Tacoma Union Station

I had the privilege again to thread through a railroad related adventure in between my work duties. This time around,I had the opportunity to briefly discover what used to be a major passenger railroad station in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, the Tacoma Union Station. Given that it was a union station, multiple railroads had passenger rail service to and from this grand station of the Beaux-Arts architecture. It is not clear to me however which railroads there have been, but by its physical location on the ex-Great Northern and the ex-Milwaukee Road Olympian banner, those two must have at least been patrons under the distinct copper dome of this landmark. Like the fallen flags [of railroads], the center of attention of the mesmeric flow of travelers this station once has been, the Tacoma Union Station has not seen another since the year 1984. A freeway lied where the tracks were, what an ironic, sad, but true statement of where the romance of riding the rails had gone.

Union Station in the last of the good days, this panorama shows this (east) side of the station building today
The Union Station is situated on Pacific Avenue, a busy, prosperous street that can not have become without passenger trains. Now a European style streetcar from Czech Republic (the Sound Transit Tacoma Link) runs along the street in front of the station. It is free of charge for now, but a fare is planned to be introduced in the coming years. To reach Union Station from the current Am-shack by tram, one would walk a few hundred yards west towards the Tacoma Dome and watch for signs of Sound Transit on the street.

If you wonder what the two aforementioned railroads have become, the Great Northern has since evolved into the railroad giant under Berkshire Hathaway, the BNSF Railway, and the Milwaukee Road has, for the most part, abandoned or divided up by Canadian National (Grand Trunk and Western) and Canadian Pacific (SOO Line Railroad).

I shall show off some pictures from this week's adventures next week.


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