Railway station layout

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Achnashellach is a very basic railway station with just a raised platform and small shelter
At the opposite end of the scale, major termini like London Waterloo are vast buildings with many tracks

A railway station is a place where trains make scheduled stops. Stations usually have one or more platforms constructed alongside a line of railway. However, railway stations come in many different configurations – influenced by such factors as the geographical nature of the site, or the need to serve more than one route, which may or may not be connected, and the level of the tracks. Examples include:

This page presents some examples of these more unusual station layouts.

Location-specific[edit]

In a tunnel[edit]

Nationaltheatret Station in Oslo, Norway, is located in a tunnel beneath the city

The particular geography of a line may lead to the station be built below the level of the adjoining terrain (in a cutting) or inside a tunnel. If a station is in a tunnel, it is usually because the station has been constructed beneath the city to serve the city centre, or that the station was originally in a cutting which has subsequently been built over. Examples of individual tunnel stations (i.e. not forming part of a complete metro, suburban railway or underground railway, system) are:

Australia:

Belgium:

Canada:

Denmark:

Germany:

Hong Kong:

Israel:

Italy:

Japan:

Monaco:

The Netherlands:

New Zealand:

Norway:

Poland:

Serbia:

Switzerland:

Sweden:

A couple of future underground stations is planned as a part new underground railway lines in both Stockholm (Citybanan) and Gothenburg (Västlänken). A station under Landvetter Airport is also planned as a part of a new high-speed line between Gothenburg and Borås.

Taiwan:

Heathrow Terminal 5 station in London (Heathrow Express platform)

United Kingdom:

United States of America:

On a viaduct[edit]

At Leeds, the station is located on a viaduct over two streets and a river
Port Adelaide's station from ground level, with a passing train

In the similar way, many stations have elevated platforms which are usually one level above the street, with trains entering on viaducts or embankments, which is normally due to the geography of the region. Some more interesting examples include (not including elevated rapid transit systems):

Australia:

United Kingdom:

Denmark:

Italy:

Macedonia:

Netherlands:

Serbia:

Spain:

Sweden:

United States:

At a rail-rail crossing[edit]

At West Ham station in east London the c2c National Rail line and the London Underground District Line (on the same tracks as the Hammersmith and City Line) pass over the London Underground Jubilee Line on the bridge in the background

Some stations, situated where two rail routes cross at different levels and have platforms serving both lines. This is particularly common with Metro systems, but with surface-level railways, it is often common to have separate stations on each line, or no connection at all. Examples of stations at a rail-rail crossing include:

Grade-separated[edit]

The Netherlands:

Germany:

Poland:

India:

Italy:

Australia:

South Africa:

United Kingdom:

Liverpool South Parkway station

United States:

France:

At grade[edit]

It was and still is common in the United States for stations to be located where two line cross at the same level, often without a connection between them.

Rare examples in the United Kingdom include:

On a public road[edit]

In Oakland's Jack London Square, the Amtrak and Capitol Corridor rail services, as well as through freight trains, actually operate along the street, with tracks embedded in the pavement (much the same way a tram would be expected to operate). The station itself is in a structure some yards away from the platforms.

In Michigan City, Indiana, South Shore Line trains travel through the city on 10th Street and 11th Street with a station on 11th Street with the sidewalks acting like side platforms on the one track.

Until the late 1980s, mainline trains to Weymouth Quay operated through the streets of the small harbour town.

Geometry-specific[edit]

Triangular[edit]

It is not unknown for a station to have platforms on all three sides of a triangular junction.

Hong Kong:

United Kingdom:

Germany:

Vee (open triangle)[edit]

Sometimes, a station may be built at a junction with a pair of platforms on each branch, resulting in a V-shaped station. Usually, either one or both sets of platforms are curved. This layout provides an additional safety measure for working on single track lines.[citation needed] In Germany, this is referred to as a Keilbahnhof.

At Virginia Water, the platforms are on the same level but at different angles.

Stations located in the V of a junction include:

Australia:

Denmark:

France:

Germany:

Ireland:

Italy:

India:

Japan:

The Netherlands:

New Zealand

Switzerland:

United Kingdom:

United States:

Unusual platform or track[edit]

Australia:

Belgium:

France:

Liskeard railway station in the United Kingdom. This platform, for trains to Looe, is at right angles to the mainline platforms, which lie parallel to the wall in the foreground

Ireland (see rail transport in Ireland):

Germany:

South Korea:

Hong Kong:

United Kingdom:

Zambia

With platforms on either side of level crossing[edit]

Staggered platforms at level crossings prevent road traffic from having to wait whilst the train is in the platform. Australia:

Netherlands:

New Zealand:

United Kingdom:

With or on balloon loop[edit]

South Ferry and Bowling Green stations in New York City

A balloon loop is a track arrangement that allows a train to reverse direction without shunting or having to stop. In some cases, multiple stations lie on a balloon loop.

