Train station work on track for midsummer completion

By KEITH HEUMILLER
Staff Writer

 After a difficult winter, work has resumed on the Red Bank train station’s $1.6 million makeover. New Jersey Transit officials say the multiyear effort could conclude by midsummer.  GLORIA STRAVELLI/STAFF After a difficult winter, work has resumed on the Red Bank train station’s $1.6 million makeover. New Jersey Transit officials say the multiyear effort could conclude by midsummer. GLORIA STRAVELLI/STAFF RED BANK — After a winter of delays caused by record snowfall and arctic temperatures, the remodeling of the historic Red Bank train station is back on track.

Scaffolds have been erected around the late 19th-century building as NJ Transit continues work on a $1.6 million restoration effort that is expected to be completed by midsummer.

“It was a punishing winter for everyone here in the state, obviously. But we are working diligently with our contractors now,” NJ Transit spokeswoman Nancy Snyder said on April 1. “We want to make sure we do these renovations right.”

Originally expected to be completed by late spring, the project involves repairing and replacing the building’s clapboard siding, trim, windows and doors; and reinforcing a sagging ceiling in the main waiting room.

While the station’s exterior color will change from salmon to a shade of green, Snyder said great care is being taken to preserve the building’s historical integrity.

“This is an iconic landmark,” she said. “One of the main points of this project is ensuring the station is in sync with the surrounding community, that it blends nicely and improves the aesthetics while at the same time maintaining its historic roots.”

Previous phases of the renovation project included repairs to fire sprinklers, plumbing, ceilings and the roof, which was replaced with historically correct gray slate in 2012. This final exterior phase is expected to cost $850,000.

Borough Councilman Edward Zipprich, liaison to the Red Bank Historic Preservation Commission and one of the local officials to push for the renovation, has said the building is an important part of Red Bank’s cultural fabric.

While playing host to countless commuters, tourists and visitors throughout the past 140 years, the station has also seen its fair share of dignitaries, according to Zipprich.

In 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of England were honored at the station before heading to the World’s Fair in New York. Other former visitors included presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt, who campaigned on the railroad plaza in 1912.

The station itself is also historically significant, as it is one of only two

Victorian stick-style train station buildings still operating in New Jersey.

Built by the Central Railroad Co. of New Jersey in 1875 and currently owned by NJ Transit, the station played a significant role in Red Bank’s development throughout the 20th century, Zipprich said.

The station’s ticket office will remain open from 5:30-9 a.m. Monday through Friday during the renovation, according to Snyder. The north half of the waiting room will remain open, as well.