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A train station, railway station, railroad station or depot is a railway facility or area where trains regularly stop to load or unload passengers, freight or both. It generally consists of at least one track-side platform and a station building (depot) providing such ancillary services as ticket sales, waiting rooms and baggage/freight service. If a station is on a single-track line, it often has a passing loop to facilitate traffic movements.
Places at which passengers only occasionally board or leave a train, sometimes consisting of a short platform and a waiting shed but sometimes indicated by no more than a sign, are variously referred to as "stops", "flag stops", "halts", or "provisional stopping places".
Stations may be at ground level, underground or elevated. Connections may be available to intersecting rail lines or other transport modes such as buses, trams or other rapid transit systems.
In British English, traditional usage favours railway station or simply station, even though train station, which is often perceived as an Americanism, is now about as common as railway station in writing; railroad station is not used, railroad being obsolete.In British usage, the word station is commonly understood to mean a railway station unless otherwise qualified.
In American English, the most common term in contemporary usage is train station; railroad station and railway station are less common, though they were more common in the past.
In the United States, the term depot is sometimes used as an alternative name for station, along with the compound forms train depot, railway depot and railroad depot - it is used for both passenger and freight facilities.The term depot is not used in reference to vehicle maintenance facilities in American English where it is the UK, and even neighbouring Canada, for example.
The world's first recorded railway station was The Mount on the Oystermouth Railway (later to be known as the Swansea and Mumbles) in Swansea, Wales,which began passenger service in 1807, although the trains were horsedrawn rather than by locomotives. The two-storey Mount Clare station in Baltimore, Maryland, United States, which survives as a museum, first saw passenger service as the terminus of the horse-drawn Baltimore and Ohio Railroad on 22 May 1830.
The oldest terminal station in the world was Crown Street railway station in Liverpool, built in 1830, on the locomotive-hauled Liverpool to Manchester line. The station was slightly older than the still extant Liverpool Road railway station terminal in Manchester. The station was the first to incorporate a train shed. Crown Street station was demolished in 1836, as the Liverpool terminal station moved to Lime Street railway station. Crown Street station was converted to a goods station terminal.
The first stations had little in the way of buildings or amenities. The first stations in the modern sense were on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, opened in 1830.Manchester's Liverpool Road Station, the second oldest terminal station in the world, is preserved as part of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. It resembles a row of Georgian houses.
Early stations were sometimes built with both passenger and goods facilities, though some railway lines were goods-only or passenger-only, and if a line was dual-purpose there would often be a goods depot apart from the passenger station.
Dual-purpose stations can sometimes still be found today, though in many cases goods facilities are restricted to major stations.
Many stations date from the 19th century and reflect the grandiose architecture of the time, lending prestige to the city as well as to railway operations.Countries where railways arrived later may still have such architecture, as later stations often imitated 19th-century styles. Various forms of architecture have been used in the construction of stations, from those boasting grand, intricate, Baroque- or Gothic-style edifices, to plainer utilitarian or modernist styles. Stations in Europe tended to follow British designs and were in some countries, like Italy, financed by British railway companies.
Stations built more recently often have a similar feel to airports, with a simple, abstract style. Examples of modern stations include those on newer high-speed rail networks, such as the Shinkansen in Japan, THSR in the Republic of China, TGV lines in France and ICE lines in Germany.
Stations usually have staffed ticket sales offices, automated ticket machines, or both, although on some lines tickets are sold on board the trains. Many stations include a shop or convenience store. Larger stations usually have fast-food or restaurant facilities. In some countries, stations may also have a bar or pub. Other station facilities may include: toilets, left-luggage, lost-and-found, departures and arrivals boards, luggage carts, waiting rooms, taxi ranks, bus bays and even car parks. Larger or manned stations tend to have a greater range of facilities including also a station security office. These are usually open for travellers when there is sufficient traffic over a long enough period of time to warrant the cost. In large cities this may mean facilities available around the clock. A basic station might only have platforms, though it may still be distinguished from a halt, a stopping or halting place that may not even have platforms.
Many stations, either larger or smaller, offer interchange with local transportation; this can vary from a simple bus stop across the street to underground rapid-transit urban rail stations.
