The engineering and architectural firm Arup has been selected to lead the design work for renovations to Chicago’s historic Union Station.
The City of Chicago, railroad service company Amtrak, and a collection of Chicago transportation entities, including the commuter railroad service Metra, worked together on the decision.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Union Station handles more than 125,000 passengers each work day and is the third-busiest station in the country. It is one of four Metra hubs in Chicago, but it is the city's only Amtrak station.
Arup is tasked with expanding concourses and entrances, widening platforms and passageways, and improving ventilation, according to Crain's Chicago.
The idea is to keep the history in tact. Union Station’s features include Bedford limestone Beaux-Arts facades, Corinthian columns, marble floors and staircases, terracotta walls, and brass lamps. The 110-foot high Great Hall, with its barrel-vaulted skylights above, hosts elegant events like receptions and weddings.
Arup led has designed rail station projects in places like New York City, New Delhi, and Florence, Italy.
The first phase of the Union Station project is expected to take 18 months. Crain’s Chicago reports that the Union Station renovations could possibly be funded by $1 billion in low-interest federal loans, known as Railroad Rehabilitation and Infrastructure Financing.