Great Train Stations

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Great Train Stations
Posted by Frisco1522 on Thursday, January 2, 2020 12:03 PM

I received my copy of Great Train Stations and was very disappointed to see that St. Louis and Kansas City only rated one paragraph and one photo each.

You could publish a whole magazine about St. Louis Union Station and yet it was an afterthought in your special issue.   Montreal rated multiple pages and it is in Canada.   St. Louis is historic and was huge when it was in full glory.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, January 2, 2020 12:07 PM

In their partial -- very partial -- defense, I think St. Louis was one of the great missed opportunities as a 'midwest gateway' for passenger service between East and West.  They greatly overbuilt the station for the actual traffic that developed, I think, and this may have factored into some formula at Kalmbach for rating what made stations 'great'.

Jack, is that you?

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Posted by ghCBNS on Thursday, January 2, 2020 5:11 PM

And why shouldn't Montreal Gare Centrale rate multiple pages?? A fine, modern station!

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Posted by Penny Trains on Thursday, January 2, 2020 6:36 PM

Then we agitate for "MORE" Great Train Stations.  Wink

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Posted by ghCBNS on Thursday, January 2, 2020 6:43 PM

Penny Trains

Then we agitate for "MORE" Great Train Stations.  Wink

 

 

Yup....lots more great stations out there that would fill several issues!

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, January 2, 2020 7:12 PM

Wellllll, in doing a book on "Great Train Stations" you have to remember it's going to be pretty subjective.  The most famous ones have  to be listed, there's the author's own preferences, (sure, they should be impartial but looky here, they're only human) AND they have to play to the biggest audiences, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and so forth.  That's where the most potential purchasers are going to be. 

Second-tier cities (no offense meant) like Saint Louis and Kansas City are bound to get short-shrift, even if they don't deserve it.    

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Posted by Penny Trains on Friday, January 3, 2020 6:44 PM

True.  But was anyone as shocked as I was to discover that there was no photo of the actual Penn Station but rather just a GG-1 downtrack?

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Posted by gmpullman on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 1:46 PM

The late-great Pennsylvania Station:

Still in the clean-up stage (note gondolas) but there is a string of LIRR (M)P54s in the distance.

 Penn_Station1 by Edmund, on Flickr

 LIRR_cars by Edmund, on Flickr

It took a pretty sure-footed chap to navigate this "scaffolding"!

 Penn_Scaffold by Edmund, on Flickr

 

Earlier:

 Penn_Station-1908dig by Edmund, on Flickr

A steel arch for the concourse can be seen in the distance. The donkey below-center is pushing a cart with a big spur gear. Perhaps for a repair on a shovel?

Speaking of St. Louis, the PRR had this section of the tunnel design on display at the (Louisiana Purchase Exposition§) World's Fair, 1904. This is the left-half of a stereoscope.

 Penn-Station_tubes by Edmund, on Flickr

Click any of the photos to open in Flickr where you can enlarge the view.

§ More excellent photos of the Fair here:

https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2019/09/the-1904-st-louis-worlds-fair-photos/597658/

Of particular note #15. Railway equipment and #28. the Cagneys.

Regards, Ed

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Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 6:38 PM

1904 Worlds Fair in St Louis... absolutely breathtaking. # 15 with that endless lineup of locomotives,  remarkable.

Great thinkers at this time really thought all the ills and problems of the world were coming to an end and we had entered a new age of greatness were science, engineering, commerce, medical advances had been understood. They were very positive and very certain for the future of a great world. You can see this in the details and imagery. 

WWI shattered that dream when industrial might and science turned into mass slaughter instead of benefits. 

That couple in #20, the newlyweds, sure look miserable. 

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 7:18 PM

Miningman
1904 Worlds Fair in St Louis... absolutely breathtaking. # 15 with that endless lineup of locomotives remarkable.

In light of the discussion of multiple stacks, look back a few ranks in the "Baltimore and Ohio Section" with all those famous 'reproductions' of early B&O power, and note the towering double stacks with hopper on top...

