These stations have all been ranked among the best by their own passengers. Some because of their beauty, fame and timeless grace, others because of the modern amenities. One simply because it has great parking. For whatever reason, each of these stations is good enough that the passengers who use it rank it one of the best.
Wyndmoor Station, Philadelphia, PA - For people who come from a small town or rural community, parking is not much of an issue. Even in mid-sized cities like Saint Petersburg, Florida, Newport News, Virginia or Akron, Ohio, parking is usually not too difficult. However, in larger cities, being able to find places to park, especially if they’re free or inexpensive, is a major plus.
It’s because of this very feature that Wyndmoor in greater Philadelphia had found itself on this list. In a busy city where parking is at a premium and no one walks anywhere, to even get to the train station requires driving your car. At Wyndmoor Station, located on the corner of Wyndmoor Street and East Willow Grove Avenue in the Chestnut Hill area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, parking is easier than in surrounding stations which are also part of the SEPTA Regional Rail system. In a city as big as Philly, that’s a huge bonus and enough to earn it a spot on this list.
Pretty much all of the remaining stations on this list are referred to by someone as “the greatest train station on Earth.” While I’m not here to give that title to any location, the fact that anyone other than the station’s owner or a stockholder feels that way is certainly enough to get it on this list. So, in no particular order (well, mostly), here are the rest of the best train stations in the U.S.
Union Station, New Haven CT - One of several locations named “Union Station,” this station was originally built in the 1800’s. The first burned down and was replaced by a new one in 1918. However, when the entire railway system began suffering in the second half of the twentieth century, this station wasn’t able to weather the storm and closed its doors in 1972. During a major renovation project in the seventies and eighties the station was chosen for renovation and reopened in 1985 after extensive renovations. The beautiful, ornately decorated building now stands as the “premiere gateway to the city,” although Wyndmoor in Philly has better parking.
Union Station, Kansas City, MO - When opened in 1914, this Kansas City, Missouri station was the second largest in the U.S. Still huge by any standard, this station is impressive inside and out. Like most stations, it needed government funds to survive during parts of the last century, but today it runs without the need for government tax money.
Union Station, Los Angeles, CA - Yet another of the union stations, which originally referred to a station that catered to more than one railway company, this station looks like a great Spanish cathedral. Referred to as “the last of the great railway stations,” this station is actually small compared to most that carry the name “Union Station.”
Being as it’s located in Los Angeles, this station has been featured in many motion pictures and television shows, including the 1950 film “Union Station.”
Union Station, Washington, D.C. - This is the last of the Union Stations on this list, but certainly not the least. This extremely busy station supports over 4 million passengers and 20 million visitors per year, yet still keeps their act together enough to be known by some as the greatest station in the U.S. This great station, opened in 1907. It was intended to be the entrance to Washington D.C. and is still today one of the most visited and famous tourist attractions in a city known for its many tourist haunts.
Penn Station, NYC, NY - There are several Pennsylvania Stations, including two in Pennsylvania, but the first to carry the name and easily most famous of them is actually located in New York City. Others are located in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Cincinnati. There was another located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, but while the station itself survives, it no longer uses the name.
While the current version of Penn Station in New York is nowhere near as grand, large and beautiful as the original, it is still one of the busiest, seeing tens of millions of passengers per year.
Providence Station, Providence RI - The original station was built back in 1847, and has subsequently been rebuilt or replaced several times in the following 150 years. The current rendition was built in 1986 and has already been refurbished, renovated or upgraded several times since then. It is the seventeenth busiest in the nation and due to the newness and constant updating, it is easily one of the most modern stations with great amenities.
Grand Central Terminal, AKA Grand Central Station, NYC, NY - While I’m trying to remain neutral, this list wouldn’t be a list of the best train stations in the U.S. at all without including Grand Central Station. Easily the most famous and most recognized of all train stations in the country, this station has been seen in hundreds of television shows, movies and even video games.
Remarkably busy, Grand Central can boast of over half a million visitors every single day. It sees well over 100,000 commuters a day and serves over 10,000 meals. There are over 100 retail businesses inside the station and over 600 different trains running.
Truly, Grand Central Station is considered by many the greatest station in the nation, and has the numbers to prove it.