Electric Travel Books


   Union Station, LA’s architectural masterpiece that recalls the golden age of railroading, is still a vital transportation hub. Amtrak, MetroLink and LA Metro Rail’s Gold, Red and Purple lines all converge here. So the next time your train travels bring you to downtown Los Angeles, we recommend that you take a few minutes to tour Union Station.

Like so much of LA, Union Station was built on the past – several bocks of the original Chinatown were demolished to make way for its construction in 1938. Union Station was designed in part by father and son architects John Parkinson and Donald B. Parkinson who also played major roles in the building of other LA landmarks such as USC, the Coliseum and City Hall.

    Thousands of passengers heading for the cross country trains of the Santa Fe Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads as well as the local street cars of Pacific Electric, passed through Union Station's cavernous yet elegant Mission Revival-art deco halls. As you tour the building pay attention to details such as the marbled floors, designed to evoke the feel of Native American rugs. Many classic movies have been filmed here, including the dystopian epic Blade Runner, in which Union Station was re-imagined as the LAPD headquarters of the future. Probably the best cinematic tour of Union Station is, appropriately, the 1950 William Holden-headlined detective thriller Union Station, in which cops, kidnappers and a blind heiress chase each other through the station’s tracks, hallways and underground corridors. The original restaurant was the last of the famous Harvey Houses, cafes built by railroad restaurateur Fred Harvey, whose mission was to bring civilized dining to the American traveling public.

    Dodger fans – and who in LA isn’t these days? – will appreciate the Dodger Stadium Express bus that links Union Station with the ballpark, bypassing the hellish stadium parking lot.  And despite LA’s reputation as a freeway-addicted metropolis, Union Station is the fifth busiest Amtrak station in America.



Written by Elisa Makunga — October 07, 2013

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