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Union Station was built by the Southern Pacific, Union Pacific, and Santa Fe railroads. Costing $11 million, it opened in 1939, the last of the great stations in America. Over 1 1/2 million people visited it within its first three days, and in its heyday (the 1930s and 1940s), it served 7,000 passengers daily. After WWII, and the beginning of the jet age and freeways, train use declined. But in recent years, train travel has increased in popularity. Union Station now serves about 26,000 passengers a day arriving and departing on Amtrak, Metrolink and subway trains.
Union Station interior, 1939
Union Station's exterior combines Moorish and Spanish architecture; the inside, although somewhat gloomy, is quite spectacular. Marble floors, arched windows, are capped by a ceiling that is over fifty feet from the floor.
Old Chinatown was demolished to make room for the terminal, leading to the construction of New Chinatown.
The Gateway Intermodal Transit Center, which will open soon behind Union Station, is projected to revitalize the area, serving as a major transportation hub. Amtrak and Metrolink trains, city buses, the developing subway system, and the planned Downtown-to-Pasadena trolley, scheduled to open in 2002 will combine to make the Transit Center and Union Station very busy places.
Some information from the USC archives.
PHOTO CREDITS: Black & white photo property of the USC Regional History Center. 1996 photo by Eileen Flick
A cross your eyes 3D shot of the interior.
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