Behind the Scenes at Union Station
While waiting in the Washington, D.C., Union Station Main Hall, many visitors look up to admire the beautiful barrel-vaulted ceilings currently undergoing restoration or the statues of Roman legionnaires that look down from stories above. Rarely, however, do you see people looking back at you.
Saturday, May 31 was an exception. In partnership with the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation (USRC), the National Trust led four behind-the-scenes tours of Union Station, taking photographers and Instagrammers to spaces rarely open to the public.
We’ve compiled some of our favorite photos from the day, as well as information about each of the stops. You can find more photos on Instagram or Twitter by searching #unionstationtour. Be sure to follow @SavingPlaces too!
The first stop on the tour was originally a walkway that connects the two upper-story office portions of Union Station, and it would eventually go on to be a bar and restaurant space. It’s currently an unused space with no plans for development, but provides beautiful views of the Main Hall and Capitol.
Built in 1908, Union Station was designed with a special entrance for the U.S. President and other visiting dignitaries -- the Presidential Entrance. During renovations in the 1980s, the area was converted into a restaurant, which closed in 2013. Currently searching for a new tenant, the space still provides stunning interiors.
Though Amtrak, MARC, and VRE now serve Union Station’s passenger rail needs, luxury Pullman Cars once operated from the station too. Norfolk Southern now owns one of the most famous Pullman Cars, the Marco Polo, which was used by President Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1933 to 1940. The Marco Polo was restored in 1989 and is now permanently assigned to Track No. 7 at Union Station, but is rarely open to the public.
The final stop on the tour elicited the most WOWs when participants climbed down a ladder to access a walkway between a row of legionnaires and the clock above the entrance to the East Hall. Participants were above the netting covering the majority of the Main Hall, which provided some fascinating photographs.