In many African, South American, and Asian countries, stations are also used as a place for public markets and other informal businesses. This is especially true on tourist routes or stations near tourist destinations.
As well as providing services for passengers and loading facilities for goods, stations can sometimes have locomotive and rolling stock depots (usually with facilities for storing and refuelling rolling stock and carrying out minor repair jobs).
In addition to the basic configuration of a station, various features set certain types of station apart. The first is the level of the tracks. Stations are often sited where a road crosses the railway: unless the crossing is a level crossing, the road and railway will be at different levels. The platforms will often be raised or lowered relative to the station entrance: the station buildings may be on either level, or both. The other arrangement, where the station entrance and platforms are on the same level, is also common, but is perhaps rarer in urban areas, except when the station is a terminus. Stations located at level crossings can be problematic if the train blocks the roadway while it stops, causing road traffic to wait for an extended period of time. Stations also exist where the station buildings are above the tracks.An example of this is Arbroath.
Occasionally, a station serves two or more railway lines at differing levels. This may be due to the station's position at a point where two lines cross (example: Berlin Hauptbahnhof), or may be to provide separate station capacity for two types of service, such as intercity and suburban (examples: Paris-Gare de Lyon and Philadelphia's 30th Street Station), or for two different destinations.
Stations may also be classified according to the layout of the platforms. Apart from single-track lines, the most basic arrangement is a pair of tracks for the two directions; there is then a basic choice of an island platform between, two separate platforms outside the tracks (side platforms), or a combination of the two. With more tracks, the possibilities expand.
Some stations have unusual platform layouts due to space constraints of the station location, or the alignment of the tracks. Examples include staggered platforms, such as at Tutbury and Hatton railway station on the Crewe–Derby line, and curved platforms, such as Cheadle Hulme railway station on the Macclesfield to Manchester Line. Stations at junctions can also have unusual shapes – a Keilbahnhof (or "wedge-shaped" station) is sited where two lines split. Triangular stations also exist where two lines form a three-way junction and platforms are built on all three sides, for example Shipley and Earlestown stations.
In a station, there are different types of tracks to serve different purposes. A station may also have a passing loop with a loop line that comes off the straight main line and merge back to the main line on the other end by railroad switches to allow trains to pass.
A track with a spot at the station to board and disembark trains is called station track or house trackregardless of whether it is a main line or loop line. If such track is served by a platform, the track may be called platform track. A loop line without a platform which is used to allow a train to clear the main line at the station only, it is called passing track. A track at the station without a platform which is used for trains to pass the station without stopping is called through track.
There may be other sidings at the station which are lower speed tracks for other purposes. A maintenance track or a maintenance siding, usually connected to a passing track, is used for parking maintenance equipment, trains not in service, autoracks or sleepers. A refuge track is a dead-end siding that is connected to a station track as a temporary storage of a disabled train.
A "terminus" or "terminal" is a station at the end of a railway line. Trains arriving there have to end their journeys (terminate) or reverse out of the station. Depending on the layout of the station, this usually permits travellers to reach all the platforms without the need to cross any tracks – the public entrance to the station and the main reception facilities being at the far end of the platforms.
Sometimes, however, the track continues for a short distance beyond the station, and terminating trains continue forwards after depositing their passengers, before either proceeding to sidings or reversing to the station to pick up departing passengers. Bondi Junction and Kristiansand Station, Norway, are like this.
A terminus is frequently, but not always, the final destination of trains arriving at the station. Especially in continental Europe, a city may have a terminus as its main railway station, and all main lines converge on it. In such cases all trains arriving at the terminus must leave in the reverse direction from that of their arrival. There are several ways in which this can be accomplished:
There may also be a bypass line, used by freight trains that do not need to stop at the terminus.
Some termini have a newer set of through platforms underneath (or above, or alongside) the terminal platforms on the main level. They are used by a cross-city extension of the main line, often for commuter trains, while the terminal platforms may serve long-distance services. Examples of underground through lines include the Thameslink platforms at St Pancras in London, the Argyle and North Clyde lines of Glasgow's suburban rail network, in Antwerp in Belgium, the RER at the Gare du Nord in Paris, the Milan suburban railway service's Passante railway, and many of the numerous S-Bahn lines at terminal stations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, such as at Zürich Hauptbahnhof.
