LA, DC Among Most Beautiful Train Stations

Los Angeles Union Station

Travel + Leisure Magazine has named Los Angeles Union Station and Washington, D.C., Union Station among the world's most beautiful train stations.

Of the 15 stations highlighted by the travel publication, three are in the U.S. and two are served by daily Amtrak service. The third U.S. station is New York City's Grand Central Station, which serves commuter lines in and out of Manhattan.

"Whether neo-Baroque or contemporary, the world’s most beautiful train stations were designed to make a big impression," says the list's author Lyndsey Matthews, who also highlighted train stations in India, the United Kingdom and Madrid in her reporting.

Washington Union Station

A well-planned train station is one of the best investments a community can make, and even smaller stops within the Amtrak system are redeveloping their stations as places for tourism, business investment and civic pride.

Smaller communities including Hattiesburg, Miss., and  Normal, Ill., have recently invested in their stations to yield sizable economic benefits, including multi-million-dollar private developments in surrounding areas, restored parks and civic buildings and increased home values.

Think your community's station could be the next LA Union Station or Washington station? Check out GreatAmericanStations.com, a one-stop shop on how to develop your local station and harness its economic power.

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15 comments
Varivahlady
Varivahlady

The train station in Va beach, Va needs a lot of work!  DC has a nice train station and Richmond, Va Main street station is nice also!


annewarren4
annewarren4

our station in Los Angeles is also called Union Station  and is very noisy and processes are inconsistent-one time they take away both ends of our tickets, other times we are cattle carded to the train, sometimes we get enough notice to start up before the monstrous landslide of elderly, disabled, strollers, cranky babies etc all try to get to the train and board in seconds while crew tries to rush in onboard instead of sensibly letting us start boarding early since our seats are already assigned and this is the only station where seats are assigned but most people don't know it.  The bathrooms have shrieking loud toilets and hand washers that blast your eardrums, the entrance is too narrow for wheelchairs and the carts that hold our luggage, there is a step blockage that makes entering the rest room difficult, the women's bathroom always has a long long line while the mens' restroom is in and out.   If the building is going to be a long term station is needs more restrooms and AC in the summer-just because it is a national building does not mean that the people should have to sweat to death for hours waiting for their train. a little courtesy could also be In order-when my purse broke on the Metrolink   on the way to the station I had to find a way to carry my meds-I was lucky that someone gave me their small suitcase because I could not go all the way back to Riverside to get a new purse and then return to Los Angeles-Metrolink does not travel that frequently. The station folks noticed that small suitcase and went bonkers. I had to have the meds they expected me to cancel a trip paid for mos ago and go home and start over-how ridiculous. The lady in charge finally wrote a message to the folks on Amtrak to my destination to Mineola, TX. Yet even those people whined and carried on-there was no intent to break a rule -I even tried to combine stuff into my other suitcase but not all could go. I had 2 suitcases, a tote I usually put in my suitcase once I am on the train to push the luggage around since I am disabled and my purse. They acted like I committed murder-I am a repeat customer and get lots of others including my military and civilian pilots to ride Amtrak to bring you business so I would expect a little common sense. We had come to your aid when a crewmember in a very foul mood had accidently taken off a passengers luggage, diabetic meds and wheelchair without telling her and we and the station lady at Mineola all drove her possession to Longview and made numerous trips to get her the needed diabetes meds. Anyway, try to show a little class and see that your customers are not all criminals and circumstances sometimes are at fault not the passengers-the meds were critical -there is no way to send stuff home from the train station and schedules of the Metrolink and Amtrak do not help solve a problem even worsens it-w want to cooperate but it takes both sides. 

WilliamStJohn
WilliamStJohn

wow what a great station dc is been there 3 maybe 4 times on school trips love it there great architech and history in that building hoping to go there a fifth time this summer to take Amtrak from buffalo ny to va beach Virginia and love the metro service there too peole are always so kind and willing to help

AnneCatanz
AnneCatanz

I go to Union Station every time I am In DC,,,even when not on Metro or travelling by train just because it is so beautiful as well as functional!!!!

DougJames
DougJames

My daughter and I spent about three hours last Wednesday waiting to board the SouthEast Chief in LA. The history and stories of the facility are amazing. I'm glad we had a chance to experience such a landmark together as we are from the East Coast.

jeanleblanc
jeanleblanc

I love the LA Station!  My biggest complaint is that there are no provisions for stashing my carry-on luggage during long lay overs.  One has to lug everything; even while using the restroom!  I would consider traveling through Los Angeles more often, but since I travel alone most times I can't take the chance of losing my things to the opportunists that lurk around the station.

