Train station
Overview
 
A train station, also called a railroad station (mainly in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

) or railway station (mainly in the British Commonwealth) and often shortened to just station,"Station" is commonly understood to mean "train station" unless otherwise qualified. This is evident from dictionary entries e.g. Fowler H W and Fowler F G, The Concise Oxford Dictionary, 9th ed., 1995, where the primary meaning is given as "a regular stopping place on a railway line..." and "bus station" and "coach station" have separate entries under "bus" and "coach" respectively.
Encyclopedia
A train station, also called a railroad station (mainly in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

) or railway station (mainly in the British Commonwealth) and often shortened to just station,"Station" is commonly understood to mean "train station" unless otherwise qualified. This is evident from dictionary entries e.g. Fowler H W and Fowler F G, The Concise Oxford Dictionary, 9th ed., 1995, where the primary meaning is given as "a regular stopping place on a railway line..." and "bus station" and "coach station" have separate entries under "bus" and "coach" respectively. "Station" is also the universal English-language term adopted by the International Union of Railways
International Union of Railways
The UIC , or International Union of Railways, is an international rail transport industry body.- Brief history :The railways of Europe originated as separate concerns. There were many border changes after World War I and the Treaty of Versailles. Colonial railways were the responsibility of the...

.
is a railway facility where train
Train
A train is a connected series of vehicles for rail transport that move along a track to transport cargo or passengers from one place to another place. The track usually consists of two rails, but might also be a monorail or maglev guideway.Propulsion for the train is provided by a separate...

s regularly stop to load or unload passengers or freight
Freight train
A freight train or goods train is a group of freight cars or goods wagons hauled by one or more locomotives on a railway, ultimately transporting cargo between two points as part of the logistics chain...

 (goods). It generally consists of a platform
Railway platform
A railway platform is a section of pathway, alongside rail tracks at a train station, metro station or tram stop, at which passengers may board or alight from trains or trams. Almost all stations for rail transport have some form of platforms, with larger stations having multiple platforms...

 next to the tracks
Rail tracks
The track on a railway or railroad, also known as the permanent way, is the structure consisting of the rails, fasteners, sleepers and ballast , plus the underlying subgrade...

 and a station building
Station building
A station building, also known as a head house, is the main building of a passenger train station. It is typically used principally to provide services to passengers.A station building is not to be confused with the station itself...

 (depot) providing related services such as ticket
Train ticket
A train ticket is a ticket issued by a railway operator that enables the bearer to travel on the operator's network or a partner's network. Tickets can authorize the bearer to travel a set itinerary at a specific time , a set itinerary at any time , a set itinerary at multiple times, or an...

 sales and waiting room
Waiting room
A waiting room is a building, or more commonly a part of a building where people sit or stand until the event they are waiting for occurs.There are generally two types of waiting room. One is where individuals leave one at a time, for instance at a doctor's office or a hospital, or outside a school...

s. If a station is on a single track
Single track (rail)
A single track railway is where trains in both directions share the same track. Single track is normally used on lesser used rail lines, often branch lines, where the traffic density is not high enough to justify the cost of building double tracks....

 main line, it usually has a passing loop
Passing loop
A passing loop is a place on a single line railway or tramway, often located at a station, where trains or trams in opposing directions can pass each other. Trains/trams in the same direction can also overtake, providing that the signalling arrangement allows it...

 to facilitate the traffic. The smallest stations are referred as stops or mainly in the British Commonwealth, halts (flag stops). Connections may be available to intersecting rail lines or other transport modes such as bus
Bus
A bus is a road vehicle designed to carry passengers. Buses can have a capacity as high as 300 passengers. The most common type of bus is the single-decker bus, with larger loads carried by double-decker buses and articulated buses, and smaller loads carried by midibuses and minibuses; coaches are...

es or rapid transit
Rapid transit
A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on...

 (metro) systems.

Development


The world's oldest railway station built for steam locomotives still in use is Broad Green railway station
Broad Green railway station
Broad Green railway station is situated in the Broadgreen district of Liverpool, England. It is the oldest used railway station in the world being a part of the original 1830 Liverpool and Manchester passenger railway....

 in Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

, England, which was built in 1830 and is on the Liverpool to Manchester Line. The world's oldest terminal station was Crown Street railway station
Crown Street railway station
Crown Street Station was located on Crown Street, Liverpool, England. The station opened on 15 September 1830 as the Liverpool passenger terminus of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the world's first public passenger line...

 in Liverpool, built in 1830, also on the Liverpool to Manchester line. The station was the first to incorporate a Train shed
Train shed
A train shed is an adjacent building to a railway station where the tracks and platforms are covered by a roof. It is also known as an overall roof...

