What is the World's Greatest Train Station?

Trains are great, but they do require something no one really loves: waiting. Luckily, all over the world, train stations have been overly designed and insanely decorated, creating unforgettable places for people to while away the time between the arrival of their carriage. From the surreal subterranean wonders of Sweden’s Kungsträdgården Metro Station to the historically grand architecture of Seattle’s Union Station to my personal favorite, the chubby little goblins that inhabit New York’s 8th Avenue Subway Station, train stations all over the world are wonders unto themselves. Now we want to hear about the most incredible train stations you’ve ever discovered.

(Image: Ryan Tang/Public Domain)

In the thread below, tell us about the beautiful, strange, and unforgettable train stations you’ve visited or learned of. Tell us the name and location of the station, what makes it special, and why you love it. And if you have any pictures, send those too! Your response may be included in an upcoming round-up post on Atlas Obscura. ALL ABOARD (I’ve always wanted to shout that)!

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Love that you chose Bangkok railway station! I had a 6 hour wait there back in 2016 and was not bored for a second for watching the people, monks, trains, architecture…

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St. Pancras Station in London: not only a great transportation nexus (Underground, regional trains, sleek Eurostar carriages!) but a vaulting, inspiring piece of Edwardian iron, brought back from the dead a few decades ago like the rest of its neighborhood. It’s attached to a beautiful hotel, some of whose rooms look out onto the Eurostar platforms. Right next door is King’s Cross, where you can see the Hogwarts Express platform. And St. Pancras has witty, memorable art: a bronze man holding his hat while gazing upward, a pink neon love letter overhead, and best of all a giant embracing couple epitomizing the bittersweet sense of goodbye and hello that train stations evoke.

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That’s beautiful! The neon sign is the perfect accent piece.


The Central station of Antwerp, Belgium!

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So many stations I haven’t been to yet, but I fell in love with Atocha station in Madrid. :heart_eyes:

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Wow, that’s stunning!

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It’s wonderful they have so many plants inside. It must help the air feel fresh.

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I found the station in Hua Hin , Thailand like stepping back in time. I don’t recall the year that it was built but I would guess possibly in the 1920’s. The station masters tower above the ticket office controls all the train track change switches via cables and pulleys going to a large bank of tall manual levers. Trains transiting through and not stopping can pick up messages concerning the train or track information by snatching a large ring containing messages from a arm that extends out to the edge of the train cars. The terminal in very ornate as it’s location is at the King of Thailand’s summer residence.

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The stations of Naples underground are all decorated by pieces of art, or are pieces of art themselves, look for example the Toledo station (picture from Wikipedia)

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I was struck by the vast space in the Kyoto, Japan station. When you walk inside, you’re awestruck by the size.
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In 2014 I visited Moscow and was amazed at the beauty of the train stations - if only the rest of the world could put so much effort and detail into the designs and upkeep of these places for the public to enjoy! - photos of Kiyevskaya Subway

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Wow, this is some amazing architecture!

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Not much of a true workhorse anymore, but the building is fantastic.

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Kyoto Train Station, by far, in my experience.ElectricLightStairsSm

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Thats truly mesmerizing!

Cincinnati’s Union terminal is is certainly a great example of art deco form and one of my favorite buildings anywhere. Nicely done photos.

Don’t know if this counts but Chattanooga, TN (home of the Chattanooga Choo Choo) has a hotel set up at the site of the original train station. There are regular hotel rooms but for a not-too-exorbitant price you can stay in an authentic old sleeper car. It’s really charming with a full size bed and a day bed, plus they are dog friendly. We’ve stayed there twice and loved it.

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During my first trip to Europe, I started in Italy and rode trains from Florence to Milan and then to the Netherlands. The train station in Milan was breathtakingly beautiful - marble floors, marble walls, HUGE marble columns at the entrance. I was fortunate to have several hours to explore both the train station and the nearby area. Since that trip was almost 20 years ago, I don’t have any digital photos but I found this link that gives one a tour. A must do stop if you’re ever in Italy. YouTube

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Gorgeous. Thank you for sharing. I never knew. Wikipedia has an extensive article on this beautiful building, too Cincinnati Union Terminal - Wikipedia

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