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Amtrak wraps up Great Hall restoration at Chicago Union Station

The Great Hall's centerpiece is its 219-foot-long skylight that soars 115 feet above the floor.
Photo – Amtrak


A $22 million restoration of the Great Hall at Chicago Union Station now is completed, Amtrak officials announced yesterday.

Funded by Amtrak, the project involved restoring the hall's skylight, improving lighting and repainting the interior in its original colors.

Berglund Construction and architect Goettsch Partners devised a solution to maintain the hall's usage by using a suspended working deck for most of the past 12 months. The hall's iconic skylight had been obscured by the deck until the last several days, Amtrak officials said in a press release.

The Great Hall's centerpiece is its 219-foot-long skylight that soars 115 feet above the floor. It had deteriorated due to flaws within the original design that led to water damage to the walls of iconic space and to the skylight itself, Amtrak officials said.

A new elevator from Canal Street is now active, the first time there has been ADA-compliant access to the Great Hall from the west side of the street.

In addition, the Henry Hering figural statues representing day and night have been restored and will be illuminated, 24 ceiling chandeliers have been restored and re-hung, and 27 historic reproduction light fixtures have been installed.

"This work enhances our customer experience, with a much brighter and inviting Great Hall," said David Handera, Amtrak's vice president of stations, properties and accessibility.

Chicago Union Station serves 37.6 million Amtrak and Metra rail passengers annually. Completed in 1925, the station was designed by Daniel Burnham and successor firm Graham, Anderson, Probst & White.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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