. The station was demolished in 1836 as the Liverpool terminal station moved to Lime Street railway station. The station was converted to a Goods station
Goods station
A goods station is, in the widest sense, a railway station which is exclusively or predominantly where goods of any description are loaded or unloaded from ships or road vehicles and/or where goods wagons are transferred to local sidings.A station where goods are not specifically received or...

 terminal.
The first stations had little in the way of buildings or amenities. The first stations in the modern sense were on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway
Liverpool and Manchester Railway
The Liverpool and Manchester Railway was the world's first inter-city passenger railway in which all the trains were timetabled and were hauled for most of the distance solely by steam locomotives. The line opened on 15 September 1830 and ran between the cities of Liverpool and Manchester in North...

, opened in 1830. As of 2008, Manchester's Liverpool Road Station
Liverpool Road railway station (Manchester)
Manchester Liverpool Road is a former railway station on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in Manchester, England which opened on 15 September 1830. The L&MR station was the terminus of the world's first inter-city passenger railway in which all services were hauled by timetabled steam locomotives...

is preserved as part of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester
Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester
The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, England, is a large museum devoted to the development of science, technology, and industry with emphasis on the city's achievements in these fields...

. It resembles a row of Georgian
Georgian architecture
Georgian architecture is the name given in most English-speaking countries to the set of architectural styles current between 1720 and 1840. It is eponymous for the first four British monarchs of the House of Hanover—George I of Great Britain, George II of Great Britain, George III of the United...

 houses.
Early stations were sometimes built with both passenger and goods facilities, though some railway lines were goods-only or passenger-only, and if a line was dual-purpose there would often be a goods depot apart from the passenger station.

Dual-purpose stations can sometimes still be found today, though in many cases goods facilities are restricted to major stations.
In rural and remote communities across Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, passengers wanting to board the train had to flag the train down in order for it to stop. Such stations were known as "flag stops" or "flag stations".

Many railway stations date from the 19th century and reflect the grandiose architecture of the time, lending prestige to the city as well as to railway operations. Countries where railways arrived later may still have such architecture, as later stations often imitated 19th-century styles. Various forms of architecture have been used in the construction of railway stations, from those boasting grand, intricate, Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

- or Gothic-style edifices, to plainer utilitarian or modernist
Modernism
Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

 styles. Stations in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 tended to follow British designs and were in some countries, like Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, financed by British railway companies.

Stations built more recently often have a similar feel to airports, with a simple, abstract style. Examples of modern stations include those on newer high-speed rail
High-speed rail
High-speed rail is a type of passenger rail transport that operates significantly faster than the normal speed of rail traffic. Specific definitions by the European Union include for upgraded track and or faster for new track, whilst in the United States, the U.S...

 networks, such as the Shinkansen
Shinkansen
The , also known as THE BULLET TRAIN, is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan operated by four Japan Railways Group companies. Starting with the Tōkaidō Shinkansen in 1964, the network has expanded to currently consist of of lines with maximum speeds of , of Mini-shinkansen with a...

 in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, TGV
TGV
The TGV is France's high-speed rail service, currently operated by SNCF Voyages, the long-distance rail branch of SNCF, the French national rail operator....

 lines in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and ICE
InterCityExpress
The Intercity-Express or ICE is a system of high-speed trains predominantly running in Germany and neighbouring countries. It is the highest service category offered by DB Fernverkehr and is the flagship of Deutsche Bahn...

 lines in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

.

Station facilities

Railway stations usually have ticket booths (British English: "ticket office" or "booking office"), ticket machine
Ticket machine
A ticket machine, also known as a ticket vending machine , is a vending machine that produces tickets. For instance, ticket machines dispense train tickets at railway stations and tram tickets at some tram stops and in some trams...

s, or both, although on some lines tickets are sold on board the trains. Ticket sales may also be combined with customer service desks or convenience store
Convenience store
A convenience store, corner store, corner shop, commonly called a bodega in Spanish-speaking areas of the United States, is a small store or shop in a built up area that stocks a range of everyday items such as groceries, toiletries, alcoholic and soft drinks, and may also offer money order and...

s. Many stations include a form of convenience store. Larger stations usually have fast-food or restaurant
Restaurant
A restaurant is an establishment which prepares and serves food and drink to customers in return for money. Meals are generally served and eaten on premises, but many restaurants also offer take-out and food delivery services...

 facilities. In some countries, stations may also have a bar
Bar (establishment)
A bar is a business establishment that serves alcoholic drinks — beer, wine, liquor, and cocktails — for consumption on the premises.Bars provide stools or chairs that are placed at tables or counters for their patrons. Some bars have entertainment on a stage, such as a live band, comedians, go-go...

 or pub. Other station facilities may include: toilet
Toilet
A toilet is a sanitation fixture used primarily for the disposal of human excrement, often found in a small room referred to as a toilet/bathroom/lavatory...

s, left-luggage, lost-and-found
Lost and found
A lost and found , lost property , or lost articles is an office in a large public building or area where visitors can go to retrieve lost articles that may have been found by other visitors...

