• Worlds best train passenger rail stations

  • General discussion of passenger rail systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.
General discussion of passenger rail systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

Moderators: mtuandrew, gprimr1

  by adamj023
There appears to be so many passenger rail stations around the globe today, including historical ones which aren’t used anyone as well as active stations.

I am wondering what you think are the nicest stations that you have experienced?
  by CarterB
Hamburg, Germany Hauptbahnhof. Classic style, platforms well marked, easy transfer from U or S bahn to LD trains. Great shops.
  by Bob Roberts
Its all very subjective but my personal favs for beauty, function and efficiency are

Leipzig hbf: beautiful, historic and functional massive monument to German rail. The largest railway station on earth (per wiki) works really well (although its not particularly busy)
Zurich hbf: perhaps the most efficient place on earth
St Pancras terminal (London): the passenger lobby and customs areas are OK but the archetecture of the train shed level is breathtaking.
Milan Centrale: Faschism creates massive and remarkable archetecture. Its incredibly impressive but does not give the warm fuzzy feelings of the three above

In a more local context:
Grand Central: (needs no elaboration)
Philadelphia 30th street: Ceiling heights, light fixtures and the flip board (is it gone now?)
Hoboken (NJ Transit): Remarkable archetecture and nice integration between trains and ferrys. (I was only here once and I was in foamer mode, forgive me if it is super unpleasant for daily commuters)
Greensboro NC: A minimalist granite monument, but well preserved and relatively efficient. Includes a mural of the Southern RR system and a snack bar (remarkable for an off-corridor station)
LA Union Station: perhaps one of the most beautiful and uniquely American stations. (San Diego is also worthy of notej

I have not been to St Paul Union but it may be worthy of inclusion from what I hear

In general platforms and tracks are an integral element in European stations, but they are neglected and invisible features in North America.
Last edited by Bob Roberts on Tue Jul 03, 2018 6:50 am, edited 4 times in total.
  by adamj023
I am most familiar with Grand Central since I’ve used the subway there before. Nicest station in my neck of the woods. I didn’t use mass transit in Europe as I was on a tour bus or taxi cabs. In USA I have only used commuter rail such as LIRR, NJ Transit and Subway in NYC or Amtrak. Forest Hills, NY LIRR station is also attractive looking with historical elements and a nice square surrounding the train station with old fashioned non paved roads.

Never been to the relatively new Oculus in Manhattan also designed by Santiago Calatrava who has designed stations around the world. But I did not like the design from what I have seen in photos.
Last edited by adamj023 on Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by Ridgefielder
My top 5, of the ones I've personally visited or used:
1. Grand Central Terminal, NY, USA
2. Waverly Station, Edinburgh, UK
3. 30th Street Station, Philadephia, USA
4. Gare du Palais, Québec City, Canada
5. York Station, York, UK
  by mtuandrew
Bob Roberts wrote:Its all very subjective but my personal favs for beauty, function and efficiency are


In a more local context:

I have not been to St Paul Union but it may be worthy of inclusion from what I hear
Nah, I don't think so. SPUD is beautiful, very railfan-friendly, and has both reasonable parking & easy highway access, but the layout is too spread-out - Amtrak is in the basement, though the waiting room is upstairs. On the plus side, they just got a full-service restaurant back, after Leeann Chin (long-gone) and Christo's both left.


Was very impressed by riding to Paddington and poking my head into St. Pancras back when I visited England 20 years ago, and with the ease of use at Helsinki Central Station about 10 years back. On this side of the Atlantic, I've been most impressed by 3) Toronto Union, 2) Philadelphia 30th Street, and of course 1) Grand Central Terminal. Maybe someday Michigan Central Station will join that list.
  by Bob Roberts
^ there are some good parts to Toronto Union, but everytime I am in the main hall it always feels very dark and cave-like to me (although it is a very large and impressive cave). This may have just been a product of the decades-long construction projects in and around the station, but I have never seen it as a place that was as pleasant to be in as the other stations discussed here.

Disclaimer: don’t get me wrong, I always enjoy going to Toronto by rail
  by CarterB
ConstanceR46 wrote:1. penn station

2. jfk airport
You've GOTTA be kidding!!!
  by ConstanceR46
CarterB wrote:
You've GOTTA be kidding!!!
no, the rats make good, quick snacks when you're waiting for your delayed train
  by Backshophoss
Grand Central Terminal,back in it's "Heyday" and after the MTA rehab. LAUPT(LAUS),a well done rehab of the existing station ,along with its
integration with LA's Light Rail and Subway systems

ON a side note:any fish and rats ARE NOT safe to eat if caught in NY CITY limits. the amount of pollution in the waters surrounding Manhattan,
and the excessive amount of rat poison used in an attempt to control the population of rats(a bit of a lost cause,the rats have a resistance to
any chemical warfare!) :wink: :wink: :wink:

R46,that's not healthy!
  by R36 Combine Coach
Union Station (Toronto) is a classic and still has the trainshed with headhouse, yet remains functional.
  by djlong
Hard to pin down just one. I haven't been to nearly as many stations as I'd like to have been...

Berlin Hauptbanhof. Brand spanking new with every kind of train converging - subway, commuter rail, inter-city rail. Lots of shops, well-signed, easy to get around.. It was how I wish every major city station was.

NY Grand Central Terminal. Simply a classic. Nothing more be said. But the first time I took my wife there, we came out at the mezzanine looking out over the grand hall and she breathlessly said "It's like something out of a movie.."

St. Pancras International. Really nice once you get away from the grimy underground passageway leading from the Underground to the Station.

All the stations in Europe impressed me.. Munchen, Stuttgart, Salzburg, Paris Gare du Nord, Koblenz, Hamburg... The list goes on..

It isn't used NEARLY as much as a train station as it should be, but a building that is "punching above it's weight" is Worcester Union Station in Massachusetts.
  by John_Perkowski
My favorites

Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal

Frankfurt am Main Hauptbahnhof

München Hauptbahnhof

Köln Hauptbahnhof