An eminent domain case moving through U.S. District Court has put a spotlight on the ownership and management of Union Station — a critical gateway to the nation’s capital.
Amtrak is seeking possession of the station’s leasing rights — now controlled by a private company — to advance long-planned improvements. The case highlights the complexities of a station governance structure in place since the 1980s, which includes federal, nonprofit and private entities.
Amtrak, a station tenant, says taking over Union Station is necessary to modernize the nation’s second-busiest intercity train hub, which has suffered financial and ridership blows during the pandemic.
Here is who owns the station, what private and public players have a stake, and why Amtrak is seeking a larger role at the historic rail hub.