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Opinions on Los Angeles Union Station (LAX)?


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#21 lthanlon

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 03:39 PM

I've been through Los Angeles Union Station several times in the past year and always felt safe. As in any urban area where people congregate, you'll encounter panhandlers, but in my experience they've seldom been aggressive or threatening. Security is also pretty tight at the station and troublemakers are quickly removed.

If it's a nice day, definitely enjoy the patios and walkways -- and peek into the unused spaces. This is a beautiful facility.

As others have pointed out, there are restaurants and places to visit and dine within walking distance of the station, and you can catch the Red Line into Hollywood. You're at somewhat greater risk in Hollywood, but you'll still be OK if you keep your streetwise wits about you.
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#22 ColdRain&Snow

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 03:45 PM

I have never been concerned in the station or the surrounding area.

One thing that some folks may not be aware of is that Union Station is straddled by large facilities for both the LAPD and LA Sheriff's Department. With such a heavy law enforcement footprint within blocks of the station, I think it keeps the riff raff at bay for the most part. You will have a good experience there.

#23 Guest_The Davy Crockett_*

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 04:09 PM

The most "undesirable characters" that you'll see at LAUT are members of "the AU Gang"!Posted Image (Many are up to no good, they just keep riding trains!Posted Image)


I have it from a 'good' :blink: source that the AU Gang is a cult.

#24 zephyr17

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 05:14 PM

LAUPT is pretty much my favorite place in the world. Gorgeous, well preserved and maintained and now very busy. Never, ever felt unsafe in the station. The surrounding area is all right in the daytime and early evening. Not so much late at night, though.

The only bad thing are the restrooms, which are kind of the pits. Just to note, they are not the original facilities, which are at the end of the closed off old ticketing wing.
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#25 boxcar817

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 06:08 PM

I was hoping to book a trip on the Sunset Limited out to LA, but I've had a couple different frequent Amtrak travelers tell me that LAX is the worst (most dangerous) Amtrak station in the country. I've taken their comments with the grain of salt-- some reviewers have said the same thing about Newark's Penn Station but I thought it was fine-- but since I would be there for a few hours before leaving on a connecting train, I thought I'd at least get some firsthand experiences from anyone who has been there.

As you can see from the pic's provided by our resident historian and Trails and Rails expert, LAUS is a very beautiful station. You would be more sorry if you missed seeing such a great place. It is easy to let your mind wander back to the old days, when rail travel was the best way to travel long distances. (still is in IMO)

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#26 GG-1

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 06:34 PM

The most "undesirable characters" that you'll see at LAUT are members of "the AU Gang"!Posted Image (Many are up to no good, they just keep riding trains!Posted Image)

Could you be talking about these shady characters? Posted Image :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Aloha

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#27 Dan O

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 08:18 PM

Been there many times and enjoyed it very much. One time when I was there I saw the Chinese New Year parade just 1/4 mile or so away. Has a touch of Mexico (Olvera St) if you want that. Plus just a subway stop or two from some other nice things in downtown LA. I have always felt safe there and I have been there w/ little kids.

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#28 AKA

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 08:34 PM

I concur with all of the favorable replys. Its our favorite amtrak station. We went through in nov.on the way to San Francisco. The two hour lay over from the SWC was relaxing. A good cup of coffee in the court yard while people watching. Would loved to have seen it in the 40s & 50s.

#29 Gingee

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 10:22 PM

We were there this past summer and spent quite a few hours there especially when we first arrived there. Our daughter and friend came by plane and it was delayed two times and consequently it was several hours late. We decided to hang around the area instead of going to the airport (and then to our cruise destination). I sat in the courtyard and read a book, watch the people go by (yes there was a beggar but we just said no and he left us alone), walked around the area and ate. It was really quite a pretty area. Now if you walk too far out the area, it starts to get a little shabby. There are a couple small museums also across the street and to the left. Don't worry. It is pretty.

#30 SP&S

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 11:22 PM

Any station with seating like this can't be too bad.

Posted Image

Honestly, this is one of the grand old stations. I've enjoyed it - and felt safe -
every time I've been through it.

#31 sechs

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 01:07 AM

I've had a couple different frequent Amtrak travelers tell me that LAX is the worst (most dangerous) Amtrak station in the country.

I'm pretty sure that Needles, California, is much higher up on that list than Los Angeles.

#32 Blackshirt Husker

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 11:16 AM

All of your posts have been unbelievably helpful--I knew that there had to be a different side of the story. I showed this thread to the two co-workers--one is standing by her story, but the other looked at the pictures you've posted and realized that he had gotten the Amtrak station mixed up with the Greyhound station he'd been to as a kid (which is apparently about a block away from Skid Row in LA). Thanks all- I'll be taking the Sunset Limited before the end of February.
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#33 the_traveler

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 04:54 PM

I'm pretty sure that Needles, California, is much higher up on that list than Los Angeles.

