Travelling via trains is not only fast and efficient but also most economic mode of transportation for long distance trips. There was a time when trains were the most preferred source of journey and so were the innovations relating to railways. In order to revolutionize travelling and to impress passengers, spectacular railway stations were built with magnificent architects. Be it ultra modern masterpiece or contemporary, the best stations in the world were designed simply to make huge impression on the travelers. Most of the stations were built in the 19th century when train travel was new and was a golden era for trains. There are stations in the world that are amazing piece of art. Here are the Top 10 most beautiful and amazing railway stations in the world.
10. St. Pancras Station (UK)
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When St. Pancras was built in 1868 in London, it was the largest enclosed space in the world. The railway station was completed in 20 years, with red brick Gothic façade. St. Pancras has 15 platforms at present and it also houses a shopping center and a bus station. St. Pancras had been under the threat of closure during the 60s as it was considered superfluous but was saved by its fans after which it was renovated. St. Pancras is a central London railway terminus and is situated in between British Library, King’s cross station and The Regent’s Canal. In the year 2001, St. Pancras was renovated and around 300,000 pounds of dirt was removed and 8000 glass panes were restored.
9. Antwerp-Centraal Station (Belgium)
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The opulent Neo-baroque station was constructed at the turn of 20th century and is lavishly adorned with more than 20 types of marble and stones. It was built by King Leopold II and was completed in 1905. The railway station has an antique clock that marks the time for the passengers travelling through Antwerp railway station. The station was designed by the architect Louis Delacenserie having a huge dome and eight small towers. Due to its huge dome and monumental size it looks like a temple and is also known as “The Railway Cathedral”. Initially the station was designed as the terminus between the Brussels-Mechelen-Antwerp railway lines, but now it functions as a station for all the commuter trains and intercity trains. The Antwerp station was renovated in the year 2009 and was brought back to its initial glory.
8. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (India)
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Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is a world heritage site declared by UNESCO and is a symbol of the Mumbai’s prestige. It was designed by British architect FW Stevens and was initially know as the Victoria Terminus in honor of Queen Victoria, the Empress of India before independence. Designed to serve the India’s leading mercantile port, it was completed in 1888 and took almost 10 years to complete the construction of the station. Chhatrapati Shivaji is a fusion of both western and eastern styles and was inspired by traditional Indian palace architecture as well as Victorian Italianate Gothic revival. A few new buildings were added to the original building over the years but all were designed to blend with original structure. It was in the year 1996, when the Victoria terminal was renamed to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in honor of the founder of the Maratha Empire. The historic station is used by 3 million commuters daily as it connects Mumbai to suburbs as well as rest of the India.
7. Madrid Atocha (Spain)
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Built in 1851, Madrid Atocha is the largest railway station of capital of Spain, Madrid. The station was named after a nearby church which was dedicated to Our lady of Atocha. The façade of the station is certainly beautiful but the real beauty of this station lies within it. The train station consists of a mini jungle like garden structure spread in an area of 4000 square meter. The station was designed by Alberto de Palacio Elissange and Gustave Eiffel but the astonishing garden was the idea of Spanish Architecture Rafael Moneo. The garden houses approximately 500 hundred species of flora and fauna, including carnivorous plant, rare turtles and other rare animals. In the year 2004 the commuter trains were bombed by series of blasts killing 191 people. A somber memorial dedicated to the 191 people who died in the bombings also stands above the station.
6. Southern Cross Station (Australia)
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The Southern Cross station situated at Melbourne, Australia is a major station and transport hub. The Southern Cross Station was revamped in the year 2002 by the civic nexus consortium featuring the unique design of an undulating roof by Grimshaw Architects. It took 4 years to complete the redevelopment of former Spencer Street station into a well designed transportation hub. The creativity and inventiveness of the design could be seen in the offbeat and striking structure of the station and its rolling and undulating roof which covers 60,000 square meters having highest point of 23 meters. The facility now serves around 15 million people yearly and is the 3rd busiest train station in Melbourne.
5. Kanazawa Station (Japan)
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Situated in the Ishikawa province of Japan, Kanazawa station is one of the major railway stations and has constantly been rated as one of the most beautiful stations in the world. The most famous attraction of the Kanazawa station is its 14-meter long Tsuzumi gate, which is the entrance to the station. The side legs of the gate resemble the Tsuzumi drums, and therefore it is known as Tsuzumi gate. The gate has a giant and massive dome which covers the eastern and western parts of the station. The dome is made up of 3,000 glass panes. During its renovation in 2005, The Kanazawa station raised some eyebrows due to its modern architecture that doesn’t suit to the historic town, which was miraculously unharmed during the World War II and has still preserved the former Samurai quarters and Geisha district.
4. Gare de Strasbourg (France)
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Designed and built by a Berlin based architect Johann Eduard Jacobsthal from 1878 to 1883, Gare de Strasbourg is located in France and is one of the busiest railway stations in European continent. The railway station offers both national and international services to its passengers connecting to different routes like Belgium, Poland, Germany and UK. It caters the needs of 190 million passengers annually. The 120 meter long glass facade depicts the historic design of the railway station.
3. Nordpark Cable Railway (Austria)
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Opened in 2007, Nordpark cable railway has four new railway stations. It also has a cable stayed suspension bridge over the river inn. This impressive piece of architecture was designed by Zaha Hadid in 2005. The Nordpark cable railway has also been awarded the gold medal for its design by the international Olympic committee in 2005. One can see Austria’s commitment towards the modern and unique architecture in these four amazing cable railway stations. The station comprises of four different, yet similar in form, stations. The design of the stations resembles natural ice and snow formations.
2. Kuala Lumpur Railway Station (Malaysia)
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The construction of gleaming white Kuala Lumpur railway station started on 1910 and was completed 7 years later 1917. It was designed by British architect Arthur Benison Hubbock having a mix of different architectural styles including Indian, Arabic and Western techniques. However Kuala Lumpur station is presently not a major railway destination it is still used by many commuters. The station looks more of like a fairy tale castle rather than a railway station and this is what makes this station one of the most amazing stations in the world. There is also a heritage station hotel within the station building, where visitors can stay.
1. Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Germany)
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Also known as Berlin central station, Berlin Hauptbahnhof is a masterpiece of the modern architecture and is one of the most beautiful and biggest stations in Europe and a tourist attraction in bustling capital of Germany. The station came into operations after its inauguration on 26th may 2006. The colossal steel and glass structure of Berlin Hauptbahnhof is itself a tourist attraction in Berlin, Germany. It is the largest crossing station in the Europe having tracks on two levels, around 80 stores and 14 platforms. Almost 2,000 trains stop at Berlin Hauptbahnhof daily with around 350,000 passengers travelling. The astonishing architecture made with glass panes allows the daylight into both the levels.