Louisville – Union Station

Louisville has a beautiful railway station, first constructed in 1880, and it has seen many Presidents walk through its doors. The interior was as richly decorated as the exterior and it’s a grand and spacious building. It just has the little problem for rail travellers that it doesn’t have any trains.

Unfortunately, Amtrak ceased services here in 1976 and it sold the building to TARC, who are the regional transportation company. Although it’s vaguely nice that the building is used by a transportation company, it’d be even nicer if it was used as a railway station.

Indeed, there were hopes that the situation would improve as Amtrak restored services to the city in 2001 when they used part of the site for their Kentucky Cardinal service. But then that stopped in 2003, despite the city having just spent $370,000 to provide a stopping point for the train. The service was to have been funded by getting postal service contracts rather than by passenger revenue, so when those contracts didn’t come through, it was the end again.

In theory it would be possible for rail services to begin again to the city, as the line is run by Louisville and Indiana Railroad as a freight service. Unlike in the UK where so many of the tracks were ripped up, at least they have the option in the future of restoring a service. However, the popularity of flying and the convenience and speed of the airports mean that a restored service is highly unlikely in the foreseeable future and I can’t see that anyone is even calling for it at the moment…..