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Chicago Union Station: My View Based on My Experience


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#21 SarahZ

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 10:24 PM

I found some images in this article: http://chi.streetsbl...boarding-pilot/

 

That shows the crosswalk, which I haven't seen yet, as I tend to exit the station on the other side (Adams or Jackson). What a great idea. :) I always hated walking through the crowds of smokers to get to the crosswalk at Jackson and Canal.

 

Anyway, the article shows the new, red lane that is designated for buses and those with disabilities. From what I'm reading in the article, if you have a disability, you will be allowed to have your cab drop you off at that location. That puts you by the Canal Street entrance, which is where the central elevators to the concourses are located. The risk is that private vehicles are using the curb lane, which means you have to negotiate crossing through that traffic if the cab doesn't drop you off near the crosswalk. I wish I could find a better photo.

 

If you choose not to use that area, you will be dropped off at the cab stand, which is on the other side of the street. You could use the special crosswalk to go to the entrance with the elevators. Or, you could walk into the Great Hall. Unfortunately, when you enter the Great Hall, you'll have to walk down a couple flights of marble stairs to get to the level with the concourses. I'm not sure if they're planning to install an elevator anywhere within the Great Hall.

 

Here's a map that shows both buildings and the connecting hall. Canal Street is the narrow, white rectangle that runs vertically along the center of the map, just left of Metra Ticketing. You can sort of tell you're walking under it because the hallway has a pretty distinct slope to it when you walk from the Great Hall to the Concourses. There are ramps on either side of the main hallway as well.

 

http://www.chicagoun..._concourse.html


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Amtrak Routes: Blue Water, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Carl Sandburg, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Hiawatha, Illinois Zephyr, Lincoln Service, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle, Wolverine

 

Metropolitan Rail: Chicago Metra, Chicago L, Dallas TRE, Detroit People Mover, New Orleans RTA, San Francisco MUNI, Seattle Monorail, South Shore Line (NICTD), Toronto Subway & RT, Washington DC Metro


#22 SarahZ

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Posted 14 August 2017 - 10:26 PM

Honestly, if my goal were to get as close to the elevators as possible, I'd use Uber or Lyft. Since those are "private" vehicles, they can drop you off at the sidewalk, and then it's just a few steps to get in the doors and to the elevators.


Amtrak Miles: 39,318

 

Amtrak Routes: Blue Water, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Carl Sandburg, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Hiawatha, Illinois Zephyr, Lincoln Service, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle, Wolverine

 

Metropolitan Rail: Chicago Metra, Chicago L, Dallas TRE, Detroit People Mover, New Orleans RTA, San Francisco MUNI, Seattle Monorail, South Shore Line (NICTD), Toronto Subway & RT, Washington DC Metro


#23 RPC

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 12:18 PM

Although the ambiance of the new Metro Lounge is much improved, I do miss the easy boarding from the old location. In my experience, no matter what track your train was on, the lounge attendant would line you up at the back exit, where you'd either board your train directly or get shepherded to the Track 26/28 gate, into the south concourse, and onto your track while the coach pax looked on. Now you just get released into the mob, where you have to cross all the Metra BNSF commuters scrambling for their trains, and as often as not find when you get to your gate that the coach pax have been let out ahead of you. It makes for a pretty chaotic experience on the platform!



#24 wwchi

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 12:39 PM

Although the ambiance of the new Metro Lounge is much improved, I do miss the easy boarding from the old location. In my experience, no matter what track your train was on, the lounge attendant would line you up at the back exit, where you'd either board your train directly or get shepherded to the Track 26/28 gate, into the south concourse, and onto your track while the coach pax looked on. Now you just get released into the mob, where you have to cross all the Metra BNSF commuters scrambling for their trains, and as often as not find when you get to your gate that the coach pax have been let out ahead of you. It makes for a pretty chaotic experience on the platform!

yes an added inconvenience for sure but a lot of that could be solved if the people at the gates did a better job. There are one or two who manage the process well, but having done this for 12+ years at CUS 90% of the gate attendants could really give a **** about their jobs.  Clearer announcements, answering people's questions, letting people know the order of boarding so they don't panic (I see this all the time), and then making sure you board 1. Business/Sleeper, 2. Legacy, 3. Seniors, 4. Families with small children (and Active Military I forget is with Business or Legacy) would all help make it run more smoothly.  And also trying to board the Business/Sleeper people even 5 minutes earlier would help.



