The first time I entered the King Street Station in Seattle was when I stepped off the “Coast Daylight/Starlight in 1973.” A couple of days later Suzi and I got on the “Pacific International” to head to Vancouver. The impression the station left me was of a dark cave. The ceilings were too low, made of acoustic tile. It was a chintzy modern interior that did not, at all, fit with a clock tower that recalls Venice.
Forty Four years later I visited King Street Station, what a difference! The ceilings were high, there was a balcony running around the waiting room. The harsh modern light fixtures have been replaced with warmer period fixtures. The station went into service in 1906, the City of Seattle took ownership of the station in 2006, paying one dollar to BNSF. Restoration had already started, by 2013 it was complete.
The restoration is beautiful. But what is more beautiful is the people using the station to wait for actual trains. Three Amtrak “names” use the station, the “Coast Starlight” to LA, the “Empire Builder” to St. Paul and several “Cascades” daily to Vancouver and Eugene Oregon. The “Sounder,” a commuter train also uses King Street Station. The Coastal Passage, a luxury excursion train also embarks passengers at King Street Station for its trips to Banff and Jasper in Canada. The station has 23 departures a day. Annually more than two million people pass through King Street Station. Since Suzi and I ware not getting on a train you can add two to that total.