On two or more levels[edit]

Stations are sometimes built at two levels so as to provide level access to a township that is located on one side only. One level is for trains going one way, and the other level for the other way. Metro system as general practice have multilevel stations where lines intersect, usually without any connection for the trains, and these are too numerous to list here. Some unusual examples include:

Terminus and reversal[edit]

Track layout at Battersby railway station
At Bourne End, drivers have to change ends of the train.

A reversal station is where a continuing train has to change direction, because the station is or has become a terminal of two lines.

Multiple lines[edit]

Joint stations[edit]

Since passenger interchange between different lines can be important, independent companies often but not always build joint stations so that all activities are concentrated at the one location.

Disjoint stations[edit]

UK

Examples abound in the UK, where it was normal for the many different companies that built the rail network to each build their own main station in a town. Indeed the possibility of different companies sharing assets caused a number of legal headaches. In some cases settlements with populations of a few thousand would have three railway stations. Examples include:

Hong Kong
United States
India
France

Platform numbering[edit]

In order to aid both passengers and railway staff, platforms are normally identified using numbers, letters or a mixture of both. These are allocated according to principles that may differ from country to country (or even from railway to railway). These designations are usually displayed on signs and departure displays to aid navigation.

Asia[edit]

In Taipei Station, long platforms that host two trains on the same platform use letters after the numbers. E.g. 3A meaning platform number 3 on the front end, and 3B meaning the other end.

Australasia[edit]

In Victoria, Australia platforms are numbered. Stations with only one platform are numbered only within the (Metlink). Stations with two platforms are usually numbered so that platform 1 is the Melbourne inbound ("up") service and platform 2 is the Melbourne outbound ("down") service. In the suburban network of Melbourne, a third platform is usually reserved for local services during the peak hours and the second platform used by express services. Stations with four platforms are usually at stations with two or more lines passing through. In the off-peak platforms 1 and 3 would be inbound "up" services and platforms 2 and 4 would be for the outbound "down" services. Two inner city stations, North Melbourne and Richmond, have several platforms. Again, odd number platforms are for the "up" trains and the even number platforms are for the "down" trains, often with a platform serving one line each or a group of lines.

Europe[edit]

In the Czech Republic, especially at through stations and stops with multiple platforms, platforms are assigned a roman numeral. Platform "I" is typically a side platform adjacent to the station building or the first island platform from it. Tracks are numbered separately and are usually numbered in the opposite direction of the platform numerals. For example, a bay platform would have one numeral and as many numbers as there are tracks, while a more typical island platform would have one numeral and two numbers. Platforms are further divided along their length into to lettered zones, to help distinguish (among other things) when more than one train is occupying a track at a platform.

In France, platforms bear letters as designations. Except some stations in Paris, where the platform number exceeds 26, such as Saint Lazare with 27 numbered platforms, platforms are always given letters.

In the Netherlands, Denmark and Switzerland, platforms themselves are not numbered – the tracks are. This implies that island platforms typically have two numbers, one number for each side of the platform. Platforms long enough to host two or more trains on the same track at the same time use superscript letters. (So 5a and 5b are on the same platform indicating the same track, but one is at the far end, and the other at the near). All tracks are numbered, including tracks that do not run along a platform. So in a station, there might be a platform 4/5 and a platform 7/8 with no platform 6. Tracks numbers count upwards from 1, usually starting with the track facing the city centre. Germany uses a similar system but additional letters are not superscripted (so track 5 might be split into 5a and 5b).

In the United Kingdom, the numbering usually starts from the left when looking in the "up" direction of the line (i.e., towards the capital or other principal destination), although some stations do not carry this characteristic (e.g., Leicester railway station). In addition:

North America[edit]

In New York City's Grand Central Terminal, the tracks are numbered according to their geographic location in the terminal building rather than the trains' destinations because all of trains at Grand Central terminate there. There are 41 tracks on the upper level and they are numbered from 1 to 41 from the most eastern track to the most western track. On the lower level, there are 26 tracks; they are numbered from 100 to 126, east to west. This system makes it easy for passengers to quickly locate where their train is departing from and removes much of the confusion in finding one's train due to the immense size of the terminal. Often, local and off-peak trains depart from the lower level while express, super-express and peak trains depart from the main concourse. Trains operated with a locomotive always use the upper level, while electric multiple unit trains use both. Odd numbered tracks are usually on the east side (right side facing north) of the platform; even numbered tracks on the west side.

