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July 31, 2008

Union Station’s fate as transit hub

This is one of those times in our history where civic need is more important that convenient solutions. Union Station was designed to facilitate the conveyance and connection of people to and from everyday towns and exotic destinations alike.

Today, Union Station stands ready to fulfill this mission once again. However, we find the freight railroads and transportation engineers uninterested in tackling a difficult problem: capacity in the “trench” (7/25, Local, “A Union Station hub fails to get backing; A narrow passage can’t be widened, a consultant says”). The freight railroads have enjoyed almost exclusive use of this rail corridor since the decline of passenger rail travel lead to the advent of Amtrak, which now serves our station with two St. Louis trains and the Southwest Chief.

In the heyday of Union Station, the railroads successfully managed freight and passenger traffic through the same narrow trench that exists today. It is time now for innovative thinking to find a creative solution to this capacity problem — one that places Union Station at the heart of our regional transportation plan.

Matt Kauffman
Kansas City



Good morning Gary,

Although I have fond memories of the trains from the 50s and 60s, the fate of Union Station was sealed when the Hall family opposed the initiative to turn it into a casino.

I was at dinner recently there and was filled with two thoughts, what a magnificent building and "who pays for the heat and air conditioning in this empty building?"


Union Station has been nothing but a money pit. We should have leveled it a long time ago.

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