It’s fun to take the train when you travel. If it’s for work or pleasure, there’s something a little more romantic about a train. Even better? When you get off the train and find yourself in an amazing station. All around the world, train stations are centers for gorgeous architecture. Many are loved for their antiquity, others reflect their local style, while others, still, are ultra-modern and sleek. These are some of the coolest stations you may find yourself in one day.
This stunning gothic style station is an old London landmark. Built in 1868 by William Henry Barlow, St. Pancras is a major connector for all of the city, and internationally as trains also travel to Paris and Brussels. The building escaped a planned demolition in the 1960s, and was expanded and refurbished between 2001 and 2007.
Liege-Guillemins Railway Station
Also catching the high-speed train is the Liege-Guillemins station, in Belgium. Liege is a major city in Belgium and 15,000 people use the station each day. The station replaced an old Beaux-Arts station in 2009, and was built by architect Santiago Calatrava. Inside, the station is made of steel, glass, and concrete, and its magnificent arch expands 105 feet high.
Kuala Lumpur Railway Station
Arthur Benison Hubbak built this stunning building in 1910 to replace an older station. The style is in “Anglo-Asian,” or “Neo-Moorish/Mughal/Indo-Saracenic/Neo-Saracenic.” Whatever you want to call it, there’s no question that it’s a piece of art. Pristine white walls and lovely spires make up the classic beauty of the station. However, due to its age and the way platforms were constructed, in 2001 service left the station for Kuala Lumpur Sentral, less than a kilometer away. The station remains intact as a museum and culture center.
Grand Central Station
Grand Central isn’t New York’s busiest train station (that belongs to Penn), but still, approximately 21 million people pass through the terminal each year. Built in 1913 by the firm Reed and Stem and Warren and Wetmore, the building has been used as a commuter and subway hub ever since. Renovations and updating in the late 1990s and early 2000s uncovered a magical astronomical scene that was covered up for decades by soot. New shops and restaurants have made the station a glamorous sight.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus
The headquarters of the Central Railways reside at this UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mumbai. Built in 1887 by Frederick William Stevens, the terminal was once called Victoria Terminus, in commemoration of the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. In 1996 the station changed its name to honor Emperor Chhatrapati Shivaji. The beautiful, ornate station remains in full function. The style is unique in its hybrid use of Victorian, Gothic Revival, and Indian Mughal.
Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Mocambique
In English, the Mozambique Ports and Railways (CFM), is the heart of the country’s rail system that connects to regional ports and the Gaza Railway. The building, though, is rather a marvel. Completed in 1916, this pretty gray roofed, mint green Victorian building was built by a small team of talents like Alfreo Augusto Lisboa de Lima, Ferreira da Costa, Mario Veiga, and not, as some believe, by Gustave Eiffel. The station suits modern trains as well as old steam locomotives.
This terminal caused a bit of controversy when it was constructed in 2005. The Kanazawa area prides itself in its preserving of traditional architecture, and this new station is ultra-modern. More than ten years old, now, locals seem to have settled down. The station is, no matter how you feel, an incredible building. Upon entering, travelers cross through the rooted looking red Tsuzumi Gate, based on Japanese hand drums (tzumuni). Next, pass through into a massive steel and glassed room, which is called the Motenashi Dome (welcome), and can be reserved as an event space. The station connects to the Hokuriku Main Line which is a high-speed train connecting much of Japan.
Southern Cross Railway Station
A major hub located in Melbourne, the station was first constructed in 1859 and called the Spencer Station. In the early noughts the station was commissioned for redevelopment by the Civic Nexus consortium. In 2006 the new and improved Southern Cross station was completed with a gorgeous, modern design – most notably the breath-taking wavy roof that had a practical purpose, as well as a beautiful one: to naturally let the pollution from the station escape into the air. Including all the new shopping components, the station reaches an entire city block.
Gare de Strasbourg
Less glamorously in English, the Strasbourg Station is located in, yes, Strasbourg, France, and is the ending point between the Paris-Strasbourg railway. The original station was built too far out of town, and the next attempt was turned into a central market during the city’s rebuilding after the Siege of Strasbourg. This current station stuck – completed in 1883 by Johann Eduard Jacobsthal. As part of a renovation to accommodate high-speed trains, though, the terminal got a facelift by architect Jean-Marie Duthilleul. Literally – the entire historic façade is encased by a very modern glass structure, allowing the historic integrity to be experienced along with the modern update. Work was completed in 2007.
Built in 1905 by Louis Delacenserie, the Antwerp train station was constructed for transportation between Brussels, Mechelen, and Antwerp. To call the station ornate would be an understatement, and some thought it was over the top when it first opened. No one style can be assigned to Delacenserie’s design, as the pulled from all he seemingly had available. But it was a good recipe – the station is made of over 20 different kinds of stone and marble, and the main train hall originally had an iron and glass ceiling, however, damages from World War II bombings ruptured the station’s foundations. After renovations in the 1980s, however, the station replaced glass with clear polycarbonate sheets, and the steel elements were replaced. The station remains a marvel.
Have you been to a beautiful train station? Which one?