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MacSporran Jun 12th, 2007 01:27 AM

urope's most iconic railway stations ?
Just having a discussion with some friends about this.
It isn't a trainspotting question (honestly), but which station in Europe really punches your ticket ? Which one makes you gasp with wonder instead of howl with frustration ? Which one makes you want to go back instead of avoid ?

For me, there are several candidates. I love the architecture of Berlin's new Hauptbahnhof...and London Waterloo gives you a sense of bygone grandeur.

But my most iconic, and I make no apologies for being biased here, is Edinburgh Waverley.
No other station is named after a novel, and no other station offers one of the world's best views when you step outside..

However...I'm open to discussion. Any other favourites ?

MacSporran Jun 12th, 2007 01:28 AM

Oh rats.

My keyboard jammed on the capital 'E'.

Honestly...I can spell Urope. mean Europe. :-)

bellini Jun 12th, 2007 01:33 AM

St Pancras Station in London- the Gothic extravagance which shows the supreme confidence of the "Railway Age"(19th century) and the exciting developments taking place - the new Norman Foster designed platforms for Eurostar.

Helsinki Station Finland- very Northern European facade.

MacSporran Jun 12th, 2007 01:36 AM

Ah, I'd forgotten about Helsinki.
I loved the huge torch bearers guarding the main entrance...great touch.
There's also a hint of long forgotten Iron curtain frision, seeing departures to St Petersburg..

Kate Jun 12th, 2007 01:58 AM

Well, if we're talking iconic (and including underground railways), then platforms 5 and 6 of Basker Street Station, London - oldest underground railway station in the world (1860something). Very well preserved and atmospheric.

Kate Jun 12th, 2007 01:58 AM

duh, BAKER Street station, of course.

flanneruk Jun 12th, 2007 02:07 AM

What does iconic mean?

mel1 Jun 12th, 2007 02:29 AM

The small one-building station at Toledo in Spain is absolutely stunning - mosaics to make your head spin!

karlth Jun 12th, 2007 02:50 AM

Antwerp's Central Station is glorious.

JP Jun 12th, 2007 06:56 AM

"no other station offers one of the world's best views"?

What about Venice?

Dukey Jun 12th, 2007 06:59 AM

I suppose in many ways, Centrale in Milan is as iconic as it gets, both politically and visually.

USNR Jun 12th, 2007 08:15 AM

Yes, Milan's reminded me of Mussolini -- overbuilt, pompous, extravagant. For a small place, the station in York made me laugh. It reminded me of a Ronald Searle cartoon, all curlicues and gingerbread, very Victorian. So many of Europe's old stations were destroyed by bombs during the war. Yet is amazing how many survived. Gare de Lyon still makes me gasp with its enormous, overarching expanse.

Dukey Jun 12th, 2007 08:17 AM

"Yes, Milan's reminded me of Mussolini -- overbuilt, pompous, extravagant..."

And why at least one Federal building in Washington, DC, is often referred to as "Mussolini Modern"

PalenQ Jun 12th, 2007 08:19 AM

Amsterdam Centraal and Antwerp Centraal

iconic really means symbol and not how you defined what your looking for.

Stations that are symbols may look like a piece of crap but still be iconic - several London stations come to mind, being symbolic of awful 60s renovation that were symbolic of 60s planning in UK.

MacSporran Jun 12th, 2007 08:23 AM

To JP...

Yes, Venice isn't bad... :-)

But I did say I was biased remember.. :hehe:

alanRow Jun 12th, 2007 08:28 AM

Iconic are things like Big Ben, Tower Bridge - ie symbolic of somewhere

Off hand I can't think of a station where - if you look at it - you say "that's such and such a place"

USNR Jun 12th, 2007 08:33 AM

Viewed from above, the central station in Cologne is in an amazing location. It stands cheek-by-jowl next to the great cathedral, connected by the Hohenzollern Bridge with the other shore of the Rhine. The bridge points like a finger at the cathedral, yet switches at the last instant into the station. British bombers used the bridge as an aiming point to destroy the bridge and the station...but the cathedral suffered only minor damage from the bombs. Really an amazing escape.

I have always disliked the station that serves central Brussels. Reminds me of a cave. Yet one leaves the station right in the middle of things -- cobblestoned streets leading downhill to the Grande Place.

Stockholm's main station is quite attractive -- clean, not too cluttered, multi-leveled, excellent connections to local surface and subway transportation. Did Saarinen design it?

PalenQ Jun 12th, 2007 08:34 AM

alan has it right - none of the train sheds mentioned above approach iconic status - not even close and i can't think of any in Europe that do- become a symbol of the city there are in like Eiffel Tower comes to mind when thinking of Paris

Waverly station in Edinburgh is in no way iconic, being in the shadow of the iconic Edinbrugh castle.

Europe seems to have no iconic train sheds.

PalenQ Jun 12th, 2007 08:36 AM

USNR's Cologne station's iconic status is obviously overshadowed by the real icon of Cologne - the Dom that overshadows the train shed, which i nominate for one of Europe's most awfully placed stations - right next to the world famous cathedral.

USNR Jun 12th, 2007 08:45 AM

PalenQ: I completely agree. The Cologne station stands out as a bad example of 19th century "progress." I can think of several stations in Europe that were built over filled-in canals that once served the centers of their respective cities. The canals were dammed and drained, rails installed in the rights of way, and the stations planted where the city fathers thought most traffic could abide. Look at a map of Paris. See where the stations and their plazas stand today and imagine the canals that once served those areas.

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