Amtrak Wants Ideas for Chicago Union Station Improvements

(Courtesy Amtrak)

CHICAGO – Amtrak is reimagining the Concourse at Chicago Union Station and wants ideas from the traveling public, other station users, and area residents. Improvements to the boarding process, modernized amenities and new services are among the changes to be designed.

A survey, now posted at, kicks off the design phase of the project.

This is the design for the first major enhancement at track level and above since 1991 in a station that serves tens of thousands of Amtrak and Metra customers daily. It is an element of CHIP, the Chicago Hub Improvement Program, which has been repeatedly endorsed by state, regional and federal leaders.

“The station first opened in 1925 and Amtrak will involve our partners and the general public to develop a preferred design that will take us into the next hundred years,” said Jeannie Kwon, Amtrak Vice President, Mega Programs Development and Coordination. “The work at Chicago Union Station, our most critical linchpin for travel across the national network, will be performed using federal capital funds along with generous contributions from our partners for both the design and construction elements of the project.”

Leading the design team at this Amtrak-owned station is Chicago-based Epstein, in partnership with FXCollaborative. This partnership combines Epstein’s expertise in managing large, multi-faceted teams on complicated public facilities with New York-based FXCollaborative’s design experience on transportation projects.

Epstein designed the $26.5 million Terminal 5 concessions area in Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Tunnel and Restroom Modernization at O’Hare and Terminal Redevelopment at Chicago Midway International Airport. Epstein has worked on other historic Chicago landmarks, including the underground parking garage, underground lobby, and Pioneer Zephyr exhibit area at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, the only surviving major building from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.

FXCollaborative designed the recently opened and well-received $24 million Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge and Office Complex in the Moynihan Train Hall for the Amtrak-owned New York Penn Station.

Epstein and FXCollaborative frequently collaborate, leveraging each team member’s strengths to deliver complex, world-class projects successfully. The two firms most recently completed the award-winning major renovation and expansion to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York.

Epstein is committed to achieving an Amtrak goal of 28.2% DBE/SBE participation. Epstein pledges to commit 15.3% of design fees to Disadvantaged Business Enterprise firms and 12.9% to Minority/Women/Veteran/People with Disabilities -owned firms. In many cases, they will play a role in providing assessment, planning, design or engineering services to the team.

When the current Concourse design was finished 32 years ago, Amtrak had an annual passenger count of 2.3 million in Chicago. In 2019, that total was 3.3 million, with new routes to and from Chicago in development in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, among other Amtrak Midwest states.

Annual Metra ridership, over the same period at Chicago Union Station, has grown from 26.6 million to 32.6 million.

Railfanning Review Podcast

Before you copy and paste this information to your website, please keep in mind this research took a lot of effort. Appreciate it. Learn from it. But do not plagiarize it. Yes, if you think we might be talking to you, we are.