I resent that about NDL!Posted Image When I lived in AZ, NDL was my station.

True, there is no indoor waiting room. (The building at trackside is the BNSF freight office.) True you have to wait outside for the 1 or 2 AM SWC - but there are not many other places where it is 90 or 100 at 1 or 2 AM!Posted Image
Take it easy .......

Take the train instead!

#34 saxman

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 05:22 PM

All of your posts have been unbelievably helpful--I knew that there had to be a different side of the story. I showed this thread to the two co-workers--one is standing by her story, but the other looked at the pictures you've posted and realized that he had gotten the Amtrak station mixed up with the Greyhound station he'd been to as a kid (which is apparently about a block away from Skid Row in LA). Thanks all- I'll be taking the Sunset Limited before the end of February.


Sounds like you need to take your co-worker down to LAX. I'd say it's one of the top stations in the Amtrak system. But then again I've known people that think any place in a downtown area is always bad, or if you see one "minority" crossing a street, they say its "ghetto." I wish these people would get out more.

But seriously. If you didn't go check out LAX Union Station because one person said it was bad, you will be missing out on one of America's great train station that is still standing and still a very busy place. When I brought I uncle with me there, he made the comment that he though he was in Europe. He had never seen anything like that in the USA.

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#35 Bierboy

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 06:16 PM

Poo. It's a gorgeous train station WITH A COURTYARD- out in the air, palm trees and a fountain. If you have a layover, it's right downtown, near Chinatown, Olvera St. and City hall. It is in a city, so if you are from some wide spot in the road it will be different. Last time I went through there was a new minimart and a pretzel store in the station. It's busy or a train station, which I like, and there is a long schlepp out to the trains which is not a problem. Redcaps in golf carts will take care of you. I'll say right out it is my favorite Amtrak station.

I agree....LA Union Station is just fine....
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#36 sechs

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 11:37 PM


I'm pretty sure that Needles, California, is much higher up on that list than Los Angeles.

I resent that about NDL! When I lived in AZ, NDL was my station.

True, there is no indoor waiting room. (The building at trackside is the BNSF freight office.) True you have to wait outside for the 1 or 2 AM SWC - but there are not many other places where it is 90 or 100 at 1 or 2 AM!

I'm pretty sure that makes it a lot worse than Los Angeles. But, at least, Needles has a platform now....

#37 TransitGeek

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 03:43 AM

It's weird to keep seeing "LAX" refer to Union Station. Union Station is a gorgeous, busy, grand old place that I absolutely love going to, and it's also usually my portal to Los Angeles (as I take Metrolink in most times). As so many others have said, the station itself is safe as anything you'll find in LA. Wandering about outside of the station during the day and early evening is also fine, and there are many restaurants nearby. Late nights, you might want to take the subway or a bus from the bus loop somewhere else, rather than walking about.

LAX (the airport), however, is a traffic-snarled modernist mess of a place that I despise, but have to fly out of every so often. (So many service cuts at ONT, but hopefully that'll get better when Ontario takes it back from LAWA.)

The two are not comparable.

Oh, and as far as good eats nearby, a couple blocks' walk (shorter than Phillipe's) will bring you to the Spring Street Smokehouse, a very tasty and reasonably-priced barbecue joint that also serves tasty craft beer. (640 N. Spring, Los Angeles, http://www.sssmokehouse.com/)
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#38 RyanS

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 08:20 AM

LAX (the airport), however, is a traffic-snarled modernist mess of a place that I despise, but have to fly out of every so often. (So many service cuts at ONT, but hopefully that'll get better when Ontario takes it back from LAWA.)

I love ONT, it's a great airport. The last time I was out at NSWC Corona for a visit, I was somehow able to have the command let me book a flight from ONT-LAX-BWI, rather than have to drive back to LAX. Of course that's also the trip that I unintentionally booked my trip leaving DCA and returning to BWI and didn't realize it until I checked in at the ticket counter at ONT (It was a weeklong trip, I flew to San Diego, then drove up to China Lake and then finished at Corona). That was an unpleasant realization, although the ticket agent was rather amused when I expressed my displeasure with where I was going.
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#39 rrdude

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 08:56 AM

It's weird to keep seeing "LAX" refer to Union Station.

But that's the Amtrak abbreviation for Los Angeles Union Station too?..?..?........ (or, LAUS)




#40 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 11:10 AM

I showed this thread to the two coworkers--one is standing by her story, but the other realized that he had gotten the Amtrak station mixed up with the Greyhound station he'd been to as a kid.

Ok, so she's standing by what story exactly?

Any views expressed are my own and do not represent the views of my employer, parent companies, partners, or subsidiaries.

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