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Old 05-28-2020, 11:06 AM
Win Place Show is offline
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 310

anyone been through Chicago Union Station lately? what's it like "hustle and bustle"-wise?

Just curious about any firsthand experiences with Chicago Union Station recently? Is it a "hub" for the local trains (similar to what you might think of Penn Station or Grand Central Station in NYC for their subway system)?

The only times I've been through there (more than five years ago) was when riding through on Amtrak and being on a connection/layover. From what I've read it sounds like Amtrak is still running most of their trains. I just saw that there's still a Metropolitan Lounge there - does that still open each day for Amtrak riders to hang out?

What about the food courts - are they open and serving food? And the bars, are they open and serving?

I suppose it would be like a typical airport, with not nearly as much "hustle and bustle" as there was six months ago? That's how I imagine it to be - just wondering if anyone has seen lately with their own eyes?
Old 05-28-2020, 12:05 PM
kenobi 65's Avatar
kenobi 65 is online now
Corellian Nerfherder
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Brookfield, IL
Posts: 17,779
I haven't been in Chicago Union Station since early March; I'd normally be in the station most work days, as I take a commuter train in from the suburbs. But, I've been working from home for the past three months, so I don't have any recent first-hand info to share.

Yes, the station is a hub for several different Metra commuter lines, as well as for Amtrak. In normal times, this makes the station extremely busy with commuters during the rush hour periods (i.e., 7-9am, 4-6pm). But, Metra has seen massive declines in their ridership, and has made major service cuts, as well. So, the "rush hour bustle" in the station is probably pretty much non-existant now.

The station's web site says, rather non-specifically, "The Food Court, located on the Mezzanine level, is currently experiencing reduced services due to the State of Illinois Shelter in Place order."
Old 05-28-2020, 02:35 PM
John Bredin is offline
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: BuffaloGrove IL (Chicago)
Posts: 2,195
My usual commute is into Union, but I've only been to the office a handful of times since mid-March, most recently a couple of weeks ago.

Firstly, Amtrak's running all their long-distance trains serving Chicago (so far, knock on wood!) but the Midwest corridor trains are on significantly reduced schedules. As already noted, Metra's also on reduced schedules.

I'd say the station isn't bustling but it's also not dead. There's definitely more Amtrak passengers than Metra commuters, the reverse of the usual situation. As to the food situation, I can attest that McDonald's is open so a traveler won't starve, but I didn't make my way to the food court. As I recall, at least one newsstand is open, but IMHO they're a bit of a ripoff and I would go to CVS across the street if I wanted candy, snacks, a magazine, an umbrella, etc.

Second-hand info, but a person traveling cross-country by Amtrak posted Tuesday that he was using the Met Lounge in Chicago between trains. He was complaining that there was no coffee, tea, soda, etc., so I imagine Amtrak have shut them off in the lounge for the duration.

They've closed off the Great Hall, though with a short wooden wall so you can still see much of it. I would've thought it would be the perfect social-distancing space compared to the somewhat cramped coach-class waiting lounge by the gates -- which was pretty busy when I went past a couple of weeks ago -- but who am I to say?


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