Union Station (Los Angeles)
|Los Angeles Union Station
Amtrak, Metrolink and LA Metro station
Complex architecture of the main building and gardens
|Address||Amtrak / Metrolink
800 North Alameda Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
801 Vignes Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
|Platforms||7 island platforms (Amtrak/Metrolink)
1 island platform (Metro Gold Line)
1 island platform (Metro Red/Purple Lines)
1 island street platform (Metro Silver Line)
2 (Metro Gold Line)
2 (Metro Red/Purple Lines)
|Parking||3,000 park & ride spaces ($6 a day)|
|Bicycle facilities||24 bike rack spaces
20 locker spaces
|Opened||May 3, 1939|
|Owned by||Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority|
|Passengers (2012)||1,657,446 3.2% (Amtrak)|
Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal
|Architect:||Parkinson,John & Donald B.|
|Architectural style:||Moderne, Art Deco, Mission/Spanish Revival|
|Added to NRHP:||November 13, 1980|
|Designated LAHCM:||August 2, 1972|
Los Angeles Union Station (or LAUS) is the main railway station in Los Angeles, California. In recent years the station has become a major transportation hub for Southern California serving 60,000 passengers a day as they access Amtrak long distance trains, Amtrak California regional trains, Metrolink commuter trains and several Metro Rail subway and light rail lines. The Patsaouras Transit Plaza on the east side of the station serves dozens of bus lines operated by Metro and several other municipal carriers.
The station opened in May 1939 as the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal, replacing the older La Grande Station and Central Station. One of a number of union stations built in the early 1900s it served trains from the Union Pacific, Santa Fe and Southern Pacific Railways. Built on a grand scale, Union Station became known as "Last of the Great Railway Stations" built in the United States. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
Union Station is located in the northeastern corner of Downtown Los Angeles, on the property bounded by Alameda Street, Cesar Chavez Avenue, Vignes Street, and the Hollywood Freeway. It is across Alameda Street from L.A.'s historic Olvera Street and El Pueblo de Los Angeles State Historic Park. The historic Terminal Annex building is on the opposite side of the Chavez Avenue underpass. Chinatown and Civic Center are a short distance away.
The Patsaouras Transit Plaza on the east side of Union Station hosts several connecting bus lines, including the Metro transitway Metro Silver Line, Metro Rapid, Metro Express and Metro Local lines, as well as downtown DASH shuttles, many municipal bus lines, FlyAway express bus service to Los Angeles International Airport, and University of Southern California campus shuttles. The Transit Plaza is named after Nick Patsaouras, former RTD board member and advocate for public transportation.
The Gateway Transit Center includes the station itself, Patsaouras Transit Plaza, and the western terminus of the El Monte Busway, as well as Metro's headquarters building.
Amtrak and Metrolink share 12 of Union Station's 14 outdoor tracks, with 90 weekday trains departing (91 on Wednesday, 92 on Friday) as of July 2011.
Amtrak long distance routes 
Amtrak offers four long distance trains out of Los Angeles:
- Coast Starlight, to Seattle (service began 1971)
- Southwest Chief, to Chicago (service began 1971)
- Sunset Limited, to New Orleans (service began 1971)
- Texas Eagle, to Chicago via San Antonio (service began 1982)
Amtrak California regional routes 
Caltrans partners with Amtrak to provide multiple-times-daily regional rail services to cities across California:
- Pacific Surfliner, from San Diego to San Luis Obispo via Los Angeles.
- Connections to the San Joaquin route to Oakland or Sacramento are provided through Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach services. (see below)
The station is the hub for Metrolink and six of Metrolink's seven lines serve the station:
- Antelope Valley Line, to Lancaster
- Riverside Line, to Riverside-Downtown
- Orange County Line, to Oceanside
- San Bernardino Line, to San Bernardino
- Ventura County Line, to East Ventura
- 91 Line, to Riverside-Downtown via Fullerton
Metro Rail 
Three Metro Rail services serve the station with about 300 Metro Rail trains departing every weekday. The Metro Red Line and Metro Purple Line subway services have their eastern terminus at Union Station and share an underground level with two tracks below Union Station. There are two entrances: one is located at Union Station's main entrance on the west side of the complex, facing Alameda Street, and the other is located at the Patsaouras Transit Plaza on the east side of the complex.
