In August 1945, the train returning me to Fort Bragg, N.C., from a three-day VJ (Victory over Japan) pass in Washington stopped at Alexandria. As a born-and-bred railroad fan, I remember it being as picturesque as a Norman Rockwell magazine cover, overshadowed by that hideous George Washington Masonic Memorial tower.
As railroad passenger service came upon bad days, the old station fell into disrepair. Its future was called into doubt. But Alexandria, thankfully, has a sense of its history, and was able to convey that to Amtrak, the passenger-train company, and to the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad, which owns the station.
The result: Alexandria's Union Station (so named because it once served the trains of several companies) has been renovated at a cost of $309,000, all but $50,000 provided by Amtrak, with that sum coming from the RF&P.
A dedication ceremony yesterday reopened the 76-year-old station, which--as pictured above--now has a new roof, restored canopies and improved lighting, together with cleaned brickwork and a paint job. The handsome job was done by JSC Inc., a Falls Church contracting firm. Six trains in each direction now use the station each day.