#25 Bob Dylan

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 12:50 PM

Best Chicago Boarding Procedure:

Use a RedCap and Ride to your Car on their Cart! Best $5 Investment you can make @ Union Station!

Period!
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
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Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#26 Dakota 400

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 03:43 PM

Best Chicago Boarding Procedure:

Use a RedCap and Ride to your Car on their Cart! Best $5 Investment you can make @ Union Station!

Period!

 

No doubt!  Totally agree at some large city stations!  (Seattle is an exception.  Very easy to board in my experience in Seattle.)

 

SarahZ:  Great pictures of the Chicago situation.  It's exactly as the photos show.



#27 SarahZ

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 05:42 PM

SarahZ:  Great pictures of the Chicago situation.  It's exactly as the photos show.

 

 

Awesome. I look forward to checking it out in person. I just have to remember to exit at Canal. It's such a habit to exit at Adams.  ^_^


Amtrak Miles: 39,318

 

Amtrak Routes: Blue Water, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Carl Sandburg, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Hiawatha, Illinois Zephyr, Lincoln Service, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle, Wolverine

 

Metropolitan Rail: Chicago Metra, Chicago L, Dallas TRE, Detroit People Mover, New Orleans RTA, San Francisco MUNI, Seattle Monorail, South Shore Line (NICTD), Toronto Subway & RT, Washington DC Metro


#28 gwschenk

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 11:35 AM

Only been to Chicago once and that was years ago, but I remember being very impressed with Dexter the bartender there.



#29 Everydaymatters

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 07:09 PM

I finally got to experience the new Metropolitan Lounge earlier this week. It is very spacious, compared to the old ML and the vegetables are a nice touch. It seemed to me that it was not well marked that it is restricted to sleeper and BC. The desk lady was so busy checking tickets and running into the lounge after people who walked by her desk without showing their tickets that she was not able to watch who was going into the storage room. The storage procedure in the old ML was much more secure and efficient.

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#30 Dave Van

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Posted 26 August 2017 - 10:28 AM

I pass through about twice a year for the past 7-10.  I find it about average for a large transportation hub that is anywhere near it's age. It could be better....the DARK platforms are my biggest issue.....but I think they are working on it. 


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#31 NorthShore

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 03:42 PM

...and the vegetables are a nice touch.


You got to meet Larry the Cucumber?!?!

#32 RSG

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 06:13 PM

The desk lady was so busy checking tickets and running into the lounge after people who walked by her desk without showing their tickets that she was not able to watch who was going into the storage room. The storage procedure in the old ML was much more secure and efficient.


As far as luggage storage, the desk attendants have a more relaxed attitude towards it in recent months. But they also do not have to watch who goes in the storage room, as it is being watched by a dedicated 'attendant' (ie, security camera). It may seem insecure, but is probably better monitored than the average airport baggage claim area when not humanly staffed.

 

As to whether the current arrangement is better or worse than the previous one, that's probably a matter of perception. I saw plenty of clustersomethings in the old Metropolitan Lounge around the bag check area and experienced several attendants who provided a level of customer service more on par with a detention facility than what should be an upscale travel amenity.



#33 Tennessee Traveler

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Posted 29 August 2017 - 09:28 PM

And before the old Lounge had the red cap storage they also had the same unmanned storage room as now.  It was behind the checkin desk and was eventually outgrown resulting in the new larger manned luggage room.  I've left many a bag in the older unmanned room most of the day before boarding my train.  I usually flew in from Nashville early morning to catch a mid afternoon LD departure.  






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