An American example of a terminal with this feature is Union Station in Washington, DC, where there are bay platforms on the main concourse level to serve terminating trains and standard island platforms one level below to serve trains continuing southwards. The lower tracks run in a tunnel beneath the concourse and emerge a few blocks away to cross the Potomac River into Virginia.
Terminus stations in large cities are by far the biggest stations, with the largest being the Grand Central Terminal in New York City."Termini" is the name of Rome's central train station. Other major cities, such as London, Boston, Paris, Istanbul, Tokyo, and Milan have more than one terminus, rather than routes straight through the city. Train journeys through such cities often require alternative transport (metro, bus, taxi or ferry) from one terminus to the other. For instance, in Istanbul transfers from the Sirkeci Terminal (the European terminus) and the Haydarpaşa Terminal (the Asian terminus) traditionally required crossing the Bosphorus via alternative means, before the Marmaray railway tunnel linking Europe and Asia was completed. Some cities, including New York, have both termini and through lines.
Terminals that have competing rail lines using the station frequently set up a jointly owned terminal railroad to own and operate the station and its associated tracks and switching operations.
During a journey, the term station stop may be used in announcements, to differentiate a halt during which passengers may alight for another reason, such as a locomotive change.
While a junction or interlocking usually divides two or more lines or routes, and thus has remotely or locally operated signals, a station stop does not. A station stop usually does not have any tracks other than the main tracks, and may or may not have switches (points, crossovers).
A halt, in railway parlance in the Commonwealth of Nations and Ireland, is a small station, usually unstaffed or with very few staff, and with few or no facilities. In some cases, trains stop only on request, when passengers on the platform indicate that they wish to board, or passengers on the train inform the crew that they wish to alight.
In the United Kingdom, most former halts on the national railway networks have had the word halt removed from their names. Historically, in many instances the spelling "halte" was used, before the spelling "halt" became commonplace. There are only two publicly advertised and publicly accessible National Rail stations with the word "halt" remaining: Coombe Junction Halt and St Keyne Wishing Well Halt.In addition there are many other such stops in the UK rail network such as Penmaenmawr in North Wales, Yorton in Shropshire, and The Lakes in Warwickshire, where passengers are requested to inform a member of on-board train staff if they wish to alight, or, if catching a train from the station, to make themselves clearly visible to the driver and use a hand signal as the train approaches.
A number of other halts are still open and operational on privately owned, heritage, and preserved railways throughout the British Isles. The word is often used informally to describe national rail network stations with limited service and low usage, such as the Oxfordshire Halts on the Cotswold Line. The title halt had also sometimes been applied colloquially to stations served by public services but not available for use by the general public, being accessible only by persons travelling to/from an associated factory (for example IBM near Greenock and British Steel Redcar– although neither of these is any longer served by trains), or military base (such as Lympstone Commando) or railway yard. The only two such remaining "private" stopping places on the national system where the "halt" designation is still officially used seem to be Staff Halt (at Durnsford Road, Wimbledon) and Battersea Pier Sidings Staff Halt – both are solely for railway staff and are not open to passengers.
The Great Western Railway in Great Britain began opening haltes on 12 October 1903; from 1905, the French spelling was Anglicised to "halt". These GWR halts had the most basic facilities, with platforms long enough for just one or two carriages; some had no raised platform at all, necessitating the provision of steps on the carriages. Halts were normally unstaffed, tickets being sold on the train. On 1 September 1904, a larger version, known on the GWR as a "platform" instead of a "halt", was introduced; these had longer platforms, and were usually staffed by a senior grade porter, who sold tickets, and sometimes booked parcels or milk consignments.
From 1903 to 1947 the GWR built 379 halts and inherited a further 40 from other companies at the Grouping of 1923. Peak building periods were before the First World War (145 built) and 1928–39 (198 built)). Ten more were opened by BR on ex-GWR lines. The GWR also built 34 "platforms".
In Ireland, a few small railway stations are designated as "halts" (Irish : stadanna, sing. stad).
In some Commonwealth countries the term "halt" is used.
