New Martinsburg train station almost ready

March 13, 1997


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Lisa Dall'Olio and her husband designed Martinsburg's new train station to look like it was always part of the city.

If it weren't for the construction crews, you might be fooled.

The expansive, 5,500 square-foot building off East Martin Street is right out of the 1800s, with its tall, ornate ceilings, deep-set windows and period lighting.

Even the woodwork was finished to match the interior of a 19th-century hotel next door. A special varnish was needed to give the interior its older look, and Dall'Olio said she searched as far as Portland, Ore., to find lights like those found in old train stations.


"It's a beautiful building. I'm very proud of it," said Richard Yauger, a city councilman and chairman of the Train Station Committee, a group of city officials and residents overseeing the project.

The new station, which should be ready for passengers by mid-April, will figure prominently in a major initiative to open a new convention center in the city. City officials said they are studying the idea of turning a roundhouse and two other large railroad buildings across the tracks from the new station into a convention center and outdoor pavilion.

If the project is successful, Yauger said officials would like to build a footbridge over the tracks to connect the train station and convention area.

"That's all a dream right now. But we would like to see something of that nature," said Yauger.

Construction of the new train station and the renovation of the old B&O Railroad station next door will cost about $1.9 million. The city pitched in about $375,000, and the rest of the money came from state and federal grants.

Matthew Grove of Grove and Dall'Olio Architects in Martinsburg, which designed the new station, said he and his wife had to make the train station's design identical to the old train station because of the federal funds that were used. The federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Enhancement Act, which provides money for transportation projects, also sets guidelines for preservation of historic properties, Grove said.

An old building beside the B&O train station was torn down to make room for the new station. Ticket windows and a waiting area are located on the second floor, and the bottom level opens onto a newly constructed boarding area.

The old B&O train station is being renovated, and Yauger said city officials are currently negotiating with a potential tenant who is interested in opening a snack shop in the building. The rest of the office will probably be leased as office space, officials said.

Officials are hoping to have the new train station open by April 15, said Yauger. He said officials are planning to have a formal grand opening on June 20 and 21.

Yauger said city officials plan to hold walking tours of the station over the two-day period. He said city officials also plan to invite Gov. Cecil Underwood to the celebration.

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