, departures and arrivals boards, luggage carts, waiting room
Waiting room
A waiting room is a building, or more commonly a part of a building where people sit or stand until the event they are waiting for occurs.There are generally two types of waiting room. One is where individuals leave one at a time, for instance at a doctor's office or a hospital, or outside a school...

s, taxi ranks and bus
Bus
A bus is a road vehicle designed to carry passengers. Buses can have a capacity as high as 300 passengers. The most common type of bus is the single-decker bus, with larger loads carried by double-decker buses and articulated buses, and smaller loads carried by midibuses and minibuses; coaches are...

 bays. Larger or manned stations tend to have a greater range of facilities. A most basic station might only have platforms, though it might still be distinguished from a halt, a stopping or halting place that may not even have platforms.

In many Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

n and South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

n countries, and in many places in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, stations are used as a place for public markets and other informal business. This is especially true on tourist routes or stations near tourist destination
Tourist destination
A tourist destination is a city, town, or other area that is dependent to a significant extent on the revenues accruing from tourism. It may contain one or more tourist attractions and possibly some "tourist traps."...

s, as souvenirs can be made and sold to "wealthy" visitors to the country.

As well as providing services for passengers and loading facilities for goods, stations can sometimes have locomotive and rolling stock depots (usually with facilities for storing and refuelling locomotives and rolling stock and carrying out minor repair jobs).

Configurations of railway stations

In addition to the basic configuration of a railway station, various features set certain types of station apart. The first is the level of the tracks. Stations are often sited where a road crosses the railway: unless the crossing is a level crossing
Level crossing
A level crossing occurs where a railway line is intersected by a road or path onone level, without recourse to a bridge or tunnel. It is a type of at-grade intersection. The term also applies when a light rail line with separate right-of-way or reserved track crosses a road in the same fashion...

, the road and railway will be at different levels. The platforms will often be raised or lowered relative to the station entrance: the station buildings may be on either level, or both. The other arrangement, where the station entrance and platforms are on the same level, is also common, but is perhaps rarer in urban areas, except when the station is a terminus. Elevated stations are more common, not including metro stations. Stations located at level crossings can be problematic if the train blocks the roadway while it stops, causing road traffic to wait for an extended period of time.

Occasionally a station serves two or more railway lines at differing levels. This may be due to the station's position at a point where two lines cross (example: Berlin Hauptbahnhof
Berlin Hauptbahnhof
' , is the main railway station in Berlin, Germany. It began full operation two days after a ceremonial opening on 26 May 2006. It is located on the site of the historic Lehrter Bahnhof, and until it opened as a main line station, it was a stop on the Berlin S-Bahn suburban railway temporarily...

), or may be to provide separate station capacity for two types of service, e.g. intercity and suburban (examples: Paris-Gare de Lyon
Paris-Gare de Lyon
Paris Lyon is one of the six large railway termini in Paris, France. It is the northern terminus of the Paris–Marseille railway. It is named after the city of Lyon, a stop for many long-distance trains departing here, most en route to the south of France. In general the station's SNCF services run...

 and Philadelphia's 30th Street Station
30th Street Station
30th Street Station is the main railroad station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and one of the five stations in SEPTA's Center City fare zone. It is also a major stop on Amtrak's Northeast and Keystone Corridors...

), or for two different destinations.

Stations may also be classified according to the layout of the platforms. Apart from single-track lines, the most basic arrangement is a pair of railway tracks for the two directions; there is then a basic choice of an island platform
Island platform
An island platform is a station layout arrangement where a single platform is positioned between two tracks within a railway station, tram stop or transitway interchange...

 between, or two separate platforms outside, the tracks. With more tracks, the possibilities expand.

Some stations have unusual platform layouts due to space constraints of the station location, or the alignment of the railway lines. Examples include staggered platforms, such as at Tutbury and Hatton railway station
Tutbury and Hatton railway station
Tutbury and Hatton Station is a railway station on the Crewe-Derby Line. The station is served by trains on the Crewe to Derby Line which is also a Community rail line known as the North Staffordshire line...

 on the Derby - Crewe line, and curved platforms, such as Cheadle Hulme railway station
Cheadle Hulme railway station
Cheadle Hulme railway station is an open triangular railway station serving Cheadle Hulme in Greater Manchester. It is located on the West Coast Main Line and is included in Network Rail Route 20...

 on the Macclesfield to Manchester Line. Triangular stations also exist where two lines form a three-way junction and platforms are built on all three sides.

