Los Angeles Union Station

Los Angeles Union Station (or LAUS, formerly the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal or LAUPT) is the main railway station in Los Angeles, California. The station has rail services by Amtrak (including Amtrak California state-sponsored lines) and Metrolink; light rail/subways are the Metro Rail Red Line, Purple Line, Gold Line.[3]Bus rapid transport runs on the Silver Line. Bus services operate from the Patsaouras Transit Plaza on the east side of the station and others on the north side of the station.

The station opened in May 1939, one of a number of union stations in the United States. It was built on a grand scale and became known as "Last of the Great Railway Stations" built in the United States. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. It has been owned by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority since February 2011.

[edit] Location

Union Station is located in the northeastern corner of Downtown Los Angeles, on the property bounded by Alameda Street, Cesar Chavez Avenue, Vignes Street, and the Hollywood Freeway. It is across Alameda Street from L.A.'s historic Olvera Street and El Pueblo de Los Angeles State Historic Park. The historic Terminal Annex building is on the opposite side of the Chavez Avenue underpass. Chinatown and Civic Center are a short distance away.

The Patsaouras Transit Plaza on the east side of Union Station hosts several connecting bus lines, including Metro Rapid and Metro Local lines, as well as downtown DASH shuttles, many municipal bus lines, FlyAway express bus service to Los Angeles International Airport, and University of Southern California campus shuttles. The Transit Plaza is named after Nick Patsaouras, former RTD board member and advocate for public transportation.

The Gateway Transit Center includes the station itself, Patsaouras Transit Plaza, and the western terminus of the El Monte Busway, as well as Metro's headquarters building.

Amtrak and Metrolink share 10 of Union Station's 12 outdoor tracks, with 90 weekday trains departing (91 on Wednesday, 92 on Friday) as of July 2011.

[edit] Services

[edit] Amtrak

Amtrak offers four long distance trains out of Los Angeles:

Los Angeles is a stop on the Pacific Surfliner regional line running from San Diego in the south to San Luis Obispo in the north, the only multiple-times-daily Amtrak service to Los Angeles.

[edit] Metrolink

The station is the hub for Metrolink services and six of Metrolink's seven lines call at the station.

[edit] Metro Rail

Three Metro Rail services serve the station with about 300 Metro Rail trains departing every weekday. The Metro Red Line and Metro Purple Line subway services have their eastern terminus at Union Station and share an underground level with two tracks below Union Station.[4] There are two entrances: one is located at Union Station's main entrance on the west side of the complex, facing Alameda Street, and the other is located at the Patsaouras Transit Plaza on the east side of the complex.

The Metro Gold Line is a light-rail line that passes through Union Station between Pasadena and East Los Angeles using Tracks 1 and 2 of Union Station's 14 outdoor tracks. Platforms are accessible from the main passenger tunnel via staircase and elevator. The art installation, entitled Images of Commonality/Nature and Movement, was created by Beth Thielen.

[edit] Bus and coach services [edit] Regional bus/coach services

A number of longer distance bus/coach services by Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach operate from the station, using bus stops at the north side of the station. Connections to Amtrak's San Joaquins line are provided through bus services to and from Bakersfield. Connections to ferry services to Catalina Island and the cruise ship terminals are provided by bus services to Long Beach & San Pedro. Routes:[citation needed]

  • Los Angeles/Bakersfield
  • Los Angeles/Bakersfield (via Santa Clarita-Newhall Metrolink)
  • Los Angeles/Long Beach & San Pedro
  • Los Angeles/Santa Barbara
  • Los Angeles to Van Nuys
  • Los Angeles/Las Vegas.
  • San Diego/Bakersfield (via Los Angeles)
  • Santa Ana/Bakersfield (via Los Angeles)
[edit] Metro Liner

Board Metro Silver Line at Alameda St. and the El Monte Busway entrance. Metro is hoping to relocate the current Metro Silver Line stop to a new bus station near the Patsaouras Transit Plaza by April 2013. Metro Silver Line service hours are approximately from 4:15 AM until 1:45 AM Monday- Friday & 5:00 A.M.- 1:45 A.M. Saturdays/ Sundays & Holidays .

Most bus/coach services using the El Monte Busway. These stop west of Alameda St. near the El Monte Busway entrance (except line 699, which stops at Patsaouras Transit Plaza).

Bus services using the Patsaouras Transit Plaza:

* Indicates commuter service that operates only during weekday rush hours. ** Direct FlyAway Bus service is offered between Union Station and Los Angeles International Airport. The blue buses run every 30 minutes between 5 am and 1 am and on the hour between 1 am and 5 am from Berth 9 of the Patsaouras Transit Plaza. The service is mainly intended for those who use public transportation to Union Station and then transfer to the bus, but there is a parking garage.