The Metro Gold Line is a light-rail line that passes through Union Station between Pasadena and East Los Angeles using Tracks 1 and 2 of Union Station's 14 outdoor tracks. Platforms are accessible from the main passenger tunnel via staircase and elevator. The art installation, entitled Images of Commonality/Nature and Movement, was created by Beth Thielen.
Metro Transitway 
One Metro Transitway bus rapid transit line makes a stop outside Union Station. The Metro Silver Line is a bus rapid transit line operating between El Monte Bus Station, Downtown Los Angeles, and Harbor Gateway Transit Center using the El Monte Busway and Harbor Transitway. The Metro Silver Line along with bus routes which use the El Monte Busway do not stop inside the station. The Silver Line makes a street stop outside the station at El Monte Busway & Alameda St (entrance to the I-10 Freeway Metro Express Lanes). Metro and Foothill Transit's Silver 2 Silver program allows Metro Silver Line and Foothill Transit's Silver Streak passengers to ride any line by using each others pass. The agreement is only valid on Metro Silver Line and the Silver Streak between Downtown Los Angeles and El Monte Station.
Bus and coach services 
Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach 
Amtrak operates several routes under the Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach brand from Union Station using dedicated bus bays at the north side of the station.
When trains aren't running during the overnight hours buses provide service along the Pacific Surfliner route (to Santa Barbara, San Diego and select intermediate stations) and the San Joaquin route (to Fresno and select intermediate stations.)
Connections are also offered to Las Vegas and to the cruise terminals and Catalina Island ferries in Long Beach & San Pedro.
- Los Angeles/Bakersfield
- Los Angeles/Long Beach & San Pedro
- Los Angeles/Santa Barbara
- Los Angeles to Van Nuys
- Los Angeles/Las Vegas.
- San Diego/Bakersfield (via Los Angeles)
- Santa Ana/Bakersfield (via Los Angeles)
Long-distance motorcoach 
California Shuttle Bus 
California Shuttle Bus provides service to San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose from a bus stop at Vignes and Ramirez streets.
FlyAway Bus 
Direct FlyAway Bus service is offered between Union Station and Los Angeles International Airport. The blue buses run every 30 minutes between 5 am and 1 am and on the hour between 1 am and 5 am from Berth 9 of the Patsaouras Transit Plaza.
Metro and municipal buses 
Bus services using the Patsaouras Transit Plaza:
- Metro Local: 33 (late nights only), 40
- Metro Express: 442, 485
- Metro Rapid: 704, 728, 733, 745
- Antelope Valley Transit Authority: 785*
- City of Santa Clarita Transit: 794*
- Foothill Transit: 699*
- LADOT DASH: D (weekdays only), Bunker Hill Shuttle
- LADOT Commuter Express: 430*, 534*
- Orange County Transportation Authority: 701*
- Santa Monica Transit: 10
Most bus services using the using the nearby El Monte Busway use the bus stop west of Alameda Street at the entrance to the busway (southwest corner of station):
- Metro Transitway: Metro Silver Line
- Metro Express: 487, 489*
- Foothill Transit: Silver Streak, 481*, 493*, 497*, 498*, 499*
Bus services using the bus stop on Cesar Chavez Avenue & Vignes Street (northeast corner of station):
Bus services using the bus stop on Alameda Street & Los Angeles Street (outside western entrance):
- * Indicates commuter service that operates only during weekday rush hours.
Union Station was partially designed by John Parkinson and Donald B. Parkinson (the Parkinsons) who had also designed Los Angeles City Hall and other landmark Los Angeles buildings. They were assisted by a group of supporting architects, including Jan van der Linden. The structure combines Dutch Colonial Revival architecture (the suggestion of the Dutch-born Jan von der Linden), Mission Revival, and Streamline Moderne style, with architectural details such as eight-pointed stars.
Enclosed garden patios are on either side of the waiting room, and passengers exiting the trains were originally directed through the southern garden. The lower part of the interior walls is covered in travertine marble, and the upper part is covered with an early form of acoustical tile. The floor in the large rooms is terra cotta tile with a central strip of inlaid marble (including travertine, somewhat unusual in floors since it is soft).
Attached to the main building to the south is the station restaurant (the last of the "Harvey House" restaurants to be constructed as a part of a passenger terminal) designed by southwestern architect Mary Colter. Although now usually padlocked and stripped of many interior furnishings, the topology of its rounded central counter, streamlined booths, and inlaid floor patterns remain.
