Caliente, NV train station
I'd seen photos of this station and never could figure out why in 1923 Union Pacific built such a large station in a small desert ranching community like Caliente, NV, just 120 rail miles north of Las Vegas. A little internet research turned up an interesting history.
The site of Caliente, NV is about half way between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. Caliente became the junction point for crew and equipment changes. By 1923 Caliente must have been a pretty active place, requiring a large station with a 50 room hotel on the top floor. But why wasn't the junction in Las Vegas?
1923 was 8 years before construction began on Hoover Dam and gambling was legalized, two factors that turned Las Vegas from a town probably not any larger than Caliente into the boomtown it was to become and continues to be today. In the 1940's UP finally moved the junction from Caliente to Las Vegas. Vegas continued to grow and Caliente.........didn't.
It's just a guess on my part, but with the exception of "Union Stations", Caliente, NV may be one of the 3 or 4 largest stations Union Pacific built, behind maybe Boise, Topeka, and Cheyenne.