The Union Station and Train Shed 1

Union Station

Montgomery’s magnificent railroad depot, backs up to the river and is located at 300 Water Street. It is on the National List of Historic Places. (Pictures from Registry) By 1885 Montgomery had become a major rail juncture; by 1895 it was served by a dozen railroads, and 44 passenger trains stopped here every day. The L&N Railroad was the biggest, and its regional headquarters was in Montgomery. Ergo, in 1893 the L&N built Montgomery a much bigger and finer station than was otherwise warranted. The work was designed in Richardson Romanesque style. Lee Street extended right up to the door of the station, giving it an impressive setting (a view lost with the construction of the Embassy Suites Hotel. During WW II, my three years of journey back and forth to military school near Nashville included a five-hour stint (each way) on the L&N’s crack “Pan American”, and the train was always so crowded that I never got a seat (teenagers had low priority). I learned to sleep standing up.

Train Shed

Montgomery’s splendid train shed behind Union Station on Water Street was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976. It was built by the L&N Railroad in 1898, is 600-feet long, and covered four sets of tracks (now asphalt covered). In its heyday it served passenger trains of six different railroads. The old depot is visible on the right, and today the shed serves as a covered parking lot for depot tenants. The shed also functions as pavilion for sundry city affairs.  A CSX freight was passing when the picture was taken.

Riverfront Access Bridge

The new Riverfront Access Bridge . . . as seen from within the train shed. Its bow-string truss spans 125-feet over the railroad tracks, which even today carry 70 trains per 24-hours. .

The left elevator/stair tower is an appendage of the City’s new “Intermodal Parking Deck”, and the right end  “view” tower, located on the river side of the tracks, affords access to the actual walk along the river bank.

-Charles Humphries

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