Seven train stations around the world that are unbelievably beautiful


(C) Paul Prescott

Photo of Seven train stations around the world that are unbelievably beautiful by Sonal Agarwal

Watching Harry Potter run in between pillars to catch his train for the hundredth time has not reduced my obsession for rail stations a bit. The invention of railways has been claimed as the biggest inventions of all times, but we rarely see anyone appreciating the hard work and effort that goes behind creating the architectural masterpieces for a smooth operation of train services.

Here are seven railway stations around the world that are absolutely stunning and are perfect gateways to a city's history.

Located on Euston Road in the London Borough of Camden, St. Pancras International Railway station is one of the oldest stations in the world, Designed by William Henry Barlow and Roland Mason Ordish in 1868, the station had the largest single span train shed in its time. Later, St. Pancras was declared redundant and was about to get demolished, which was then widely protested by the locals.

In 2007, the Victorian Gothic buildings got an extension to house international rail services, and today the station has 15 platforms, various shopping centres, restaurants and an underground stop.

Home to a stunningly decorated lobby and unique Beaux-Arts architectural details, Grand Central Terminal in New York is the sixth most visited tourist attraction in the world. Designed by two large firms in the industry, Reed and Stem and Warren and Wetmore, in 1913, the station still leaves visitors in awe of its beauty.

The iconic landmark of New York, the clock, designed by Henry Edward Bedford has been a part of New York's past and present. Today, the station is not just a transportation nucleus with 44 platforms; it is a space where you can shop, dine and participate in various events.

Packed with all sorts of modern amenities and services, it has an iconic 32m colossal arch that makes the station look extraordinary from outside. The place has just five tracks, but all of them are compatible with the high-speed bullet trains which make Liège-Guillemins truly futuristic.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai, formerly known as Victoria Terminus Station, was built in 1887 on the occasion of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. The designer Frederick William Stevens took inspiration from both Victorian and Mughal architecture and created a perfect blend, making it one of a kind.

The station is an important junction on the Mumbai Local's route, therefore, it is always overcrowded; be it the local commuters or long distance travellers. If you are new to Mumbai, make sure to tag along with someone experienced. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus got its name in 1996 and is currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The São Bento Railway Station, built in 1900 in the district of Porto, was originally a monastery. Designed by architect José Marques da Silva, the station is a historic site boasting fine work of French architecture, both on the outside as well as inside.

The walls of this station speak for themselves. Home to 20,000 tin-glazed ceramic tiles, the place depicts the history of Portugal; From battlegrounds to inventions. It took Jorge Colaço 11 years to bring this stunning piece of artwork together.

Dunedin Railway Station is one of the most historically iconic structures in New Zealand. It is popularly known as the gingerbread house for its White Oamaru limestone walls on the front and black basalt rocks in between. The whole place has been lavishly designed with booking hall alone decorated with 750000 tiles.

Dunedin Railway Station does not just serve as a railway station, it is open to the public for regular outings to the Dunedin outskirts, there is a restaurant and on the top floor is the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame and the Otago Art Society.

Here is another one from Belgium; however, the design aesthetics of this station is strikingly different from Liège-Guillemin's. Antwerpen-Centraal Station, located in the city of Antwerp, was opened to the public in 1905. There is no one particular architectural style that can be identified in the structure of this station. Apparently, the designer Louis Delacenserie had no one inspiration and designed the place on his likings.

The Antwerpen-Centraal Station will take you back in time with its interiors, made from iron, granite and marble. Right at the entrance of the waiting room, there is a huge dome over the hall, which makes it different from other stations. During World War II there were some major damages done to the hall which was later restored.

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