St. Louis Union Station, a National Historic Landmark, is a former passenger train terminal in St. Louis, Missouri. Once the world's largest and busiest train station, it was converted in the early 1980s into a luxury hotel, shopping center, and entertainment complex. Today, it is one of the city's major tourist attractions.
Union Station's headhouse and midway are constructed of Indiana limestone and initially included 32 tracks under its vast trainshed terminating in the stub-end terminal.
At its height, the station combined the St. Louis passenger services of 22 railroads. At its opening, it was the world's largest and busiest railroad station and its trainshed was the largest roof span in the world. In 1903, the station was expanded to accommodate visitors to the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.
In the 1940s, it handled 100,000 passengers a day. The famous photograph of Harry S. Truman holding aloft the erroneous Chicago Tribune headline, "Dewey Defeats Truman," was shot at the station as Truman headed back to Washington, DC from Independence, Missouri after the 1948 Presidential election.
As railroad passenger services declined in the 1950s and 1960s, the massive station became obsolete and too expensive to maintain for its original purpose. With the takeover of national rail passenger service by Amtrak in 1971, passenger train service to St. Louis was reduced to only three trains a day. In 1978, the last train left St. Louis Union Station. Amtrak trains are now located one block to the east in St. Louis' Gateway Transportation Center which houses Amtrak, Greyhound Buses, and inner city Metro Buses and subway/rail.
In August 1985, after a $150 million renovation, Union Station was reopened with a 539-room hotel, shopping mall, restaurants and food court. The hotel is housed in the headhouse and part of the train shed, which also houses a lake and shopping, entertainment and dining establishments. Omni was the original hotel operator, followed by Hyatt Regency Hotel chain and now Marriott Hotels as of December 2008.
MetroLink, the St. Louis light rail mass transit system, serves Union Station from its station directly below the trainshed in the Union Station subway tunnel.
St. Louis MetroLink
Red Line (St. Louis MetroLink)
Blue Line (St. Louis MetroLink)
The city's major transportation hub station, Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center is located next to Union Station. It serves the city's rail system and regional bus system MetroBus, Greyhound, Amtrak and city taxi services.