Bus services using bus stops on Cesar Chavez Avenue & Vignes Street close to Patsaouras Transit Plaza:

[edit] Architecture

Union Station was partially designed by John Parkinson and Donald B. Parkinson (the Parkinsons) who had also designed Los Angeles City Hall and other landmark Los Angeles buildings. They were assisted by a group of supporting architects, including Jan van der Linden. The structure combines Dutch Colonial Revival architecture (the suggestion of the Dutch born Jan von der Linden), Mission Revival, and Streamline Moderne style, with architectural details such as eight-pointed stars.

Enclosed garden patios are on either side of the waiting room, and passengers exiting the trains were originally directed through the southern garden. The lower part of the interior walls is covered in travertine marble, and the upper part is covered with an early form of acoustical tile. The floor in the large rooms is terra cotta tile with a central strip of inlaid marble (including travertine, somewhat unusual in floors since it is soft).

Attached to the main building to the south is the station restaurant designed by southwestern architect Mary Colter (the last of the "Harvey House" restaurants to be constructed as a part of a passenger terminal). Although now usually padlocked and stripped of many interior furnishings, the topology of its rounded central counter, streamlined booths, and inlaid floor patterns remain. The influential sci-fi film Blade Runner used shots of the waiting area as the 2019 police department.

Even with its grand scale it is considered small in comparison to other union stations.[5][6]

[edit] History

In 1926, a measure was placed on the ballot giving Los Angeles voters the choice between the construction of a vast network of elevated railways or the construction of a much smaller Union Station to consolidate different railroad terminals. The election would take on racial connotations and become a defining moment in the development of Los Angeles.[7] The proposed Union Station was located in the heart of what was Los Angeles' original Chinatown. Reflecting the prejudice of the era, the conservative Los Angeles Times, a lead opponent of elevated railways, argued in editorials that Union Station would not be built in the “midst of Chinatown” but rather would “forever do away with Chinatown and its environs.” Voters approved demolishing much of Chinatown to build Union Station by a narrow 51 to 48 percent.[8][when?]

The station originally served the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, Southern Pacific Railroad, and Union Pacific Railroad, as well as the Pacific Electric Railway and Los Angeles Railway (LARy). It saw heavy use during World War II, but later saw declining patronage due to the growing popularity of air travel and automobiles.

The station was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980[2] and is Los Angeles Historic–Cultural Monument #101.[when?]

The Orange County Line opened in 1992 followed by the Ventura County Line, The Antelope Valley Line and the San Bernardino Line in 1992 in part, completely to San Bernardino by 1993. The RedLine (including what is now the Purple Line) and the Riverside Line began operation from the station the following year.[9] The Blue Line which opened in 1990 was originally intended to terminate at Union Station but currently terminates at 7th Street/Metro. The Gold Line began operating in 2003.[citation needed].

In February 2011, the Metro Board approved the purchase of Union Station from Catellus/Prologis for $75 million. The deal was closed on April 14, 2011.[10][11]

The station was formerly designated the 'Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal' (LAUPT), but its former owner, Catellus Development, officially changed the name to Los Angeles Union Station.[6][when?]

[edit] Future expansion

[edit] New transit station on El Monte Busway

A new transitway station for the Silver Line is being created to the south of the Patsaouras Transit Plaza in the median of the El Monte Busway as part of the Metro ExpressLanes project. It will allow buses travelling in both directions on the busway to serve the Union station with a minimum of delay for passengers for other destinations.[12][13][14] To avoid impacting the ExpressLane demonstration the station will be delayed undergoing construction and is not due to be open until mid 2015 at the earliest.[15]

[edit] Run-through tracks project

With the number of trains using Union Station expanding, the stub-end layout of trackage at the station is becoming a liability. Trains are required to back out of the station (in push-pull configuration with the use of cab cars) resulting in delays as multiple trains must use the same tracks to get out of the station. Therefore, tracks 3-6 are being extended as run-through tracks, which will exit Union Station and cross over the 101 freeway to the existing BNSF tracks at an "S-curve." The run-through tracks are envisioned for use by the following trains when departing or arriving at Union Station: Amtrak Pacific Surfliners, the Southwest Chief, and the 91 and Orange County lines of Metrolink, as they currently must make a near-180 degree turn just outside the station in order to proceed in either direction. Northbound trains headed for Union Station would also use the run-through tracks allowing them to bypass the same curved track they must currently use. Most of the delays caused by the current configuration are suffered by arriving trains, as departures are usually given priority, often to free-up needed platforms and to keep departing trains from experiencing delays along their route should they depart late.

