Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
April 12, 2010
Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel
July 21, 2008
From journal A Second in LA
May 11, 2005
Union Station had a gala opening in 1939 and was the prime West Coast hub. When it opened, it was a deluxe station worthy of the capital of the emerging movie and entertainment industry. She was elegant, with handmade Spanish tiles, beautiful fountains, comfy leather seats in the waiting areas, and a five-star restaurant.
You can almost still feel the ghosts in these walls, young starlets stepping off the train from Fargo, ND, in hopes of making it big in the movies. You can sense the young GIs leaving home to fight in World War II leaving from these tracks. Some never returned home. Some of the most famous movie stars of their time used this station to come and go. These walls hold so many stories.
Sadly, jet travel took over rail travel in the United States, and by the 1960s, passenger numbers started to decline. Rail travel never left Union Station, and famous trains like the Startlight Limited always left from here. Slowly, the grand lady started to show her age.
I remember leaving from here in 1982 going to San Diego. The station was a sad sight. Only about an eight of it was in use. Most of the grand spaces were closed to the public. You could peak in through the boards and see the once-posh restaurant sitting empty. Homeless people were camped out everywhere. You could still sense the grandeur, but the shine was definitely gone.
The old girl seemed to be on her last breath when the city stepped in and did the right thing. Like most Hollywood leading ladies, she needed a facelift. Millions of dollars were spent to get her back to her former glory. Today, Amtrak and Metrolink use the station as their L.A. base.
You can get a real feel of what it was like to travel by train from Hollywood in the 1940s. She has been cleaned, polished, and restored. The homeless have been given haven elsewhere ,and it's a joy to come here. A fine restaurant was opened in the station called Traxx. Folks now come just to dine here.
The old ticket lobby is still closed, but you can view it, and it's often used in movies when a 1940s train station is needed. Private parties can be held here, with the bars being the wooded ticket windows.
Whenever we have guests visiting L.A., I always suggest a train ride to San Diego or Santa Barbara from Union Station. Amtrak hugs the coast on these routes and you can enjoy unmatched scenery. It's a civilized way to see Southern California. But it you travel from here, come early, spend some time looking over this wonderful station, and see if you can get the walls to give up a story or two.
From journal Movie Stars, Freeway and Beaches - LA
New York, New York
September 12, 2004
From journal A New Yorker loving Los Angeles