Union Station past and present, in photographs
Union Station opened in 1939.
The quick history of Union Station.
A wide view of Union Station and the surrounding area.
The entrance facing Alameda Street. Photograph courtesy of Metro. ©2013 LACMTA
The iconic main concourse. Photograph courtesy of Metro. ©2013 LACMTA
Interior of the Patsaouras Transit Plaza, built at the rear of the station in the mid-1990s. Photograph courtesy of Metro. ©2013 LACMTA
The mural inside the Patsaouras Transit Plaza. Photograph courtesy of Metro. ©2013 LACMTA
The very cool glass ceiling in the transit plaza. Photograph courtesy of Metro. ©2013 LACMTA
The bar at Traxx.
Here are some historical photos from the station over the years. Photo: Library of Congress.
Amtrak, Metrolink and Metro Rail are the three railroads serving the station these days. Photo: Library of Congress.
Another pic from 1939. Photo: Library of Congress.
The actress Kim Novak at Union Station in 1956. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Undated photo probably from the 1970s, maybe the ’80s. Photo: Library of Congress.
An Amtrak conductor helps passengers at Union Station in 1974. Photo: U.S. EPA.
Passenger trains at Union Station in 1971. Photo: Drew Jacksich/Wikimedia Commons.
Metrolink cab cars at Union Station today.
The station is much busier these days, serving as the hub for Metrolink, Amtrak and Metro Rail.
The Red/Purple Line subway platform under Union Station.
The subway has portals at both ends of Union Station — and they’re both very busy.
The very busy Gold Line platform at Union Station.
All those passengers add up to big crowds in the tunnel that serves the train platforms and connects the transit plaza to the front of the building.
A Metro Rapid bus leaving the transit plaza. Metro currently operates the nation’s largest clean air fleet.
There are actually several bus stops at Union Station. Here’s the one at Cesar Chavez and Vignes.
The bus stop at Cesar Chavez and Vignes has more boardings than the transit plaza.
Bus passengers crossing Cesar Chavez to reach Union Station.
And here’s the Silver Line stop at Alameda and the 10 freeway.
It’s a busy stop used by Metro’s popular Silver Line and Foothill Transit, among others.
Another bus stop on the Alameda Street side of Union Station.
Union Station also has many spaces that areren’t used on a daily basis. This is the old ticket room.
Behind the old ticket counter.
And then there’s the Harvey House as seen from a portal in the kitchen door.
Old cabinets and drawers in the old ticket room.
A booth at the Harvey House as seen through a window.
View from upstairs at the Harvey House.
The classic view of Harvey House.
The old kitchen at Harvey House.
This sign is stored in the kitchen.
And here’s the old bar at Harvey House.
You have to see it in color to appreciate it.
Another issue: parking. Here’s the original, small garage now used by station employees.
There’s also a four-story underground garage for the public which rarely fills up.
This is the parking lot in front which separates Union Station from Alameda Street.
That puts a lot of pavement between Union Station and park space at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument.
There are two nice courtyards. This is the north one that has outdoor seating for Traxx.
The plaza on the south side.
The station also has several exterior halls that are often quiet.
The hallway between Union Station and the MWD Plaza.
And the oft-quiet walkway on the far side of the transit plaza.
There has been a nice boost in businesses in the station in recent years.
Ice cream was a tasty addition in 2012.
A currently vacant retail space in the main concourse.
What’s this? Union Terminal in Cincinnati, which opened in 1933 and is now a museum. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
…Whereas Union Station remains one of the nation’s great train stations!
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been both shooting and collecting photos of Los Angeles Union Station, the best of which I’ve put in the above slideshow; click on the first image to begin the slideshow. You can also watch the slideshow on The Source’s Flickr page or as a video on YouTube.
For those interested in the old ticket room and Harvey House, there are a bunch of photos about halfway through the slideshow. After years of looking through Harvey House through the windows, I finally had a chance to go inside. It’s spectacular.
Some quick background: Metro purchased Union Station for roughly $70 million from Catellus in 2011. The purchase gave Metro direct control over Southern California’s largest rail and bus hub, including development rights on 40 acres of land. Buying Union Station also prevented the facility from being tied up in a real estate trust that would have kept a very public space in private hands well into the future.
In 2012, Metro hired Gruen Associates in association with Grimshaw Architects of London to develop a master plan for the facility. In March, both a Metro staff report and PowerPoint were released that explained the early findings of the Master Plan process: making Union Station work as a transit hub will be the top priority. I tried to take some of the photos to reflect issues raised thus far by the Master Plan team.
The Master Plan process is important considering the Metro Rail system will be growing in the next three decades because of funding supplied by the Measure R sales tax approved by L.A. County voters in 2008. The California high-speed rail project is slated to arrive at Union Station when funding for that segment is secured. Bottom line: an already busy facility is going to be a lot busier. Here’s the Master Plan home page on metro.net.