We love trains because they are green, relatively cheap and fast. There’s something more to travelling by train than just ecological and financial considerations though. It’s the railway stations. Be it the Gothic historic complexes or ultra modern transportation hubs, these train stations will surprise you with not only stunning architecture and modern design but also with some little extras: a jungle, a champagne bar or a beach…
1. Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Germany.
The largest crossing station in Europe, Berlin Hauptbahnhof, is a truly impressive piece of modern architecture and almost an attraction itself in the bustling capital of Germany. Completed in 2006, the Berlin’s Central Station has two levels, 14 platforms, around 80 stores (an option for shopping addicts), and a beach located quite nearby. Moreover, it services around 1,100 domestic and international trains. The numerous glass panes let daylight into all of the station’s levels and the steel futuristic-looking forms are the leitmotif of this unique construction.
2. Kuala Lumpur Railway Station. Malaysia.
The 100-year-old Kula Lumpur Railway Station in Malaysia is an interesting mixture of Eastern and Western styles, though it looks more like some kind of a fairy tale building rather than a transportation hub. It was completed in 1910, but since then the station has been rebuilt, extended and has undergone several major changes. Some parts of the original interior designs can still be found in the Heritage Station Hotel, though.
3.Nordpark Cable Railway. Austria.
Austria‘s commitment to modern design and unique architecture is reflected in these amazing cable railway stations. Located in Innsbruck, the concept of the station was created by the famed Zaha Hadid Architects studio. The complex is comprised of four different, yet similar in form, stations, whose designs resemble natural ice and snow formations. To create such unique constructions, the architects had to use technologies developed in the automotive industry.
4. La Gare de Strasbourg. France.
Designed in 1883 by the Berlin-based architect Johann Jacobsthal, the railway station in Strasbourg, France, was impressively renovated with a new glass cocoon frontage in 2007. The 120-meter-long glass construction running along the facade is subtly integrated with the historic building of the train station. The 25-meter space between the dome and the building serves as an entrance transition area for trains, subway, trams and buses.
5. Kanazawa Station. Japan.
An amazing blend of futuristic architecture and iconic Japanese wooden construction is the main feature of Kanazawa Station in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. Recently rebuilt, the station greets the travellers with a huge 14-meter high gate that leads to the station’s entrance. The giant dome covering the passage which connects the west and the east side of the station is made of 3,000 glass panes.
6. Southern Cross Station. Australia.
The undulating roof of the Southern Cross Station in Melbourne, Australia is the unique feature of the main railway station in the city. In 2002, Melbourne decided to develop the former Spencer Street Station into a modern well-designed transportation hub. Completed in 2006, the facility can now serve 15 million passengers a year. The stunning architecture of the station has even been awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects with the prestigious Lubetkin Prize for the most outstanding new building located outside the European Union.
7. Estación de Atocha. Spain.
A jungle in the middle of a train station is la Estación de Madrid Atocha’s absolutely fanatstic landmark. The Atocha, which emerged in 1851 in the capital of Spain, has been greened up by the famed Spanish architect Rafael Moneo, who decided to convert the old bulding into an exotic garden. The jungle takes up about 4,000 m² and houses approximately 500 species, among which one can find carnivorous plants and turtles. By the way, it also has a nightclub – welcome to Spain!
8. Chhatrapati Shivaji. India.
Impressive Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known as Victoria Terminus, is the main railway station in Mumbai and one of the busiest transportation hubs in India. Its history dates back to the end of the 19th century – it was designed by Frederick William Stevens, an English architectural engineer. In 2004, the station was listed as one of the World Heritage sites as it is considered an outstanding example of two cultures meeting under one roof. It is exactly here where the Victorian Gothic Revival style blends with themes deriving from traditional Indian architecture.
9. Antwerp Central Station. Belgium.
Called the Railway Cathedral, the Antwerp Central Station truly looks more like a temple rather than a train station. Constructed between 1895 and 1905, the vast dome above the waiting room hall, the notable structure of the viaduct and extraordinary eclecticism of the building’s design have been delighting travellers for over a century now. And of course, there is a diamond gallery with more than 30 shops at the station, otherwise it wouldn’t be Belgium…
10. St. Pancras Station. Great Britain.
St Pancras railway station, celebrated for its Victorian architecture, was constructed between 1864 and 1868 in London, England. This amazing historic station avoided demolition in the 1960s and was rebuilt and renovated in the 2000s. In 2007 it was officially re-opened as St Pancras International, servicing, among others, the Eurostar international trains. The revamped station houses two striking statues: statue of John Betjeman and the Meeting Place, a 9 metres (29.53 feet) tall bronze statue of a couple. And for those bored with waiting for the train, the complex offers a glass of bubbly in the longest champagne bar in Europe.