In Australia, with its sparse rural populations, such stopping places are common on lines that are still open for passenger traffic. In the state of Victoria, for example, a location on a railway line where a small diesel railcar or railmotor can stop on request to allow passengers to board or alight is called a rail motor stopping place. It is often designated solely by a sign beside the railwayat an access point near a road. The passenger can hail the driver to stop, and can buy a ticket from the train guard or conductor. In South Australia, such places were called "provisional stopping places". They were often placed on routes on which "school trains" (services conveying children from rural localities to and from school) operated.
In rural and remote communities across Canada and the United States, passengers wanting to board the train at such places had to flag the train down to stop it, hence the name "flag stops" or "flag stations".
Accessibility for disabled people is mandated by law in some countries. Considerations include:
In the United Kingdom, rail operators will arrange alternative transport (typically a taxi) at no extra cost to the ticket holder if the station they intend to travel to or from is inaccessible.
Goods or freight stations deal exclusively or predominantly with the loading and unloading of goods and may well have marshalling yards (classification yards) for the sorting of wagons. The world's first goods terminal was the 1830 Park Lane Goods Station at the South End Liverpool Docks. Built in 1830, the terminal was reached by a 1.24-mile (2 km) tunnel.
As goods are increasingly moved by road, many former goods stations, as well as the goods sheds at passenger stations, have closed. In addition, many goods stations today are used purely for the cross-loading of freight and may be known as transshipment stations, where they primarily handle containers. They are also known as container stations or terminals.
Bristol Temple Meads is the oldest and largest railway station in Bristol, England. It is an important transport hub for public transport in the city. In addition to the train services there are bus services to many parts of the city and surrounding districts, and a ferry to the city centre. Bristol's other major station, Bristol Parkway, is on the northern outskirts of the conurbation.
Paddington, also known as London Paddington, is a Central London railway terminus and London Underground station complex, located on Praed Street in the Paddington area. The site has been the London terminus of services provided by the Great Western Railway and its successors since 1838. Much of the main line station dates from 1854 and was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
In railroad structures, and rail terminology, a wye or triangular junction is a triangular joining arrangement of three rail lines with a railroad switch at each corner connecting to each incoming line. A turning wye is a specific case.
Saint Paul's Union Depot is a historic railroad station and intermodal transit hub in the Lowertown neighborhood of the city of Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States. It serves light rail, intercity rail, intercity bus, and local bus services.
The Richard B. Ogilvie Transportation Center is a commuter rail terminal in downtown Chicago, Illinois. It is the terminus for the three commuter rail lines of Metra's Union Pacific District to Chicago's northern and western suburbs, which approach the terminal elevated above street level. It occupies the lower floors of the 500 West Madison Street building. The building occupies two square city blocks, bounded by Randolph Street and Madison Street to the north and south and by Canal Street and Clinton Street to the east and west. It is the second busiest rail station in Chicago, after nearby Chicago Union Station, the sixth-busiest railway station in North America, and the third-busiest station that exclusively serves commuter traffic.
Jamaica station is a major train station of the Long Island Rail Road located in Jamaica, Queens, New York City. With weekday ridership exceeding 200,000 passengers, it is the largest transit hub on Long Island, the fourth-busiest rail station in North America, and the second-busiest station that exclusively serves commuter traffic. It is the third-busiest rail hub in the New York area, behind Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal. Over 1,000 trains pass through each day, the fourth-most in the New York area behind Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal and Secaucus Junction.
Reading railway station is a major transport hub in Reading, Berkshire, England. It is on the northern edge of the town centre, near the main retail and commercial areas and the River Thames, 36 miles (58 km) from London Paddington.
Sealdah is one of India's major railway terminal serving the city of Kolkata. The other main railway stations in the Kolkata metropolitan region are Howrah, Shalimar, Kolkata and Santragachi. Sealdah is one of the busiest railway stations in India and also the second largest railway station in India after Howrah located in the same city of Kolkata with a daily passenger footfall of over 1.2 million. It also acts as an important suburban rail terminal. After completion, Kolkata Metro Line 2 will pass through Sealdah.
A balloon loop, turning loop or reversing loop allows a rail vehicle or train to reverse direction without having to shunt or even stop. Balloon loops can be useful for passenger trains and unit freight trains such as coal trains.
