February 1, 2011

All Aboard

Front view of the LA Union station. 2010.

Yesterday and Today
Himself: Feeling great, loaded up and out of here for an eight thirty appointment.

Herself: My goal today is to sit quietly while the Z-Pack works, and tomorrow be brave enough to start totals on the taxes. By tomorrow, I should be dingy but breathing better while coughing less. Today photographs are from both the 2003 and 2011 visits.

I thought I would share just a few views of one of my favorite railroad stations with you this morning. It sits shining and restored in the warm sunshine of Los Angeles.

The Wikipedia Union Station entry says this about the building: “Union Station was partially designed by the father and son team of John Parkinson and Donald B. Parkinsons…..assisted by a group of supporting architects, including the famous Jan van der Linden. ….Their firm designed many landmark Los Angeles buildings from the late 19th century onward. Th(is) structure combines Dutch Colonial Revival Style architecture (the suggestion of the Dutch born Jan von der Linden), Mission Revival, and Streamline Moderne style, with architectural details such as eight-pointed stars.”

The voters approved replacing the original Chinatown with a station that would serve all the existing railroads plus the red line trolleys that came into Los Angeles.

Tile and cork walls of the waiting room.

Built in a T shape linked by Spanish style colonnades, the long main waiting room is flanked by gardens. Both the original ticketing area to the left and the Fred Harvey Restaurant to the right are now both empty used only for filming and bypassed by modern spaces further into the building.

The access tunnel under LA Union Stations 12 tracks.

After being a hub of transportation during WWII, slowly the station fell into disuse as the airplane took over. A major developer took over the station and 51 acres of the surrounding land and in 1992, the restoration of the building was finished. Now the building is heavily used by Amtrak, Metroliners, and the trolley lines that link all of LA.

A view of the waiting room from the tunnel, and looking into the South Gardens.

Wall tile with phone jack and small ceiling tile insert.

South patio fountain, and the North patio fountain.

In the fifties, you would stop for lunch at the Harvey House, now restored but empty, then check the board to see if your train was on time and ready to go.

Then down the tunnel, the red caps following with your bags, and up the ramp to the long train sheds and your waiting train.

Today the deep rumble of the diesels has overtaken the drama of steam. Still the excitement is there. That sense of adventure as you are welcomed to your car. The race to find just the right seat on just the right side of the train is still there, as is that moment when you first look out of your window after you settle in. All Aboard.


  1. Wonderful photos. There's certainly something about trains and stations that evokes fond feelings. It turns out that our post titles are the same at this time. :)

  2. You know I love trains. The station is wonderful; I'm glad it's still in use. Go into Harvey's and you almost expect to hear Judy Garland.

  3. Trains and train stations are almost as exciting to me as ships and tugboats!

  4. I love train stations! When I was a kid, I lived a block away from the Illinois Central depot in our town. I used to go up there and watch the stationmaster play with the telegraph device. SOOOO cool!

  5. It looks a lot better than the depots I use when I take the train to New York. Both Pittsburgh and New York are sad excuses for train stations. I'm glad you had such a good trip.

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  7. Love it!!! Thanks!!!

    I am from a family of railroaders. One of my earliest memories was of taking the train from Elyria to Greenwich, Ohio with my grandma after my sister was born so mom could get some rest. I love train stations.

  8. Fabuous photos, Maggie. Thank you for working so hard to post them. I'd love to try going on a sleeper train across the country someday.

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