Terminus

A "terminal" or "terminus" is a station at the end of a railway line. Trains arriving there have to end their journeys (terminate) or reverse out of the station. Depending on the layout of the station, this usually permits travellers to reach all the platform
Railway platform
A railway platform is a section of pathway, alongside rail tracks at a train station, metro station or tram stop, at which passengers may board or alight from trains or trams. Almost all stations for rail transport have some form of platforms, with larger stations having multiple platforms...

s without the need to cross any tracks
Rail tracks
The track on a railway or railroad, also known as the permanent way, is the structure consisting of the rails, fasteners, sleepers and ballast , plus the underlying subgrade...

 – the public entrance to the station and the main reception facilities being at the far end of the platforms.

Sometimes, however, the railway line continues for a short distance beyond the station, and terminating trains continue forwards after depositing their passengers, before either proceeding to sidings or reversing to the station to pick up departing passengers. Bondi Junction is like this.

Many terminus stations have underground rapid-transit urban rail stations beneath, to transit passengers to the local city or district.

A terminus is frequently, but not always, the final destination of trains arriving at the station. However a number of cities, especially in continental Europe, have a terminus as their main railway stations, and all main lines converge on this station. There may also be a bypass line, used by freight trains that do not need to stop at the main station. In such cases all trains passing through that main station must leave in the reverse direction from that of their arrival. There are several ways in which this can be accomplished:
  • arranging for the service to be provided by a multiple unit
    Multiple unit
    The term multiple unit or MU is used to describe a self-propelled carriages capable of coupling with other units of the same or similar type and still being controlled from one driving cab. The term is commonly used to denote passenger trainsets consisting of more than one carriage...

    , or push-pull train
    Push-pull train
    Push–pull is a mode of operation for locomotive-hauled trains allowing them to be driven from either end.A push–pull train has a locomotive at one end of the train, connected via some form of remote control, such as multiple-unit train control, to a vehicle equipped with a control cab at the other...

    , both of which are capable of operating in either direction. The driver simply walks to the other end of the train and takes control from the other cab. This is increasingly the normal method in Europe.
  • by detaching the locomotive which brought the train into the station and then either
    • using another track to "run it around" to the other end of the train, to which it then re-attaches;
    • attaching a second locomotive to the outbound end of the train; or
  • by the use of a "wye
    Wye (railroad)
    A wye or triangular junction, in rail terminology, is a triangular shaped arrangement of rail tracks with a switch or set of points at each corner. In mainline railroads, this can be used at a rail junction, where three rail lines join, in order to allow trains to pass from any line to any other...

    ", a roughly triangular arrangement of track and switches
    Railroad switch
    A railroad switch, turnout or [set of] points is a mechanical installation enabling railway trains to be guided from one track to another at a railway junction....

     (points) where a train can reverse direction and back into the terminal.

Some former termini have a newer set of through platforms underneath (or above, or alongside) the terminal platforms on the main level. They are used by a cross-city extension of the main line, often for commuter trains, while the terminal platforms may serve long-distance services. Examples of underground through lines include the Thameslink
Thameslink
Thameslink is a fifty-station main-line route in the British railway system running north to south through London from Bedford to Brighton, serving both London Gatwick Airport and London Luton Airport. It opened as a through service in 1988 and by 1998 was severely overcrowded, carrying more than...

 platforms at in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, the Argyle
Argyle Line
The Argyle Line is a suburban railway located in West Central Scotland. It connects the Lanarkshire towns of Lanark, Larkhall and Motherwell to West Dunbartonshire via central Glasgow using sub-surface running...

 and North Clyde
North Clyde Line
The North Clyde Line is a suburban railway in West Central Scotland. The route is operated by First ScotRail, on behalf of Transport Scotland...

 lines of Glasgow's suburban rail network
Strathclyde Partnership for Transport
The Strathclyde Partnership for Transport is a public body which is responsible for planning and co-ordinating regional transport, and especially the public transport system, in the Strathclyde area of western Scotland...

, the recently built Malmö City Tunnel
City Tunnel, Malmö
The City Tunnel is a 17-kilometre rail link in Malmö, Sweden, running between Malmö Central Station and the Öresund Line . The tunnel portion of the project extends for a length of six kilometres under the city centre...

, in Antwerp in Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, the RER
RER
The RER is a rapid transit system in France serving Paris and its suburbs. The RER is an integration of a modern city-centre underground rail and a pre-existing set of commuter rail lines. It has several connections with the Paris Métro within the city of Paris. Within the city, the RER...

 at the Gare du Nord
Gare du Nord
Paris Nord is one of the six large terminus railway stations of the SNCF mainline network for Paris, France. It offers connections with several urban transportation lines, including Paris Métro and RER...

 in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, and many of the numerous S-Bahn
S-Bahn
S-Bahn refers to an often combined city center and suburban railway system metro in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Denmark...

 lines at terminal stations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, such as at Zurich Hauptbahnhof.

