Ogden's Union Station was the long-term home of passenger rail service in Ogden that ran continuously from when the first train arrival in 1869 on the original transcontinental railroad line when it was the city served in the Wasatch Front—Salt Lake City had to build itself a branch line south—until 1997 when Amtrak discontinued its Pioneer. The history in the last 40 years is this: when Amtrak was created in 1971 Ogden was the only station served in the Wasatch Front and only stop in the State of Utah, down in Salt Lake City there was still rail service from the Denver and Rio Grande Western's train. Amtrak's "the City of San Francisco," operated triweekly via the historic Overland route via Wyoming. It was soon renamed (in June 1972) the San Francisco Zephyr, and upgraded to daily service. North-south service resumed to Salt Lake City in June 1977 from the Pioneer that originated there, connected with the San Francisco Zephyr in Ogden before continuing north into Idaho and Portland and Seattle. In 1979 the station became the originating point for the Desert Wind which connected to the Zephyr and ran south to Las Vegas and Los Angeles. In 1981 Ogden became home to Amtrak switching operations as thru-cars on the Pioneer and Desert Wind via the Zephyr began operating to and from Chicago. In 1983 the Rio Grande and Western Railroad decided to join Amtrak and the now renamed California Zephyr was changed to the Moffat Tunnel route with the switching operations were moved to Salt Lake City. This left Ogden as a station stop for only the Pioneer. In 1991 it was rerouted via the Overland Route to restore rail service to Wyoming so only a connecting bus ran to Salt Lake City with the junction point to the Zephyr now in Denver. In the later years the station went through budget phases that even left it unstaffed by Amtrak, lacking baggage service. On May 10, 1997 the Pioneer was fully discontinued ending all passenger rail service in Ogden for the next 11 years for the first time since 1869.
Today's Union Station was originally erected in 1888 and rebuilt 1924 as a cornerstone says. The design is Spanish Colonial Revival (also known as Early Christian/Byzantine). It is located south of the modern Ogden Intermodal Station where FrontRunner Commuter Rail Stops. The station was owned by Union Pacific until 1977 when the City of Ogden purchased and restored the building. Approaching the station from Wall Avenue is a plaza in front of the standard design of a large station with a central great hall is in the middle with two wings on eitherside. In the plaza is Utah's small boxcar from the French Marci Train, this train of 49 cars (one for each state plus one shared by D.C. and the territory of Hawaii) were gifts of graditude from France for the Frendship trian the US sent over just after the war to France. The great hall is open Weekdays and Saturdays and inside the great hall are a few wooden benches and two high murals on the north and south walls depicting the building of the railroad. The beams of the wooden roof are clearly visible. Along one wall of the building is the gift shop; were tickets are purchased (all are combined tickets) to visit the 3 museums in the north wing of the building, these are the John M. Browning Firearms Museum (cabinets of historic guns), the Browning-Kimball Classic Car Museum and the Utah State Railway Museum. There is a small art galley in another wing. The north wing has a restaurant and a hobby railroad shop. Platform side of the historic depot has been a bit blocked by a first floor modern addition to provide more space to the museums and businesses. Beyond it though is still a single original canopy for an island platform and two tracks housing the outdoor railcar collection of the railway museum. A tall fence seperates this railway museum platform from the FrontRunner tracks beyond
All Photos on 6 February, 2012