Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza (Toledo)

Coordinates: 41°38′16″N 83°32′30″W / 41.63778°N 83.54167°W / 41.63778; -83.54167
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Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza
Toledo, OH
General information
Location415 Emerald Avenue
Toledo, Ohio
United States
Coordinates41°38′16″N 83°32′30″W / 41.63778°N 83.54167°W / 41.63778; -83.54167
Owned byToledo–Lucas County Port Authority
Platforms3 island platforms (formerly 6 island platforms)
Tracks2 (formerly 12)
ConnectionsBus transport Amtrak Thruway
Bus transport Barons Bus Lines
Bus transport Greyhound Lines
Other information
Station codeAmtrak: TOL
Rebuilt1996, 2016
FY 202245,212[1] (Amtrak)
Preceding station Amtrak Following station
toward Chicago
Capitol Limited Sandusky
toward Chicago
Lake Shore Limited Sandusky
Former services
Preceding station Amtrak Following station
toward Chicago
toward Chicago
Lake Cities Terminus
Detroit (Michigan Central)
toward Chicago
toward Chicago
Lake Shore Cleveland
Preceding station Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Following station
toward Cincinnati
Toledo Division Monroe
toward Detroit
Preceding station Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Following station
toward Ludington
LudingtonAthens Walbridge
toward Athens
Preceding station New York Central Railroad Following station
Air Line Junction
toward Chicago
Main Line Milbury Junction
toward New York
Terminus Detroit Branch Wagon Works
toward Detroit
ToledoCharleston Lime City
toward Charleston
ToledoThurston Moline
toward Thurston
toward Elkhart
Old Road Terminus
toward Cincinnati
Preceding station Nickel Plate Road Following station
Grand Rapids
toward St. Louis
St. Louis – Toledo
(before 1940)
Preceding station Wabash Railroad Following station
toward Montpelier
MontpelierToledo Terminus
toward Fort Wayne
Fort WayneToledo

Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza (formerly Central Union Terminal and Central Union Plaza) is the main passenger rail and intercity bus station of Toledo, Ohio.

Toledo is served by two Amtrak routes: the Capitol Limited, which operates daily between Chicago and Washington, D.C.; and the Lake Shore Limited, which operates daily between Chicago and (via two sections east of Albany) Boston and New York City.

It is also served by Greyhound Lines and Barons Bus Lines.

Named for Martin Luther King Jr., the building was designed in Streamline Moderne style by Robert Crosbie. It is owned by the Toledo–Lucas County Port Authority.


1886 Union terminal[edit]

The 1886 Union Terminal with a streetcar appearing in the foreground

A union terminal, built in 1886 in the Gothic style, served several of the major rail lines passing through Toledo. Tenant railroads included the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O), the New York Central Railroad (as well as its subsidiaries, the CCC & St.L. (Big Four Railroad) and the Michigan Central Railroad), the Pere Marquette Railroad and the Wabash Railroad. The station caught fire in 1930 but remained standing. The damage was later repaired and service resumed.[2]

A new station was being designed for Toledo, but the Great Depression delayed the construction of it. In the 1940s, the Toledo planning commission included rebuilding Union Terminal in a new vision for the city, but the plans were delayed even further by the outbreak of World War II.[3][4]

Central Union Terminal (1950–1971)[edit]

Aerial view of the Central Union Terminal

Considered one of the last of the New York Central Railroad's (NYC) great stations, the Central Union Terminal opened the week of September 17, 1950.[5] It was the $5 million crown jewel of the railroad's post-war investment in Toledo, a project that also built eight other buildings and, with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, replaced a coal-loading facility in East Toledo with a larger $18.5 million one in Maumee Bay.

Over the next two decades, the Central Union Terminal was used by four major railroads: the NYC, B&O, Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O), the successor to the Pere Marquette, and the Wabash Railroad.

The first floor housed baggage services, while the second floor housed a YMCA for train crews. The passenger terminal and concourse were on the third floor, while the NYC Toledo division and dispatching offices were on the fourth.[6]

Major named trains served at the station to late 1950s and early 1960s:[7][8][9]

  • Wabash:

Major named trains served at the station to late 1960s and 1971:[10][11][12]

Amtrak era (1971–present)[edit]

Toledo Amtrak sign
Abandoned platforms

Through the late 1990s, Toledo was served by as many as six daily trains, including the Lake Cities from 1980 to 1995 and the Pennsylvanian from 1998 to 2003.

