IN THE CENTER OF IT ALL
When traveling on a private railroad car, the lodging arrangements can be as important as the journey. Passengers sleep in the cars’ bedrooms wherever they may be parked and sometimes that can be in the middle of nowhere. In other instances, your moving bedroom has a better location than any 5-star hotel.
One of the best destinations is Union Station in Washington DC. It was one of the country’s first great union railroad terminals and opened in 1907. It is a Beaux-Arts masterpiece designed by famed architect and planner Daniel Burnham.
The front of the station, on Columbus Circle, features a soaring vaulted entryway and heroic statuary on its 600-foot length. The 96-foot high Main Hall has a coffered ceiling with gold leaf which reflects natural light entering from the large Diocletian windows
The former Main Concourse, now the heart of the station, features a barrel-vaulted glass and coffered plaster ceiling 45 feet above the main floor which stretches 760 feet long.
Today the station, which is larger than the U.S. Capitol, is the number one destination for visitors to Washington, D.C.
In addition to the architectural beauty of the station, there are more amenities than a hotel or even a cruise ship can claim. There is more than 210,000 square feet of retail space, in a three level mall. The retail space, just steps from private rail car parking, has shops ranging from clothing boutiques to a drug store. There is a massive fast food court and a half dozen restaurants. A post office, rental cars, liquor store and lottery office are just some of the other amenities.
Transportation throughout the DC area is a breeze. The Metro stops at the station as do several bus lines and tours and there are always taxis and Ubers.
The biggest attribute is the location; just blocks from the Capitol and the National Mall. It is an easy walk to the National Botanical Gardens and the National Gallery. For those who enjoy a longer hike most of the Smithsonian Museums are within 30 minutes by foot or a few minutes on the Metro. Admission is free to all the Smithsonian properties.
There is always something going on. Performances and exhibits in Union Station or a festival on the Mall are routine occurrences.
While the scenery out your bedroom window of tracks and trains my not be the finest you just can’t beat the location.