Union Station in St. Louis is a sight to behold. It's just one example of the incredible architecture to be found at the many vintage railroad stations in the US.

(w_lemay, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

 

TRAIN STATION

A train station, railroad station, or railroad depot (mainly North American terminology) and railway station (mainly UK and other Anglophone countries) is a railway facility where trains stop to load or unload passengers, freight, or both. It generally consists of at least one platform, one track, and a station building 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.

Locations at which passengers only occasionally board or leave a train, sometimes consisting of a short platform and a waiting area but sometimes indicated by no more than a sign, are variously referred to as "stops", "flag stops", "halts", or "provisional stopping places". The stations themselves 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.

 

Grand Central Terminal in New York City is the largest station in the world by number of platforms, with 44 on two levels.

(Danazar, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

 

Terminology

Train station is the terminology typically used in the U.S. In Europe, the terms train station and railway station are both commonly used, with railroad being obsolete. In British Commonwealth nations usage, where railway station is the traditional term, the word station is commonly understood to mean a railway station unless otherwise specified.

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 the U.S., whereas it is used as such in Canada and the United Kingdom.

 

Mount Clare station, now the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum, Baltimore, MD.

(Reading Tom from Reading, UK, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

 

History

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-story 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.

 

New York Penn Station is the busiest station in the Western Hemisphere. Shown here is the Moynihan Train Hall.

(D. Benjamin Miller, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)

 

Facilities

Stations normally 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 schedules, luggage carts, waiting rooms, taxi ranks, bus bays and even car parks. Larger or staffed stations tend to have a greater range of facilities including also a station security office. These are usually open for travelers 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.

Many stations, either larger or smaller, offer interchange with local transportation; this can vary from a simple bus stop across the street to underground (subway) rapid-transit urban rail stations.

 

The former Cleveland Union Terminal, now known as Tower City Center.

(Erik Drost, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

 

Historic Stations

The following is a list of some the more interesting stations.

Editor's note: The list is nowhere near being complete due to space limitations, but it's a good start.

 

Buffalo Central Terminal, Buffalo, New York

Mount Royal Station, Baltimore, Maryland

Dearborn Station, (Polk Street Depot), Chicago, Illinois

Chicago Union Station, Chicago, Illinois

LaSalle Street Station, Chicago, Illinois

Grand Central Station, Chicago, Illinois

Cleveland Union Terminal, Cleveland, Ohio

Hoboken Terminal, Hoboken, New Jersey

Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal (Communipaw Terminal), Jersey City, New Jersey

Denver Union Station, Denver, Colorado

Los Angeles Union Station, Los Angeles, California

Everett Street Depot, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Grand Central Terminal, New York, New York

Pennsylvania Station, New York, New York

Kansas City Union Station, Kansas City, Missouri

King Street Station, Seattle, Washington

Union Station, Seattle, Washington

St. Louis Union Station, St. Louis, Missouri

New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal, New Orleans, Louisiana

Texas & Pacific Station, Fort Worth, Texas

 

Texas and Pacific Terminal Complex in Fort Worth, Texas.

(Renelibrary, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)