Chicago Union Station

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Chicago Union Station

Postby carajul » Mon Jul 16, 2007 7:15 pm

Was there a larger yard behind Chicago union station at one time. If you are behind the station looking at it, there is a grassy field to the left. Was this a large yard at one time? It also looks like that massive PRR freight house is gone and replaced with a power sub station or something.
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Postby Gilbert B Norman » Tue Jul 17, 2007 7:03 am

Once upon a time (or lets try when I first visited Chicago during 1961), Mr. Carajul, anywhere South of Polk Street from Union Station East to the Lakefront was one big passenger and Railway Express facility. There were five stations hosting intercity trains at that time, plus two others not visible from Roosevelt Road (OK, before someone like Ms. Bly "catches' me, I'm taking a bit of liberty with Central Station and viewing action from Roosevelt Road).

Then as now, you could view trains from atop Roosevelt Road; but back then, there was simply TOO MUCH "action' for anyone to absorb. It was quite the railfan spectacle - and I was an active railfan back then ("hirin' on" cured me of such pastime).

P_Road's freight house was chopped down as part of building Amtrak's existing facility during early '80's.
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Re: Chicago Union Station

Postby gokeefe » Mon Jul 25, 2016 12:07 pm

An interesting point was made in the Lake Shore Limited thread that a staffed ticket window is now operating again in the Great Hall. I'm curious to know how long its been since that was the case. I'm guessing perhaps as recently as the early 1980s but I really have no idea.
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Re: Chicago Union Station

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Mon Jul 25, 2016 1:49 pm

From first hand observations, the pre-Amtrak ticket cage was located on the South side of the walk under Canal Street. Along about November 1971, when Amtrak assumed ticketing and Revenue Accounting activities from the roads, they (Gerry) built their own cage located in the center of the Head House, or Great Hall in newspeak.

By 1973, Amtrak had built more permanent ticket windows where the present Baggage Room is located. That served until 1991 when the renovation of the 222 "sub basement" was complete and the present location at the foot of the Canal Street underpass was complete. It remains there to this day.

That they now have a staffed cage where the 1971 varietal was located is news to me. But then. who am I to know; I haven't set foot in CUS since last October.
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Re: Chicago Union Station

Postby John_Perkowski » Mon Jul 25, 2016 4:25 pm

US Geologic Survey maps/airphotos of the Chicago railroad district from 1929, 1963 (updated in 72 and 80) and 2015.
Chicago Stations 1929.JPG
Chicago Stations 1929
Attachments
Chicago Stations 2015.JPG
Chicago Stations 2015
Chicago Stations 1963 updated 1972 and 80.JPG
Chicago Stations 1963, updated 72 and 80
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Re: Chicago Union Station

Postby gokeefe » Sun Nov 27, 2016 4:41 pm

Excellent article in the Chicago Tribune regarding ongoing improvements at "CUS":

Reflecting the social customs of the Edwardian era, the station even provided a decorous refuge for ladies awaiting their next train.

That was the genesis of the former Women's Lounge, which has been renamed the Burlington Room in honor of a vaunted rail company whose tracks extended throughout the Midwest. Its restoration was precipitated by Amtrak's $3 million upgrade of sprinklers and heating systems on the headhouse's west side. The railroad has turned that necessity into a potential moneymaker.
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Re: Chicago Union Station

Postby gokeefe » Thu May 25, 2017 9:00 am

Master developer selected:

After formally launching its search for a master developer back in October of 2015, Amtrak has selected a firm to revitalize Chicago’s 92-year-old Union Station and maximize the commercial potential of 14 acres of surrounding downtown real estate. Chicago-based Riverside Investment & Development Co. has come out ahead in a four-way final competition against fellow developers Golub & Co., Sterling Bay, and The John Buck Company. The initial conceptual design from Riverside development partner Convexity Properties calls for 3.1 million square feet of office, residential, hotel, and retail space and is estimated to cost more than $1 billion.
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Re: Chicago Union Station

Postby gokeefe » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:07 am

Skylight improvements underway.

