Note that the term train station is American English. The usual term in British English is railway station.

A train station is a place where trains stop to allow passengers to enter and get off. These vary greatly, and may include platforms, tunnels, bridges and/or level crossings to reach the platforms, counters and/or machines where tickets are sold, waiting rooms, shelters and benches, etc.

A train station that is jointly used by several rail transport companies is sometimes called a union station.

Train station Lucerne, Switzerland

Table of contents
1 Superlatives
2 Terminus
3 Train stations in a tunnel
4 Train stations at a crossing
5 Other special configurations
6 Convenience stores at train stations
7 See also


The world's busiest train station, in terms of daily passenger throughput, is Shinjuku Station in Tokyo, Japan. Ikebukuro Station, just minutes away, is the world's second-busiest.

The world's largest train station, in terms of floor area, is Nagoya Station in Nagoya, Japan. However, the Nagoya Station complex incorporates two office towers and an underground shopping concourse, so the railway terminal itself is not large in comparison to others. Shinjuku Station is the second-largest.

In terms of platform capacity, the world's largest train station is Grand Central Terminal in New York City, USA.


A terminus is a station at the end of a railway. Platforms can be reached without crossing tracks.

Often a terminus is the final destination of a train, but not necessarily. Convenience of reversing direction is especially important if it is not. For such a train service preferably a train is used for which the driver just has to walk to the other side, i.e., it does not require connecting a locomotive on one side and disconnecting the other one. A multiple unit can be used, or in the case of a long train, one with both a pushing and a pulling locomotive. A train may also have a locomotive on one side and a passenger car with driver's cabin on the other side.

The same applies if the station is not a terminus, but the train service involves reversing direction anyway.

The first applies at:

  • The Hague Centraal, Netherlands (gvc) (at night only): multiple unit.
  • Antwerp Centraal, Belgium (weekends only): locomotive on one side and a passenger car with driver's cabin on the other side.

The second applies at: Reversing direction often causes some worry to travellers who are inexperienced and have no detailed geographic knowledge of the railway lines: they think they will be going back all the way, but instead, there is of course a junction soon, where the train takes another branch than where it came from. Some travellers prefer facing forward; if possible they change place when there is a reversal of direction.

For some more on this, see Commuter train.

Train stations in a tunnel

At train stations the railway is often at ground level or elevated. However, some train stations of regular railways are in a tunnel, like the underground stations of metro systems. These include:

The Netherlands:

  • Schiphol Airport train station (shl), in the tunnel under the airport.
  • Blaak station (rtb) in Rotterdam, in the tunnel under the Nieuwe Maas waterway. The station is on the north bank.
  • Rijswijk station (rsw) near The Hague, in a tunnel under part of the suburb Rijswijk.

  • Brussels Central and a few other stations in the tunnel under Brussels.

  • Warsaw Centralna is in a tunnel under the city centre.

  • Nationaltheatret station in Oslo, located in the Oslo tunnel.

United States of America:

Train stations at a crossing

Some train stations are at a non-level crossing of regular railway lines, providing stops on both lines. These include:

The Netherlands:

  • Amsterdam Sloterdijk station (ass): at ground level we have the railway from Amsterdam (asd) to Haarlem (hlm) and to Zaandam (zd), with branches to Alkmaar (amr) and Purmerend (pmr), Hoorn (hn), at elevated level the railway from Amsterdam (asd) to Schiphol Airport (shl) (and further to Leiden (ledn), Den Haag (gv/gvc)). The station hall is at an intermediate level. Also special is that the station square is at this same elevated level. At the southwest of the crossing, at the side of the station square, is the Hemboog railway arc, between Schiphol/Amsterdam-Lelylaan (asdl) and Zaandam, a connection without a station here.
  • Duivendrecht (dvd) station (for details see there).

  • Sydney Wolli Creek station: One platform is below ground serving the East Hills/Airport line, and one platform is above, serving the crossing Illawarra line.

Other special configurations

The Netherlands:

  • Amsterdam Muiderpoort station (asdm): serves the line from Amsterdam to Utrecht and the line from Amsterdam to Weesp, and is situated just after the junction; the platforms are at different angles.

Convenience stores at train stations


  • Albert Heijn
  • Wizzle - also selling train tickets (they are typically at small stations which have no separate ticket window or counter; an exception is Rotterdam, with a Wizzle at the back side of the station, while separate ticket windows are at the front side only).

See also

Signal box, Transport, hump yard, Public transport, Metro station, Bus stop, Human positions, and: