Aug 31, 2012

Whats in a Name, Union Station

Many towns have a Union Station. Some larger ones are in Chicago, Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Denver, El Paso, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Nashville, St. Louis, Washington, D.C., and many more.

Union stations or depots were constructed to consolidate rail traffic into a single terminal instead of having each railroad build a separate station and approach-track system. They formed a 'union', or coming together of railroad companies, facilities, and tracks.

The intent was to save money and hundreds of acres of valuable downtown real estate. It was and remains a success for achieving those goals. In addition, It is handy for travelers to have one place to go, regardless of final destination.

A railroad operating only a handful of trains per day through a town couldn't afford to build a fancy station, but several railroads sharing one facility could. Many Union Stations were impressive works of architecture that were preserved long after the trains that used them disappeared.