Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Grand stations NEED great locations

Second only to the safety and efficiency that rail travel offers passengers is the sense of awe that can humble any one of us when entering the grand station of a major city and looking up at it's vaulted ceiling, while surrounded by massive Corinthian columns. Entering or exiting a city through any portal that astounds you with it's beauty and sheer size is just part of what makes rail travel not only enjoyable, but in many ways magical.

However, as important as large stunning train stations are, the location of them in the middle of our downtowns and connectivity to local mass transit is just as crucial. A beautiful station can be an inspiring beginning or end to any interstate journey or daily commute as long as the traveler takes the train in the first place. Trains are appealing for their ability to deliver you right to the city center of your choice. A city's main train station on the outskirts of town might as well be an airport that leaves you needing yet another form of transportation to get to the heart of the city. Planners and Legislators must keep this in mind when selecting the main station for each city along the Midwest's High Speed route and the people of St. Paul, Minnesota have done just that!

Below is a great video from OnBoard Midwest about utilizing the grandeur and central location of the St. Paul Union Depot and it's connectivity to the Twin Cities' light rail system that will carry travelers right to their metropolitan destination.

Excellent location and an inspiring station. CONGRATS citizens of the Twin Cities!

Other Midwestern cities with beautiful stations in central locations are:
Chicago (Union Station needs connectivity to the CTA and nearby Ogilvie Transportation Center)

Milwaukee and it's beautiful new Milwaukee Intermodal Station (renovated in November 2007) is right along the Menomonee River in downtown and walking distance from Marquette University.

Honorable mention:
Cincinnati (Cincinnati Union Terminal, although now a museum now with active tracks behind it, has one of the most beautiful facades of any station in the country)

Cleveland (the current Amtrak station is not much to look at, but the location is terrific with Cleveland Browns Stadium, the Rock & Roll HOF and the water front all within walking distance)

St. Louis (St. Louis Union Station is a stunning building that is unfortunately now a hotel and shopping mall instead of a train terminal, however I should be grateful that it is still standing and being used)

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Blogger Dave said...

So why is Madison not looking at the Yahara station location, instead of an airport station?? Here's an article on this topic

9:37 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

No love for Indy's Union Station in the heart of downtown and still (sort of but not really) in use as a train station?

2:39 PM  
Blogger neroden@gmail said...

How 'bout Kansas City -- mostly museum, but still a train station too (more trains per day than Indianapolis). Superb location.

11:46 AM  

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