Kansas City Union Station. Amtrak and KC Trolley

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by dlagrua, Feb 17, 2019.

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  1. Feb 17, 2019 #1

    dlagrua

    dlagrua

    dlagrua

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    Heading to Kansas City this May. We will arrive at CHI on the CL and this is our first opportunity to try  the minimalist menu. Can't comment on it as yet, but it appears to be a significant downgrade from full diner service.  The next leg of our trip will be on the SW Chief. First time visit and don't know what to expect. Union Station looks elegant and in addition to Amtrak service they have a museum, a restaurant and a model train exhibit there; some things to do and see during our trip.  For locals or travelers that know that city well, we have a few questions. We will be lodging at the Crown Plaza in Downtown that appears to be maybe two miles from Union Station. We understand that the trolley service that takes you through downtown, stops right outside Union Station and it runs every 20 minutes until midnight weekdays.  The S.W Chief schedule shows it arriving in  KCY at 10:00 PM so here are the questions. if Amtrak arrives late after trolley service stops, are taxis available in the late hours?  Is the Crown Plaza a good hotel to stay at?  If we catch the trolley it appears that the 14th street stop is the closest to our hotel. Would also appreciate some recommendations on quality restaurants and sights to see.  Any and all comments are appreciated.
     
  2. Feb 18, 2019 #2

    greatcats

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    In 2017 I got off the eastbound Chief in the morning and called an Uber to take me to the Crowne Plaza, which was quite a decent hotel, and so had dinner there one night.  On my return I walked, with luggage, back to Union Station and visited some of Museum and had an excellent dinner in the restaurant at the end of the huge waiting room near the corridor by the Amtrak area.   Then killed time in the spartan waiting area watching a movie on my iPad. 
     
  3. Feb 18, 2019 #3

    NW cannonball

    NW cannonball

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    I know nothing about quality restaurants. Met the SW Chief at KC a couple years ago. The station is one of those old, grand, train station places. One of the best.

    Unlikely the Chief arrives after the trolley closes. But taxis and Lyfts and Ubers -- no worries.

    Actually, if you are in medium good physical condition, you could walk from the station to the hotel. No fear, no danger, safe city. (Not as safe as Tokyo, but real safe.)

    Enjoy your stay.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2019
  4. Feb 18, 2019 #4

    Eric S

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    The Kansas City streetcar lists its off-peak headway as 12-18 minutes and, as you mention, runs until midnight Monday-Thursday (2am Friday and Saturday, 11pm Sunday). Note that the stop closest to your hotel, the stop at 14th St., is referred to as the Power & Light stop.

    At KC Union Station, there is signage indicating where to walk to the streetcar but it doesn't necessarily stand out. You can either head out the main entrance doors and turn to the left and walk to the stop on Main St. or walk down a corridor and remain inside for a bit longer (if the weather isn't great). Union Station is the end of the line for the streetcar and there is only one stop/platform, so no need to worry about which side/direction to wait at.

    I've ridden the KC Streetcar a handful of times and seem to recall the audio/visual announcements for the stops as being adequate, particularly if you're paying attention.
     
  5. Feb 18, 2019 #5

    NorthShore

    NorthShore

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    Well, of course, you're going to eat plenty of barbecue from some of their noted places, right?
     
  6. Feb 20, 2019 #6

    ciship

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    I live in KC and have taken the Chief many times.  The taxi drivers always know when the trains are arriving so there will be a line outside the station at whatever time the Chief arrives.  Attached to KC's beautiful Union Station is a link that you can walk over to the attached hotel and mall area.  The link is climate controlled and perches above street level.  You will find stores, restaurants, a food court, etc....The attached area is called "Crown Center" if you want to google everything they have.  https://www.crowncenter.com/
     
  7. Feb 20, 2019 #7

    greatcats

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    In 1977 I was on the transcontinental sleeper that was switched at Kansas City enroute from New York to Flagstaff. During the layover I recall having an excellent dinner on top of the hotel st Crown Center.  I also recall my sleeper attendant on the long gone National Limited was Mr. Joseph Brewer from Richmond, VA.  The Southwest Chief consisted of the somewhat tired Santa Fe cars, the predecessors of the Superliners. 
     
  8. Feb 20, 2019 #8

    Saddleshoes

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    I was going to make the same suggestion.

    We elected to stay at the Crown Center hotel due to the close proximity to the station and the late arrival time.  It worked great for us.

    Suggestions...  1) The crown center is just around the corner from the Hallmark Card headquarters.  They have a free museum about the Hallmark Card company.  It was really quite good and the price is right.   2) Up the hill from the train station is a recently renovated museum devoted to WW1.  It is excellent.  3) At the other end of the trolley line from the train station is the private  Arabia Steamboat Museum.  It was very interesting to me and I plan to visit it again. 
     
  9. Feb 20, 2019 #9

    cpotisch

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    Was that through car between the Chief and National Limited?
     
  10. Feb 20, 2019 #10

    neroden

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    Yes, taxis are available late night.  The Crown Plaza is fine, but the thermostat for the rooms is a bit weird, so be aware that you may be uncomfortably hot or cold (but you'll probably be fine).  The Trolley is super easy to use and very nice. 

    Tons of good restaurants are along the Trolley line particularly at the River Market end.  Union Station KC is actually full of stuff worth seeing, yes.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2019
  11. Feb 20, 2019 #11

    greatcats

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    Yes, the 10-6 sleeper from New York to Los Angeles.  It was coupled as I recall in front of the transition car.    It was quite a good trip and I then stayed at Little America in Flg.  I am now a resident here, but a native of New Jersey. 
     
  12. Feb 21, 2019 #12

    Maverickstation

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    A good spot for lunch in Crown Center is the H-Bar inside Halls Department Store. Halls itself is one of a kind and beautiful. The store was redone about 3 years ago.
     
  13. Feb 21, 2019 #13

    dbfrese

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    Another fun spot for lunch is Fritz's Railroad Restaurant, inside Crown Center, where burgers, shakes and fries are delivered to your table by a model train. It's decent food, and entertaining, too.
     
  14. Feb 22, 2019 #14

    cpotisch

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    I found this video of it. Funny that the train is serving a boxed meal, right?

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2019
  15. Feb 22, 2019 #15

    dlagrua

    dlagrua

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    Thanks all for all the great info and recommendations. First visit to KCY and we really appreciate the guidance. The last question we have; is that on the day of our departure , the South West Chief leaves Union Station at 7:28 AM. Just to be super safe we will will probably leave the Crown Plaza hotel around 6AM. It may be to early to catch a taxi but 6AM is when the first trolley departs.  If we do have to take the KC trolley will it be too full at 6 AM to get on?  According to what I read the trolley often runs at full capacity but at 6 or 6:30 it may be before rush hour.
     
  16. Feb 23, 2019 #16

    neroden

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    Oh hell no, the trolley is half-empty at 6 AM.
     

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