Los Angeles Hotels Blog

June 29, 2010

Historic Railway Station A Shining Example of Los Angeles Building And Construction

Union Station, situated in the City of Los Angeles, which opened in mid-1939, has been called the very last of the ‘Great Railway Stations’ built in the United States. Though it possesses a huge and ornate waiting room and adjacent ticket concourse, it is considered tiny in comparison with other union stations. It was formerly designated the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal, but its present owner has officially modified the name to Los Angeles Union Station.

The edifice served as a part for the 1950 film ‘Union Station’, starring Bill Holden and Nancy Olson. Many TV shows and films have incorporated the station as a prop, including Speed, Pearl Harbor, Blade Runner and Star Trek. The Station is located opposite Los Angeles’ famed Olvera Street.

Union Station was partly designed by the father and son team of John and Donald Parkinson, helped by other architects, including the famous Jan van der Linden. The Parkinsons were also the architects of the Los Angeles City Hall. Their company designed a number of landmark Los Angeles structures from the late 19th century onward. The structure combines Dutch style architecture and streamline Modern style, with architectural details such as 8-pointed stars.

Encased garden patios are on either side of the waiting room, and travelers coming out of the trains were originally funneled through the southern garden. The lower part of the interior walls is adorned with travertine marble, and the upper portion is covered with an old-style form of acoustical tile.

Attached to the main building is a small station restaurant designed by architect Mary Colter. As with many Los Angeles locations, it has only survived by serving as an occasional filming location. The influential science fiction film Blade Runner used shots of the noted area as the futuristic police department.

The station currently has fourteen train tracks, and approximately 80 train departures on weekdays. Metro services Union Station in the form of three rail lines and various bus routes. It is headquartered in nearby Gateway Plaza. Amtrak and Metrolink provide service to the station as well. Los Angeles World Airports just opened a FlyAway express bus service to Los Angeles International Airport, similar to the route already being utilized for Van Nuys.

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