Tampa, FL (TPA)
Designed in the Italian Renaissance style, the station opened in May 1912 to serve three railroads. A "Friends" group advocates for the building's preservation and maintenance.
601 North Nebraska Avenue
(Station entrance on Twiggs Street)
Tampa, FL 33602
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 109,456
- Facility Ownership: City of Tampa
- Parking Lot Ownership: Tampa Hillsborough Crosstown Expressway Authority
- Platform Ownership: CSXT
- Track Ownership: CSXT
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
Located on the northeast end of downtown and fronting on a landscaped garden, Tampa Union Station opened on May 15, 1912 to serve the Atlantic Coast Line (ACL), Seaboard Air Line (SAL) and Tampa Northern railroads. Designed by architect J.F. Leitner in the Italian Renaissance style, the $250,000 building was managed by the Tampa Union Station Company. Textured reddish-brown tapestry brick is a perfect foil for the contrasting, light-colored stone and terracotta used for decorative elements including a prominent cornice with classical dentil molding, quoins and Corinthian columns flanking the two recessed entryways on the main facade.
By the time the station was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, it had already begun to fall into disrepair. In 1982 Amtrak decided to move its offices and waiting area into an adjacent prefabricated structure. The Tampa Union Station Preservation and Redevelopment Corporation (TUSPR) purchased the station and separate baggage building in 1991 from CSX, the successor to the ACL and SAL, with the intention of undertaking a full rehabilitation. Financial support for the purchase and initial stabilization of the structures came from the city, Hillsborough County, Tampa Preservation, Inc. and Amtrak.
The TUSPR eventually raised more than $4 million for the terminal and baggage building restoration. Grants and loans were provided by the Florida Department of Transportation (through federal ISTEA funds), Amtrak, city of Tampa, Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources and National Trust for Historic Preservation. Amtrak moved back into Union Station in 1998, with a dedication ceremony held on May 30. Following the ribbon cutting, state and local officials were invited to ride a special train to nearby Lakeland where they toured the community’s new depot.
During the course of restoration, numerous documents related to the Pullman Company, the Tampa Union Station Company, and the Seaboard Air Line were discovered in the station. Volunteers sorted and archived them at the University of South Florida Library Special Collections and in the Newberry Library in Chicago.
In September 2008, a group of private donors made a permanent endowment for the care and upkeep of the station, which was established at the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay. Income from the endowment assists with the maintenance of the structure.
Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon arrived at Tampa Bay in 1513, but Spanish explorations then focused on the east coast of Florida. It was not until 1824, three years after the U.S. purchased Florida from Spain and two months after the first American settler arrived, that four companies of U.S. Army troops established Fort Brooke to protect this strategically important harbor. Nonetheless, development of the community did not really begin in the area until 1845, after the close of the Second Seminole War the village of Tampa was incorporated on January 18, 1849 and again as a town on December 15, 1855.
Fort Brooke fell to the Union in 1863 and after the American Civil War, the Reconstruction period was one of hardship in the area. A small fishing village, often plagued by yellow fever due to the mosquitoes, and with few land links, Tampa did not begin to prosper until phosphate was discovered in the Bone Valley in 1883. The mineral, vital in the production of fertilizers and many other products, was soon shipped northwest to the Port of Tampa in great quantity. The coming of Henry Plant’s Atlantic Coast Line railroad to Tampa finally provided a reliable overland connection, allowing fish and phosphate to be shipped north.
Plant also ran a steamship line out of the port in Tampa that connected south to Cuba. This link to Cuba, along with the Tampa Board of Trade helping Vincente Martinez Ybor move his cigar manufacturing operations from Cuba to Tampa, brought a large new industry to Tampa. Ybor built hundreds of homes for his employees, and this influx together with new supporting trade, helped to build up the town. Ybor City, as the neighborhood became known, still occupies two square miles near downtown Tampa. Many Italian—mainly from Sicily—and eastern European Jewish immigrants also came to the area in the late 1880s. Today’s Amtrak trains pass through this historic neighborhood.
Henry Plant opened a lavish Moorish Revival-style hotel of over 500 rooms in Tampa in 1891, the Tampa Bay Hotel, which still sits along the banks of the Hillsboro River. The eclectic structure, with its manicured gardens and exotic art collections, cost $2.5 million to build. This resort, like its sister resorts that Plant built, such as the Seminole in Winter Park, did well until Plant’s death in 1899. It eventually closed as a hotel in 1930, and reopened in 1933 as the University of Tampa. It may still be visited today and its beautiful grounds and art collections enjoyed by the public.
During both the Spanish-American and World War II, Tampa hosted American military capability. In the summer of 1898, Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders deployed from Tampa to Cuba, headquartering at the Tampa Bay Hotel. Prior to the beginning of U.S. involvement in World War II, construction began on MacDill Airfield for the Army Air Corps; it became MacDill Air Force Base, and has remained active since that time. Two of the auxiliary airfields became international civilian airports. MacDill has been an important air base, and it is estimated that 14,000 people work on the base. In the 1950s and 1960s it hosted parts of the Strategic Air Command. MacDill came to host NOAA’s hurricane-hunter operations in 1993, which relocated from Miami International Airport. MacDill AFB continues to have great support from Tampa and its surrounding communities.
Amtrak provides both ticketing and baggage services at this facility, which is served by two daily trains.
- 38 Short Term Parking Spaces
- 60 Long Term Parking Spaces
- Accessible Payphones
- Accessible Platform
- Accessible Restrooms
- Accessible Ticket Office
- Accessible Waiting Room
- Accessible Water Fountain
- Baggage Storage
- Bike Boxes
- Checked Baggage
- Dedicated Parking
- Enclosed Waiting Area
- Help With Luggage
- Pay Phones
- Shipping Boxes
- Ticket Office
- Wheelchair Lift