Why are so many major U.S. rail stations called "Union Station"?

Los Angeles Union Station, Chicago Union Station, etc Simple enough question. I'm just curious.

Other answer:

rebecca:
"A union station (also union terminal or joint station) is the term used for a train station where tracks and facilities are shared by two or more railway companies, allowing passengers to connect conveniently between them. The term 'union station' is used in North America and 'joint station' in Europe. Historically, a union station was used by all passenger trains serving the city."

As for the Union Station in Los Angeles, the terminal got its name because it represented a union of three railroad companies — Southern Pacific, Union Pacific and Santa Fe — that once competed for passenger service and had separate train stations downtown.

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John:
Because more than one railroad company used that station. Actually railroad companies were very jealous of their stations. For example, in New York City Pennsylvania Station and Grand Central Terminal were deliberately designed to make going from one to another difficult. When two or more railroad companies service a city they would build different stations and never ever cooperate for the benefit of the passengers. They wanted to maximize their greed. But legislators would step in to force cooperation; that is why we have “Union Stations."
Samurai Hoghead:
By definition, in the US, a passenger "station" is a stop en route. On the railroad, "station" is any place named in the timetable. That is why "depot" and "station" are not the same. People get on and off at the depot of the station.

The biggest example is what people commonly refer to as "Grand Central Station" in New York city. It is actually called the "Grand Central Terminal." Trains originate and terminate at the terminal point.

In Southern California is found the "LAUPT," or Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal. Trains go in and out in all compass directions. But it came named earlier because the terminal served by the SP, UP and ATSF, in union.

Doug Freyburger:
A union is a point where more than one track come together.

Freight yards are unions in that sense but don't tend to get names used by non-train people. So passenger stations ended up using the term.

Rona Lachat:
Simple . There were many different train companies in the Early days.

A station was expensive. As the cities grew in some places the Railways agreed to build One large station that they shared. There are about 100 of them.

The old stations could have been torn down or were used for their freight services.

real estate guy:
A union station (also known as a union terminal and a joint station in Europe) is a railway station where tracks and facilities are shared by two or more separate railway companies, allowing passengers to connect conveniently between them. The term 'union station' is used in North America and 'joint station' is used in Europe.
Andrew:
Union Pacific Railroad connected the East to the West.
Danton J. A.:
Union Pacific Railroad connected the East to the West.
John Davis:
Good question. Maybe all the employees voted to pay union dues?

Update: Some suggest that they are named so because the tracks are shared among various railroad companies, such as Union Pacific, Santa Fe, Amtrak, etc

mawduce65:
Because we suck at naming things sometimes. There is a street in my home town called "no name". And so apparently we sometimes just give up naming stuff altogether.

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