Chicago's iconic Union Station is the focus of major, $1 billion, six-year modernization, with fancy new retail space and a possible hotel off on the horizon. But we're just as thrilled about the preservationist components as any other overhauls. Case in point: the $22 million restoration of the station's Great Hall and grand, arched skylight.

Amtrak, which is funding the restoration, announced on Monday that renovation work has officially begun in the Hall. Architect Goettsch Partners and contractor Berglund Construction have brought in a crane, erected along Clinton Street, to shuttle construction materials in hopes of minimizing disruption to passengers. (Only Penn Station in New York, Union Station in Washington D.C., and the 30th Street Station Philadelphia see more foot traffic than Chicago's Union Station, among Amtrak stations.) The clever plan also incorporates "a suspended working deck and swing stages," rather than emphasizing scaffolding, according to Amtrak.
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Re: Chicago Union Station

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:03 pm

Plan released, per Chicago Tribune:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ ... story.html

A redevelopment of Union Station could begin as soon as next spring, starting with a seven-story glass-and-steel addition on top of its main building.

More than a year after they were chosen by property owner Amtrak to reconfigure and build onto the massive rail station, Chicago-based developers Riverside Investment & Development and Convexity Properties on Monday night unveiled new details of their proposal to add a hotel, apartments, offices and new retail tenants.
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Re: Chicago Union Station

Postby gokeefe » Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:11 am

This looks like a great plan with a solid partner. Good to see Amtrak is finally able to benefit financially from the many years of stewardship they have provided for a historic urban terminal.
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Re: Chicago Union Station

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:30 pm

This is what was proposed when the station was designed. The structure atop the existing eight floors of now largely unoccupied office space was to be a hotel.

From first hand knowledge, I learned that cassions sufficient to hold the twenty five story structure were laid. However, within a city where "politics is everything", the owners of The Midland ("W"), LaSalle (razed), Morrison (razed), Palmer House (Hilton), Stevens (Conrad Hilton), Bismarck (Allegro), whoever, were "not happy" over someone having a hotel back then analogous to the one (Hilton, for the moment) within the O'Hare terminals.

And that was that.

But with cassions laid to support a structure much higher than the seven floors proposed, why not go for it? The West Loop is "where it's at" Today.
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Chicago Union Station

Postby Steve B » Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:47 pm

PRR's Polk Street Freight Station was demolished in 1974. This is about the best commentary on the building that I've found. http://modern-b4-mies.blogspot.com/2012 ... lroad.html

It'd be nice if Amtrak replaced the ornamental columns yanked out several decades ago from the waiting room. There were four-- two at the Fred Harvey entrance and two opposite them, on the way to the trains. Removal damaged the symmetry and the enclosed nature of the space. There was plenty of room for people to walk around them.
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Re: Chicago Union Station

Postby eolesen » Tue Jun 26, 2018 7:37 pm

Where’s the money coming from?

Metra certainly can’t afford higher rent to pay for this.
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Re: Chicago Union Station

Postby gokeefe » Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:37 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:But with cassions laid to support a structure much higher than the seven floors proposed, why not go for it? The West Loop is "where it's at" Today.


Changes to engineering standards and heavier trains may have an impact on the ability of the caissons to handle additional load. Sometimes "the way it was" has been improved on by "the way it is".

Caveat: I am not a Professional Engineer nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night ...

That being said there could also be economic issues with financing. There is always the possibility that as designed the structure may be able to accommodate further expansion (would not surprise me at all).
Last edited by gokeefe on Tue Jun 26, 2018 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Chicago Union Station

Postby mtuandrew » Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:55 pm

Mr. O’Keefe: the caissons are under the Great Hall is which is adjacent but not over the tracks. Heavier trains aren’t an issue, only heavier building superstructure.
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