Road stations[edit]

Many stations are not located near the towns which they purport to serve. Some stations append the word "road" to their name, indicating that they are "on the road to" the given place.

In many instances these stations were constructed during the early years of railway development, and towns have since grown up either independently around the proximity of the station (notably Crewe), or increased in size to eventually include the station (e.g., Woking).

Some examples of current and former "road" stations in the United Kingdom:

However, care should be taken: some "road" stations are simply named after nearby roads. For example, Derby Road station in Ipswich is not anywhere near Derby.

Many small villages have grown up around "road" stations and have taken the name of the station such as Grampound Road in Cornwall and Llanbister Road in Powys. Alternatively, the village around the station may have become known as station name with the word "station" appended. Examples of this are Micheldever Station in Hampshire and Meopham Station in Kent. Similarly, the town of Llandudno Junction took its name from its station.

In Germany, stations are always named by the main place they were intended to serve. If the station is located out of town, then a small village/town area may have grown up around it, known as the town name with "Bahnhof" appended. The best examples are:

There is also the case of the railway station Holm-Seppensen, built to serve the villages of Holm and Seppensen and roughly halfway between them, around which a settlement eventually grew, which was then known as Holm-Seppensen. Holm, Holm-Seppensen and Seppensen are now all part of Buchholz in der Nordheide.

This practice can also be found in Italy (e.g., Montepulciano Stazione) and in many other countries.

In Slovenia, for example, the railway station "Most na Soči" serving the town of the same name is located on the other bank of the river Soča, about a mile away from the town. A separate village Postaja (meaning "Station" in Slovene) has grown around the railway station.

In recent years in the UK, the designation "Parkway" has become popular for a station some distance from the town or city it serves, but which has a large car park attached. A notable example is Bristol Parkway.

In New South Wales, Australia, a few stations are named for the locality they are situated but are stations representing a larger nearby centre. Examples of such are Bomaderry, the station for Nowra (indicated on CityRail maps and timetables as "Bomaderry (Nowra)"), and Dunmore, the stations for Shellharbour (indicated as "Dunmore (Shellharbour)". This is sometimes used in the UK such as Ashchurch for Tewkesbury.

Platforms high and low[edit]

The height of platforms has a bearing on station layout design.

With high level platforms following British practice, wide platforms are normal, with wide track centres when island platforms are provided. Access to inner platforms is usually via footbridges and subways.

With low level platforms such as in many places in North America, platforms are typically long and narrow. There is usually one platform on each side of every track, while access to inner platforms is via a pedestrian crossing at grade.

Subway systems the world over generally have high level platforms for quick access to the trains.

Trains may be fitted for high or low platforms and sometimes have folding stairs or "trap doors" on internal stairs to match both high and low platforms. In the United States, New Jersey Transit accommodates high platforms at all its car doors and low platforms using longer doors and trap-doored steps at the ends of the cars. With this setup the middle doors in a car do not open to low platforms.

Since broad gauge trains have typically wider carbody and higher train floor than narrow gauge trains, they can share low level platforms, but may not be able to share high level platforms.

Longest platforms[edit]

Signboard at Kharagpur's Railway Station

Large stations[edit]

This is a list of largest railway stations in the world in terms of number of tracks (where 20 is taken as a minimum definition of "large"). Note that the number of platforms is usually smaller, as many of these stations have island platforms, with a track on each side.

The way tracks are counted is not uniform; e.g., a long track may be counted as two if two trains can be parked there.

