Lawrence Transit intros railroad-themed bus stop

March 3, 2022
The custom bus stop incorporates repurposed railroad materials and was designed with the help of architecture interns.

Lawrence Transit in Lawrence, Kan., has an unusual new addition to its bus system: A railroad-themed bus shelter located at Haskell and 12th near a recreation trail.

Lawrence Transit had slated the stop to be upgraded with a bench, but the existing footprint lacked adequate concrete space for a prefabricated bus shelter. Enter an opportunity to develop a one-of-a-kind stop.

With all the possible themes of a bus shelter, “railroad” doesn’t stand out, but it made sense for this shelter, which was completed as part of an internship for two Kansas University School of Architecture and Design students who worked with Struct/Restruct, a local design/build firm.

The two interns, Christian Maglasang and John Veirs, turned to the history of the neighborhood where the shelter is located for inspiration. The Burroughs Creek Trail, which is adjacent to the railroad-themed shelter used to be an active rail line before being converted to trail.

“The track that ran down through Burroughs Creek used to be a main artery for Lawrence, so having that turn into this nice long walking park, it felt right to bring that inspiration and history into the area as well,” said Veirs.

The two interns came up with the idea of incorporating railroad materials into the design. A wheelset that was slated for recycling in Kansas City became the shelter’s bench, while sections of old rail were found near the train covered in dirt and became the part of the shelter’s support structure.

Lawrence Transit says the Struct/Restruct team worked creatively within the existing concrete footprint, ensuring that there was enough space for a bench, an overhanging roof and the ADA clear space incorporated into improved bench and shelter sites around town. Struct/Restruct provided the materials, design and labor for the project. Seibel Fabrication completed the metalwork and Lawrence Parks & Recreation installed the structure.

“It’s a perfect-sized summer project for [architecture] interns,” said Eric Jay, co-owner of Struct/Restruct. “It’s not overwhelming, but it’s got enough detail to [work through] and make it functional. They went through the whole process of coming up with sketch ideas and translating that to CAD work on the computer and then figuring out how to source things to build with.”

Maglasang and Veirs agree.

“I’m thrilled to be able to say this is something I’ve worked on that I feel fits nicely within the neighborhood,” said Maglasang. “To be able to have that positive impact on the community and put my name next to that, I think it’s a great experience.”

Veirs noted they both enjoyed contributing to public infrastructure.

“Getting to work on something that’s going to be used by the public, seen by the public, interacted with and really be out there, just feels so satisfactory,” he said.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.