Ugliest and Soul-less Amtrak Stations Used in Metropolises Today

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Cal

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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),
Did they share tracks? How did that work?
 

zephyr17

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Did they share tracks? How did that work?
No they didn't share tracks. UP/Milw came up on the east side of 4th Ave S, GN/NP up the west side. Union was a stub terminal, while King Street has through tracks up into the GN downtown tunnel.

There was a passage beneath 4th Ave S for passengers to go between the stations.

The closest equivalent I can think of is Omaha's Burlington and Union Stations, which were connected by a pedestrian bridge over the tracks.

The last service into Union was the UP "pool" train on April 30, 1971.

The platform area/throat of Union is now an office development.
 

toddinde

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Did they share tracks? How did that work?
Many railroads have trackage rights over other railroads. It’s a simple contractual relationship. The Milwaukee had trackage rights over UP from Spokane to the mainline and into Seattle. But it’s a very common arrangement. In the Milwaukee’s case, they electrified some of the UP’s line.
 

Deni

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The winner/ loser for me is easily Indianapolis IN. By far the worst Amtrak station I’ve ever used.
I'm in Indy right now with my wife on her business trip. Went to check out the station because my wife will need to come here frequently for work and would take the bus or train. Good god, what awfulness. Even sadder when I went to get coffee at the Starbucks at the Omni and was looking right at the Crown Plaza's conference center which is the old Union Station and you see what it once was many years ago. Depressing.
 

jis

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I always liked south bends quirky set up. It has character at least! Haha.
Yeah, I like South Bend in a quirky sort of way, and it does have very helpful station staff. My preference would of course have been the original Union Station being brought back as the SOB station. It has been an on again and off again thing for a while now.

Incidentally up the road and across the state line, just a few miles away is the beautiful Niles station with way more frequent service than South Bend.
 

Deni

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Not ugly necessarily, but definitely soulless is the new Joliet station. I get why they made the change from the beautiful historic Union Station (preserved as a wedding and event venue in the grand hall and a brewpub in the building) to a new facility on the east side of the tracks, so Rock Island trains no longer have to cross the diamond to reach the station. Function over form. But come on. I wish they would have found a way to keep the old station in use while still putting RI trains on an east platform.
 

mlanoue

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Not ugly necessarily, but definitely soulless is the new Joliet station. I get why they made the change from the beautiful historic Union Station (preserved as a wedding and event venue in the grand hall and a brewpub in the building) to a new facility on the east side of the tracks, so Rock Island trains no longer have to cross the diamond to reach the station. Function over form. But come on. I wish they would have found a way to keep the old station in use while still putting RI trains on an east platform.

Yeah, the new station is overall pretty nice, and they incorporated the old tower into the building (more by accident than intention) but it's not the same, for sure.
 
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Nick Farr

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Three pages of discussion, and nobody has mentioned Detroit.
Pretty bad. Not the worst, but pretty bad.

Doesn't help that it's in an awful neighborhood far from Downtown.

Here's hoping they'll just bring it back to MCS rather than trying for the QLine/Bus/Intermodal thing they want to do up there.

1629301943965.png
 
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Four pages in, and (unless I missed it), nobody has mentioned Trenton, NJ?

Ugly and soulless building for sure.

Its one redeeming attribute is that it’s good for train watching. A lot of the Amtrak trains (including some long-distance ones) that start or end in NYC go through Trenton, plus there’s SEPTA and NJT, and you can easily go down to the platform and watch them come and go.
 

John Bredin

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Four pages in, and (unless I missed it), nobody has mentioned Trenton, NJ?

Ugly and soulless building for sure.

Its one redeeming attribute is that it’s good for train watching. A lot of the Amtrak trains (including some long-distance ones) that start or end in NYC go through Trenton, plus there’s SEPTA and NJT, and you can easily go down to the platform and watch them come and go.
This is ugly and soulless? 🤔
 
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Bob Dylan

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No they didn't share tracks. UP/Milw came up on the east side of 4th Ave S, GN/NP up the west side. Union was a stub terminal, while King Street has through tracks up into the GN downtown tunnel.

There was a passage beneath 4th Ave S for passengers to go between the stations.

The closest equivalent I can think of is Omaha's Burlington and Union Stations, which were connected by a pedestrian bridge over the tracks.

The last service into Union was the UP "pool" train on April 30, 1971.

The platform area/throat of Union is now an office development.
As much as I like the remodeled King St. Station,( where's the Metro Lounge and Amenities??) I still think that Seattle picked the wrong Station to utilize as their Intermodel Station ( buses for Vancouver BC load outside when the Border is Open).

