If you're riding Amtrak's Missouri River Runner into Kansas City, or taking the Southwest Chief in or out of Kansas City during the NFL Draft, you will be inconvenienced. Because trains or their passengers really aren't what Union Station is about anymore.

I'm not sure you really need me to point that out. The big Spider-Man splash graphic hyping Union Station's "Spider-Man Beyond Amazing-The Exhibition" should tell you all you need to know when you go to the website. Not to mention, the railroad station itself is home to Science City, The Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium, Science City, and the Extreme Screen Theatre. The station is as much a destination for what's there, as opposed to its role as a place to start or end your travels.

That said, being an Amtrak passenger arriving or departing from Union Station Kansas City during the NFL draft really is going to be a pain. Amtrak has published a service alert saying passengers will be impacted from Wednesday, April 26, 2023 - Sunday, April 30, 2023. Here's what you need to know.

  • Union Station is effectively inaccessible to passengers except by foot during these dates. So Amtrak has set up a passenger drop off and pick up point on West 25th Street between Jefferson and Penway Streets.
  • Shuttle service will be provided for passengers between the West 25th Street pick-up point and Union Station. Ride Shares and Taxi services will be based at the West 25th Street location during this time.
  • There is no parking at the station during this time.
  • Amtrak estimates it's a 15-minute walk from the platforms at Union Station to the West 25th Street location if you'd rather walk than use the shuttle. (If there's draft stuff going on, it might take you longer.)
  • Shuttle service will be running 5:30 - 8:30 AM CDT, 1:30 - 3:45 PM CDT, and 8:45 - 10:45 PM CDT.
  • Amtrak is warning passengers to arrive no later than two hours prior to train departure during this time. Trains will not wait for late arriving passengers.

I find it a little bit frustrating that passengers are getting majorly inconvenienced by this. It's one thing when the Chiefs win a Super Bowl, or the Royals a World Series, to shut it all down. That's a day or part of a day. This is five full days. Granted, it's a one-time thing and it does expose Kansas City and all we have to offer to many. Yet, it still sucks if you have to experience the circus of the NFL just to get in or out of town on the train. It also tells you where trains rank in importance when it comes to Kansas City's transportation pecking order.

That said, it's not only Amtrak passengers being disrupted. Most businesses and attractions in Union Station, surprisingly, are going to be shut down during the draft as well. Not that I'd expect many locals would be interested in navigating the NFL Draft event to go see a movie on the Extreme Screen or take the kids to Science City. You can learn more about the closures of businesses and activities in Union Station here.

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