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Will there be a new Duke at South Station?

Former governor Michael S. Dukakis was famed for riding the T to work.BROOKS KRAFT/GLOBE photo/file 1988

He pleads guilty to being a “rail romantic” and was famous for riding the Green Line. Now, former governor Michael S. Dukakis could realize a rail buff’s dream: seeing his name atop Boston’s main train station.

The Massachusetts House voted Wednesday to rename South Station The Governor Michael S. Dukakis Transportation Center at South Station.

The bill was quietly pushed by former governor William F. Weld, a Republican, as well as former Dukakis aides. But it came as a surprise to Dukakis.

“I’m honored and flattered,” he said, “but nobody told me about it.”

Dukakis said he was wary of seeing his name on the landmark building, which was dedicated on New Year’s Eve 1898 and refurbished in the 1980s, when he was governor.


“When they start naming things for you, you’re on your way out,” he said.

Weld said he was glad to pay tribute to his train-minded predecessor. “He certainly has been Mr. Public Transportation,” he said.

The bill appears likely to sail through the Senate and be signed by Governor Deval Patrick.

Dukakis “played a role in saving South Station,” said Richard Davey, state transportation secretary. When the building was slated for demolition in the 1970s, Dukakis helped secure money to rebuild it.

Honored though he is, the former governor is realistic about the likelihood that the new name will be become part of common parlance for hard-bitten commuters hustling from train to train.

“Meet you at the Duke?” he said. “I don’t know.”