The Washington Union Station Centennial

Washington Travel Blog

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Union Station Centennial Program

Washingon, DC's Union Station celebrated its centennial this weekend. The landmark building designed by architect Daniel Burnham continues to serve as transportation hub and gateway to the nation's capital. I've taken trains from the station many times, to New York, Montreal, Boston, Chicago, and elsewhere. On Saturday, I went to have a look at the festivities and exhibits. I drove (even though that was perhaps not in keeping with the spirit of the event) into town along I-395 and the Southeast/Southwest Freeway, exiting at Massachusetts Avenue. Ample parking was available in the station's parking garage added in 1988.

Not only was the 1908 completion of the terminal cause for celebration, this month also marks the 20th anniversary of the restoration of Union Station.

Union Station entrance
Amtrak sponsored the Centennial Celebration and used the opportunity to take a look back at the transportation history of the site and to promote its current services. There were historic exhibts galore! Resorted locomotives representing the private railway companies that once served Union Station--Baltimore & Ohio, Chesapeake & Ohio, Pennsylvania Railroad, Southern Railway--were on display in the upper level (commuter) platform area. Along with these were restored privately owned passenger cars, representing cars that once had served on these lines in the pre-Amtrak era. (They are now available for luxury charter or excursion work.) A very popular exhibt was the Railway Post Office car (RPO) that had once been used on the Southern Railway to sort US Mail enroute.
Centennial banner

Amtrak was showing its various present-day services ranging from the Acela Express high speed trains used on the Northeast Corridor to business class service to long-distance sleeping and dining car accommodations. An Amtrak chef was very proud to show off the new regional menu selections Amtrak has just introduced on the very long-distance continental trains. There were also two model railway layouts and various vendor and informational exhibit tables. (I picked up a sheet of souvenir postage stamps.) I was a little disappointed that there were no exhibits or interpretative displays about the station itself and its design and history. That was, after all, what was being celebrated! 

 

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Union Station Centennial Program
Union Station Centennial Program
Union Station entrance
Union Station entrance
Centennial banner
Centennial banner
Centennial displays
Centennial displays
Vendor displays
Vendor displays
Model train and carnival
Model train and carnival
Model trains
Model trains
Model trains
Model trains
Golde Age lcomotives
Golde Age lcomotives
The Pennsylvania Railroad
The Pennsylvania Railroad
Welcome Aboard!
Welcome Aboard!
Autmnal display graces a private r…
Autmnal display graces a private …
Classic dining car elegance
Classic dining car elegance
Private car dining area
Private car dining area
Railway Post Office car
Railway Post Office car
Mail hook and mail bags
Mail hook and mail bags
Purple Seaboard locomtive
Purple Seaboard locomtive
Vintage equipment
Vintage equipment
Amtraks Acela Express
Amtrak's Acela Express
Acela Express accommodation
Acela Express accommodation
Acela Express destination board
Acela Express destination board
Amtrak Superliner sleeping car
Amtrak Superliner sleeping car
Amtrak Superliner dining car
Amtrak Superliner dining car
Southwest cuisine aboard the Texas…
Southwest cuisine aboard the Texa…
Amtraks City of New Orleans menu
Amtrak's City of New Orleans menu
Superliner dining car galley
Superliner dining car galley
Long-distance snack offerings
Long-distance snack offerings
Washington Sights & Attractions review
A Railway Station and More
Union Station in Washington, DC, recently celebrated the centennial of its compeltion. Since 1908 the railway terminal has served as a transportation … read entire review
Washington
photo by: b93sp