Most Beautiful Train Stations in the US

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By far the nicest station I've seen that left me speechless at it's beauty was Cincinnati. I've only really seen the outside, and the platforms but it is amazing. I saw the inside briefly before the night guard for the museum kicked me out. Such an amazing place.
I'm not familiar with any other train station but I live in the Cincinnati/Dayton area and have been to Cincinnati's Union Terminal many times because of its multi-functional purpose. It is a stunning landmark, indeed, and one the city proudly takes care of and celebrates. Naturally, I will compare all other train stations to this special place.
 

Trollopian

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Cincinnati's Art-Deco masterpiece is indeed a gem. (I have family in Cincinnati, but have never taken the Cardinal there from DC because they balk at picking me up in the middle of the night. As for taking the train from Pittsburgh, forget it.) From the outside it looks like one of those giant old-timey radios. On the inside, visits to the control tower (where "guests can get a unique view of the active Union Terminal railyard") are currently suspended. I hope they'll resume after the pandemic. The kids in my family were transfixed. So were the adults.

https://www.cincymuseum.org/tower-a/
 

me_little_me

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One person's opinion. Not necessarily right.

Here are some more:
Prince, WV - it still has the wall paintings from the '30s and the Chessie symbol in tile on the floor. VERY SMALL town fabulous. And Amtrak still stops there.

Bristol, VA. - No longer used for trains since there is no service but the outside is as beautiful as ever. Inside is just one open hall for use as such things as weddings.

I am sure there are many others that have been lovingly restored but which are no longer used for trains. But the article was about train station architecture, not stations with one or more passenger trains any more so the above should have been considered.
 

mitako

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Hubby and I took a trip last month to Denver, via Coast Starlight and CA Zephyr, and we stayed in the hotel that's inside the Denver Union Station. Wow, that station is awesome. The waiting room is filled with comfortable chairs and couches, games, and restaurants. It's really something. Of course, my "home" station is Los Angeles Union, which is also beautiful.183955156_10226029793440769_4176917303469151407_n.jpg182223605_10226029793200763_1626870809323342868_n.jpg183914431_10226029792920756_1823232194884111626_n.jpg
 

IndyLions

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FB49D47F-51D8-4EF6-AFCC-C75CA3118D5C.jpeg

Ok - this is hardly “the most beautiful” - but this is an impressive station - Waterloo IN.

Waterloo is a small town like Prince, WV mentioned previously. It is located on the main line that serves the LSL. In the 40s & 50s all the east coast NBA teams stopped here to play the Fort Wayne Pistons.

It is notable because of the fact that they took their modest train station, restored it and made it relevant to today by moving it to a better location. They didn’t just throw up their hands and let an Amshack represent their community.

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It is also one of the train stations where local volunteers make coffee, assist customers, and in general welcome folks to town and see them off afterwards.

It is what small-town America is all about. One of the best things about train travel - you actually pass through and sometimes even stop in small-town America.
 

JRR

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I grew up in Cincinnati and they used to take the grade schoolers on trips to Union Station. We got complete tours and lectures concerning its operations and history. Of course we all experience the “whispering gallery”! One can talk at one of the droning fountains, while another, clear across the station at another drinking fountain on the other side of the big dome, could hear your clearly. Also, they pointed out the amazing Diego Riviera murals, some of which are now at the Greater Cincinnati Airport Terminal.
 

MARC Rider

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From the other side, one of the most non-beautiful stations around is Boston Back Bay. The granite seating benches look really hard, the Amtrak ticket window is closed (but they have 2 Quick-trak machines, and the departure board shows only MBTA commuter trains.

Plus, the T fare machine wouldn't read my Charlie Card and allow me to buy a pass until an attendant came by.

It's convenient, Ill say that, but not much else.
 

MARC Rider

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OK, I'm on the Lakes Shore Limited, about ready to leave for Albany. I can see why South Station is (at least temporarily) off any list of beautiful stations. The place is essentially a construction site. Not the main concourse or the Metropolitan Lounger, but the platform areas are shortened, some of the canopies are torn up, and they're building some sort of structure over the tracks right by the headhouse. The redcap told me it's going to be a hotel. That's kind of nice. Wish they had it finished for this trip I'm taking, though I did enjoy staying in Back Bay for a change.
 

