ConnDOT: Governor Rell Announces Plan to Rebuild Southport Station




FOR RELEASE: February 20, 2008
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Governor Rell Announces Plan to Rebuild

Southport Train Station

Demolition Unnecessary; Building Can Be Salvaged


Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced that the landmark Southport rail commuter station in Fairfield, which was damaged by fire on January 3, will be repaired and reconstructed so that it will look almost identical to the original historic structure. Immediately after the fire, it was feared that the late-19th century building would have to be demolished and a completely new station built in its place.


“This is especially good news for preservation-minded citizens and the hundreds of commuters who use the Southport station each day,” Governor Rell said. “The majority of the original building, which is located in the Southport Historic District, appears to be in good, sound condition. Much of the damage resulting from the fire turned out to be water damage, so renovation, rather than total replacement, is now the best and most viable option.”


The station, located on Station Street, serves Metro-North Railroad passengers heading west. A second, eastbound station, is about a block away. Both are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Renovations will include work required to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design.


          The repair work will be performed by Banton Construction, which was awarded the emergency work to install a temporary waiting room and restroom facilities at the fire-damaged station. Banton also did major restoration work on the Darien and New Canaan rail stations.


“Rehabilitation is faster and less costly -- and in this case, it represents a wonderful opportunity to restore a historic structure in order to preserve its features and maintain the character of the Southport Historic District,” said Acting Department of Transportation Commissioner Emil H. Frankel.


Governor Rell thanked Sen. John McKinney of Fairfield for his efforts in assisting the DOT and Metro-North restore service as quickly as possible. Trains resumed service at the station by 2 p.m. the day after the blaze.


"I commend Governor Rell and acting DOT Commissioner Frankel for helping Metro-North keep service up and running in the wake of this fire, and for making sure the resources are available to reconstruct this historic train station," Sen. John McKinney said.  "We also owe a debt of gratitude to our local firefighters who responded heroically and extinguished this fire in less than 30 minutes.  Thanks to their hard work, we will be able to restore this train station in a much more cost effective way than was initially anticipated."

Content Last Modified on 2/20/2008 4:23:37 PM