Opened by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1960, the depot features a bright and airy waiting room with full length windows. Wall panels trace the history of railroading in the city and region.
902 Washington Avenue Houston, TX 77002
- Annual Station Revenue (2014)
- Annual Station Ridership (2014)
|Facility Ownership||Union Pacific Railroad|
|Parking Lot Ownership||Union Pacific Railroad|
|Platform Ownership||Union Pacific Railroad|
|Track Ownership||Union Pacific Railroad|
|5 Long Term Parking Spaces||5 Short Term Parking Spaces||Accessible Platform|
|Accessible Waiting Room||Baggage Storage||Bike Boxes|
|Checked Baggage||Dedicated Parking||Enclosed Waiting Area|
|Help With Luggage||Pay Phones||Restrooms|
|Shipping Boxes||Ticket Office||Wheelchair|
- Sunset Limited
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
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The current Amtrak station was opened by the Southern Pacific Railroad (SP) in 1960 and features a bright and airy waiting room with full length windows at each end. Along the walls are panels tracing the history of railroading in the city and region through a variety of memorabilia.The building replaced Houston Grand Central Station, an Art Deco showpiece constructed by the railroad in 1934. Built of Texas Cordova limestone and pink granite at a cost of approximately $4.3 million, Grand Central Station was demolished in 1959 to make way for a postal facility.
When Amtrak took over operation of the nation's intercity passenger rail system in 1971, it served two downtown stations: the current SP depot and Union Station. By 1974, services had been consolidated at the former and Union Station was later incorporated into the Minute Maid Park complex.
Houston's first station was erected on Buffalo Bayou by the Houston and Texas Central Railroad in the 1870s. When the SP acquired that railroad, it built a three-story brick station in 1887 for $80,000; more than four decades later, it was replaced by Grand Central Station.
Today the fourth largest city in the U.S. and the most populous in Texas, Houston was founded on August 30, 1836 by New York real estate promoters--and brothers--Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen on land near the banks of Buffalo Bayou. The city was named for the then-president of the Republic of Texas, Sam Houston. At the confluence of Buffalo Bayou and White Oak Bayou, the area formed a natural turning basin for shipping, and was thus an attractive location. For a time, Houston was the capital of the Republic, until the seat of government was moved to Austin in 1839.
The early years were turbulent times for Houston, with prevalent lawlessness, disease and financial difficulties. However, the founding of a Chamber of Commerce brought organization and a cessation to the financial chaos. During the 1850s, Houston built rail links to its newly enlarged port, allowing merchants to ship cotton, lumber, and other manufacturing products; by the 1860s, Houston was a commercial and railroad center for the export of cotton.
Texas, siding with the Confederacy during the American Civil War, was governed under a military district during the Reconstruction period, but this style of government could not control the anarchy and lawlessness that broke out post-war. Nonetheless, the city continued to develop as a port, and ten years after being re-admitted to the Union, Houston became a port of entry on July 16, 1870.
The Galveston Hurricane of 1900, one of the worst in the history of the U.S., all but destroyed Galveston, and with the decline of that city on the Gulf of Mexico and the discovery of oil in Beaumont in 1901, Houston grew far wealthier as investors increasingly chose it as a center for operations. As the city was also a shipping center, a new port had been in the works for many years, and President Woodrow Wilson at last opened the Port of Houston in 1914, thereby further contributing to the city's growth.
Many more companies moved headquarters to Houston after the advent of air conditioning in the 1950s, as the climate is extremely hot for much of the year, and this brought an economic boom. Today, Houston has a broad economic base in energy, manufacturing, aeronautics, transportation and health care, a leading center for the construction of oilfield equipment and the home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Only New York City is home to more Fortune 500 headquarters within the city limits.
Amtrak provides both ticketing and baggage services at the Houston station, which is served by the tri-weekly Sunset Limited (Westbound: Monday, Wednesday, Saturday; Eastbound: Tuesday, Friday, Sunday)