The current Tacoma, WA Amtrak Station is a 1980s 'modern' station located south of downtown Tacoma in a bit of an industrial area, on the edge of a freight train yard. It presently receives service 5 times a day in each direction, four times from the Amtrak Cascades Talgo trains plus from the Coast Starlight. Trains started using today's smaller station on June 15th, 1984, ("Northwest Digest", Tri-City Herald: June 15, 1984, p. 4, Link) when they moved from the historic Union Station in downtown Tacoma which has been turned into a federal courthouse. The central area and rotunda is still open to the public on weekdays. Sounder also used a temporary platform a short ways down (but not accessible from this Amtrak station) from its debut on September 18, 2000 (after using the Amtrak platform directly, but not its parking lot, for special Mariners Sounder service for select Sunday games during the 2000 baseball season) until September 15, 2003, and again between January 21, 2004 to August 19, 2004 due to issues with the stabilization of the soil embankments on the new railroad line. The permanent Sounder Tacoma Dome Station is at Freighthouse Square, about a half mile away which is also the southern terminus of the Tacoma Link Streetcar into downtown Tacoma, along with a major park & ride hub for Pierce Transit. If the Point Defiance Bypasses is ever completed Amtrak trains will also be re-routed via the line through Tacoma Dome and Freighthouse Square necessitating the train station to be relocated there.
The station itself is along Pulluyup Avenue across from J Street and is a station only accessed through a 75-space parking lot. The depot is in the middle of these lots and has the 1980s brown brick design, and an overhanging flat roof. It is similar to stations in Grand Forks, ND and Dearborn, MI. When I visited in 2006 there was a large pointless arrow on the roof, but today it has been replaced with the modern logo. The signs at the entrances to the parking lot have been replaced as well with the more modern logo and directional symbols beneath them that do not make a whole lot of sense. The inside of the station house has restrooms, a ticket counter offering checked baggage service for all departures, a Quik-Trak kiosk, and a television. When I visited in 2006 the stop also had a manually operated TV display saying the lateness of the next train but this appears to have been removed. The depot leads out to a single long platform on the edge of a major train yard for the Port of Tacoma. This platform has a gentle curve and a simple flat canopy—that meets up with the overhanging flat roof of the station house—for most of its length. Where the platform is not near the depot is a chain link fence and signs saying no trespassing, no loitering. The only platform signage is the hard to read, small Tacoma, Washington, Boarding Location - signs.
Photos 1-12 taken on 12 July, 2006, 7-29 on 14 October, 2011
Last Updated: 12 December, 2011