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Amtrak proposes $7B transformation at Union Station

Wednesday - 7/25/2012, 9:52am  ET

Union Station D.C. (WTOP/Kristi King)
With high-speed trains, the trip from D.C. to N.Y. could be 66 minutes faster than taking the Acela train. (WTOP/Kristi King)

Kristi King, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Thirty one years after Congress declared Union Station a national treasure and the shuttered structure underwent a massive restoration project, Amtrak has a new vision to transform the historic rail station.

Union Station already is an important transportation hub serving Amtrak, Virginia Railway Express and Metrorail. The $7 billion plan, as yet unfunded, would include an underground concourse with glass ceilings, new rail platforms and new shops.

Six tracks dedicated to high speed rail would cut more than an hour off a train trip to New York's Penn Station from Washington and make Union Station a high- speed rail hub for the Northeast.

High speed rail could be in place by 2030, according to The Washington Post, which reports the first phase of the plan would be to build a new Concourse A for Amtrak trains. That could begin as early as next year and take four years to complete.

Development to renovate the immediate Union Station area also includes plans for a $1.5 billion private, mixed use complex with residential towers, offices and a hotel.

D.C.-based developer Akridge already owns the rights for the complex to be placed over the rail road tracks north of Union Station. That project would include rebuilding the H street bridge and creating a northern entrance to Union Station.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)