In my humble opinion, not enough people take trains in the USA anymore. Folks all over Europe are regular train adventurers, while Americans (myself included in this) rarely see the world go by from a railroad track. That, dear reader, is a real shame. I imagine America by train to be a romantic and incredible way to discover the country. Yet, we all seem so hell bent on finding the fastest way to our destination, that we miss all the beautiful spots in between. Would it be crazy to say I want to bring sexy back to trains? This is, of course, fueled by a recent American discovery.
In January, I was introduced to the grandeur of Union Station in Los Angeles. I had seen the station before, featured over time, in everything from classic Hollywood movies to glossy magazine photo shoots. However, nothing could have prepared me for seeing the space in the flesh. It’s a historian’s dream, a photographer’s dream, and a dream for anyone who appreciates the beauty of times long gone by.
Before we all grab our hankies and declare great sadness for the death of train travel, I’m happy to report that Union Station is still functioning and is, in fact, a rather hopping place these days (60,000 travelers a day come through Los Angeles Union Station). US train travelers flock to this location to catch their favored mode of transportation and start their trip with a quite memorable landmark.
There is a great air in this building. The moment you step inside you feel weighed down by the history of Union Station. The year 1939, when Union Station was constructed, feels not so far away in time at all. 75 years have passed and the building, and all its contents, feel frozen in time. Marble inlaid floors, leather waiting chairs, giant wooden ticket desks and information terminals have all been preserved perfectly. All this being said, I am somewhat saddened by those who seem to pass through as if this were a common Metro station. I find myself standing alone and looking into deserted restaurants and roped off areas that scream “we have stories to tell.” Naturally, my imagination runs away with me and while picturing what must have happened here before today, I’m also eager to spread the word amongst colleagues that this place is the most magical I have discovered yet for photoshoots and film prospects.
In short, this is sort of a love letter to Union Station in Los Angeles. If you are visiting Los Angeles, put this on the must see list. And if you’re an LA native, take time to really appreciate this magical location. Oh how lucky you are to have such a beautiful piece or architecture in your very own backyard.