Historic photos of railroading in Washington, D.C. area from Lee Rogers Photo Collectdion

History

Washington, D.C.'s Union Station was built jointly by the Pennsylvania (PRR) and Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) Railroads on an area of swampland near the U.S. Capitol Building. The station, designed by architect Daniel Burnham, opened with the arrival of a B&O Railroad passenger train from Pittsburgh on October 27, 1907. A magnificent gateway to our nation's capital, the station has served the needs of the traveling public continuously since that year. Besides the B&O and PRR, the station also served the Chesapeake & Ohio, Southern, Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac (RF & P), Atlantic Coast Line, and Seaboard Railroads. During World War II as many as 200,000 passengers a day passed through the station. During the 1980's the station underwent a major renovation, costing over $160 Million Dollars. Completed in 1988, the effort restored the station's grandeur and remade it into a transportation, shopping, and dining megaplex.

When built, the station concourse one of the largest rooms in the United States and regularly used for Inaugural Balls.  Today, the station is still traditionally host to one of these prestigious Presidential events every four years on January 20.

Station interior photo courtesy of J. Lilly

Video

Have you ever wondered nostalgically what it was like to take a train out of Washington, D.C. Union Station in its hey day? Most of us have probably only seen a glimpse through photos or through stories told by friends second-hand. We've found a wonderful video on YouTube which gives you a real peek at the experience and traveling by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. There are scenes from inside the train and also of the train from track-side. The video also talks about the locomotive, many different jobs required to keep the train running and the passengers and happy, comfortable, and safe. Running time is 10 minutes for this black and white video.

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