Swansea railway station serves the city of Swansea, south Wales. It is 216 miles 7 chains (348 km) measured from London Paddington on the National Rail network.
Birmingham Moor Street is one of three main railway stations in the city centre of Birmingham, England, along with Birmingham New Street and Birmingham Snow Hill.
Salisbury railway station serves the city of Salisbury in Wiltshire, England. It is 83 miles 43 chains (134.4 km) from London Waterloo on the line to Exeter St Davids. This is crossed at Salisbury by the Wessex Main Line between Cardiff Central and Portsmouth Harbour/Brighton. In the past timetabled routes had more distant destinations to the south-west including Ilfracombe, Padstow and Plymouth. It is operated by South Western Railway (SWR) and also served by Great Western Railway (GWR).
West Kirby railway station is situated in the town of West Kirby, Wirral, England. The station is located at the end of one of the branches of the Wirral Line, part of the Merseyrail network, and is the westernmost terminal on the Wirral Line. There is a central island platform between two terminus tracks, and two parallel sidings for out-of-use electric trains. The beach can be reached easily from the station.
Avonmouth railway station is located on the Severn Beach Line and serves the district of Avonmouth in Bristol, England. It is 9.0 miles (14.5 km) from Bristol Temple Meads. Its three letter station code is AVN. The station has two platforms, on either side of two running lines. As of 2015 it is managed by Great Western Railway, which is the third franchise to be responsible for the station since privatisation in 1997. They provide all train services at the station, mainly a train every forty minutes to Bristol Temple Meads and one every two hours to Severn Beach.
Coombe Junction Halt railway station serves the villages of Coombe and Lamellion near Liskeard, Cornwall, England, UK. It is situated on the Looe Valley Line and operated by Great Western Railway. All trains on this line have to reverse at Coombe Junction, but very few continue the short distance into the platform to allow passengers to alight or join the train.
Sacramento Valley Station (SAC) is an Amtrak railway station in the city of Sacramento, California, at 401 I Street on the corner of Fifth Street. It is the seventh busiest Amtrak station in the country, and the second busiest in the Western United States with thousands of riders a day and over a million passengers per year. Today, it is served by 38 daily Amtrak and Amtrak California trains and many Amtrak Thruway Motorcoaches. It is also the western terminus of the Sacramento RT Gold Line light rail system and the Route 30 bus serving Sacramento State University.
The Salisbury branch line of the Great Western Railway (GWR) from Westbury in Wiltshire, England, was completed in 1856. Most of the smaller stations were closed in 1955 but the line remains in use as part of the Wessex Main Line.
Morris Cowley was an intermediate station on the Wycombe Railway which served the small town of Cowley, just outside Oxford, from 1908 to 1915, and again from 1928 to 1963. The station originally opened as part of an attempt by the Great Western Railway to enable to have more passengers access to the line, at a time when competition from bus services was drawing away patronage. The line through Morris Cowley remains open for the purposes of serving the BMW Mini factory, although the possibility of reinstating passenger services has been explored by Chiltern Railways, the franchise holder for the Chiltern Main Line which runs through Princes Risborough.
Halkapınar Transfer Center, commonly referred to as Halkapınar Metro or just Halkapınar, is a multi-modal transportation complex in İzmir, Turkey. Located in northeast Konak, it is the largest transportation complex in İzmir, as well as the Aegean Region. The complex offers connections between İZBAN commuter rail service, İzmir Metro rapid transit service, Tram İzmir tram service and ESHOT city bus service. Halkapınar Transfer Center was originally opened in 1865 as a railway station. The transfer center opened on 22 May 2000 together with a new metro station and bus terminals and was the first complex to offer direct connection between heavy rail and rapid transit service in Turkey.
The Yeovil–Taunton line was a railway line in England, built by the Bristol and Exeter Railway (B&ER) to connect its main line with the market town of Yeovil in Somerset. It opened in 1853 using the broad gauge of 7 ft 1⁄4 in and was the first railway to serve Yeovil. It ran from a junction at Durston although in later years passenger trains on the line ran through to and from Taunton where better main and branch line connections could be made.
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