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The Gateway Transportation Center Is Now Amshack #3

August 7, 2017 Featured, Transportation No Comments

St. Louis’ first Union Station opened in 1875. but proved too small very quickly. The significantly larger Union Station we know at 18th & Market opened 19 years later on September 1, 1894.

The beauty of Carl Milles’ work with Union Station in the background
Grand Hall in St. Louis Union Station

The busy days of Union Station lasted through WWII, but then saw declines.

As airliners became the preferred mode of long-distance travel and 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. Amtrak stopped using Union Station on October 31, 1978; the six trains daily did not justify such a large facility. The last to leave Union Station was a Chicago-bound Inter-American. Passenger service shifted to an “Amshack” one block east, now the site of the Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center. (Wikipedia)

Ticket sales stopped inside the main building for a while, moving to a temporary building under the big train shed. But in 1978 service was moved to the first of two buildings commonly known as “amshack”. The first was a glorified portable building. complete with T1-11 siding.   The 2nd Amshack was of concrete block, opened in December 2004, still exists.

Amtrak service is in the Gateway Transportation Center, just East of Amshack #2, now used by Amtrak workers.

The Gateway Transportation Center is the City of St. Louis’ state of-the-art multimodal transportation hub. It is conveniently located in the heart of downtown St. Louis where Amtrak passenger train, Greyhound bus, and Metro light rail and bus service converge. This new facility provides passengers with a clean, safe, and friendly transportation center featuring 24-hour operations staff and security. (St. Louis Comptroller)

I was there on November 21, 2008 when St, Louis opened the new Gateway Transpiration Center with Amtrak & Greyhound bus. Megabus is a recent addition.

Comptroller Darlene Green speaking at the opening fNovember 21, 2008

Since opening, I’ve used all three  — Megabus, Greyhound, and Amtrak. In the last 5 years I’ve had at least a dozen round trips from this facility. Most recently returning on Amtrak from Chicago on July 30th.

The Gateway Transportation Center is now, in my opinion, Amshack #3. It’s an embarrassing dump.

The opener hasn’t worked on the East doors for years, May 2012 photo
Also in May 2012 two of three urinals weren’t working.

For at least 5 years the opener to the outside door leading from Civic Center MetroLink station hasn’t worked. Same with a urinal in the main men’s room. Our train from Chicago arrived about 15 minutes early on Sunday July 30th . The up escalator from the platform wasn’t working so everyone had to use the elevator up. Once over the tracks we needed to get down to the main station. The down escalators and elevator weren’t working — stairs were the only option. There were families with small children and I’m in my wheelchair. Mu husband goes down the stairs to see if anyone can help.

Sign on the only accessible way to/from trains indicating out of service. It worked two days earlier.

I knew a ramp existed at the East end of the platform, used ro drive golf carts up to assist those who can’t walk the distance. I make it to the employee parking lot but the elevator I need to get up to the station is the same one I couldn’t use to get down. The only option was to “drive” my wheelchair out of the parking lot, through the gate, to the street.

In June of this years one urinal wasn’t working,

Though Amtrak is just a tenant, it would’ve been nice had they told me the elevator was broken as they got me off the train. I want to know why something is always broken at the Gateway Transportation Center. Is the Comptroller’s office incapable of managing the building? Is proper maintenance beyond debt and rent?

For many travelers this is their first experience in St. Louis. Welcome.

— Steve Patterson

 

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