Ugliest and Soul-less Amtrak Stations Used in Metropolises Today

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VentureForth

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Yes, I actually mentioned Salisbury in the Great Stations thread, but I equally agree with the station part of it to be in this thread as well. The former, glorious waiting area and ticket stalls are all off limits like many on this list, so I think it has equal footing on both threads.
 

VentureForth

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Let's warm up the wayback machine and see what was said way back in an earlier time and age. (2015)

Saddest Amtrak Stations in America
Interesting that Savannah is on that list. It's what made me think about starting this thread to begin with, considering the money that nearby Brunswick put into their air terminal for fewer annual passengers while SAV sat around ignored.

However, it's really not cold or soul-less. It has a beautiful mural inside and a relief of a steam loco on the outside. The sad history of discrimination has been painfully hidden in the recent toilet upgrades (They turned the long closed "colored" restrooms into ADA capable replacements of the existing restrooms that have since been closed). The phoneless phone booths are reminiscent of a bygone century of pre-cell phone life.

The iron shelters over the platform are slowly rusting away, but not nearly as bas as West Palm or Orlando or perhaps other Florida stations I haven't had the pleasure to visit.
 
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I never got off the train but I saw the outside of the Toledo Ohio station and it didn't look pretty. It was during the graveyard shift (CL Westbound) and I didn't really sleep well so my memory could have been fuzzy.
 
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toddinde

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Second that. It's a pit
I’m adding my vote for Indy. My friend’s son was mugged right outside the door. It’s disgusting, and schlepping bags up those steep steps is just icing on the cake. It’s a dismal dungeon, while Union Station sits right there, almost entirely unused. An example of adaptive reuse at its worst. Indy wins, hands down.
 

toddinde

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Actually, I did read the posts in order, and was confused. Maybe because Amtrak Blue had already posted her disagreement about including Philadelphia in this list, and you agreed with her (so do I!) and added 3 more to your "good stations" list. My "thread drift alarm" went off.

If we want to say "bad stuff 'bout Amtrak", to paraphrase an old SNL series of skits, I would say the one thing I don't like about Philly is you have to go outside and cross a fairly busy street to get to the subway, which is inconvenient, especially in bad weather. But that is function, not form, so may be off-topic. The building itself is beautiful and pretty well laid out inside.
I agree. Philadelphia is one of the most beautiful, architecturally significant stations Amtrak serves. It’s an important example of 1930’s, Art Deco, optimistic architecture. Love that station.
 

Nick Farr

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Interesting that Savannah is on that list. It's what made me think about starting this thread to begin with, considering the money that nearby Brunswick put into their air terminal for fewer annual passengers while SAV sat around ignored.
Maybe we need something like an Essential Train Service program like there is an Essential Air Service.

I know there's federal funding for improving railroad stations, but it seems a bit scattershot.
 

BCL

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View attachment 23970
I'd nominate the Vacaville, CA station for souless. It's basically the train version of a bus stop.
That describes the majority of the unstaffed stations on the Capitol Corridor route, including Berkeley (although the old station building is still there), Great America, Coliseum, and Hayward. I wouldn't say it's ugly though. More like utilitarian.
 
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nferr

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1.New York Penn,
2.Philadephia 30th St.
Basically major stations with underground platforms and tracks but not having tall, spacious, stadium like headrooms. Not to mention artistic ceilings and walls.

Check out those subway stations in Moscow.
NY Penn? I guess you haven't seen the Moynihan Train Hall. Beautiful. That's where most of the Amtrak facilities are now.
 

mlanoue

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I don't think Milwaukee belongs on this list, but if this were a sliding scale, it might lean in that direction. It has big windows. It's clean and fairly safe, for a larger city station. There's even a little restaurant in there, that's sometimes open. But, it's pretty boring in there, and not particularly close to anything of interest to visitors who would want to walk around.
 

MARC Rider

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NY Penn? I guess you haven't seen the Moynihan Train Hall. Beautiful. That's where most of the Amtrak facilities are now.
Actually, even the Old "New" Penn wasn't quite as bad as some people think. When I first used in back in 1968, I thought it was pretty slick, in a science-fictiony sort of way. Of course, it couldn't hold a candle to the original Penn Station, but at least you could wait out of the weather, there were full station services, as well as a large number of shops and eateries. One of the problems in more recent years was that it was just getting grungy with the grime of 50 years of uninterrupted service. When I passed through the old part of Penn Station last April, I was pleasantly surprised about how well it was cleaned up.
 

crescent-zephyr

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Actually, even the Old "New" Penn wasn't quite as bad as some people think. When I first used in back in 1968, I thought it was pretty slick, in a science-fictiony sort of way. Of course, it couldn't hold a candle to the original Penn Station, but at least you could wait out of the weather, there were full station services, as well as a large number of shops and eateries. One of the problems in more recent years was that it was just getting grungy with the grime of 50 years of uninterrupted service. When I passed through the old part of Penn Station last April, I was pleasantly surprised about how well it was cleaned up.
Agreee. The upper level of NY penn is fine. The lower Long Island level has some more grungy areas but that doesn’t count towards Amtrak.

Of course Moynihan is lovely and I can’t wait to see it for myself!
 
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Trogdor

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Three pages of discussion, and nobody has mentioned Detroit. A depressing, bus station-esque depot with not enough seating and a dirty, narrow platform that they keep locked until the security guard escorts everyone up there a few minutes before the train arrives.
 

crescent-zephyr

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Three pages of discussion, and nobody has mentioned Detroit. A depressing, bus station-esque depot with not enough seating and a dirty, narrow platform that they keep locked until the security guard escorts everyone up there a few minutes before the train arrives.
Why would I use the Detroit station when Dearborn is an option! :)
 

MARC Rider

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Why would I use the Detroit station when Dearborn is an option! :)
I once took the Thruway bus from/to Toledo and the Capitol Limited when I attended a conference in downtown Detroit. The station was utilitarian, but OK. The neighborhood wasn't the best, but also not the worst I've ever been in. I have no idea about the state of the tracks and platform, because we boarded the bus out front.
 

sttom

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That describes the majority of the unstaffed stations on the Capitol Corridor route, including Berkeley (although the old station building is still there), Great America, Coliseum, and Hayward. I wouldn't say it's ugly though. More like utilitarian.
I nominated then for souless, not ugly.
 

Big Green Chauvanist

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Tacoma has to be a contender. Not even any Wifi there! Especially ugly and soulless in contrast to the superb Tacoma Union Station, which at least did get preserved as a federal courthouse. It's worth a visit, if you're in the neighborhood--it has a spectacular Chihuly glass chandelier in the lobby area.
So true. The last time I was in the old Union Station, which, admittedly, was many years ago, there was also a display of railroad history and memorabilia. I wonder if it's still there. Glad the Chihuly piece is still in place. Tacoma was lucky indeed that the magnificent station was saved. As to the the current station, I assume you are talking about the one on Puyallup Avenue, not the "new" one, at Freighthouse Square, on the old Milwaukee Road, used for a single day back on December 18, 2017 (the Nisqually Cascades wreck date)--and hopefully will be again by the end of the year. Promises, promises. Incidentally, although off-topic, we in Seattle have something not many cities can boast--two historic, exquisite depots side by side (albeit across a wide street), the current Amtrak's King Street Station 1906 (Great Northern and Northern Pacific) and Union Station 1911 (Milwaukee Road and Union Pacific), which houses the offices of Sound Transit.
 
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