Friday, October 22, 2010

Seen from the MAX Yellow Line, Portland's Union Station

Info about Union Station from Wikipedia:

Union Station is a train station near the west shore of the Willamette River in the Old Town Chinatown section of Portland, Oregon, United States.

The initial design for the station was created in 1882 by McKim, Mead, and White. Had the original plan been built, the station would have been the largest train station in the world. A smaller plan was introduced by architects Van Brunt & Howe, and accepted in 1885. Construction of the station began in 1890. It was built by Northern Pacific Terminal Company at a cost of $300,000, and opened on February 14, 1896. The signature piece of the structure is the 150 ft. tall Romanesque clock tower. The "Go By Train" neon sign was added to it after World War II.

The station was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

Besides serving as an Amtrak station, the building contains offices on the upper floors, as well as Wilf's Restaurant and Piano Bar on the ground level. It also has Amtrak's only Metropolitan Lounge (reserved for first-class passengers) on the West Coast.

Southeast of the station, the tracks make a sharp turn and cross the river on the historic Steel Bridge. To the northwest, they follow the river, passing through rail yards before crossing the river again on the Burlington Northern Railroad Bridge 5.1.
Union Station serves as a transportation hub for Portland. Portland's Greyhound bus station is the next building to the south, having moved to a new building there (from a location in the center of downtown) in 1985.

Union Station connects to MAX Green and Yellow line trains at nearby Union Station/Northwest 6th & Hoyt Street and Union Station/Northwest 5th & Glisan Street stations, as well as local bus service provided by TriMet. Located at the northern end of TriMet's transit mall, the light rail stops are in the Free Rail Zone, which means that trips into downtown are free. In addition, it is only a short walk to the Portland Streetcar, which provides service to the Pearl District or south through the west end of downtown to Portland State University and the South Waterfront.

In 1987, ownership of the station and surrounding land was transferred to the Portland Development Commission as part of the Downtown/Waterfront urban renewal district.[4] Shortly afterwards, Union Station underwent a renovation. It was rededicated in 1996.

The PDC earns $200,000 a year from nearly 30 tenants. Amtrak, the main tenant, has a lease through 2010 with a renewal option through 2015.

In 2004, the roadway in front of the station was reconfigured, providing a new connection to the northwest and a forecourt. In addition, the area is being redeveloped, including new housing where railroad tracks once were.

Additional current info about Union Station:

Portland Union Station - Passenger Train Service

Portland Union Station is served by three scheduled Amtrak intercity passenger trains.

With three daily departures between Seattle and Portland, as well as daily service to Vancouver, B.C., the Amtrak Cascades is a convenient link to the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. Amtrak Cascades' European-style trains offer laptop computer outlets; bicycle, ski and snowboard racks; and regional food and drink. With service between Eugene, Ore., and Vancouver, B.C., Amtrak Cascades is perfect for both business travel and weekend getaways.

Amtrak's Coast Starlight operates daily, connecting the West Coast's most popular destination cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle.

Amtrak's Empire Builder takes you on an exciting adventure through majestic wilderness, following the footsteps of Lewis and Clark. The Empire Builder begins in Portland and heads east to Chicago with stops at the following destinations and more: Spokane, Whitefish, Glacier National Park, Minot, Minneapolis, and Milwaukee.

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