An American example of a terminal with this feature is Washington, DC's Union Station
Union Station (Washington, D.C.)
Washington Union Station is a train station and leisure destination visited by 32 million people each year in the center of Washington, D.C. The train station is served by Amtrak, MARC and Virginia Railway Express commuter rail services as well as by Washington Metro subway trains and local buses...

, where there are higher-level platforms, Gates A through G serving the terminating trains, such as some Northeast Regionals, the Vermonter
Vermonter
Amtrak's Vermonter is a 611-mile passenger train service between St. Albans , New York City and Washington, D.C. One trip runs in each direction per day....

 and all Acela Express
Acela Express
The Acela Express is Amtrak's high-speed rail service along the Northeast Corridor in the Northeast United States between Washington, D.C., and Boston via Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York...

es. Some other Northeast Regional trains and Atlantic Coast service trains use lower-level platforms, Gates H through L (there is no Gate I), that tunnel right under the station concourse and continue to Virginia and beyond. Auto Train
Auto Train
Auto Train is an scheduled train service for passengers and their automobiles operated by Amtrak between Lorton, Virginia , and Sanford, Florida . Although there are similar services around the world, the Auto Train is the only one of its kind in the United States...

 uses Lorton, Virginia
Lorton, Virginia
Lorton is a census-designated place in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. The population is 27,709 as of the 2008 census estimate.-History:...

 Station for three primary reasons:
  • the tri-level auto racks used to carry the cars are too tall to fit in the tunnels;
  • the platforms would be too short to accommodate the 30-60 coach trainset;
  • there is not enough room and there are too many tracks, trains, buildings and people around, so loading cars would be quite tricky.


Terminus stations in large cities are by far the biggest stations, with the largest being the Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal —often incorrectly called Grand Central Station, or shortened to simply Grand Central—is a terminal station at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Often major cities, such as London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, Boston, Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

 and Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

  have more than one terminus, rather than routes straight through the city. Train journeys through such cities often require alternative transport (metro
Rapid transit
A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on...

, bus
Bus
A bus is a road vehicle designed to carry passengers. Buses can have a capacity as high as 300 passengers. The most common type of bus is the single-decker bus, with larger loads carried by double-decker buses and articulated buses, and smaller loads carried by midibuses and minibuses; coaches are...

 or taxi
Taxicab
A taxicab, also taxi or cab, is a type of vehicle for hire with a driver, used by a single passenger or small group of passengers, often for a non-shared ride. A taxicab conveys passengers between locations of their choice...

) from one terminus to the other. Some cities, including New York, have both termini and through lines.

Terminals that have competing rail lines using the station frequently set up a jointly owned terminal railroad
Terminal Railroad
Terminal Railroad or Terminal Railway may refer to:*Terminal railroad, a railroad that operates a terminal facility*Terminal Railway Alabama State Docks*Terminal Railway of Buffalo, predecessor of the New York Central Railroad...

 to own and operate the station and its associated tracks and switching operations.

Junction

A junction is a train station where two or more rail routes meet. It could be a terminus or an en-route train station.

Stop

During a journey, the term station stop may be used in announcements, to differentiate a halt during which passengers may alight from a halt for another reason, such as a locomotive change
Locomotive change
A locomotive or engine change is a location where a locomotive is exchanged for another locomotive.-History:For as long as there have been railroads, locomotive changes have been very essential to the officials of the railroads, so that a locomotive could be exchanged for the rest of the trip to...

.

A railway stop is a spot along a railway line, usually between stations or at a seldom-used station, where passenger
Passenger
A passenger is a term broadly used to describe any person who travels in a vehicle, but bears little or no responsibility for the tasks required for that vehicle to arrive at its destination....

s can board and exit the train
Train
A train is a connected series of vehicles for rail transport that move along a track to transport cargo or passengers from one place to another place. The track usually consists of two rails, but might also be a monorail or maglev guideway.Propulsion for the train is provided by a separate...

.

While a junction or interlocking
Interlocking
In railway signalling, an interlocking is an arrangement of signal apparatus that prevents conflicting movements through an arrangement of tracks such as junctions or crossings. The signalling appliances and tracks are sometimes collectively referred to as an interlocking plant...

 usually divides two or more railway lines or routes, and thus has remotely or locally operated signals
Railway signal
A signal is a mechanical or electrical device erected beside a railway line to pass information relating to the state of the line ahead to train/engine drivers. The driver interprets the signal's indication and acts accordingly...