In the early 1990s, local leaders decided against moving Amtrak into smaller, less costly quarters as had been done in many other cities during the 1970s and 80s.[13] The Toledo–Lucas County Port Authority purchased the Central Union Terminal from Conrail for $20,000 in 1995. In 1996, the Port Authority completed an $8.5 million renovation of the building which included a spatial reorganization of the building along with a façade restoration, a new heating and air-conditioning system, a new roof and work on surrounding roadways and landscaping. The reorganization moved passenger areas from the third floor to the ground floor for better access to the street and platforms.[14] No longer a railroad terminal, the building was renamed Central Union Plaza. The former passenger waiting room on the third floor was restored but is now used for meetings and events.

The building took its current name Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza in 2001. Before Amtrak stopped carrying mail in 2005, it stored material handling cars (MHCs) at the plaza on several unused platform tracks. A small number of private cars are often stored on the platform tracks closest to the station.

Toledo has the distinction of hosting the first National Train Day every year, a week before the event is held in other cities nationwide.

For the arrival of Greyhound Lines bus service in 2016, the station was remodeled again to add a ticket counter, office, freight room, a Subway restaurant and bus bays.[15] Greyhound moved into the structure on June 23, 2016.[16] Barons Bus Lines also began service to the station.[17] The facility now serves as a modern intermodal train and bus terminal and office complex.


At platform level


Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza is served by Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited which operates between New York City/Boston and Chicago, and the Capitol Limited which operates between Washington, D.C., and Chicago. Amtrak uses the two tracks nearest the station while freight trains roll on bypass tracks at the south edge of the railyard. Both westbound trains pass through Toledo early in the morning, while eastbound trains pass through in the middle of the night.

Intercity bus lines and routes[edit]

The plaza is also served by Greyhound routes connecting to Chicago; Cleveland; Charleston, West Virginia; Detroit; New York City; and Washington, D.C. Although Greyhound Bus Lines serves this facility, as of May, 1st, 2022 they no longer staff employees or sell tickets from this facility. [18]

The plaza has several arrivals and departures from Barons Bus Lines, with routes to destinations around Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and Michigan. The bus berths face the Emerald Avenue façade of the building.


  1. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, Fiscal Year 2022: State of Ohio" (PDF). Amtrak. June 2023. Retrieved August 30, 2023.
  2. ^ 'Great American Station: Toledo, OH (TOL)
  3. ^ 'Stark County Democrat,' December 9, 1886
  4. ^ Official Guide of the Railways, Index of Railroad Stations. National Railway Publication Company. June 1921.
  5. ^ Guerrieri, Vince (2019-05-10). "Toledo's Train Station Was Built for a Future That Didn't Arrive". Bloomberg.
  6. ^ Masters, Daniel A. (2007). "Central Union Terminal, Toledo, Ohio; 1950–Present". Retrieved 2008-03-26.
  7. ^ "Baltimore & Ohio Railroad". Official Guide of the Railways, Table 4. National Railway Publication Company. 91 (3). August 1958.
  8. ^ "New York Central Railroad". Official Guide of the Railways, Tables 1, 2. National Railway Publication Company. 91 (3). August 1958.
  9. ^ "Wabash Railroad". Official Guide of the Railways, Tables 9, 10. National Railway Publication Company. 91 (3). August 1958.
  10. ^ "Baltimore & Ohio Railroad". Official Guide of the Railways, Tables 1, 4. National Railway Publication Company. 99 (7). December 1966.
  11. ^ "Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad". Official Guide of the Railways, Table 4. National Railway Publication Company. 99 (7). December 1966.
  12. ^ "New York Central Railroad". Official Guide of the Railways, Tables 1, 2. National Railway Publication Company. 99 (7). December 1966.
  13. ^ "Toledo's rail terminal reviving as it hits 65th year". The Blade. Toledo. 2015-09-21. Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  14. ^ "Toledo, OH (TOL)". Great American Stations. Retrieved 2017-10-26.
  15. ^ "Greyhound's move to train station nears". The Blade. 28 February 2016.
  16. ^ Sanzenbacher, Dane (23 June 2016). "Greyhound, Amtrak station opens in south Toledo". WTOL News.
  17. ^ "Bus Stop Locations". Barons Bus. 31 May 2016.
  18. ^ "This location will no longer have staff available". 1 May 2022. Retrieved 14 July 2022.

External links[edit]