Union Station Revitalization | ?m | ?s | City of Toronto | NORR

treplow

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Imagine a couple paying $10,000 to ride the Canadian in style from Toronto to Vancouver and this is their welcome.

4096405039_1dd8d8419b_z.jpg


Why wasn’t the VIA Concourse considered worthy of a major rebuild?

Why can't VIA passengers just use the new York and Bay concourses to board? Never understood why they needed a separate passenger waiting area in the first place.
 

DSC

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What could possibly be considered heritage here? This looks like something from Wolfenstein or the Führerbunker.
I think you make the common mistake of thinking of 'heritage' as (only) "old". Heritage things MAY be old but there is a good reason to maintain things that are examples of 1920/1930 architecture too and the VIA concourse is an example of that era.
 

Richard White

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Why can't VIA passengers just use the new York and Bay concourses to board? Never understood why they needed a separate passenger waiting area in the first place.

VIA trains do not have access to those platforms.in their entirety. Platforms 16-21 for example are only accessible from the VIA concourse.

Platform 3 is really one of the few platforms shared by GO and VIA (if at all).

There is also different infrastructure for VIA and GO. VIA for example does baggage handling whereas GO does not. .
 

Admiral Beez

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Why can't VIA passengers just use the new York and Bay concourses to board? Never understood why they needed a separate passenger waiting area in the first place.
Good question . Perhaps luggage lifts? When I heard more than a decade ago that Union was being rebuilt I assumed that VIA would gain some grand train shed and waiting area. Instead all the effort went to GO commuters and tbh the VIA elements at Union seem unchanged from the 1980s.
 

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Good question . Perhaps luggage lifts? When I heard more than a decade ago that Union was being rebuilt I assumed that VIA would gain some grand train shed and waiting area. Instead all the effort went to GO commuters and tbh the VIA elements at Union seem unchanged from the 1980s.
The updated VIA Lounge (used by Business Class and all Canadian-train passengers) is very pleasant. It is just west of the Great Hall.
 

Woodbridge_Heights

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Why can't VIA passengers just use the new York and Bay concourses to board? Never understood why they needed a separate passenger waiting area in the first place.

Well if we want to have US CBSA customs preclearance at Union station than there needs to be a way to isolate Via rail passengers from GO Rail passengers. For the longest time this wasn't really possible due to space constraints, now they can proceed to segregate the two again.
 

Admiral Beez

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Well if we want to have US CBSA customs preclearance at Union station than there needs to be a way to isolate Via rail passengers from GO Rail passengers. For the longest time this wasn't really possible due to space constraints, now they can proceed to segregate the two again.
The few and rarely used trains to the USA should be the least of our concerns for Union Station. Do the clearance onboard at the border, that's what they did the last time I took Amtrak/VIA to Niagara Falls, ON, where they announced that the next stop was US customs. I can't imagine New York's Pennsylvania Station using clearance of the odd Canadian as a justification of mediocrity.
 

Admiral Beez

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That's the departures hall.
Yes, I know, and that's their welcome from VIA before they depart to board their train for Vancouver.

You can have a departure hall located beneath the platforms that doesn't looks like a low ceilinged bunker. We just spend billions on updating Union Station and the VIA departure hall looks like it did when I rode the Canadian in 1988. We just spent billions on Union Station and this the best we can do?

Spacious_basement_concourse_at_Toronto_Union_station-_totally_empty_%2827899770645%29.jpg


Meanwhile the GOTrain departure hall get this? How is this even in the same building as the above?

toronto-restaurants-union-station-food-court-entrance-803x0-c-default.jpg


Even the GOBus departure hall treats its passenger better than VIA's.

20201205-103640.jpg


And VIA's customers are the ones that will be sitting around the longest. Want to take a VIA from London to Montreal, per https://reservia.viarail.ca/ you'll be sitting at Union for up to 3.5 hours for your connecting train to Montreal. Or up to 2.5 hours wait if you take VIA from Quebec City to Niagara Falls. And since you can't check your luggage, if you want to partake in the billion $ investment into Union Station you'd better be prepared to lug your bags and yourself over to the GOTrain departure hall with all the restaurants and niceties.
 
