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Op-Ed: Union Station repairs ongoing after Aug. 2011 earthquake Special

By Leigh Goessl     Apr 12, 2012 in Travel
Washington - On Aug. 23, 2011 an earthquake struck the U.S. east coast, with its epicenter located in Mineral, Va., which is located towards the middle of the state.
As a result of the 5.8 magnitude quake, several buildings across the region were damaged, many of which are historical structures.
One structure that sustained earthquake damage was Union Station in Washington D.C. Just a short walk from the nation's Capitol Building, Union Station is an active train station, home to Amtrak, Virginia Railway Express (VRE), Maryland Rail Commuter Service (MARC) and the Metro's Red Line. The station also services ground transportation as well.
While the Station serves a practical purpose for traveling, a visit to the Union Station gives the feel it is more than a standard transportation hub.
In addition to the rails, Union Station currently houses an upscale mall full of shops, restaurants and services. It also has a food court and other stores. Visitors can purchase tickets to various tours, and buy souvenirs or other items right inside the station.
The architecture is impressive. Built in 1907, the care and attention to detail when designed is evident.
However, after August's earthquake, Union Station sustained damage to the Main Hall and this past Oct. a worker was hit by a chunk of plaster, which prompted the area to be temporarily closed.
Upon entering the station today, the Main Hall is open again, but the very visible sight of ongoing repairs is evidenced by the signs of construction. For safety purposes, nets continue to drape the station to catch any potential falling debris and the presence of scaffolds are abundant as workers inspect and repair the structure.
The history of Union Station is quite interesting. It's incredible to think a mere couple of decades ago this beautiful piece of architecture was almost bulldozed by man before the decision was made to revitalize and preserveā€¦and fortunately after last summer's earthquake, the structure is still standing and able to be repaired.
Scheduled to be partially completed come May 2012, with the Main Hall anticipated to be completed in Feb. 2013, visitors can still enjoy what's to be found at Union Station during the repair process. By this time next year, if all goes as scheduled, visitors can once again enjoy the beauty of a restored Union Station.
Earthquake related repairs are ongoing in various places in the Washington D.C. area, including the Washington Monument, which recently received a generous donation to put towards the cost of repair.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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