Plans for a commuter rail line between Seattle and the Tacoma Dome area date back to the late 1980s, using existing tracks owned by the
 In early 1995, the Regional Transit Authority (RTA; later
Sound Transit) ran experimental commuter rail service to Tacoma from Seattle during weekday
peak periods and on weekends for
Seattle SuperSonics games at the
 The RTA's regional transit plan was approved by voters in 1996 and included a permanent commuter rail service between Tacoma and Seattle, with funding for a new station in the Tacoma Dome area.
Pierce Transit approved construction of a $36.7 million,
park and ride garage near the Tacoma Dome in 1994, in anticipation of future commuter rail service.
 Construction on the garage began in July 1996,
 and the transit center complex opened on October 25, 1997, replacing a smaller park and ride lot.
Sounder commuter rail service at Tacoma Dome Station began on September 18, 2000, using a temporary platform near Puyallup Avenue two blocks north of the parking garage.
 A second parking garage, holding 1,200 stalls, was opened the following month to accommodate Sounder commuters.
 In November, Sound Transit reached an agreement with the City of Tacoma to build the permanent Sounder platform at Freighthouse Square, using 1.3 miles (2.1 km) of
Tacoma Rail tracks.
 A finalized agreement was approved by Sound Transit and the City of Tacoma in April 2002, with two tracks and a grade separated crossing of Portland Avenue near the
Port of Tacoma.
 Construction of the $17.3 million station began with a groundbreaking ceremony on December 11, 2002.
 The concourse and 740-foot-long (230 m) platform were completed on September 15, 2003, with service beginning that morning,
 and dedicated by elected officials on September 26.
 The new platform was closed in January 2004, after concerns about soil instability on the new approach tracks had become apparent after a minor derailment.
 Trains reverted to using the temporary platform until August, when a $1.5 million stabilization project was completed.
 Tacoma Dome Station is also the terminus of
Tacoma Link, a short
streetcar line that travels to
Downtown Tacoma. The Tacoma Dome platform for Tacoma Link opened on August 22, 2003,
 after two years of construction.
From 2000 to 2012, Tacoma Dome Station served as the southern terminus of the Sounder South Line. Sound Transit began construction on an extension to
Lakewood in 2009,
 after years of delays due to cost increases and a lack of dedicated funding.
 1.2 miles (1.9 km) of new tracks were built between Tacoma Dome Station and the existing
Lakewood Subdivision, including an overpass over Pacific Avenue, as part of the extension.
 Sounder trains began serving
South Tacoma and
Lakewood stations on October 8, 2012, with some trips terminating at either Lakewood or Tacoma Dome.
The station also served as the terminus of the
Spirit of Washington Dinner Train, which ran south from Freighthouse Square toward
Lake Kapowsin near
Mount Rainier. The excursion train service began in August 2007 after relocating from the
Eastside Rail Corridor, but closed in October due to poor ridership.
Amtrak construction at Tacoma Dome Station, seen from above the south platform in May 2017
In the 1990s, the
Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) identified Freighthouse Square as its preferred site for a new Amtrak station serving Tacoma, with multi-modal connections in a single hub,
 to replace the
Puyallup Avenue station opened in 1984.
 The new station would be built as part of the
Point Defiance Bypass project, which would create an inland route for trains traveling between Tacoma and
Lacey that would have reduced interference from freight traffic and mudslides.
 The bypass and new station were funded by the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and construction of the new tracks was formally approved by the
Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in 2013.
A preliminary design for the new station was unveiled in 2013, replacing 150 feet (46 m) of Freighthouse Square's west end with a structure clad in red
 The design was met with public outcry over its unattractive design, labeled an "
Amshack", and the proposed destruction of Freighthouse Square's "iconic face" for an "architectural abomination".
 The backlash forced WSDOT to withdraw its design, hiring a Tacoma-based architecture firm and forming a citizen advisory committee to guide future station design.
 The advisory committee recommended building the station on the east end of the Freighthouse Square complex, but WSDOT determined it was too expensive to build and operate due to the elevation distance between the tracks and ground level; instead, WSDOT recommended a site to the west of the Sounder entrance that would be less costly to operate.
 The revised WSDOT proposal was well received by the public and approved by the advisory committee, along with recommendations for additional canopies and other features.
The Amtrak station's final design consists of a 180-foot-long (55 m) building to the west of the Sounder entrance, with 10,000 square feet (930 m2) of interior space.
 The building features a 20-foot-high (6.1 m) ceiling with
cross laminated timber columns and beams over the waiting area and public arcade,
 furnished with
terrazzo floors, large glass walls, and public artwork.
 The public arcade includes vertical lift doors that allow it to become a sheltered outdoor space.
 The existing Sounder platform was extended by 650 feet (200 m) to accommodate the longer
Coast Starlight trainset as part of the rebuilt Tacoma Trestle;
 a second platform and track was also built to allow additional train service.
 Early designs for the station also included a pedestrian bridge between the station's two platforms and the existing parking garages, but it was left unfunded.
 A monumental
clock tower was also to be included in the station's design, but was rejected after a lack of interest from the public.
 The new design was approved by WSDOT, Amtrak, Sound Transit, and the City of Tacoma in early 2015 and sent to the FRA for final review.
In January 2016, WSDOT began advertising for demolition and construction bids, with plans to begin construction in spring.
 A month later, however, negotiations with the owner of Freighthouse Square over property acquisition and construction mitigation costs broke down and stalled the project.
 WSDOT attempted to
condemn the property through a lawsuit, but came to an agreement with the property owner in March.
 Construction began in June 2016 and the station was declared substantially complete in May 2017.
 Sounder trains began using the new platform and track on November 13, 2017, causing temporary confusion for passengers because of the new arrangement.
 The station was dedicated on December 15, 2017, and Amtrak service on the Point Defiance Bypass began on December 18.
 The inaugural Amtrak trip on the new bypass
 and service reverted indefinitely to the old route via the Puyallup Avenue station.
 WSDOT announced that it would halt the return of Amtrak trains to the bypass until full implementation of
positive train control.