Alexandria Union Station

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Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Union Station.jpg
Location110 Callahan Drive
Alexandria, Virginia
United States
Coordinates38°48′23″N 77°03′44″W / 38.80639°N 77.06222°W / 38.80639; -77.06222Coordinates: 38°48′23″N 77°03′44″W / 38.80639°N 77.06222°W / 38.80639; -77.06222
Owned byCity of Alexandria
Operated byAmtrak
Line(s)RF&P Subdivision (CSXT)
Platforms1 side platform, 1 island platform
ConnectionsWashington Metro
WMATA Blue.svg WMATA Yellow.svg (at King Street–Old Town station)
Bus transport DASH: AT2, AT2X, AT5, AT6, AT7, AT8, AT10
Bus transport Metrobus: 28A, 29K, 29N, NH2
Bus transport Richmond Highway Express
Bus transport King Street Trolley
Disabled accessYes
Other information
Station codeALX
Fare zone2 (VREX)
Passengers (2017)200,373[1]Increase 5.36% (Amtrak)
Preceding station BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak Following station
Burke Centre
toward Roanoke
Northeast Regional Washington, D.C.
toward Chicago
Cardinal Washington, D.C.
toward New York
toward Charlotte
Manassas Crescent
Richmond Staples Mill Road
toward Savannah
toward Miami
Silver Meteor
Richmond Staples Mill Road
toward Miami
Silver Star
Preceding station Virginia Railway Express Following station
Backlick Road
toward Broad Run
Manassas Line Crystal City
Franconia–Springfield Fredericksburg Line
DesignatedFebruary 27, 2013
Reference no.13000044[2]
DesignatedDecember 13, 2012
Reference no.100-0124

Alexandria Union Station is a historic railroad station in Alexandria, Virginia, south of Washington, D.C. To avoid confusion with nearby Washington Union Station, the station is often referred to as simply Alexandria.[3] Its Amtrak code is ALX.[4]

The station is located on Callahan Drive in the Old Town section of the city. It is served by both Amtrak intercity and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) commuter rail lines. The station serves as an alternative stop for Amtrak riders traveling through the Washington area, analogous to the role Newark Penn Station plays in the New York area.

It is located directly across the tracks from the King Street–Old Town station of the Washington Metro. Since the opening of the Metro station in 1983, the city has touted the station as an intermodal hub for regional mass transit, linking Amtrak, VRE, and Metro with a number of Alexandria DASH and Metrobus lines.[5] The Virginia Department of Transportation and Northern Virginia Transportation Authority have plans to build a pedestrian tunnel between Union Station and King Street-Old Town; presently, those transferring from Amtrak to Metro must walk about 600 feet (180 m) along King Street.[6]

The original passenger terminal, a one-story brick building completed in 1905, is still in use. Unlike most stations from the era, it was built in the Federal Revival style. The station was extensively renovated in 1982, with further improvements in the mid-1990s. The stone and concrete Veterans of Foreign Wars memorial was constructed at the station in 1940.[7]


Amtrak train at the station

In the late 1840s, the city of Alexandria invested in at least five major railroad projects to link the city with other commercial centers in what proved to be the forlorn hope of competing with Baltimore as a regional industrial and trade center. The numerous competing lines resulted in a mishmash of rails and yards running through the city amidst various railroad mergers and failures.[7]

In 1901, the railroads serving the region, led by the Pennsylvania Railroad, Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, and Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, formed the Richmond-Washington Company to manage traffic between Richmond and Washington and build a consolidated railyard, Potomac Yard. The company's plans included construction of a new passenger terminal west of the city, in what was then part of Arlington County—Alexandria did not annex the land until 1915.[7]

Alexandria Union Station was opened on September 15, 1905, and served passenger trains of the C&O, Washington Southern Railway, and Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad until 1971, when ownership of the station building was assumed by Amtrak, while C&O (now CSX Transportation bought the tracks.[7] The City of Alexandria took ownership of the station in 2001.[8]

Since the 1970s, Union Station has been the focus of Amtrak's regional services into Virginia. In 1976, Amtrak began running the Colonial from Washington through Alexandria to Newport News. It continues today as a Northeast Regional run.

On October 1, 2009, Amtrak began running two Northeast Regionals to and from Lynchburg, making stops in the state that include Union Station.[9] This was followed by an additional extension to Richmond in 2009, Norfolk in 2012 and Roanoke in 2017.

Station layout[edit]

G Ground level Entrance/exit and station building
Side platform, doors will open on the left, right
Track 3      Manassas Line toward Broad Run (Backlick Road)
     Fredericksburg Line toward Spotsylvania (Franconia–Springfield)
     Manassas Line and      Fredericksburg Line toward Union Station (Crystal City)
Track 2 ← Amtrak toward points south (Woodbridge) or (Manassas)
     Manassas Line (select trains) toward Broad Run (Backlick Road)

→ Amtrak toward points north (Washington)

Side platform, doors will open on the right
Track 1 CSX freight toward points north or south →


  1. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, FY2017, Commonwealth of Virginia" (PDF). Amtrak Government Affairs. November 2017. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  2. ^ "Weekly list of actions taken on properties: 2/25/13 through 3/01/13". National Park Service. March 8, 2013. Retrieved March 14, 2013.
  3. ^ Alexandria Station, Virginia Railway Express, retrieved January 7, 2016
  4. ^ Alexandria, Amtrak, retrieved January 1, 2018
  5. ^ "Bus Service from King St-Old Town" (PDF). WMATA. WMATA. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  6. ^ "Alexandria Pedestrian Tunnel". VRE. VRE. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d Al Cox (1996). "The Alexandria Union Station" (PDF). Historic Alexandria Quarterly. Vol. 1 no. 1. Office of Historic Alexandria.
  8. ^ Hamilton, Ellen (10 June 2015). "Alexandria, Column: Steam Engines and Parking Lots". Alexandria Gazette Packet. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  9. ^ Page, Kevin (December 16, 2009). "Amtrak Virginia Update" (PDF). Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT). Retrieved December 19, 2017.

External links[edit]

Media related to Union Station (Alexandria, Virginia) at Wikimedia Commons