How to Design a Railway Station

railway station

A railway station is a hub where passengers board, disembark and transfer between trains and between other modes of transport. Its primary function is to facilitate these movements efficiently, but it also has a role as an iconic building and can become a cultural destination in its own right. It is therefore important that a station is well designed, both in terms of its appearance and how it operates. This is achieved through a carefully considered design process, which considers how users move around the station and its environs.

The entrances to a station need to be welcoming and clearly signposted. The number of entrances required should take into account the volume of traffic to be served and the cost of staffing them. The number of ticket offices must also be balanced against the overall patronage offering.

It is likely that a large percentage of station traffic will be commuters who are not carrying luggage, but who may need to access services within the station such as toilets, shops and catering facilities. It is important that these areas are well integrated with the passenger movement through the station and accessible via lifts and escalators. This should not compromise on safety and security.

Stations should be designed with clear sightlines and easily identifiable structures and features to facilitate passenger flows and allow for easy management of the large crowds often associated with peak hour services. The use of natural light is a good strategy to maximise visibility and promote a sense of wellbeing.

Once a great symbol of British industrial power, this palatial neo-Baroque structure was built in 1905 and is famous for its enormous dome, which has been described as a giant air-filled blanket floating on a forest of Y-shaped columns. This unique form is also a technical triumph: the undulating roof is perforated to let fumes from trains travelling through it escape, reducing the need for air conditioning.

Originally the headquarters of one of Britain’s great railroad companies, this magnificent Renaissance-style building has undergone a transformation into an urban cultural hub. The multifunctional building has a variety of functions and is home to the Otago Art Society, the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame and an art gallery. The design of this impressive building, clad in glass and marble, is testament to its historic significance as a great railway hub.

The largest railway station in the world, Shinjuku is located in the heart of Tokyo and handles an incredible 3.6 million passenger journeys on an average day. This is largely due to its excellent connections between Tokyo Metro and other public transportation, including buses and trams. It is a model of how a modern, complex public transportation system can be designed and operated to accommodate the needs of the many different people who travel through it each day.