When the station opened on September 7, 1985 it was the largest new rail station built in the United States since the completion of the New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal circa 1955. The center was erected on the site of a former Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway combination depot that had been constructed in 1939 and closed in 1982. The station, which cost approximately $17 million, was funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, California Department of Transportation, and city.
The station was designed by the architectural firm of The Blurock Partnership (from Newport Beach), in the Spanish Colonial Revival and Mediterranean Revival architectural styles to complement the region’s older buildings. Features include red barrel roof tiles, arcades, colonnades, exterior walls finished to resemble stucco, and the extensive use of painted tiles for decoration.
Pedestrian bridge linking northbound Track 1 to The Depot and Track 2.
Station tracks are separated by a barrier that blocks surface movement from the southbound Track 2 (next to The Depot) and adjacent northbound Track 1. However, Track 2 is accessible via a pedestrian bridge with stairs and elevators. Descending the stairs towards Track 2 offers views of the transportation center and the greater Santa Ana and area mountains. Typically train arrivals are announced over the intercom affording ample time to make one's way across the bridge.
West Santa Ana Branch (Pacific Electric Right-of-Way)