annewarren4
annewarren4

Los Angeles Union Station is beautiful but loud-the doors to the restrooms are difficult for wheelchairs and other disabilities to get in, the toilets and hand dryer machines are extremely loud. In the hot weather there is no AC because they say-it is an national landmark so everyone sits and sweats  while they wait for their train. My Metrolink gets me there about 5-6 hrs early with nothing to do since I already have my ticket. I get there about 12 or 2pm -we cannot reserve seats till after 8pm-they won't let us know what track it will be on-then at 10pm we are cattle prodded into the cars with infants, disabled, and elderly mixed in and rushed on board and few minutes to do it before the train leaves at 10pm. Crying babies and restless kids cannot run or get their energy out at most stops all the way to their destination-thanks to forced change in departure time-they cannot be distracted by seeing the Boneyard in AZ too dark to look, and other sites.  When Amtrak overbooks as usual, the disabled folks downstairs have wheelchairs and other medical equipment and then the crew starts crowding up the car with other passengers suitcases which makes it hard for disabled to get to the restrooms which are ADA qualified but adults allow the kids to use when it is not for them and they also have a lot of disgusting fun putting the large trash containers in front of the toilet and make it impossible for disabled to use them. More crew members needed to control these animals and force their parents to supervise their kids as they are told but never enforced. The med equipment is expensive and sometimes the only thing that lets them be mobile-one lady had equipment that forces her body to beathe.  I love Union Station and have made at least 15 round trips from there and will be doing it again next month. The disabled car is crowded and in some cases should be 2 cars at least because some travelers medical needs require more room-I had leg surgery that was healing very slowly and required me to keep the le elevated-another lady had the same situation. When a difficult whiny passenger got on-she had been told by crew to take the 2 empty seats available at 2am and at 6am there would be more as passengers disembarked. She got on and immediately woke everyone with "I am disabled (so was everyone else) I need 2 seats together-they had been placed with 1 beside me but I could barely get the injured leg partly on seat to avoid DVTs but she had a full seat-and her "caretaker" was right in front of her. crew member came back told her to settle down-only 3 hrs to LA-she whined so much that they asked me to move to other lady with my same problem-she was older and had hurt the entire trip so I left her alone and went to dressing room to try to rest. Did not work so I went behind the seat I had been using and tried to sleep on the floor (I am 66) managed to earn some more bruises and had to be helped up. The pest that caused the problem seemed to be magically cured as soon as she got her way.  I will continue with Amtrak but will never afford sleeping cars on Soc Sec but I usually meet really nice people with few exceptions. Andre, John and Lorna are the best crew on TX Eagle and another crew member was great but switched to San Francisco area and we miss him.  Los Angeles needs more chairs and benches near the ticket line area and Subway and the pretzel place and more staged boarding earlier than 10pm-at least start at 9pm with familes and disabled to prevent more injuries and more orderly boarding-one trip the employees took both halves of our tickets that we usually have to show at stops where we stay extended periods to prove we belong on the train. I use VeteransAdvantage. com to get a 15% discount and usually pay 239 round trip. 

vp81955
vp81955

D.C. and L.A. both are beautiful. I'm only sorry Philadelphia's 30th Street Station didn't make the list.

hotlaru
hotlaru

Heading on Amtrak to D.C. Union Station on Friday...it is a beautiful place :)

ChuckFarina
ChuckFarina

@GeorgeSchwarz  I loved the Kansas City station. I think all that it is lacking is a first class waiting area, and a better trip down to the trains.

annewarren4
annewarren4

@jeanleblanc I know how you feel-I bring a luggage tote with me but the entrance to the restroom has a step up that is hard to navigate and then the doors are too narrow for most and also the restroom entrance is too narrow for wheelchairs or elderly depending on crutches or if someone is trying to help them in. The toilets flushing is so loud and the piggy ones leave paper all over the floor-fortunately they are automatic flushers because most of would not flush on their own. Then the sinks have little power and the automatic hand dryers are extremely loud and I have seen little ones scream in fear of them. I fully agree with you about afraid to lose things but being stolen-no room in toilets to put luggage-so I have to leave at the inside wall and risk theft if I use the restroom-don't know anyone there so by have to  carry with me-they should get a system where for just long enough to use restroom we can park our stuff safely and then take back when done., Need more women's restrooms-always a line there with little kids and elderly and wheelchair bound who need to get in fast or embarrass themselves. Never a long line for men.  It seems LA is the only stop on TX Eagle that we are required to have reserved seats-newer passengers get on an later stops and ask where they are supposed to sit-we ask them what seat is on their ticket and there is none. -no passengers know that an sometimes it leads to bad feelings as they freely sit while we are restricted. It  is good to reserve so we know we have a place that is ours but they need consistency. In the disabled cars people have medical conditions that require various needs. Last time I had leg surgery and to keep leg elevated to prevent DVTs-people kept coming to sit in seat next to me so I could not follow Dr. order and risked the DVT;s but could not afford to buy 2nd seat to obey medical orders. They need at least 2 cars with disabled seats. Last time for whatever reason a family with no disability was allowed to use 6-8 of the 14 seats from LA to ar least San Antonio or further. They also had car seats, strollers, excessive luggage that should have been put in luggage car-it meant that several disabled had to try to handle stairs and seats that would make their medical problem worse.. Even after they moved the family upstairs they still left all their excessive other items downstairs with us.

sombraala
sombraala

@ChuckFarina @GeorgeSchwarz I'm from KC so I may be biased, but I think it rocks too. Wish I could've seen it in its heyday and I do agree that I wish and hope they can implement the trains we do get better.

KC is one of the biggest rail hubs in the nation and we get all of 2 passenger trains... tis sad. 

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