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daniel_kryz

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I'm surprised no one has noticed, but those are photos of the VIA Concourse before it was renovated. I'm still disappointed by its present look, but they updated the signage, added new lighting (meh), reinstated 'heritage' columns and an analog clock, rebuilt the ceilings, and replaced the floor. My problem is that, despite the fact that almost everything was rebuilt, it looks almost exactly the same. Overall, I have much to love and hate about Union's revitalization. There are some really nice places like the moat, but they didn't make a comprehensive design vision and many nice things were cancelled, such as the train shed green roof.

34341-116546.jpeg

creds to @crs1026
 
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trtcttc

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I'm surprised no one has noticed, but those are photos of the VIA Concourse before it was renovated. I'm still disappointed by its present look, but did updated the signage, added new lighting (meh), reinstated 'heritage' columns and an analog clock, rebuilt the ceilings, and replaced the floor. My problem is that, despite the fact that almost everything was rebuilt, it looks almost exactly the same. Overall, I have much to love and hate about Union's revitalization. There are some really nice places like the moat, but they didn't make a comprehensive design vision and many nice things were cancelled, such as the train shed green roof.

View attachment 371224
creds to @crs1026
Not familiar with the details, but I wonder if at one time, VIA was supposed to look similar to the new GO Concourses but cost cutting and heritage preservation made that impossible. It’s been mentioned before, but those lights are just horrendous.
 

nfitz

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Yes, I know, and that's their welcome from VIA before they depart to board their train for Vancouver.
Their welcome would be the entrance hall. Should look better than this, after renovations.
201724-union-station.jpg


If you are paying $10K to ride to Vancouver, then you don't line up in the departures hall with the riff-raff. You use the business lounge - which looks pretty snazzy to me.
Via-Rail-Executive-Lounge-Toronto.jpg
 

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Their welcome would be the entrance hall. Should look better than this, after renovations.
201724-union-station.jpg


If you are paying $10K to ride to Vancouver, then you don't line up in the departures hall with the riff-raff. You use the business lounge - which looks pretty snazzy to me.
Via-Rail-Executive-Lounge-Toronto.jpg
We have been through this before. The City has said that the Great Hall lighting will be replaced in 2022 and they will also finish repairing the floor. The fixing up of the proposed restaurant on the north side is a matter for Osmington - the 'head leasee' - I assume it is currently not easy to rent out the space.
 

DSC

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Yes, I know, and that's their welcome from VIA before they depart to board their train for Vancouver.

You can have a departure hall located beneath the platforms that doesn't looks like a low ceilinged bunker. We just spend billions on updating Union Station and the VIA departure hall looks like it did when I rode the Canadian in 1988. We just spent billions on Union Station and this the best we can do?

Spacious_basement_concourse_at_Toronto_Union_station-_totally_empty_%2827899770645%29.jpg


Meanwhile the GoTrain departure hall get this? How is this even in the same building as the above?

toronto-restaurants-union-station-food-court-entrance-803x0-c-default.jpg


Even the GoBus departure hall treats its passenger better than VIA's.

20201205-103640.jpg


And VIA's customers are the ones that will be sitting around the longest. Want to take a VIA from London to Montreal, per https://reservia.viarail.ca/ you'll be sitting at Union for up to 3.5 hours for your connecting train to Montreal. Or up to 2.5 hours wait if you take VIA from Quebec City to Niagara Falls. And since you can't check your luggage, if you want to partake in the billion $ investment into Union Station you'd better be prepared to lug your bags and yourself over to the GoTrain departure hall with all the restaurants and niceties.
Why would anyone wait in Union for 3.5 hours if making a transfer from London-Toronto to Toronto-Montreal? Normally (though not currently) you CAN check bags and Business Class can use the VIA Lounge - which is not too bad (though covid-restrictions have reduced the food/drink options.) (In fact, how many people are we talking about who travel non-Business Class from London to Montreal? Not many I bet!
 

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