Anyone notice, among all the professional names that 'are no more' in picture #12, a famous name from the West Coast?

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Posted by Deggesty on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 9:09 PM

Miningman

1904 Worlds Fair in St Louis... absolutely breathtaking. # 15 with that endless lineup of locomotives,  remarkable.

Great thinkers at this time really thought all the ills and problems of the world were coming to an end and we had entered a new age of greatness were science, engineering, commerce, medical advances had been understood. They were very positive and very certain for the future of a great world. You can see this in the details and imagery. 

WWI shattered that dream when industrial might and science turned into mass slaughter instead of benefits. 

That couple in #20, the newlyweds, sure look miserable. 

 

Yes, the couple look as though they are not enjoying being there; perhaps the marriage did turn out much better the beginning seems to be.

Johnny

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 12:04 PM

Yeah, that young couple sure look like the "Wrath of God," don't they?  

Anyone notice good ol' 999 to the right of the Cugnot Steam Carriage in photo 15? 

Anyway, the quality of those photos is outstanding, most look like they could have been taken yesterday!

And when you think about it, the progress that took place from 1804 to 1904 was staggering!  

A little sad to think that there's no-one alive now who are in those photos, but what can you do?   Time marches on. 

Probably most wouldn't care for the world we live today in anyway.

Oh what the hell, sing it Judy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqezXDgObWE  

How about a version from 1904?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYoGsVaT8vk  

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Posted by Penny Trains on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 7:17 PM

Creation survived!

"Creation. Dreamland’s most extensive renovation for the 1905 season was the installation of Creation at a cost of $250,000.  Creation was an illusion-based show conceived of by Henry Roltair.  It had been the most popular attraction at the recently-concluded St. Louis World’s Fair of 1904.  Creation visually retold the Biblical story in Genesis of how the Earth was formed in six days, culminating in the testing of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. As described by Harper's Weekly in its July 8, 1905, issue:

'There is a religious awe embraced in the contemplation of 'Creation,' a panoramic spectacle illustrating the story of Genesis. No one could possible help being affected by that vivid panorama of old earth in the making, accompanied by the solemn voice of the lecturer, who, with the showman's instinct for the verity that lurks in incongruity, proves his case by adhering almost literally to the Scriptural account. Not even when Adam, in all the nakedness of a suit of underwear which wrinkles as he walks, is discovered by Eve, similarly attired, does the scene lose its spell. At least no one suggests that the spectacle has come perirously near to blasphemy.'

The show ran roughly once an hour, every day of the week.  Over half of Dreamland’s Surf Avenue frontage, including Dreamland’s prior main entrance and two amusement buildings, was torn down to make room for the new building.  The Johnson carousel also was moved.  The new building was a mammoth 150 feet long, 200 feet deep and 90 feet tall.  The new main entrance to Dreamland along Surf Avenue was integrated into the building.


Religious groups initially were ecstatic about Creation coming to Coney Island.  Surely, it was a sign that Dreamland also espoused their strict moral virtues.  Heads began to turn and parents shielded their children’s eyes as construction progressed, however.  A 30-foot tall, 100-ton topless statue of a female angel advertising Creation was erected over Dreamland’s new main gates facing Surf Avenue.  This seemed unthinkable in a time when proper women had to wear long, formless dresses even when bathing in the ocean.  Police quickly responded by making Dreamland put clothes on the statue.  Surprisingly, it was a religious group that had the police orders reversed, on the basis that partial nudity was acceptable in the context of providing religious education to the masses.  The Bowery patrons certainly must have cheered this outcome as well."
 
 
 
 
 
Fittingly(?), Creation and all of dreamland came to an end when a fire broke out on the morning of May 27, 1911 here:
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Posted by Deggesty on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 8:08 PM

Didn't the Wabash build a station close to the fairgrounds--and make use of it for the Chicago and Detroit trains until the spring of 1969, even having a Chicago Pullman originate there ?

