Alexandria Union Station
Alexandria Union Station opened on September 15, 1905. The train station is directly adjacent to the King Street metro station and faces the George Washington Masonic National Memorial.
Though not as grandiose as its nearby Washington, D.C. counterpart, this “other Union Station” has a unique style of its own. The station is a one-story brick building consisting of the original main passenger depot and baggage building separated by a 20-foot wide open gateway passage and covered by a covered terrace. The designer used the Federal Revival Style: a 20th century mixture of Neoclassical architecture borrowed from buildings constructed just after the American Revolution, fitting for its location. Both original buildings are still in use. Though many minor renovations have taken place, including the slightly more extensive renovations that occurred in 1982 and the mid-1990s, the original buildings remain essentially unchanged. The limestone and granite Veterans of Foreign Wars memorial was constructed at the station in 1942.
The Alexandria Union Station is located in Old Town, a 17th century seaport town home to George Washington and Robert E. Lee. Market Square in Old Town is the oldest continuously operating marketplace in the United States. The area is also home to the Torpedo Factory art studio complex, Gadsby's Tavern, the Jones Point Lighthouse, and Robert E. Lee's boyhood home.
The city of Alexandria was first settled in 1695 in what was then the British Colony of Virginia. The town grew quickly through its tobacco warehouses, and was named Alexandria in honor of its original owner, John Alexandria, who purchased the land in 1669 for “six thousand pounds of tobacco and cask.”
In 1791, Alexandria was included in the area chosen by George Washington to become the District of Columbia. It was later ceded to Virginia by the federal government in 1846, when the District of Columbia was reduced in size.
In the late 1840s, the city of Alexandria invested in five major railroad projects to better compete with Baltimore as a regional industrial and trade center, but ended up in a confusion of mergers and failures. In 1901, the railroads serving the region built Potomac Yard, a consolidated rail yard (now a shopping area).
In 1905, the city of Alexandria commissioned the Washington Southern Railway Company (later part of the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac, now CSX) to build the Alexandria Union Station at a cost of $62,020.55. The station also served the Chesapeake & Ohio and Southern Railway trains.
The station serves both VRE and Amtrak trains. Amtrak agents staff the station but do not sell VRE tickets.