to New Hampshire and Maine, will be expanded, a project that will be paid for by the owners and operators of the TD Banknorth Garden and completed by November, officials said.

The 20,000-square-foot, multi-million-dollar project will more than double the concourse’s size, and MBTA officials hope it will relieve long-standing gripes from passengers about crowding.

“It’s a great deal for us,” Daniel A. Grabauskas, general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, said Tuesday. “We’re delivering what the customer wants, as quickly as we can, and finally giving our northside passengers the same welcome to Boston that our (South Station) passengers get.”

On an average weekday, 187 commuter rail trips bring nearly 50,000 passengers in and out of North Station.

The expansion is being financed entirely by the Delaware North Companies-Boston, which sits atop North Station.

An official with Delaware North declined to say how much the project will cost, but told The Boston Globe it would not be more than $10 million.

The planned changes will significantly enlarge the waiting area and add tables, chairs and benches in a climate-controlled space. Food vendors and services will be added, and a large, overhead board would display schedule and track information. The design also will include crowd-control measures to separate Garden patrons from outgoing commuters, Grabauskas said.

Delaware North will maintain and clean the station, the MBTA will get a chance for new advertising revenue. The two plan to split revenue from new vendors.

AP-ES-04-26-06 0847EDT

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