Johnny

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Posted by Jones1945 on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 11:48 PM

 

Thanks Ed for the impressive photos and links. The Festival Hall and the fountain of the 1904 Worlds Fair in St Louis was such an architectural germ, too bad that they were not a built to last... The Festival Hall reminds me of the Haiyantang Water Clock Fountain in Old Summer Palace of China.

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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, January 9, 2020 4:54 AM

When I was ever-so-briefly in architecture school, this style of 'whited sepulchre' festival architecture was roundly disparaged, even by the 'Learning from Las Vegas' people.  I thought then, and still do, that it has its charms.

Penny, I don't think the story ended with the Dreamland fire; that fine Brooklynite Charles Taze Russell picked up on it for the "Photo-Drama of Creation" that was one of the early tours-de-force of the American movie industry.

Download your own PDF copy (a whopping 115MB! hey, that used to be ridiculously larger than business-computer hard-drive capacity!) of the souvenir book accompanying the production here:

https://archive.org/details/ThePhotodramaOfCreation

(The movie itself has been remastered in HD, but it is difficult to recover the sense of wonder that would have been involved with seeing it in its original venues.  We certainly wouldn't get back to that level of sound synchronization for over a decade...)

 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, January 9, 2020 9:48 AM

I wouldn't worry overmuch about what architectural critics have to say, like so many other people in other fields of endevour they can be just as faddish as high-school teenagers. 

Styles change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.  One mustn't be smug and superior, who knows what they'll be saying about us  in 100 years time?   

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Posted by rcdrye on Thursday, January 9, 2020 11:07 AM

Deggesty

Didn't the Wabash build a station close to the fairgrounds--and make use of it for the Chicago and Detroit trains until the spring of 1969, even having a Chicago Pullman originate there ?

 

Delmar Boulevard opened in 1929 and closed in 1970.  There was a World's Fair Station served by several railroads, reached over Rock Island trackage.  Delmar was one of the few, and probably the last, "suburban" stations with setout Pullmans.

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Posted by Jones1945 on Thursday, January 9, 2020 12:15 PM

Overmod
When I was ever-so-briefly in architecture school, this style of 'whited sepulchre' festival architecture was roundly disparaged, even by the 'Learning from Las Vegas' people.  I thought then, and still do, that it has its charms.

Flintlock76

I wouldn't worry overmuch about what architectural critics have to say, like so many other people in other fields of endevour they can be just as faddish as high-school teenagers. 

Styles change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.  One mustn't be smug and superior, who knows what they'll be saying about us  in 100 years time?   

[Giggle] You guys are both right. I understand why these temporary structures built for a specific global event were roundly disparaged since they were constructed with movie-set-like material and wasn't very carefully designed for long term use and to showcase the wisdom and philosophy of the architect like any other permanent buildings. But The Festival Hall does have its charms and played the role very well to bring the 1904 World Fair a beautiful, classy image and a dreamy atmosphere. The building itself was great enough to serve its purpose. I can see the Festival Hall was inspired by or tried to mimic Baroque Architecture, which was not a thing for everyone nowadays. Many would find them overly decorated, but it is also a subjective thing, just like streamlined locomotive lovers vs. non-streamlined locomotive lovers. :  ) 

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Posted by Deggesty on Thursday, January 9, 2020 2:58 PM

rcdrye

 

 
Deggesty

Didn't the Wabash build a station close to the fairgrounds--and make use of it for the Chicago and Detroit trains until the spring of 1969, even having a Chicago Pullman originate there ?

 

 

 

Delmar Boulevard opened in 1929 and closed in 1970.  There was a World's Fair Station served by several railroads, reached over Rock Island trackage.  Delmar was one of the few, and probably the last, "suburban" stations with setout Pullmans.

 

 

I missed going by the Delmar station by one day, when the Bluebird  was routed directly to the Misssissippi instead of going by Delmar. It left 15 minutes later than previously, and the schedule was not changed for the stops in Illinois.

Johnny

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