Union Station

The Place: Union Station

Where: In the middle of North Capital Street, H Street NE, 2nd Street NE, and Mass Ave

Why Live Near Here: In the 1980’s it was called an “embarrassment to the nation, to the federal government, and to Washington, D.C.” but now that it’s been restored to it’s former glory, you’re in. You’re most likely a sucker for classic architecture and commute in and out of DC a lot, probably to Philly or NYC.

Things to Know: At the turn of last century, the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad companies announced that they were going to build a new union station together. DC rejoiced as this meant that both railroads would soon remove their track work and terminals from the National Mall. (The mall looks the way it does today thanks to this happening!)

Union Station opened more than a decade ago in 1907.  According to the National Park Service, the height of its traffic was during World War II when as many as 200,000 passengers passed through the station in a single day.

According to the mighty Wiki, on the morning of January 15, 1953, an overnight train coming from Boston crashed into the station. With train line brakes that weren’t functioning, the train hit the bumper block at about 35 miles per hour jumped onto the platform, destroyed the stationmaster’s office at the end of the track, took out a newsstand, and was on its way to crashing through the wall into the Great Hall but the floor of the terminal gave way and the engine dropped into the basement, now Union Station’s food court.

Today it is Amtrak’s headquarters and the railroad’s second-busiest station and the ninth-busiest in overall passengers served in the United States, and is visited by over 40 million people a year.

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