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Nostalgia & History > Houston Union Station - a side view

Date: 02/23/21 08:52
Houston Union Station - a side view
Author: gcm

Aug 79
A view of the station built in 1911.
At this time two maybe three tracks were left and the Houston Belt & Terminal was occupying it.
The last passenger train was the Lone Star which departed 5 years before.
It would be 18 years before construction started on the Astros Enron Field.
Now Minute Maid Park, it connects to the main station building.


Date: 02/23/21 09:16
Re: Houston Union Station - a side view
Author: refarkas

A truly impressive building.

Date: 02/23/21 10:46
Re: Houston Union Station - a side view
Author: GCL13

In addition to the HB&T, owner roads and PTRA also maintained offices. 

Mopac and Santa Fe maintained offices Mopac offices included Southern Region General Manager, District Engineer, Train Dispacher Office (New Orleans to Houston to Brownsville) Industrial Development,  General Sales Manager and other administrative staff. Santa Fe maintained a Asst Superintendent Office, Engineering Office, Industrial Development and Sales. I remember seeing offices for the Rock and Fort Worth and Denver. I suspect they were for marketing and sales. The PTRA  General Manager was headquartered in building. The HBT also moved all of their tower operators to station and built a command center. In the late 80s SP and HBT had a joint command center with Tower Operators for both companies in same office. Eventually SP moved out and work was assumed by Dispacters in SP Office. The Southern Pacific had their own building. 

Mopac built a new building in Spring and moved out in 1981. UP still uses this location for there regional office. Not sure when, but Santa Fe moved to Pearland a facility near Hobby Airport in the 80s or 90s.  

Date: 02/23/21 12:30
Re: Houston Union Station - a side view
Author: Hou74-76

Up to at least 1975, Amtrak had an office on the 3rd floor that housed Transportation Supervisor R.R. Mitchel.  Yeah, that's right, RR.  I hired out there in 1974.

Gary's photo shows the open air concourse shed, the baggage and express office to the left of it and the cluster of air conditioning equipment used to pipe cold air into the re-purposed/modernized waiting room.  That remodeling was done in the summer of 1967-68.  Before then, Union Station waiting room was one inhospitable place. It was dark, dingy, stinky and hot.  I recall how all the old men who hung around the place smoked cigars.  After the Union News coffee shop (previously a Fred Harvey Lunch Room) closed down in 1965 or 1966, the only AC was in the railroad offices upstairs, nothing for the public traveler until that coffee shop space was remodeled into a small waiting room which was used until July of 1974.

The restoration of Union Station today is a grand achievement.  But I swear, they made it a lot better than it really was.  Thanks Gary for the memories!

Date: 02/23/21 13:19
Re: Houston Union Station - a side view
Author: spider1319

Grat post with the follow ups.Bill Webb

Date: 02/23/21 17:53
Re: Houston Union Station - a side view
Author: gcm

Thanks for the stories and info on the station.


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