The Last Stop: Chicago Union Station

The Last Stop: Chicago Union Station

For the historic California Zephyr trainset, Chicago Union Station served as both a starting point for the California Zephyr route and an end point. This time, on September 12, it will be the last time the California Zephyrs pull into Chicago’s Union Station after traveling from the West.

The Chicago Union Station has a rich history, one that has been built on since 1925. It is Chicago’s finest and last connection to an era and an industry that played a major role in Chicago’s growth and history. Celebrated Chicago architect Daniel Burnham envisioned a conceptual design for Union Station in his 1909 Plan of Chicago. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Chicago experienced a building boom and Burnham proposed the consolidation of train stations to increase operating efficiencies and free up acres of land for new development. In 1913, five railroads formed the Chicago Union Station Company (CUSC) to build a new central rail terminal called Union Station. The station officially opened in May 1925 and was widely celebrated. Chicago grew from a small town to a major city in the second half of the 19th century and railroads played an integral role in this rapid growth.

All that remains today is the Headhouse building and one block of the historic train sheds. All the other buildings and structures have been demolished and redeveloped over time, including the spectacular Concourse building, “Chicago’s Penn Station” which was the initial gateway to Chicago for millions of visitors with its soaring arched trusses and expansive glass skylights.

Information from Preservation Chicago

CVSR’s traveled with the California Zephyr train cars as they made their last journey from the West along the Southwest Chief Route on train number 4. Although it did not follow the same route as the California Zephyr, it still showed the beauty of the West from Los Angeles to Chicago. Head over to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see highlights from the trip. Click here to view the Facebook live video when the California Zephyr train cars pulled into Chicago for the last time.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is thrilled to be taking this step in our first-ever capital campaign! Learn more about our inaugural capital campaign here.

The first opportunity for guests to ride CVSR’s recently acquired Zephyr cars is at Steam in the Valley. More information here.

Katie Brewer

Katie Brewer