Peek Inside Exciting Upgrades Happening at Union Station in Downtown LA

Although not yet operational, a new towering interactive kiosk has been installed in the east portal that will allow transit users to navigate the metro system and surrounding interest points

Although not yet operational, a new towering interactive kiosk has been installed in the east portal that will allow transit users to navigate the metro system and surrounding interest points

Over the last two months since we found out that some very exciting upgrades were coming to Union Station in Downtown LA, work has been humming along with construction upgrades to the station including: the addition of new wayfinding signage; major touch-up work like fresh paint on walls and floors getting a beautiful shiny glossy polish; and other restoration work that’s really producing some very exciting and dramatic results. Part of the wayfinding signage program being implemented even includes a new towering interactive kiosk in the east portal section of the station and new large digital schedule screens for Amtrak and Metrolink.

Built in 1939, the current busiest rail station west of Chicago had gone through major decline post WWII (like most rail stations in the country including the venerable Grand Central Terminal in NYC) but was slowly brought back to life as Union Station once again became the hub for our then-fledgling rail network here in Los Angeles with the introduction of metro rail and Metrolink in the early 90s. Today, the station is busier than ever serving as the true hub of our expanding mass transportation system in Southern California with connections to Amtrak, Metrolink, and Metro’s Red, Purple, and Gold Lines, as well as countless local and express bus service including the popular LAX FlyAway shuttle that takes passengers conveniently to their terminal.

These much needed upgrades are part of the short-term upgrades and will eventually be followed in the next decade by major long-term changes as part of the Union Station master plan. Nevertheless, even the short-term upgrades being implemented right now have really given the grand station a rejuvenated appearance. Enough so to hopefully instill pride in Angelenos and encourage more transit use in a Los Angeles that’s undergoing major urban revitalization.

The perfect opportunity to show off all these exciting new changes will take place next Saturday on May 3, 2014, when Union Station will be celebrating its 75th anniversary since its inception in 1939. For more info on this free family fun event that’s not to be missed, click here!

The beautiful wooden information stand has been refurbished and now proudly greets those who enter the main entrance of Union Station from Alameda

The beautiful wooden information stand has been refurbished and now proudly greets those who enter the main entrance of Union Station from Alameda

New digital schedule screens for both Amtrak and Metrolink have been installed on both the left and right side of the main waiting hall

New digital schedule screens for both Amtrak and Metrolink have been installed on both the left and right side of the main waiting hall

A closer look at the new digital schedule screens for Amtrak and Metrolink with a new design "header piece" to be installed above the screen sometime this coming week

A closer look at the new digital schedule screens for Amtrak and Metrolink with a new design “header piece” to be installed above the screen sometime this coming week

New art deco style post railings that match the theme of Union Station have replaced generic ones from before

New art deco style post railings that match the theme of Union Station have replaced generic ones from before

Some of the new wayfinding signage have been installed on the ceiling

Some of the new wayfinding signage have been installed on the ceiling

Some are still waiting to be installed

Some are still waiting to be installed

Even some new restroom signage

Even some new restroom signage

The large schedule board (that took up too much room) is being dismantled to increase visibility and flow through the station

The large schedule board (that took up too much room) is being dismantled to increase visibility and flow through the station

A new Russian pastry shop has begun construction called "T & Y Bakery" set to open in the next few months

A new Russian pastry shop has begun construction called “T & Y Bakery” set to open in the next few months

It used to just say "To Trains"

It used to just say “To Trains”

New wayfinding signage at eye level installed

New wayfinding signage at eye level installed

And new gate alphanumeric signage installed

And new gate alphanumeric signage installed

New overhead wayfinding signage installed

New overhead wayfinding signage installed

New digital Metrolink schedule screens are installed throughout the concourse for easy spotting

New digital Metrolink schedule screens are installed throughout the concourse for easy spotting

Old signage being taken down

Old signage being taken down

Ten attractive new display cases (each one with three vertical slots for a total of 30 spaces) will be installed throughout the concourse tunnel for art showcasing

Ten attractive new display cases (each one with three vertical slots for a total of 30 spaces) will be installed throughout the concourse tunnel for art showcasing

Finally, the floors have been polished and the non-historic old tiles have been completely removed from the walls and have been repainted giving the concourse a beautiful new rejuvenated appearance

Finally, the floors have been polished and the non-historic old tiles have been completely removed from the walls and have been repainted giving the concourse a beautiful new rejuvenated appearance

11 Responses to Peek Inside Exciting Upgrades Happening at Union Station in Downtown LA

  1. These are much needed changes. Yesterday I saw some GIGANTIC numbers staged near the east portal that I assume will be used on the bus bays. I hope that the improvements also include new Union Station way-finding signage on the Metro Red and Purple Line platforms.

    • Yes, you are correct, Jake – those numbers are for the renovated Patsaouras Plaza. Frankly, while the signage improvements in Union Station are major, I think the work being done on Patsaouras is much more significant – making it feel less like an afterthought and more like a facility intended to making bus riding more pleasant and enticing.

  2. Great article on some of the long-needed changes to Union Station. I remember wandering through this station the first time I parked below Patasouras to take Amtrak. I felt like I had just gone on a treasure hunt when I finally found the right track! SO great to see.

  3. that tunnel needs a people mover.

  4. Great post and photos. I hated rushing around looking for the right Metrolink track and being unable to find the signage till the very last second.

  5. Union Station is a gem. Last fall I visited Portland and thought I would visit “their” Union Station. It was nothing. I had to throw that in since everyone in Los Angeles seems so gaga over Portland. The improvements at our Union Station are amazing. It is truly the Last Great Train Station built in the US. Keep up the great work Metro!

  6. This is all pretty fantastic. While I could quibble with the signs pointing to “Metro Subway” and to “Metro Rail,” as though there’s a distinction, overall they’re adding some needed clarity to the space. My only overarching concern would be too much signage, but I guess I’d rather move in that direction than have too little.

    • Looks like there is.

      Theyre using metro subway to refer to heavy rail (red, purple), and “metro rail” to refer to light rail (gold). The sign with all three just says metro.

  7. More TVMs are needed at the station. While we are at it, upgraded TVMs that isn’t as sluggish nor frustrating to use. Those buttons are sometimes evil, I tell ya!

  8. I walked right past those new digital boards in the waiting room without noticing them. Then I walked in circles for a while looking for the old schedule board.

    I was sad to see the old board gone and thought that the digital signs in the waiting room were difficult to read from the center aisle. I asked an employee and he stated that the old message board had been given to the smithsonian. OK, but I still missed the old lady.

    However, I really liked the new signage in the tunnel. The look is meh but the information placed along the tunnel was very helpful.

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