MARC Rider

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They have,( for Amtrak) it's called Moynihan Train Hall across the Avenue from NYP!

It's Beautiful!😍
When I was waiting for my train in Baltimore, they were playing a video in the station touting the Moynihan Train Hall. The reason we're able to have it is because when the PRR built the original station, they extended 4 of the platforms to the west so that mail could be moved directly from the trains to the new post office, the building that is now the Moynihan Train Hall.
 

Brian Battuello

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They have,( for Amtrak) it's called Moynihan Train Hall across the Avenue from NYP!

It's Beautiful!😍
I was being unnecessarily sarcastic. The new hall is amazing. And I did not know that about the mail trains.

Now maybe they will reopen the Grand Central Terminal track 61 into the Waldorf Astoria. Look it up...
 

Bob Dylan

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I was being unnecessarily sarcastic. The new hall is amazing. And I did not know that about the mail trains.

Now maybe they will reopen the Grand Central Terminal track 61 into the Waldorf Astoria. Look it up...
I'm familiar with GCT and Penn Station from the Golddn Years of Passenger Trains since I'm Old!😁
 

Cal

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Hubby and I took a trip last month to Denver, via Coast Starlight and CA Zephyr, and we stayed in the hotel that's inside the Denver Union Station. Wow, that station is awesome. The waiting room is filled with comfortable chairs and couches, games, and restaurants. It's really something. Of course, my "home" station is Los Angeles Union, which is also beautiful.
I did not know that there was a hotel there. Another thing added to my bucket list!
 

mitako

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I did not know that there was a hotel there. Another thing added to my bucket list!
It's called the Crawford Hotel. Upstairs in the station, looking down over the waiting room. It's a beautiful hotel, although definitely not inexpensive. But can't beat the convenience of getting off the train right at your hotel! And you get all sorts of perks included with your room, such as a free beer at the bar each day, free ice cream, etc.
 

Palmland

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That area of Denver is THE Place to go to now, it used to be really dumpy and rundown!
So true! I had a college spring vacation trip to Denver to ride the Royal Gorge (only to Parkdale) and the Yampa Valley Mail. I stayed at the Oxford hotel very near the station for maybe $20+ when it was almost a derelict building with a sketchy walk to the station. Rooms there are now $200+. But then that was more than 50 years ago!
 

Bob Dylan

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So true! I had a college spring vacation trip to Denver to ride the Royal Gorge (only to Parkdale) and the Yampa Valley Mail. I stayed at the Oxford hotel very near the station for maybe $20+ when it was almost a derelict building with a sketchy walk to the station. Rooms there are now $200+. But then that was more than 50 years ago!
Building Coors Stadium was what got the re-developmemt of Lower Denver Kick Started.

I remember some of the same things you mention, including a Run-down Union Station that lots of people in Denver wanted torn down!
 

v v

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Have visited about half of the stations mentioned by cntraveler, some of them stunning but not just for their perceived beauty. The one I'd love to visit but so far haven't is Cincinnati, that is just superb.

How about a sub thread of which one in the list that you haven't visited yet that you would make an extra effort to visit?

How about the top 3 or 5 stations in the entire world? but not just based on beauty even though that is the obvious criteria.
 

Willbridge

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And the best thing about the hotel is that it is named the Crawford after the woman who almost single-handedly saved Denver Union Station from demolition.
That's the party line but it's more complicated than that. I don't think that even Dana Crawford would take the entire credit. (She and I were in a lot of public meetings, only some of which had to do with Union Station.)

In brief, it was a three decades struggle. Ms. Crawford got involved with the redevelopment. It was never in much risk of demolition, although the owners' attorney threatened that in the late 1980's. It always was at risk of losing Amtrak access right up into Ms. Crawford's project.

For Amtrak riders, her landmark condo is in the converted grain elevator at Prospect Junction, which you can see from the train. It has a commanding view of the city and mountains.

For more history, visit the back issues of the ColoRail Passenger at

ColoRail Passenger newsletter | Colorado Rail Passenger Association

Start with Issue #1.
 
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