I know Union Station was a Terminal but thru tracks could have been put in and King Street could have been used as Multi-Purpose Building. YMMV

At least Paul Allen, who bought and rehabbed the Beautiful Union Station, didn't tear it down !
 

joelkfla

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Here's an aerial photo of the two. Looks like they had separate tracks.

Fascinating photo. It's dated 1913 in a barely visible watermark at the lower left corner. Close examination reveals that all of the surrounding streets and many of the nearby buildings are on stilts, while the tracks are at ground level. Seems like downtown Seattle had a problem with flooding in the 1800's, so after the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, downtown streets were rebuilt one story above the ground. The Underground Seattle Tour visits some of the remaining ground level in the Pioneer Square area.
 

Burns651

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Pretty bad. Not the worst, but pretty bad.

Doesn't help that it's in an awful neighborhood far from Downtown.

Here's hoping they'll just bring it back to MCS rather than trying for the QLine/Bus/Intermodal thing they want to do up there.

View attachment 24005
Labeling the Detroit location as an "awful neighborhood" is lazy and inaccurate. It's has too many parking ramps/lots and could use more foot traffic, but I'm not afraid to walk around there. The depot is 650 feet from Wayne State's Integrative Biosciences Center and less than 600 feet from the renowned College for Creative Studies.
 

Cal

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As much as I like the remodeled King St. Station,( where's the Metro Lounge and Amenities??) I still think that Seattle picked the wrong Station to utilize as their Intermodel Station ( buses for Vancouver BC load outside when the Border is Open).

I know Union Station was a Terminal but thru tracks could have been put in and King Street could have been used as Multi-Purpose Building. YMMV
What would have been better about Union Station? I feel like since King Street already had through tracks it would be a bit easier than having to make new ones.
Fascinating photo. It's dated 1913 in a barely visible watermark at the lower left corner. Close examination reveals that all of the surrounding streets and many of the nearby buildings are on stilts, while the tracks are at ground level. Seems like downtown Seattle had a problem with flooding in the 1800's, so after the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, downtown streets were rebuilt one story above the ground. The Underground Seattle Tour visits some of the remaining ground level in the Pioneer Square area.
Amazing, I didn't know any of this. History can be fascinating.

Just curious, with Chicago having almost a dozen former major stations, weren't some of them very close by to each other (maybe not as close as these two are/were)
 

zephyr17

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As much as I like the remodeled King St. Station,( where's the Metro Lounge and Amenities??) I still think that Seattle picked the wrong Station to utilize as their Intermodel Station ( buses for Vancouver BC load outside when the Border is Open).

I know Union Station was a Terminal but thru tracks could have been put in and King Street could have been used as Multi-Purpose Building. YMMV

At least Paul Allen, who bought and rehabbed the Beautiful Union Station, didn't tear it down !
Union Station has no tracks and hasn't had since at least the early 1990s. The platform area is now office buildings and a parking garage.

If you are proposing that Union be used as a headhouse and access provided to King Street's platforms, that seems needlessly complex and inconvenient.

Access to the GN downtown tunnel is necessary for the Empire Builder as well as for service to Vancouver. That access is a designed in feature for King Street. It would be difficult if not impossible for Union even if the long gone tracks were to reappear.
 
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Deni

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Yeah, the new station is overall pretty nice, and they incorporated the old tower into the building (more by accident than intention) but it's not the same, for sure.
And maybe soulless is too harsh? Maybe just that it lacks character like an old station.
 

John Bredin

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Just curious, with Chicago having almost a dozen former major stations, weren't some of them very close by to each other (maybe not as close as these two are/were)
The Great Hall and concourse of Union Station are two blocks from Ogilvie Station, the modern incarnation of NorthWestern Station. The northern tracks of Union are just across Canal Street from the Ogilvie tracks (except Union's are below street level while Ogilvie's are on the second floor) and the modern(ish) northern entrance to Union on Madison Street is kitty-corner from Ogilvie. (Link)

To go back to decades past, LaSalle Street Station was about a block from Grand Central Station and a few blocks from Dearborn Station. LaSalle's still around as an operating station, Dearborn's head house exists (link) but its tracks are gone, and Grand Central's pretty much totally gone.
 

Cal

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Union Station has no tracks and hasn't had since at least the early 1990s. The platform area is now office buildings and a parking garage.
Doesn't light rail also use the former platform area?
 
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