, a station stop does not. A station stop usually does not have any tracks other than the main tracks, and may or may not have switches
Railroad switch
A railroad switch, turnout or [set of] points is a mechanical installation enabling railway trains to be guided from one track to another at a railway junction....

 (points, crossovers).

Halt

A halt, in railway parlance in the British Commonweath, is a small railway station, usually unstaffed and with few or no facilities. In some cases, trains stop only on request, when passengers on the platform indicate that they wish to board, or passengers on the train inform the crew that they wish to alight.

In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, most former halts on the national railway networks have had the word halt removed from their names. Historically, in many instances the spelling 'halte' was used, before the spelling 'halt' became commonplace. There are three national rail stations with the suffix 'halt' remaining: Coombe Junction, St Keyne Wishing Well and IBM
IBM railway station
IBM railway station is a railway station on the Inverclyde Line, 41 km west of .Clinging to the south slope of Spango Valley on the Glasgow-Wemyss Bay line, IBM Halt opened on 9 May 1978 to serve what was at that time a thriving computer manufacturing plant employing over 4,000 people...

.

A number of other halts are still open and operational on privately owned, heritage, and preserved railways throughout the British Isles, and the word is often used informally to describe national rail network stations with limited service and low usage, such as the Oxfordshire Halts on the Cotswold Line
Cotswold Line
The Cotswold Line is an railway line between and in England.-Route:The line comprises all or part of the following Network Rail routes:*GW 200 from Oxford*GW 310 from Wolvercot Junction*GW 300 from Norton Junction*GW 340 from Worcester Shrub Hill...

. The title halt is also sometimes applied colloquially to stations served by public services but not available for use by the general public, being accessible only by persons travelling to/from an associated factory (for example IBM near Greenock and British Steel Redcar
British Steel Redcar railway station
British Steel Redcar railway station was opened to serve the huge British Steel/Corus Group site. It is located in the borough of Redcar and Cleveland and the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire, England. It is located on the Tees Valley Line and operated by Northern Rail who provide all passenger...

), military base (such as Lympstone Commando
Lympstone Commando railway station
Lympstone Commando railway station is a railway station on the branch line from Exeter to Exmouth in Devon, England.The station is a rare example of a passenger station not open to the general public: it is exclusively for the use of visitors to the Royal Marine Commando Training Centre at...

) or railway yard. The only such stations where the "halt" designation is still officially used are IBM Halt and Hoo Junction Staff Halt on the North Kent Line
North Kent Line
The North Kent Line is a railway line which connects central and south east London with Dartford and Medway.-Construction:The North Kent Line was the means by which the South Eastern Railway were able to connect its system to London at London Bridge...

, which is used by staff to access marshalling yards and is not open to passengers.

The Great Western Railway
Great Western Railway
The Great Western Railway was a British railway company that linked London with the south-west and west of England and most of Wales. It was founded in 1833, received its enabling Act of Parliament in 1835 and ran its first trains in 1838...

, in Great Britain, began opening haltes on 12 October 1903; from 1905, the French spelling was anglicised to 'halt'. These GWR halts had the most basic facilities, with platforms long enough for just one or two carriages; some had no platform at all, necessitating the provision of steps on the carriages. There was normally no station staff at a halt, tickets being sold on the train. On 1 September 1904, a larger version, known on the GWR as a 'platform' instead of a 'halt', was introduced; these had longer platforms, and were usually staffed by a senior grade porter, who sold tickets, and sometimes booked parcels or milk consignments.

In many Commonwealth
Commonwealth
Commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good. Historically, it has sometimes been synonymous with "republic."More recently it has been used for fraternal associations of some sovereign nations...

 countries, the term "halt" is still used.

In the United States, such stations are now referred to as flag stops.

Accessibility

Accessibility for people with disabilities is mandated by law in some countries. Considerations include: elevator or ramp access to all platforms, matching platform height to train floors, making wheelchair lifts available when platforms do not match vehicle floors, accessible toilets and pay phones, audible station announcements, and safety measures such as tactile marking of platform edges.



Goods stations

Goods or freight stations deal exclusively or predominantly with the loading and unloading of goods and may well have marshalling yards (classification yards) for the sorting of wagons. The world's first Goods terminal was the Park Lane railway goods station
Park Lane railway goods station
Park Lane was the world's first goods terminus on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway serving the south end Liverpool Docks. The station was opened in 1830. Its initial name was Wapping Station...

 at the South End Liverpool Docks. Built in 1830 the terminal was accessed by a 1.25 mile tunnel.

As goods have been increasingly moved by road, many former goods stations, as well as the goods sheds at passenger stations, have closed. In addition, many goods stations today are used purely for the cross-loading of freight and may be known as transshipment stations. Where they primarily handle containers they are also known as container stations or terminals.



