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admin 15.06.2015

During the late 1800's, the need for a new railroad depot in Kansas City grew to a decision point. As early as 1901, the railroads had secretly approached architects about designs for the new station, finally selecting Jarvis Hunt in 1906.
The grand opening of Union Station Kansas City on October 30, 1914 celebrated the third largest train station in the country and a building designed to last over 200 years. Local residents claimed Union Station as their own and enthusiastically utilized the structure. Train travel began to decline in the 1950s and the need for a massive railroad station became less important to Kansas City. Today, Union Station stands as a vivid reminder of inspired vision, determination and a collective sense of civic history and pride.  Union Station, once again, is a vibrant place and has become THE place where Kansas City Connects, Creates, Discovers and Celebrates! Twelve volt LED lights powered by three solar panels mounted on top of the display case provide lighting for the locomotive. The Southwest Chief operates between Chicago and Los Angeles, with Kansas City Union Station as an important stop. Long Distance service is the same as over 40 years ago, with the daily Southwest Chief and Coast Starlight plus the triweekly Sunset Limited (carrying through cars to the Texas Eagle) all originating and terminating in the station. In the modern-era, Commuter Rail service to Los Angles and Union Station only began (except for the short lived CalTrain service to Oxnard between October 1982 and February 1983) in 1990 when OCTA began subsidizing Amtrak to run one daily round-trip to San Juan Capistrano called the Orange County Commuter. The city of 200,000 citizens had outgrown the old Union Depot, built in the West Bottoms for a population of only 60,000.
Hunt was an outspoken proponent of the City Beautiful movement, an effort to combine well-designed buildings and street plans with green spaces in the urban streetscape. The ticket office and main lobby were encased in the soaring head house, along with railroad offices, restaurants, the city's largest barbershop, a post office and a drug store. The large clock hung from the ceiling between the lobby and waiting room served as a meeting location for many businessmen, couples and gatherings. As time passed, the north waiting room was closed, and the monumental structure gradually took on the quality of a white elephant-too big, unneeded and too difficult to maintain.


Special attention was given to the design of the case so it would blend well with the architectural design and history of Union Station. Louis and includes additional stops in Independence, Lees Summit, Warrensburg, Sedalia, Jefferson City, Hermann, Washington and Kirkwood.
The platforms are long enough that except for the 3 Amtrak long distance trains they are often doubled up with two trains (one in use one being stored for later use) on the same track. The only other long-distance Amtrak train to serve the station over the years was the Desert Wind that existed from 1979 to 1997 running to Salt Lake City (with thru cars on the California Zephyr to Chicago) via Las Vegas. Metrolink began operations to Moorpark, Santa Clarita, and Pomona on October 26, 1992, the San Burnadino Line reached its now namesake destination on May 17, 1993 and took over the Orange County Commuter in December 1993. Kansas City commissions included The Commerce Building at 922 Walnut in 1907 and the Kansas City Star building at 18th Street and Grand Avenue in 1909.
The rose-brown marble interior walls of the station gave visual warmth to the immense space and were accented by vividly painted plaster ceilings and terra cotta floors in geometric designs. Although Union Station was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, the building began to seriously deteriorate.
All trains depart the station to the north before curving over to the Los Angeles River and branching off to the north, south and east where the trains yards also are.
The only other experiment with train service to Las Vegas was the Las Vegas Limited which made Friday departures and Sunday returns in the summer of 1976.
Service was greatly expanded after the Northridge Earthquake on January 17, 1994 with the Ventura County and Antelope Valley Lines reaching there current terminuses on fast-track building measures.
The Gold Line Light Rail opened (stopping alongside the main line on tracks 1 and 2) on July 26, 2003. Jarvis Hunt's Union Station became the most prominent architectural contribution to the City Beautiful movement in Kansas City. The architectural design utilized three sub-levels of the station to reduce collisions between departing passengers, baggage transportation and local citizens using the station's services.
The Harvey House coffee shop and elegant Westport room were well known for their popular meals and efficient service.


Local preservationists offered a variety of plans to save and use the building, but it wasn't until the successful ratification of the bi-state tax in 1996 that fully-supported plans to preserve the building began.
This lighting solution allows Union Station -- as part of its science mission -- to utilize an environmentally efficient method of powering the case. A Talgo trainset was built to provide service starting in 1999 but it never began and the trainset is now used by Amtrak Cascades. Not including subway and Light Rail runs, today there are about 90 daily train departures per weekday (I have counted the northbound Pacific Surfliners twice since they have to back into the station) from Union Station, these serve destinations as close as Burbank Airport or as far away as New Orleans or Chicago. Arriving passengers were channeled down concourses on either side of the north waiting room toward the grand lobby, allowing separate space for those arriving and departing. That bi-state sales tax -- the first in the country -- was approved by voters in Kansas and Missouri to raise funds for the restoration of Union Station.
It also solved the challenge of getting electricity to the case, as it is usually located away from a direct power source. In terms of number of weekday train departures (including Metrolink) as well as total ridership, today Los Angeles-Union Station is the busiest station west of Chicago, a far cry from the just 6 trains on the busiest day in the early 1970s with the creation of Amtrak, and has the 5th highest ridership of any train station nationally. The complex was lit, heated and cooled by its own power plant, located west of the Station. Two ramps lead down from each platform to the single underground concourse which runs from the Gateway Transit Center at one end to the historic depot and waiting area at the other. Union Station, the 91 Line began formal operations as a branch in May 2002 but trains were running along the route previously since the Inland Empire-Orange County Line opened in 1995 (the one suburbs only Metrolink line that doesn't serve Los Angeles).
Today Metrolink is primarily a Monday to Friday commuter hours operation with 71 trains arriving and 72 trains departing every weekday in total on 6 lines serving 54 stations in 5 counties on 512 route miles.
Weekend service is only on the San Bernardino (10 Saturday and 7 Sunday round-trips), Antelope Valley (6 and 3), and Orange County (2 both days) Lines.



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