Historic Union Station will mark its 75th anniversary Saturday — coincidentally Amtrak's own National Train Day — with various a slate of events planned for the downtown Los Angeles venue.
“This is more than just a party,” Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Marc Littman said. “We're showcasing Union Station as the hub of L.A. County's expanding transit system.”
Metro will hold a rededication ceremony at the station's Old Ticket Concourse at 10 a.m.
Throughout the rest of the day, visitors can watch music, dance and children's theater performances on stages set up throughout Union Station, the largest rail terminal in the western United States. An international event, there will be a mariachi ensemble, traditional Chinese lion dancers, a martial-arts troupe, rhythm-and-blues band and swing orchestra.
The little ones can revel in a Chuggington Kids Depot display based on the popular television series, as well as elaborate miniature railroads complete with intricate model trains.
Antique train cars, including one built in 1927, will be on exhibit, and those interested in Union Station's art, architecture and embellishments can chat with docents positioned throughout.
“Stop by the Annenberg Foundation booth and pick up a free TAP card loaded with a round-trip fare on Metro Rail,” said Marc Littman, deputy executive officer for public relations, “then take the subway and Gold Line trains from Union Station and back to enjoy the cultural and other entertainment nearby at Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Grand Park by the Music Center and Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights.”
Union Station was the last grand rail station built in the U.S. Architects John and Donald Parkinson blended Spanish Colonial, Mission Revival and Art Deco styles in its iconic design.
It was completed at a cost of $11 million in 1939, just as people were starting to rely less on trains and more on automobiles. Nevertheless, 75 years later, the station still serves about 60,000 Amtrak, Metrolink and Metro passengers daily.
The facility is poised for a makeover, which could make it a hub for the planned California High Speed Rail system.
Follow Christina Villacorte on Twitter: @LADNvillacorte