Largest and busiest stations

Worldwide

  • The world's busiest passenger station, in terms of daily passenger throughput, is Shinjuku Station
    Shinjuku Station
    is a train station located in Shinjuku and Shibuya wards in Tokyo, Japan.Serving as the main connecting hub for rail traffic between central Tokyo and its western suburbs on inter-city rail, commuter rail and metro lines, the station was used by an average of 3.64 million people per day in 2007,...

     in Tokyo
    Tokyo
    , ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

    . The station was used by an average of 3.64 million people per day in 2007.
  • As of 2006, the world's largest station was Beijing West station in Beijing
    Beijing
    Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

    . But today, many new stations are larger than Beijing West; Beijing South, Guangzhou South, Nanjing South, Shanghai Hongqiao and Xi'an North all also claim to be Asia's largest.
  • In terms of platform capacity, the world's largest station by platforms is Grand Central Terminal
    Grand Central Terminal
    Grand Central Terminal —often incorrectly called Grand Central Station, or shortened to simply Grand Central—is a terminal station at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States...

     in New York City
    New York City
    New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

     with 44 platforms and, as part of the East Side Access
    East Side Access
    East Side Access is a public works project being undertaken by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York City, designed to bring the Long Island Rail Road into a new East Side station to be built below and incorporated into Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan...

     Project, the MTA
    Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York)
    The Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York is a public benefit corporation responsible for public transportation in the U.S...

     will be adding 4 more platforms to accommodate future Long Island Rail Road
    Long Island Rail Road
    The Long Island Rail Road or LIRR is a commuter rail system serving the length of Long Island, New York. It is the busiest commuter railroad in North America, serving about 81.5 million passengers each year. Established in 1834 and having operated continuously since then, it is the oldest US...

     trains.

Europe

Busiest
  • The Gare du Nord
    Gare du Nord
    Paris Nord is one of the six large terminus railway stations of the SNCF mainline network for Paris, France. It offers connections with several urban transportation lines, including Paris Métro and RER...

    , in Paris
    Paris
    Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

    , is Europe's busiest railway station by total passenger numbers., in south London
    London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

    , is Europe's busiest railway station by daily rail traffic (one train every 13 seconds at peak times; one train every 30 seconds at off-peak times).
  • Zurich Hauptbahnhof, Switzerland, is Europe's busiest railway terminus by daily rail traffic (Clapham Junction is a through station).

Largest
  • Leipzig Hauptbahnhof
    Leipzig Hauptbahnhof
    is, at 83,460 m², Europe's largest railway station when measured by floor area. It has 24 platforms housed in six iron trainsheds; a multi-level concourse with towering stone arches; and a 293 metre-long facade...

     in Germany is Europe's largest railway station by floor area (24 platforms and several levels of shopping facilities beneath).
  • Berlin Hauptbahnhof
    Berlin Hauptbahnhof
    ' , is the main railway station in Berlin, Germany. It began full operation two days after a ceremonial opening on 26 May 2006. It is located on the site of the historic Lehrter Bahnhof, and until it opened as a main line station, it was a stop on the Berlin S-Bahn suburban railway temporarily...

     is Europe's largest crossing station and two-level station (6 upper and 8 lower platforms).
  • The Gare du Nord
    Gare du Nord
    Paris Nord is one of the six large terminus railway stations of the SNCF mainline network for Paris, France. It offers connections with several urban transportation lines, including Paris Métro and RER...

    , in Paris
    Paris
    Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

    , is Europe's largest railway station by number of platforms (44 - two not in service).

North America

  • Penn Station
    Pennsylvania Station (New York City)
    Pennsylvania Station—commonly known as Penn Station—is the major intercity train station and a major commuter rail hub in New York City. It is one of the busiest rail stations in the world, and a hub for inbound and outbound railroad traffic in New York City. The New York City Subway system also...

     in New York City
    New York City
    New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

     is the busiest station in North America.
  • Toronto
    Toronto
    Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

    's Union Station
    Union Station (Toronto)
    Union Station is the major inter-city rail station and a major commuter rail hub in Toronto, located on Front Street West and occupying the south side of the block bounded by Bay Street and York Street in the central business district. The station building is owned by the City of Toronto, while the...

     is the busiest station in Canada.

Other records

  • Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue in New York City
    New York City
    New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

     is the world's largest elevated terminal with 8 tracks and 4 island platforms.
  • The Shanghai South Railway Station
    Shanghai south railway station
    Shanghai South Railway Station, also Shanghai South Station , is a railway station in the city of Shanghai, China. Located in the Xuhui District, its importance is second only to the Shanghai Railway Station...

