15. Grand Central Station, New YorkWhen we think of what amazes us, a train station isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Many of us take a train every day. And even if we don’t, we’ve all been in a train station at some time. If they were amazing, we’d know about it. Wouldn’t we? Maybe not. Most of the time we go charging through, head down, phone in hand, and never give them a thought. Not so long ago, during the golden age of rail when most of these train stations were being built, it wasn’t like this. Back then the train signaled a new and exciting way to travel. It came with new architectures and new technologies, it stank of romance andadventure. Architects went all out to build the grandest buildings they could. More than a hundred years later, many of those buildings are still with us. So to try and recapture that golden age, here are 20 of the most amazing train stations in the world.
You know it’s going to be here, so let’s jump the line and get it out of the way. New York’s Grand Central Station is iconic, grand, frenetic. The beating heart of the capital of the world. This wasn’t always the case. When Grand Central Depot opened in 1871, 42Street was upstate. The station may be the first to have referenced Air Rights. The selling of empty space above the site helped to finance its construction. When you arrive, be sure to visit the Grand Central Market, The Oyster Bar that lists over 250 varieties of oyster, and to look up 125 feet at the astrological murals that adorn the ceiling.
14. Gare do Oriente Station, Lisbon
Built for Expo 98’s World’s Fair, the Gare do Oriente Station is both giant and extraordinary. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, it houses a metro, high-speed regional and commuter trains, a bus station, police station, and a shopping center. 75 million passengers pass through each year; be sure to be one of them.
13. Jungfraujoch Railway Station, Switzerland
Underground, hiding under all that snow, Europe’s highest rail station is surrounded by a great titty triumvirate, the triple-peak cleavage of the Monch, Jungfrau, and Eiger. This is one way of going to the mountains.
12. Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, MalaysiaVisiting Kuala Lumpur is a treat, especially if you get to stay at the Heritage Station Hotel. It’s located inside the train station, which is pretty convenient. Built in 1910, the train station features both east and west styles of architecture.
11. Atocha Station, Madrid
Wandering around Madrid may be fun, and there’s plenty to visit, like a 43,000 square feet tropical garden at the train station. The original building got out of the train business in 1992 and moved into shopping malls, nightclubs, and the tropics. Mostly destroyed in a fire in the early 1890s, this is where in 2004 191 people were killed in a terrorist attack. Not that of a fun place, is it?
10. Amsterdam Central Station, Holland
Back in the 1800s, Amsterdam had a water front, and the train station was built on it. It opened 1889, with a cast iron roof spanning 125 feet. For the past thirty years, the station has been under reconstruction.
9. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai
Also known as the Victoria Terminus, Chhatrapati Shivaji was named after a Maratha king from the 17 century. Opened in 1887 and completed in 1888, the style is Vicky Gothic Revival and traditional Indian, which is why it was probably featured in the film Slumdog Millionaire. In 2004, UNESCO nominated it a world heritage site.
Considered to be the most beautiful station in Europe, this location first opened in 1950 and it was made of wood, although in 1860 it was made of stone, in 1929 another one was built, and after a fire in 1998 the copper and metal dome was rebuilt to its original design. A lot of history and at least that much beauty.
7. Hungerburg Station, Nordpark, Innsbruck
The Nordpark Railway is comprises out of four stations somewhere near the spectacular mountain range north above Innsbruck. The unique design by architects Zaha Hadid was supposedly influenced by glacial movements. Cool!
6. Antwerp Central Stationm, Belgium
This is best example of Belgian railway architecture; the station is beautiful. It probably has some connections with the city’s history, but I have to admit I’m clueless on this one. Feel free to travel there and let me in on some info.
5. Kanazawa Station, Japan
The station is above street level and features three island platforms. Dominated at the east entrance by the Tsuzumi drum Gate, this station is so big you might actually miss it; not really, but it’s simply superb and worth a visit.
4. Union Station, Chicago
Union Station is a train station, as well as an event and wedding venue, a 20,000 foot Beaux Arts room with Corinthian columns and marble floors. It features a multiple-restaurant space with a shopping center a five-storey vaulted trains rumble around underneath it.