TracksStationLocationNotes
76Grand Central TerminalManhattan, New York CityTracks are on two underground levels: 41 on upper level and 26 on lower level. Not all tracks are used for passenger service. There are also five subway routs that are located underground, accounting for nine tracks over three different lines (5 separate platforms).
48München HauptbahnhofMunich, Germany32 railroad tracks overground, 2 S-Bahn and 6 U-Bahn tracks underground, 8 tram tracks on street level
44Gare du NordParisThere are 40 tracks on the main level, including 2 service tracks that are not open to the public, and 4 tracks in the basement.
37Köln HauptbahnhofCologne11 tracks with triple signalling overground, 4 U-Bahn tracks underground
35Frankfurt HauptbahnhofFrankfurt, Germany25 railroad tracks overground, 4 S-Bahn and 4 U-Bahn tracks underground, 2 tram tracks on street level
34Xi'an NorthXi'an, China
33Shinjuku StationTokyo16 tracks above ground for JR East trains, 7 tracks underground for Keio Railway and Toei Subway trains (Divided into 2 sections), 5 tracks underground for Odakyu Railway trains (On two levels), 2 tracks underground for Tokyo Metro trains, and 3 tracks at Seibu-Shinjuku Station
32Roma Termini stationRome, Italy
30Napoli Centrale stationNapoli, Italy26 Platforms + 4 in the basement (Napoli Piazza Garibaldi).
30Tokyo StationTokyo2 tracks on upper level above ground, 8 tracks on lower level above ground, 8 tracks underground, 10 tracks for Shinkansen, and 2 tracks underground for subway.
29Pennsylvania StationManhattan, New York City21 numbered tracks are used by Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, and the Long Island Rail Road. The station complex also has two separate New York City Subway stations with 4 tracks each.
28Termini StationRome
27London WaterlooLondon, United KingdomNot including the platforms of Waterloo International (5) and Waterloo East (4).
27Gare MontparnasseParis
27Gare Saint-LazareParis
26London EustonLondon, United Kingdom18 mainline platforms plus two intermediate roads, 6 underground
26Zürich HauptbahnhofZürich16 mainline and 4 S-Bahn platforms above ground; 6 S-Bahn platforms underground, the number platforms is identical with the number of tracks
25Atocha StationMadrid, Spain
25Central StationSydney27 with 2 unused platforms used for MetroPitt scheme, announced 2005
25Ueno StationTokyo12 on upper level, 5 on lower level above ground; 4 subway platforms underground; 4 Shinkansen platforms lie even deeper; 4 platforms of Keisei Ueno Station not included
24Cape Town stationCape Town
24Leipzig HauptbahnhofLeipzig, Germany
24Milan Central StationMilan
24Beijing SouthBeijing
24Hoboken TerminalHoboken, New Jersey18 numbered New Jersey Transit tracks and 3 Hudson-Bergen Light Rail tracks along the river, plus 3 PATH tracks underground.
24Kyoto StationKyoto, Japan14 on ground level, 4 for Shinkansen, 4 for Kintetsu and 2 for subway
24Düsseldorf HauptbahnhofDüsseldorf, Germany16 railroad tracks overground, 4 U-Bahn tracks underground, 4 tram tracks on street level
23Stuttgart HauptbahnhofStuttgart17 railroad tracks overground, 2 S-Bahn and 4 U-Bahn tracks underground
23London VictoriaLondon19 main line, 4 for London Underground
23Howrah StationKolkata, IndiaHowrah station is the largest station in India having 23 platforms, it has 2 complexes old and new, the old complex has pf no. 1 -16 and new complex has pf no. 17-23. It is slated to get an additional 15 platform tracks north of the current station in the next decade to bring it up to a total of 37 platform tracks.
22London Liverpool StreetLondon18 main line, 4 for London Underground
22Omiya StationSaitama, Japan1 for New Shuttle included
22Nagoya StationNagoya, JapanJR lines (including Shinkansen), subway lines and Aonami Line only
22Southern CrossMelbourneConsists of Platforms 1, 2A-8A, 2B-8B, 8 South, and 9-14; with platforms 15-16 under construction.
21Chamartín StationMadrid, SpainTracks 5-9: Short-Distance Service. Tracks 1-4 and 10-16: Medium-Distance and Long-Distance Services. Tracks 17-21: High Speed Services.
21Brussels SouthBrussels
21Shinagawa StationTokyoAdditional 2 under construction
20Union StationChicagoTwo sets of tracks, 10 each facing north and south. Serves both Amtrak and Metra trains.
20London PaddingtonLondon14 main line, 6 for London Underground

Freight stations[edit]

Freight stations can coexist at the same locations as passenger stations, which shares the cost of signalling, or they can be separate on freight-only lines.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.london-se1.co.uk/news/view/4850
  2. ^ THE RAILWAY PICTORIAL(Denkisha Kenkyukai)No.598 P.10
  3. ^ THE RAILWAY PICTORIAL(Denkisha Kenkyukai)No.645 P.49
  4. ^ Railcorp Weekly notice; clearly visible with the naked eye.
  5. ^ MTA Capital Construction – Second Avenue Subway Planning Study
  6. ^ http://www.signaldiagramsandphotos.com/My_Web_pages/VR/Northern_&_Midland/9'46.htm
  7. ^ Ireland - Lost Lines - Ian Allan, 2006
  8. ^ http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11346571.htm
  9. ^ [1]