Viewing platforms with style!
Whilst airports may have prominence in the modern era, train travel is still popular and provides a wonderful opportunity to admire some of the world’s best design. In the halcyon days of rail, leading architects were commissioned to build soaring and elegant edifices for major train transport hubs, so that visitors and commuters alike could marvel at the engineering wonders all around them.
The recent redevelopment of King’s Cross Station in London, particularly the Western Concourse, shows that aesthetics are still at the heart of station design. And some rail stations attain a revered and touristic status by being featured in films and shows. Goathland in North Yorkshire is one such station, having been transformed into Hogsmeade, the Hogwarts Express stop in the Harry Potter films, as well as serving Aidensfield in the Heartbeat series and featuring in the Simply Red song, Holding Back the Years.
The Flexicover Team looks at some train stations across the world that offer more than just a functional mesh of tracks, carriages and platforms!
Liège-Guillemins Station; Liège, Belgium
Redesigned in 2009 by contemporary Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, this ultra-modern station has won accolades for its architecture and attracts visitors the world over. Its famous white spine façade, draped with curvaceous glass and steel, allows the light from outside to seemingly pour in through windows and skylights. The station’s fluid structural design celebrates movement, openness and transparency and is well worth a special trip from nearby Brussels, just to see this station in all its grandeur!
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus; Mumbai, India
Formerly known as Victoria Terminus, this station was completed in 1888 as a fusion of Indian and Victorian Gothic Revival styles. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, it was designed to honour Queen Victoria as Empress of India. Crowned by an octagonal dome, the grand designs incorporate many sculptural elements, such as a statue representing Progress and entrance columns topped by a lion (representing Great Britain) and a tiger (representing India). Used by over 3 million passengers daily and for numerous films (including Slumdog Millionaire), a visit here will always be remembered for its timeless majesty!
Grand Central Terminal; New York City, U.S.A.
This is the iconic station when you think of US rail travel and has appeared in countless films like Men in Black, The Avengers and North By Northwest. Cornelius Vanderbilt’s split level Grand Central is one of the city’s most visited tourist attractions and a true monument with its elegant decorations such as a celestial ceiling mural in the main concourse, antique gilt-barred ticket windows and beautiful gold chandeliers. For an unforgettable experience, wander the halls and visit the famed Oyster Bar, explore the lower level food court and shops or stroll the whispering gallery which carries sound across the tiled arches to the hidden bar!
Atocha; Madrid, Spain
Opened originally in 1851, rebuilt after fire in 1892 and then remodelled in 1985, Madrid Atocha serves the Spanish capital as its main commuter station and a hub for intercity trains connecting from all over the country. In 1992, with construction of the new terminal (in its majestic steel and glass frame) complete, the original concourse was decommissioned and transformed into the station’s most spectacular feature - a 4,000 square metre tropical botanical garden that includes around 7,000 plants as well as a small lake with freshwater fish and turtles. Nowhere else will you be able to stroll in such a magnificent environment as you wait for your train!
Kuala Lumpur Railway Station; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Famous for its fantastic architectural style blending Indian, Arabic and Western styles, construction of this gleaming white railway station was completed in 1910 to replace two older stations. Whilst no longer the primary rail hub for the Malaysian capital, commuter trains still pass through and the beautiful minaret-style towers make it a very popular tourist attraction. Subsequent remodelling has maintained the eye-catching “Anglo-Asian” style whilst making it modern and functional. And if you’re visiting, you can even stay there as the Heritage Station Hotel is incorporated into the building itself!
Wherever your travels take you this year and whichever train station you visit along the way, we at Flexicover Team are committed to providing you the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away.