Planning a Railway Station

A railway station is a vital point of contact between passengers and the rail transport system. Several activities such as passenger boarding and alighting, interchanging trains, train formation and maintenance and technical checks are carried out at the station. Therefore, it is important to design and plan the station efficiently in order to carry out these operations smoothly. The station building is also the shop window for the rail service so it needs to be attractive, comfortable and well designed in terms of layout.

Depending on the location, different types of station buildings are developed. For example, stations located at level crossings tend to be on the same level as the road and the tracks. While other stations are on elevated platforms. The former arrangement is common in urban areas where the stations serve as terminals. UNESCO World Heritage Site Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai, India, is an excellent example of a lavish Victorian Gothic Revival style station complex. Originally known as Victoria Terminus, the grand station complex was built in 1888 and is now home to a bustling metro population.

In addition to passenger facilities, a station must accommodate staff and goods traffic. These requirements must be combined with the efficient movements of trains into and out of the station. In particular, the station must allow for safe access for cleaning and glazing replacement.

Various services are essential to the operation of a railway station, including ticket offices, information desks and help stations, booking halls, restrooms, escalators and lifts, taxi ranks, parking lots and baggage handling. The layout of these facilities must be carefully planned to avoid congestion and confusion for passengers. In order to achieve this, there must be adequate space between the ticket offices and the platforms. In the case of island platforms, it may be necessary to provide a bridge or underpass between them.

The choice of shops is also crucial to the success of a railway station. While it is desirable to offer a variety of retail options, care must be taken in selecting the right mix. For example, it would be undesirable for a railway station to have shops selling alcohol and fast food in a city that is prone to alcohol-related problems. Similarly, a gift shop selling military memorabilia might not be appropriate at a station that is often the target of terrorist attacks.

The design of the station building is often a reflection of the local culture and architecture. This is especially true of terminals, which must reflect the prestige of the city and its cosmopolitan clientele. For this reason, many impressive buildings are erected at railway stations around the world. These include Berlin Hauptbahnhof in Germany, Lille Europe in France, Liege-Guillemins in Belgium and the newly renovated St Pancras in London, England. These landmarks are not only architecturally impressive, but they also provide an excellent representation of the rail service and its importance to the community.