Train and tube stations
Some of the most interesting buildings ever to have been built are stations. The broad definition of a station includes where a mode of transport stops regularly to load and unload passengers. Some of the stations are so big that they will be home to several different types of transport. These stations are big that many display fine architecture in their design and shape.
An airport terminal is a form of station and is usually home to many different stations coming together. Heathrow airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. It has 5 terminals, 3 tube and rail stations, and a coach station. There are also areas for taxis to congregate but these are known as taxi ranks.
The earliest stations to be built were the railway stations during the period of the industrial revolution. They were vital structures as the economy was fuelled by the country’s ability to move both its goods and people. The early stations were grand designs whose architects were often the same people who built the rail tracks and its bridges.
The first railway line in the world was opened between Liverpool and Manchester in 1830 and the first station was Crown Street Railway Station in Liverpool. The station was very basic but did include a shed to protect the locomotives from the weather.
The country was soon busy laying railway lines and building stations as industrialization and urbanization gathered pace. Paddington Railway Station was built in 1854 and it was designed by the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The station was the start of the Great Western Railway and along its journey Brunel also constructed bridges and tunnels.
The station was a feat of Victorian architecture and design. Despite suffering from bomb damage during the Second World War and many different refurbishments, the station still reflects Brunel’s original design.
In 1863 the first underground railway, the Metropolitan Railway was built and the line ended at Paddington station. The station today serves four different tube routes from two separate underground stations. The Hammersmith, the District, the Circle and the Bakerloo lines all stop at Paddington.
The busiest train station in London is Waterloo and it is the largest station in the United Kingdom. It has 24 separate platforms that lead to the station, which was opened in 1848 and designed by William Tite. The station was rebuilt at the start of the 20th century and during this period its famous 4 sided clock was constructed.
The clock has become a meeting point for Londoners and it became part of legend when featured in the 1945 film “Brief Encounter”. The station also has four tube routes running into it, the Waterloo, the Bakerloo, the Jubilee and the Northern lines. The station the home to Eurostar between 1994 and 2007 with service travelling to mainland Europe, but this has now moved to St Pancras Station.
The largest train station in the world is the Grand Central Terminal in New York. It covers an area of 48 hectares has 48 platforms, and in 2013 nearly 22 million tourists visited the station. These numbers do not take into account the train and subway passengers of that year.
The station was built in 1871 and was designed by John B Snook. It basically consists of three separate buildings that have stood since they were raised. The distinctive architecture and interior design has won it many awards with it being included as a US National Historic Landmark.
Although it may be the largest station it is not the busiest one in the world. That honor falls to Shinjuku Station in Tokyo in Japan. Each day the station serves 3.6 million passengers daily on its 12 lines. There are 36 platforms and over 200 exits to and from the massive station.
The station was opened in 1885 and in the beginning it was small. It only grew as a result of the opening of new lines such as the Chuo, the Keio and the Odakyu lines at the start of the 20th century.
As well as being a train and underground station it also has a coach station ferrying other parts of the region that the lines do not travel to. The station is on some of the fastest train tracks in the world.