Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Progress on new platform at Union Station (updated)

I've told you before about the renovation of Union Station is underway to facilitate its conversion from a "stub" station to one with "run through" tracks for more efficient travel. Right now, all trains, whether coming in or leaving, must pass through a narrow "throat" and if headed south, navigate a 180° turn.  This is part of the reason why the Amtrak operates in a push-pull configuration, where essentially it reverses into the station from San Diego or Goleta, with the engine pushing rather than pulling.  (The other reason is that there is no wye in Goleta or San Diego to turn the train around, so it's not clear that this will eliminate push-pull trains, which are not popular.)

The raised structure on the left is the old cap over the ramp
 The first step is the rebuilding of platform 7 and reactivation of tracks 13-15.  This has been fun to watch as they have done a brilliant job of recreating the look of the other platforms with their "butterfly" canopies.  You can see more pictures on my previous post.

 The original ramp and stairways were "capped off" when the platform was inactivated, so they've also had to re-open the connections to the tunnel below.  I wonder how many people noticed that there were archways over the walls at the east end of the tunnel, indicating that there used to be more platform?  Based on the arches, it also looks like there was an 8th platform with connections below.  (Update: Mark, posting in the comments to this post, says that was indeed the case.)

Along with building the platform, they also had to lay the track, and that was fascinating to watch.  But yesterday, I noticed that all the big track machines are gone, so the tracks must be ready.  There's still some painting going on but the benches are in place and it looks close to finished.  The attention to detail is nice;  for example, the light fixtures on poles at the east end of the platform have the same elegant design with spiky finials as the ones on the street below.

The picture below was taken yesterday from track 12, and shows the new platform looking clean and fresh next to the old one.  Of course, once this activates, there will be more construction as they begin the biggest part of the project, building run-through tracks over the 101 freeway.

The new platform as seen from Track 12.


MarkB said...

Indeed, LAUS originally had a platform #8 serving tracks 15 and 16. Adjacent to (east of) track 16 was storage track 17.

Speaking of missing tracks: the station throat, now in a 5-track configuration, originally had 7 tracks.

Anonymous said...

There is a wye at SAN. That is how they formerly turned the Amfleets on the San Diegan