IN our special railroad number of June 17th last, we gave a description of the largest railroad terminal in the world which is now being built by the New York Central Railroad Company on the site of he old Grand Central station, and we drew attention to the fact that at the present time one of the most marked activities of the big railroads is the great sca:e upon which they are reconstructing their terminal stations in large cities to accommodate the ever-increasing volume of traffic The present artice is devoted to one of the latest and most handsome terminal of this character, which has been built by the Chicago Northwestern Railroad Company as the eastern terminus of their line in Chicago. The station has been built to conform to the general work of track elevation which has been carried out in that city and forms one of its most important modern improvements. The main building of the station is a simple and dignified steel-and-granite structure four stories in height which has been treated in the early Italian Renaissance style of architecture. The main entrance, on Madison Street, is through a lofty Doric portico, which is carried upon a colonnade of six granite columns, each seven feet in its largest diameter and 61 feet in height. Back of this colonnade is a vaulted vestibule which is 132 feet wide, 22 feet deep and 40 feet high, entrance to the vestibule being by three imposing arches. At each end of the vestibule broad granite stairways lead up to the main waiting room, which is on the track level floor. There are limilar vestibules of more simple architectural treatment at the Canal and Clinton Street entran5es. The.se vestibules lead directly to a large public area 200 feet by 92 feet, around which are ranged the ticket office, baggage room, and Other essential accessories. At the center of this public space a grand stairway leads to the concourse of the main waiting room on the track floor. The principal architectural feature of the station is the main waiting room, which is treated as a great Roman atrium, with a barrel-vault roof. The pilasters and the whole order, as high as the spring Of the vault, are dull finished in light pink Tennessee marble. The columns are of Greek Cippolino marble, whose delicate green hue harmonizes agreeably with the bronze of the metal work which frames the glass bet w een the pilasters. The vault is of ornamental tile construction, with richly ornamented ribs of terra cotta, whose color harmonizes agreeably with the marble of the walls. Excellent lighting effects are secured by two semi-elliptical windows 60 feet in diameter at each end of the vault, and ten circular lunettes, five on each side. The exterior walls of the station building are of gray Maine granite, and they are made continuous with the walls which in close the train shed, the latter being of mottled gray brick, with granite trimmings. As the, train shed walls rise to a height slightly greater than the roof of the train shed, they assist in giving to the entire station the external appearance of one huge building, and the total effect is enhanced by the dignified front facade which rises to a height of 120 feet above Madison Street. Of equal importance to the station building is the train shed, which extends to a total length of 840 feet, and covers in the 16 tracks and 8 platforms which serve th,} station. The place of the great steel-and-.glass arched roof, which formed the invariable covering of large train sheds built from ten to twenty years ago, is taken by what is known as the Bush roof this being the first of its kind erected in Chicago. In this type the roof structure is carried on lines of columns, pl3ced down the center of each platform, and the curve of the roof over each pair of tracks is broken by two longitudinal slots, through which the locomotive smoke-stack discharges directly in the open air. The roofs are of steel and concrete, and wired-glass skylights give ample light to every part of the train shed.
This article was originally published with the title "The Latest of the Big Railway Terminals" in Scientific American 105, 4, 80 (July 1911)