Amtrak may be a little slower than flying, but in "the new normal", you might actually get to and from the northeast FASTER door to door. Staples Mill Station has a fairly large waiting room with lots of uncomfortable seats, loos, and a canteen- certainly no Union or 30th Street Station. The train station is now just north of town, but they refurbished the old station downtown. Amtrak has gone retro- to a point- reopening the old, more ornate Main Street Station station to some passenger rail traffic as part of downtown Richmond's comeback effort.
Old things die hard in Richmond. This Beaux Arts style stationed opened up in 1901 at a time when railroad travel was at its peak and the elabourate design of train stations was a mark of town pride. It closed in 1975 and stayed closed for 28 years. What were they thinking when they closed Main Street Station in favour of the nondescript Staples Mill Station? Newer isn't always better. As you go into the main reception area, the tiled walls of this hall once had the ticket office. The old safe door is still there. As you go to the main staircase, you will see the high water mark from Hurricane Camille and the sconce lights with the C & O and the Seaboard (railroad) logos. The grand waiting room is framed by 22-foot (6 m.) columns, many of which was destroyed by a fire in 1983. The columns and the glass floors were restored on the grand reopening. The station's concourse leads into the current waiting room and the train platform. The seating is a reproduction of the original benches. The concourse clock was once at the Broad Street Station (where the Science Museum is now). Travelers on I-95 know they're in Richmond when they see this four-faced clock 110 feet (34 m.) above the city. Near Main Street Station is the world's only tri-level railroad track. Main Street Station is a tough customer. It has been through several hurricanes, abandonment, and fire. It deserves to reclaim its slot as Richmond's premier passenger rail station.
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This train station is not only good for transportation but is also a good things to do while in Richmond. The outside architecture of the station itself is superub. It is a landmark for Shockhoe Bottom, and the Canal Street area. The inside of the train station as seen in the collage provided below, is really nice. You will find leather chairs, and cushioned sofas to relax in, along with pictures of rich history of downtown Richmond. The inside is also designed in greek style with huge columns and high ceilings. The outside of the station is old Victorian with a real emphasis on the clock tower. The clock tower can even be seen on the Downtown Expressway which is located directly overhead. If you happen to visit the train station for pure history don't forget to travel over to 18th street where you will find the only tri-level tracks located throughout the entire world. What I mean by tri-level is that there are 3 sets of tracks one on top of the other. The train station itself is an Amtrak station that services Newport News, and points to the north of Richmond.