urope's most iconic railway stations ?

Jun 12th, 2007, 01:27 AM
  #1  
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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..

http://www.m-j-s.net/photo/cd04/b/cd04-bimg0019.jpg

However...I'm open to discussion. Any other favourites ?
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Jun 12th, 2007, 01:28 AM
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Oh rats.

My keyboard jammed on the capital 'E'.

Honestly...I can spell Urope. mean Europe.
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Jun 12th, 2007, 01:33 AM
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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.
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Jun 12th, 2007, 01:36 AM
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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..
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Jun 12th, 2007, 01:58 AM
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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.
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Jun 12th, 2007, 01:58 AM
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duh, BAKER Street station, of course.
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Jun 12th, 2007, 02:07 AM
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What does iconic mean?
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Jun 12th, 2007, 02:29 AM
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The small one-building station at Toledo in Spain is absolutely stunning - mosaics to make your head spin!
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Jun 12th, 2007, 02:50 AM
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Antwerp's Central Station is glorious.
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Jun 12th, 2007, 06:56 AM
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"no other station offers one of the world's best views"?

What about Venice?
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Jun 12th, 2007, 06:59 AM
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I suppose in many ways, Centrale in Milan is as iconic as it gets, both politically and visually.
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Jun 12th, 2007, 08:15 AM
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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.
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Jun 12th, 2007, 08:17 AM
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"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"
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Jun 12th, 2007, 08:19 AM
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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.
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Jun 12th, 2007, 08:23 AM
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To JP...

Yes, Venice isn't bad...

But I did say I was biased remember.. :hehe:
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Jun 12th, 2007, 08:28 AM
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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"
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Jun 12th, 2007, 08:33 AM
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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?
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Jun 12th, 2007, 08:34 AM
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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.
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Jun 12th, 2007, 08:36 AM
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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.
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Jun 12th, 2007, 08:45 AM
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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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