In 1926, a measure was placed on the ballot giving Los Angeles voters the choice between the construction of a vast network of elevated railways or the construction of a much smaller Union Station to consolidate different railroad terminals. The election would take on racial connotations and become a defining moment in the development of Los Angeles.
The proposed Union Station was located in the heart of what was Los Angeles' original Chinatown. Reflecting the prejudice of the era, the anti-railroad Los Angeles Times, a lead opponent of elevated railways, argued in editorials that Union Station would not be built in the “midst of Chinatown” but rather would “forever do away with Chinatown and its environs.” Voters approved demolishing much of Chinatown to build Union Station by a narrow 51 to 48 percent.[when?]
The station took over service from La Grande Station and Central Station and originally served the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, Southern Pacific Railroad, and Union Pacific Railroad, as well as the Pacific Electric Railway and Los Angeles Railway (LARy). It saw heavy use during World War II, but later saw declining patronage due to the growing popularity of air travel and automobiles.
The Ventura County Line, the Antelope Valley Line and the San Bernardino Line opened in 1992 in part, completely to San Bernardino by 1993, with the Orange County Line opening in 1994. The RedLine (including what is now the Purple Line) and the Riverside Line began operation from the station the following year. The Blue Line which opened in 1990 was originally intended to terminate at Union Station but currently terminates at 7th Street/Metro. The Gold Line began operating in 2003..
The station was formerly designated the 'Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal' (LAUPT), but its former owner, Catellus Development, officially changed the name to Los Angeles Union Station.[when?]
Future expansion 
New transit station on El Monte Busway 
A new transitway station for the Silver Line is being created to the south of the Patsaouras Transit Plaza in the median of the El Monte Busway as part of the Metro ExpressLanes project. It will allow buses travelling in both directions on the busway to serve the Union station with a minimum of delay for passengers for other destinations. To avoid impacting the ExpressLane demonstration the station will be delayed undergoing construction and is not due to be open until mid 2015 at the earliest.
Southern California Regional Interconnect Project 
With the number of trains using Union Station expanding, the stub-end layout of trackage at the station is becoming a liability. Trains are required to back out of the station (in push-pull configuration with the use of cab cars for Metrolink and the Pacific Surfliner) resulting in delays as multiple trains must use the same tracks to depart the station. Therefore, tracks 3–10 are being extended as run-through tracks, which will exit Union Station and cross over the 101 freeway to the existing BNSF tracks at an "S-curve." The run-through tracks are envisioned for use by the following trains when departing or arriving at Union Station: Amtrak Pacific Surfliners, the Southwest Chief, and the 91 and Orange County lines of Metrolink, as they currently must make a near-180 degree turn just outside the station in order to proceed in either direction. Northbound trains headed for Union Station would also use the run-through tracks allowing them to bypass the same curved track they must currently use. Most of the delays caused by the current configuration are suffered by arriving trains, as departures are usually given priority, often to free up needed platforms and to keep departing trains from experiencing delays along their route should they depart late.
During construction, tracks 3-6 will be out of service due to their extension. Because of this, in preparation for the construction of run-through tracks, track 13 is being revitalized for use, as well as the re-construction of tracks 14–15 (they were removed long ago, but the reason and date is unclear) in order to make up for the loss of tracks 3–6 in the process. Once the construction is finished, the run-through tracks and tracks 13–15 will be in regular use, resulting in a 40% increase in track capacity. The construction and revitalization of tracks 13–15 was completed on October 17, 2012. Metro will be releasing a Request for Proposals in late April or early May of this year for SCRIP. The Project’s estimated value is $350 million.
Caltrans and the Federal Railroad Administration have already drafted a plan to create four run-through tracks that would connect the south end of Union Station with the existing BNSF trackage south of US Route 101, directly south of Union Station. The Run Through Tracks would exit Union Station on a bridge crossing over the freeway, and continue on an elevated structure for approximately one mile until they reached the BNSF trackage on the west bank of the Los Angeles River. Notice to Proceed is expected in April 2013
The Metropolitan Transit Authority authorized preliminary engineering for a new plan in July 2012 that increased the run-through tracks from four to eight and a station loop. The MTA has called a meeting for potential contractors. 
