Walking into San Diego’s Union Station, more commonly called Santa Fe Depot, is like walking into the past. Or through some airy, sacred, vaulted cathedral.
The old train station seems utterly enormous when contrasted with the actual role that it plays in modern San Diego. Sure, it’s a reasonably important transportation hub, serving two lines of the San Diego trolley, plus the Amtrak Surfliner and Coaster trains. But today it seems to me more like a living memorial to a time long ago, when trains were a central feature of American life.
Here are a few cool photos of the Santa Fe Depot’s somewhat sparse but elegant interior. I love the tile work on the walls, the huge glowing windows, the beams in the arched ceiling…but most of all the classic long polished wooden benches. Whenever I walk through I feel like sitting down with the waiting passengers and pretending I’m off on some exciting transcontinental voyage.
Many years ago the depot held a large model of the USS Midway aircraft carrier under glass; I remember seeing that it was moved over to Petco Park. If memory serves, there was also a small pinball and video game arcade off to one side, by an exit to Kettner Boulevard.
The above plaque is just outside the main entrance.