Welcome Back to Denver Union Station, Amtrak!

As mentioned earlier, Amtrak has now moved its operations back to Denver Union Station, and are using their new platforms under the new train hall canopy. I was able to make it tonight to take some pictures!

First off, let’s start out by walking around the new platforms under the canopy. This structure, especially at night, is absolutely incredible. Some of the station was still under-construction but we were able to access a good portion of it including the 18th Street pedestrian bridge.






My perch to watch the train come in was on top of the 18th Street pedestrian bridge. In the second picture, the California Zephyr Amtrak train is pulling into the station!


Photos are always great but I have something very special to share with you: A time-lapse of the California Zephyr train pulling into the station. The time-lapse is not very long but is still neat given this is the first train to pull into the new station! It’ll be great to see all of the action going on around this station once the commuter rail lines are done!

Welcome back to Denver Union Station, Amtrak! We are glad to see you back!

By | 2016-12-27T20:52:00+00:00 March 1, 2014|Categories: Revitalization, Transit, Transportation|Tags: , |19 Comments


  1. Chris March 1, 2014 at 7:41 am

    That is so awesome.

  2. Dave March 1, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Impressive station and excellent photos! Hands down the best post so far on Denver Urbanism.

  3. Nick M March 1, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Rarely does the real deal surpass the renderings, but that canopy not only looks amazing, but far more functional than I imagined.

  4. Nathanael March 2, 2014 at 3:25 am

    Great photos. But they raise questions.
    (1) What’s with the mini-high partway down the platform? I thought the platform was all going to be at level-boarding level. The mini-high seems less than useful in this location as most of the cars will be too far north to reach it. Are there more mini-highs further along the platform on the other side of the bridge?

    (2) If the platform indeed doesn’t have level boarding for Amtrak, where’s the wheelchair lift for Amtrak hidden?

    (2) No photos of the interior space where Amtrak is operating? Ticket windows, baggage claim, etc?

    (3) Seems like passengers waiting for the commuter lines are going to get pretty wet when it rains. Bring your umbrellas. Amtrak thoughtfully has a full-length canopy.

    • Ryan Dravitz March 2, 2014 at 12:56 pm
      • Jim Nash March 2, 2014 at 11:50 pm

        Ryan, your coverage of this is great, but let’s be honest — this AMTRAK lobby furniture is really low-grade. Looks like bus station uncomfortable. Or even Unemployment Office Waiting Room Chic. What does this Office Depot-looking seating have to do with the wonderful granite floors and woodwork? And this “lobby” appears to be just inside the front entrance to Union Station, off 17th and Wynnkoop — or am I seeing it wrong?

        Let’s hope our new federal railroad tenants have the class to at least put some art on the blank walls — preferably a strong mural about the romance of the rails. After millions have been spent by taxpayers and developers to renew Union Station, this is what AMTRAK does with its space? Come on, this isn’t, Union Station Travel by Train. This is crap. A cheap insult to a great public building. Please show me I’m wrong.

        • Jim Nash March 2, 2014 at 11:58 pm

          And the Pepsi vending machine in front of the ticket counter is the icing on the cake. The interior seating and appointments of Union Station in LA look classy, elegant. This furniture looks cheap and depressing.

        • Paul March 3, 2014 at 12:00 pm


          Amtrak is operating out of temporary shelled space in Union Station. Those blank walls you see were all erected to allow Amtrak to move back into Union Station four and a half months before the rest of the station will open. The fire lines are temporary, the lighting is temporary the walls are temporary. The only part the seems to be the final product are the Amtrak offices. You have to hold off judgement until July 12, 2014.

          • Paul March 3, 2014 at 12:45 pm

            The shelled waiting area is actually in the Great Hall and the the doors you see lead out to the Train Shed. The waiting area for Amtrak passengers will ultimately be the Great Hall in all it’s glory.

            So, yes, you are entirely wrong in your criticism.

          • Jim Nash March 3, 2014 at 8:51 pm


            Thanks for clearing this up. Already feeling better about the Great Hall. Expectations are high for the final Amtrak operation.

          • Nathanael March 4, 2014 at 10:19 pm

            OK, thanks for the explanation. I get the layout now. The waiting area is within the Great Hall, surrounded by temporary walls and ceiling (presumably the work on the Great Hall continues behind them), and presumably also has temporary seating (it looks like they just relocated the seating from the temporary station).

            The Amtrak ticket window area, with the eight-sided chandeliers, appears to be permanent — it’s in the correct location according to the diagrams, off to the west side of the Great Hall. I’m not clear on how they’re handling checked baggage — maybe that’s off further to the west of the ticket window.

      • Nathanael March 4, 2014 at 10:11 pm


  5. Peter Batty March 2, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Nice pictures! I also took some HDR photos the same evening which are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebatty/sets/72157641758709265/

    And also a video of the train leaving at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyMdKxsgwpw

    • Ryan Dravitz March 2, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      GREAT photos! I found myself up on the pedestrian bridge! 😉 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebatty/12884635464/in/set-72157641758709265)

      • Peter Batty March 3, 2014 at 6:19 pm

        Thanks Ryan! I also tried to spot myself in your video – think I must have been on the platform there but hard to tell for sure :). Between us we got a good range of viewpoints!

  6. […] Above This is the canopy covering the Amtrak platforms now open at Denver’s 133 year-old Union Station.  Although most of Union Station is still under construction, and not yet open to passengers, this marks the first major milestone in the reopening of the station. For now Amtrak passengers will still use temporary facilities to wait, buy tickets, and retrieve luggage, according to the DenverUrbanism Blog. […]

  7. NikolasM March 20, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Really wish they could have found a way to make it a through station again. Looks good though.

  8. Mike April 22, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    The new union station renovation is beautiful but I’ll never forgive Amtrak for their part in ending the Ski Train. If only there was an alternative.

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