California High-Speed Rail 
Union Station is planned to be a major hub for the future California High-Speed Rail System. To accommodate the future service, three platforms with six tracks will be built on an aerial structure above the existing platforms. Upon completion, passengers will be able to get from Union Station to the planned Transbay Terminal in San Francisco in 2 hours and 38 minutes.
New Desert Wind Railway Express Train 
A new "X" Train, express from Union Station to Las Vegas has been proposed. This would replace the old Amtrak Desert Wind, which closed in 1997. The New Desert Wind Railway Express Train would serve Los Angeles Union Station, Pomona, Ontario International Airport, San Bernardino, Victorville, Barstow and Las Vegas, Nevada. The proposal is based on a high speed rail extension to Las Vegas which would allow service to begin in Fall 2018. There will be a total of 20 new order locomotives with F59PH EMD. There would also be new train tickets, new validator tickets, new ticket vending machines, baggage service.
If the Desert Wind X project is developed, there would be 12 Round Trips daily from Union Station in Los Angeles to Las Vegas: Departures at 6:30am, 9:30am, 12:45pm, 3:00pm, 7:40pm and 10:30pm Arrivals at 5:50am, 8:00am, 11:30am, 2:00pm, 5:55pm and 9:10pm
Los Angeles Union Station Transportation Center 
The new Los Angeles Union Station Transportation Center will be planned at a new busway terminals to upper level to the transfer centers to the Park & Ride of L.A. Metro, Foothill Transit, Orange County Transportation Authority, Santa Clarita Transit, Burbank Bus, LADOT, Commuter Express, Big Blue Bus, LAX Flyaway Bus, Torrance Transit and Antelope Valley Transit to the new bridge flyover towards a Metrolink, Amtrak and Metro Gold Line Platforms to the new glass elevator is coming in 2015.
In popular culture 
The facility served as a backdrop for the 1950 film Union Station, which starred William Holden and Nancy Olson. It has been used in many vintage motion pictures, many of the film noir variety. Movies that have featured Union Station as a filming location include:
- Armored Car Robbery
- Behave Yourself!
- Blade Runner
- Blondie Plays Cupid
- Can't Hardly Wait
- Criss Cross
- Cry Danger
- The Company She Keeps
- Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
- Drag Me to Hell
- The Driver
- Gable and Lombard
- Gangster Squad
- Highway 301
- The Hustler
- The Island
- In the Mood
- The Italian Job
- To Live & Die in L.A.
- The Narrow Margin
- Pearl Harbor
- Private Eye (1987 TV movie starring Josh Brolin)
- Raise Your Voice
- The Rebel Set
- Show Them No Mercy
- Silver Streak
- Southside 1-1000
- Star Trek: First Contact
- Through the Fire (Chaka Khan music video)
- Watch on the Rhine
- The Way We Were
- The Undercover Man
- Under the Rainbow
- You're Never Too Young
- The Dark Knight Rises 2012 – The Scarecrow trial courtroom.
- Castle (As a stand-in for Grand Central Terminal)
- The Closer
- Criminal Minds (As a stand-in for Washington Union Station)
- NCIS: Los Angeles
- Quantum Leap
- The Mentalist
The station is also featured in the music video to Lifehouse's You and Me, Train's Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me), Funk artist Prince and the music video to his song " Cream", Rap group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony's music video to their song " BNK" and the music video for HIM's Wings of a Butterfly. It has also been featured in several video games, including Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as Unity Station, Midnight Club: Los Angeles and L.A. Noire as it appeared in 1947. In addition, the cover art for Bonnie Raitt's 1973 album Takin' My Time was shot inside of Union Station.
See also 
Union station movie appearance "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" 1982 Universal 
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||This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2010)|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Union Station (Los Angeles)|
- Amtrak – Stations – Los Angeles, CA
- MTA Union Station connections overview
- MTA Union Station home page
- Metrolink Union Station overview
- Los Angeles, California; Great American Stations (Amtrak)
- Los Angeles Amtrak station information (Texas Eagle)
- The Parkinson Architectural Archives: Union Station
- Public Art Works at the Union Station and in El Pueblo
- Historical sketch of Union Station – L.A. as Subject/KCET
- Howser, Huell (September 26, 1994). "Union Station – Visiting (222)". California's Gold. Chapman University Huell Howser Archive.