Railway stations, also called train stations and railroad stations in American English, are facilities, normally consisting of one or more
buildings and other installations, at which passengers may board and alight from trains and goods may be loaded or unloaded. Railway stations are sited next to a railway or railroad line, or form the terminus for a particular route. The first railway stations were on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, opened in 1830. Many train stations date from the 19th century and reflect the architecture of the time, grand in scale and size.
Early railway stations were built with both passenger and goods facilities. Today goods facilities are restricted to major stations. Stations have platforms to allow passengers to access trains easily and safely. Passenger facilities such as shelter, ticket sales, waiting rooms and benches are also available on the platforms.
Railway stations usually include either ticket booths, or ticket machines. Many stations include some form of convenience store. Larger stations usually have fast-food or restaurant facilities. In some countries, such stations also have a bar, or pub. Larger stations tend to have a greater range of facilities. A most basic station might only have platforms.
Various forms of architecture have been used in the construction of railway stations. Examples of modern stations include those on newer high-speed rail networks, such as the Shinkansen in Japan and TGV lines in France.
The world's busiest railway station is Shinjuku Station in Tokyo, Japan. By train throughput, the world's busiest train station is Clapham Junction in London. The world's largest train station, in terms of floor area, is Nagoya Station in Nagoya, Japan. In terms of platform capacity, the world's largest train station is Grand Central Terminal in New York City, USA.
In general, New York City has two main rail stations, Grand Central Terminal and Pennsylvania Station. Grand Central is on the East Side, in midtown, and Penn Station is on the West Side, just below midtown. Both are served by numerous bus and subway lines. Metro-North Commuter Railroad, serves Grand Central.
Penn Station serves Long Island Railroad. "Penn Station" really refers to the old Pennsylvania Station terminus designed by McKim, Mead and White. The beautiful structure with marble floors, a vaulted ceiling and a concourse roofed with glass was completed in 1906. It was razed in 1964, despite much protest, and all passenger facilities moved underground.
Construction of Grand Central Station completed in 1913. It has been recently renovated with new stores and restaurants and has become a shopping center in addition to railroad station.
Modern railway stations, such as Kyoto Station in Kyoto, Japan, are built to a grand scale, though with steel, glass and abstract design. Britain boasts a new modern rail terminus at Waterloo International, the end-point for the Eurostar Channel Tunnel rail services to France and Belgium.