One of the oldest forms of transportation that is still used by a majority of the population is train travel. Whether taking a long-distance journey or commuting for work, travelling by train has always been a part of human life. Railways stations are not just considered as transportation hubs. From wars to urban development railway stations have withstood everything. In ancient times they became the symbols of the entire empire as rulers used to build magnificent train stations. From lavish neo-gothic behemoths to ultra-modern masterpieces here are some of the most beautiful train stations around the world.
Grand Central Terminal, USA
Grand Central Terminal is one of the busiest in not just the USA but also in the world. Built by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1871, Grand Central is the largest of beautiful train stations in the world. Its magnificent gold chandeliers, popular restaurants and antique gold-barred ticket windows all pale in comparison to the aquamarine ceilings decorated with gold-leafed signs of the zodiac. A pop culture favourite, the Terminal has made an appearance in classic movies like Men in Black, The Godfather and Madagascar among others. With 44 platforms and a Dining Concourse this station is a must-visit for every globetrotter. If you are hungry then do not forget to visit the food court at the station’s lower level.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, India
Crafted in yellow sandstone, granite and blue-grey basalt, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) is an iconic architectural splendour residing in South Mumbai. It was designed by British architect Frederick William Stevens to honour Queen Victoria, Empress of India. The imposing Victorian Gothic Revival station took 10 years to build and was completed in 1888. A fusion of Western and Eastern styles are worth admiring and are symbolic of a revival style that was commonly used during the British Raj (Indo-Saracenic or Indo-Gothic). It displays a wealth of Victorian craftsmanship with tiles, ironwork as well as high vaulted spaces. Three million commuters pass through the station every day as it connects Mumbai to the suburbs.
Antwerp Centraal Station, Belgium
Known as one of the world’s most beautiful railway stations, this stone-clad terminal was originally constructed between 1895-1905. The station contains a fusion of many elements. Completed in 1905 the opulent neo-Baroque architectural station contains more than 20 types of marbles and stones. A splendid 75-metre-high dome and a stunning antique clock are two of its many highlights that will leave you in awe. Though it was originally built as the terminus of the Brussels-Mechelen-Antwerp railway line the station now functions as a station for intercity trains and Thalys high-speed trains connecting Amsterdam to Paris and Lille via Belgium.
Helsinki Central Station, Finland
Originally built in 1862 the Helsinki Central station turned out to be too small for its needs so in 1904, a contest was opened for a new design. The current Art Nouveau design by Eliel Saarinen was the winner of a 1904 contest to design a larger station. Completed in 1919 it features four sentry statues holding lamps on either side of the entrance. The massive sentry statues holding spherical lights oversee comings and goings of hundreds of thousands of commuters each day. An imposing granite façade is symbolic of a blend of traditional Finnish and modern architecture. The structure is a sight to behold and is undoubtedly a must-visit place for everyone travelling to Helsinki.
Estado De São Bento, Portugal
Built-in 1900, the station is a UNESCO World Heritage Site today. The first train pulled into the station in São Bento in 1896. The artist Jorge Colaço spent 14 years to complete the masterpiece made of 20,000 tin-glazed ceramic tiles. The blue and white hand-painted murals in the station’s hall showcasing Portugal’s rich history will leave you spellbound. This is a busy destination for trains heading to the suburbs of Porto as well as to and from Portugal’s capital city of Lisbon. If Portugal is in your bucket list then make sure you head to the São Bento Railway Station in Porto.
Southern Cross Station, Melbourne
Southern Cross railway station is a major railway station in Docklands, Melbourne. Tourists and architecture enthusiasts from all over the world admire the station for its innovative and beautiful design. The station dates back to 1859 the undulating, sand dune-shaped roof designed by Grimshaw Architects was completed in 2006.
It covers an entire city block of over 60,000 square meters. The roof was designed to allow cooling through natural ventilation and to allow fumes and exhaust from trains to leave the station. It is the second busiest railway station in Melbourne's metropolitan network with 18.614 million passenger movements recorded in 2017-18.
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