During construction, tracks 3-6 will be out of service due to their extension. Because of this, in preparation for the construction of run-through tracks, track #13 is being revitalized for use as well as the re-construction of tracks 14-16 (they were removed long ago, though the reason and date is unclear) in order to make up for the loss of tracks 3-6 in the process. Once the construction is finished, the run-through tracks and tracks 13-16 will be in regular use, resulting in a 40% increase in track capacity. The construction and revitalization of tracks 13-16 has already started; however, it is a slowgoing project.

Caltrans and the Federal Railroad Administration have already drafted a plan to create four run-through tracks that would connect the south end of Union Station with the existing BNSF trackage south of US Route 101, directly south of Union Station. The Run Through Tracks would exit Union Station on a bridge crossing over the freeway, and continue on an elevated structure for approximately one mile until they reached the BNSF trackage on the west bank of the Los Angeles River.

The final environmental impact report was published by the FRA in November 2005.[16]

[edit] California High-Speed Rail

Union Station is planned to be a major hub for the future California High-Speed Rail System. To accommodate the future service, three platforms with six tracks will be built on an aerial structure above the existing platforms. Upon completion, passengers will be able to get from Union Station to the planned Transbay Terminal in San Francisco in 2 hours and 38 minutes.[citation needed]

[edit] In popular culture

The facility served as a backdrop for the 1950 film Union Station, which starred William Holden and Nancy Olson. It has been used in many vintage motion pictures, many of the film noir variety. Classic films that feature sequences at the venue include:

Many television shows and motion pictures have also incorporated the station as a backdrop, including Silver Streak, Blade Runner, Speed, "Alias" Can't Hardly Wait, Star Trek: First Contact, Pearl Harbor, The Italian Job, Raise Your Voice, Collateral, The Island, Drag Me to Hell, Quantum Leap, 24, Chuck, and NCIS: Los Angeles.[17][18]

The station is also featured in the music video to Lifehouse's You and Me and the music video for HIM's Wings of a Butterfly. It has also been featured in several video games, including Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as Unity Station, Midnight Club: Los Angeles and L.A. Noire as it appeared in 1947.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Los Angeles, CA (LAX)". Great American Stations. http://www.greatamericanstations.com/Stations/LAX. Retrieved 18 November 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. http://nrhp.focus.nps.gov/natreg/docs/All_Data.html
  3. ^ http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=am/am2Station/Station_Page&code=LAX
  4. ^ "Purple Line station information". http://www.metro.net/riding_metro/purple_line.htm
  5. ^ Matthew R. Poole (2010). Frommer's Los Angeles 2011. Frommer's. pp. 30. ISBN 0470626194
  6. ^ a b Matthew R. Poole (2007). Travel Los Angeles for Smartphones and Mobile Devices. MobileReference. ISBN 1605010367
  7. ^ Axelrod, Jeremiah (2009). Inventing Autopia: Dreams and Visions of the Modern Metropolis in Jazz Age Los Angeles. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. pp. 193. ISBN 978-0-520-25285-1
  8. ^ Bottles, Scott (1987). Los Angeles and the Automobile: The Making of the Modern City. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. pp. 156. ISBN 978-0520057951
  9. ^ Katches, Mark (January 31, 1993). "Red Line Rolls to Raves – It's Smooth Railing As L.A. Subway Opens". Daily News of Los Angeles
  10. ^ http://thesource.metro.net/2011/02/24/metro-to-purchase-los-angeles-union-station/
  11. ^ http://thesource.metro.net/2011/04/14/metro-tonight-officially-becomes-new-owner-of-los-angeles-union-station/
  12. ^ "Metro ExpressLanes". Metro MTA. http://www.metro.net/projects/expresslanes/
  13. ^ "Patsaouras Plaza/El Monte Busway Station". EE&K Architects. http://www.eekarchitects.com/portfolio/9-transportation-infrastructure/127-patsaouras-plazael-monte-busway-station
  14. ^ "Patsaouras Plaza Connector (Conceptual Plan)". Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/27717393@N05/3526186713/in/photostream
  15. ^ EL MONTE AND PATSAOURAS PLAZA STATION PROJECTS Agenda item #28 Oct. 27, 2011 Metro Board meeting
  16. ^ FRA – Los Angeles Union Station Run-Through Tracks Project Environmental Impact Statement
  17. ^ "Television and movie productions that have utilized Union Station as a filming location". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/List?endings=on&&locations=Union%20Station%20-%20800%20N.%20Alameda%20St.,%20Los%20Angeles,%20California,%20USA&&heading=18;with+locations+including;Union%20Station%20-%20800%20N.%20Alameda%20St.,%20Los%20Angeles,%20California,%20USA. Retrieved 2006-06-30. 
  18. ^ "Titles with location Union Station - 800 N. Alameda Street, Downtown, Los Angeles, California, USA". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/List?locations=Union+Station+-+800+N.+Alameda+Street,+Downtown,+Los+Angeles,+California,+USA&&tv=on. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 

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