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Los Angeles, CA Union Station interior | by THE Holy Hand Grenade!
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Los Angeles, CA Union Station interior

The interior of the waiting hall in Los Angeles Union Station, Los Angeles, CA (LAUS) in 2009. Union Station was built in the late 1930's (opened 1939...) for the UP, and was first named the "Los Angeles Union Pacific Terminal". (LAUPT) It also served the SP and the A.T.&S.F.: this station was the west end-of-the-line for the SF's Super Chief, the SP's Sunset Limited, and UP's City of Los Angeles; the south end-of-the-line for the SP's Daylight/Starlight, and the north end-of-the-line for the SF (and, later, Amtrak) San Diegan. LA Union Station has sometimes been called "The last great train station built in the US".


Taken by a Nikon D40x at ISO 1600 with an 18-55mm Nikon non-VR kit lens (at 18) ( ... and I would'a used a wider lens, if I had had one at the time! [even four years on, I only have a lens 1mm wider...] [I now {2014} have a much wider lens, a 20mm for full-frame, I'll be taking a similar picture from as close to where I was standing for this one with it and a full-frame camera, the next time I get to the station with time to kill...])


Station now (9/2013...) serves: Amtrak, (Coast Daylight, Sunset Limited, Southwest Chief, & Texas Eagle) Surfliner, (Amtrak crews...) Metrolink, LA Metro (3 lines) (rail); Amtrak California via a bus connection to Bakersfield; and several non-rail-connected bus services, including Greyhound.


Best viewed large: or original:


Having been built as an end-of-the-line terminal for all those runs, Union Station is a back in, pull out station (or pull in, back out...) - there are no run-thru heavy rail lines. (the one platform-level L.A. Metro line is a different matter: those [light] rails are newer [2008],. and do run thru... on the two subway Metro lines, L.A.U.S is also an end of the line terminal) This is now a problem with both some of the Surfliner runs and some of the Metrolink trains, where L.A.U.S. (as the name is abbreviated...) is a middle of the line station, NOT the end of the line. For these lines, which are always equipped with a "cab-car" (a passenger car with controls for the engine, used in a "push-pull" operation) the train engineer has to switch ends: the engine pulls into the station and pushes out, or vice-versa... Construction is now under way to remedy this "problem"... (2011, still underway 1/2013, first phase complete 6/2014)


Another problem with the station's configuration, especially for trains arriving from the south, is the north/south arrangement of the heavy rail tracks: trains arriving from the south have to make a rather tight U turn into the station. Trains arriving from the east also have to make this U-ey, as they join the tracks from the south about a football field length (100 yards, about 91 meters) short of the U turn. Complicating matters is that the station is only about ½ a mile from the Los Angeles River to the east and a major freeway (US 101) to the south, and that trains have either to work with the existing bridges over (river) or under (freeway) those obstructions, or build a new bridge or tunnel.


You see LAUS used as an abbreviation for the station all the time: you still occasionally see LAUPT used, too!

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Taken on January 10, 2009