    , opened in June 2006, has the world's largest circular transparent roof.
  • Châtelet-Les Halles
    Châtelet - Les Halles (Paris RER)
    Châtelet – Les Halles is a major commuter train hub in Paris. Taken together with the Paris Métro stations Châtelet and Les Halles, to which it is directly connected, hosts travellers per week day , for the RER only...

    , in the centre of Paris
    Paris
    Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

    , is the busiest underground railway station in the world. Approximately 750,000 passengers pass through it per day.
  • The New Delhi Railway Station
    New Delhi Railway Station
    The New Delhi Railway Station , station code NDLS, situated between Ajmeri Gate and Paharganj is the main railway station in Delhi. New Delhi railway station is the second busiest and one of the largest in India. It handles over 300 trains each day with 16 platforms and about 360,000 passengers...

     in New Delhi
    New Delhi
    New Delhi is the capital city of India. It serves as the centre of the Government of India and the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. New Delhi is situated within the metropolis of Delhi. It is one of the nine districts of Delhi Union Territory. The total area of the city is...

    , India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

     holds the record for the largest route interlock system in the world.

See also

  • Station building
    Station building
    A station building, also known as a head house, is the main building of a passenger train station. It is typically used principally to provide services to passengers.A station building is not to be confused with the station itself...

  • Bus station
    Bus station
    A bus station is a structure where city or intercity buses stop to pick up and drop off passengers. It is larger than a bus stop, which is usually simply a place on the roadside, where buses can stop...

  • Bus stop
    Bus stop
    A bus stop is a designated place where buses stop for passengers to board or leave a bus. These are normally positioned on the highway and are distinct from off-highway facilities such as bus stations. The construction of bus stops tends to reflect the level of usage...

  • Bus terminus
    Bus terminus
    A bus terminus is a designated place where a bus or coach starts or ends its scheduled route. The terminus is the designated place that a timetable is timed from. Termini can be located at bus stations, interchanges, bus garages or simple bus stops. Termini can both start and stop at the same...

  • Classification yard
    Classification yard
    A classification yard or marshalling yard is a railroad yard found at some freight train stations, used to separate railroad cars on to one of several tracks. First the cars are taken to a track, sometimes called a lead or a drill...

  • Goods station
    Goods station
    A goods station is, in the widest sense, a railway station which is exclusively or predominantly where goods of any description are loaded or unloaded from ships or road vehicles and/or where goods wagons are transferred to local sidings.A station where goods are not specifically received or...

  • Hauptbahnhof
  • Interchange station
    Interchange station
    An interchange station or a transfer station is a train station for more than one railway route in a public transport system, and allows passengers to change from one route to another. Transfer may occur within the same mode, or between rail modes, or to buses...

  • Intermodal
  • List of IATA-indexed train stations
  • List of railway stations

  • Marshalling yard
  • Metro station
    Metro station
    A metro station or subway station is a railway station for a rapid transit system, often known by names such as "metro", "underground" and "subway". It is often underground or elevated. At crossings of metro lines, they are multi-level....

  • Public transport
    Public transport
    Public transport is a shared passenger transportation service which is available for use by the general public, as distinct from modes such as taxicab, car pooling or hired buses which are not shared by strangers without private arrangement.Public transport modes include buses, trolleybuses, trams...

  • Railway station layout
    Railway station layout
    A railway station is a place where trains make scheduled stops. Stations usually have one or more platforms constructed alongside a line of railway. However, railway stations come in many different configurations - influenced by such factors as the geographical nature of the site, or the need to...

  • Signal box
    Signal box
    On a rail transport system, signalling control is the process by which control is exercised over train movements by way of railway signals and block systems to ensure that trains operate safely, over the correct route and to the proper timetable...

  • Station code
    Station code
    A station code is an abbreviation used on railways for railway stations. The codes are most used internally in the business, but can be seen at railway traffic signs and in some time tables.For different station codes, see* List of Amtrak station codes, USA...

  • Tram stop
    Tram stop
    A tram stop is a place designated for a tram to stop so passengers can board or alight it. Tram stops share most characteristics of bus stops, but because trams operate on rails, they often include railway platforms, especially if stepless entries are provided for accessibility...

  • Transport
    Transport
    Transport or transportation is the movement of people, cattle, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations...

  • Train order station
  • Paid area
    Paid area
    In rail transport, the paid area is a dedicated "inner" zone in a railway station sealed by barriers. A system using paid areas is often called fare control. Passengers are allowed to enter or exit only through a faregate...

  • Train ticket
    Train ticket
    A train ticket is a ticket issued by a railway operator that enables the bearer to travel on the operator's network or a partner's network. Tickets can authorize the bearer to travel a set itinerary at a specific time , a set itinerary at any time , a set itinerary at multiple times, or an...



External links

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