Union Station Transit Center Coming Together
Jan25

Union Station Transit Center Coming Together

Work continues in the West Loop on the Union Station Transit Center that will connect Amtrak and Metra passengers to CTA buses, while alleviating the traffic tie-ups long a part of everyday life on South Canal Street and West Jack Boulevard. It took awhile for progress to be visible here, beyond the digging up of the former surface parking lot, and foundation work. But now, the future bus shelters look a lot like, well, future bus...

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Status Update: Union Station Transit Center
Aug18

Status Update: Union Station Transit Center

  The Union Station Transit Center (300 South Canal Street) is moving forward, trying to take some of the snarl out of the mess that is South Canal Street.  The Chicago Architecture Blog’s Daniel Schell rapidly transited the Loop on a Divvy bike to bring us these pictures of the construction progress. The completed project will serve as an intermodal connector linking commuters on Amtrak and Metra trains with CTA buses....

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Amtrak Commits $12 Million To Union Station Rehab Project
Jan29

Amtrak Commits $12 Million To Union Station Rehab Project

If you’ve spent much time at Chicago Union Station lately, you probably noticed a chilly reception. I don’t mean the Amtrak staff. It’s been downright cold inside the station itself. There’s good news, though: the station’s drafty waiting rooms could be much toastier this time next year. The 90-year-old Chicago Union Station will be getting a facelift later this year. Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced Amtrak would pay $12 million...

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Great Chicago Walks: Revisiting Classic Rail Stations Past And Present
Aug03

Great Chicago Walks: Revisiting Classic Rail Stations Past And Present

About 50 years ago, I rode on a train for the first time. It was a St. Louis-to-New York City trip. I was a 12-year-old kid. I don’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday and I can’t seem to recall where I left my sunglasses but I do remember small details about that trip. The clackety-clack of the wheels, the whoo-whoo of the whistle. Seeing a man in a suit eating a hot dog with sauerkraut—for breakfast. I still enjoy traveling on...

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Point’s Public Park Positively Progressing
Apr08

Point’s Public Park Positively Progressing

The public park portion of the River Point development (444 West Lake Street) is really coming together. Walking by the other day, it’s easy to imagine how it will integrate into the rest of the city, with the elevators, ramps and staircases already mostly built.  One of our spies was over there recently and sent in these great pictures that not only show the park’s progress, but also the interior of the completed rail...

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Status Update: Tunnel Vision in the West Loop
Nov19

Status Update: Tunnel Vision in the West Loop

The train tunnel that is an integral part of the River Point development (444 West Lake Street) is chugging toward completion. We got to see the inside of the tunnel a few days ago, and the thing that struck us most was how clean and well lit it is.  But with hundreds of massive diesel engines lumbering through each day, don’t expect it to stay that way. Our Fulton River Spy sent in this picture yesterday, showing progress on...

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Status Update: River Point’s Rail Tunnel
Oct25

Status Update: River Point’s Rail Tunnel

Fulton Rive r Spy Alex sent over this great picture of the construction of River Point (444 East Lake Street).  You can really see how wide the Amtrak tunnel beneath the future River Point Park is.  You may remember that Amtrak required the tunnel be a little extra wide so there will be room for a future high speed rail line into Union Station. The entirety of that deck will be park space.  Then on the left you can see an area...

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Status Update: Up All Night with River Point
Aug21

Status Update: Up All Night with River Point

Work on the new public park and skyscraper that will be known as River Point (444 West Lake Street) is progressing very swiftly. Last week we noticed concrete walls being poured along the Lake Street side of the project, and word on site is that by working beyond the city’s usually allowed (but permitted this time) hours, they finished drilling holes for the caissons for the project.  This week, crews are building a “crash...

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River Point Shows Growth Potential in Both Height and Tunnel Capacity
Jul15

River Point Shows Growth Potential in Both Height and Tunnel Capacity

  Work is moving along very quickly to turn a weed-choked embankment, a gravel parking lot, and a bouquet of train tracks into a 1½-acre riverside park and a sexy, 650-foot-tall, curvy office tower named River Point. Houston-based Hines, and Montréal-based Ivanhoé-Cambridge still have a long way to go to meet their goal of opening the tower in the beginning of 2016, so construction crews are very busy. The first big project is...

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Union Station Master Plan Finished
Jun01

Union Station Master Plan Finished

The Union Station Master Plan has been completed, and it doesn’t look all that much different from the proposals put forth by Amtrak, Metra, and the Chicago Department of Transportation at the beginning of the process last year. First, a little background — Union Station is a mess.  Short-sightedness on the part of people in the 1960’s who thought that passenger rail service in America was dying led to infrastructure...

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