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Source: (consider it) Thread: Heaven: The SoF Railway Enthusiasts' Thread
Horseman Bree
Shipmate
# 5290

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Winnipeg's Union Station is quite decent, in a rather ageless style - at least, the main building and concourse. Like almost all Canadian stations that have one, the trainshed is rather mean and cramped (The station is "Union" since it was built as a joint venture of Canadian Northern and Grand Trunk Pacific, with daily service from Northern Pacific and Great Northern)

I'd have to put Paddington at the top of my English list of big stations - an excellent mid-Victorian design that has adapted well to the 21st century.

Taunton was always nice - a rather "country" station with surprisingly large amounts of traffic, lots of room to move about and a calm presence. Probably not as much fun since all four branch lines are gone.

And Totnes has quite a bit to recommend it - through trains at speed with good visibility on the centre tracks as well as stopping trains at the platforms. Pity the Dart Valley doesn't run in.

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It's Not That Simple

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Jengie jon

Semper Reformanda
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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie Jon:
Well for views of those I have been to Crianlarich is pretty hard to beat.

The link above now appears forbidden to me as well but if you want a view from Wikipedia of the same

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PD
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Small stations:

Crianlarich - nicely maintained West Highland Railway "Chalet-style" station, with, last time I was there, an active freight yard.

Barnetby, Lincs - still semaphore signalled with a lot of freight. Used to be nicer when the old footbridge and island platform buildings were intact.

Medium Sized:
Killarney - attractive wooded setting with original buildings. The reversal of trains in or out of the station make it rather more interesting than most.

Lincoln - busy station, with lenty of through freight and its original Victorian Tudor buildings. More interesting a few years ago when it was semaphore signalled and had definite up and down sides.

Stirling - plenty of traffic; nice Edwardian buildings.

Major City Stations:
Edinburgh Waverley - big and busy, and not totally wrecked in the 1970s.

York - The fore-buildings are a bit disappointing, but the curved three arch roof is a treat. Very busy with a wide variety of TOCs.

Washington Union, DC - a union station in the grand style that is still busy enough to feel like the real deal.

I also have a certain fondness for Dublin Connolly, London Marylebone and King's Cross, Glasgow Central, and Bristol Temple Meads. The old Douglas (IMR) terminus was also pretty impressive before it was reduced in size to make way for the bus garage.

PD

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Firenze

Ordinary decent pagan
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China seems to be the place for trains these days. Not only the new monumental railways stations like Beijing West , but, as we drove through a town in Shanxi Province, there were still steam locomotives hauling to and from the local industrial plant.

Before that, I think the last time I saw a working steam train - other than preserved railways, or the West Highland line - was in about '89 or '90 - a few months after the opening of the border between the two Germanies - when they were still using them in the East.

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
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Doncaster station is great for spotting - east coast expresses mixing with little locals and plenty of goods, and the Wabtec works right next door [Smile] . I also like Clapham Junction for the sheer volume of traffic. And Crewe is fun.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Alaric the Goth
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The best small stations on preserved lines are Oakworth on the K&WVR (yes, I know it is the ‘Railway Children’ cliché station, but is still their best) and Goathland on the NYMR. On the national network I like Wetheral on the Newcastle & Carlisle line, and Dent on the Settle & Carlisle, though so many S&C stations are good.

Medium sized: I think Durham is very good, and would be even better if they hadn’t modernised the southbound side. I used to love spending an hour or so at the viaduct end in the 1970s when there were still ‘Deltics’ departing on ECML expresses. Huddersfield (medium to large) is also good (as Angloid noted) on the outside, but the inside is a bit gloomy (as I will be reminded again at around 5.15pm today!).

York is the best big station. Newcastle, as someone has noted, is very good, but the ‘modern’ black ticket office spoils it somewhat and should not have been built.

I used to like King’s Cross best of the London termini but it may have changed for the worse??

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

Dressed for Church
# 5521

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On this side of the pond we have Los Angeles' Union Station, the last grand old-style railroad station ever built in this country. The outside resembles A cathedral in the Spanish Mission style, with the interior looking like the Art Deco version of a way station on the route to Outer Space.

And there's New York's "old" Pennsylvania Station, torn down in the 1960s and replaced with a monstrosity not even worthy of being photographed. The old station was modeled on the Roman Baths of Caracalla. Here's the interior. The destruction of this masterpiece is an act for which old-time New Yorkers will never forgive the City.

And no consideration of New York is complete without a consideration of Grand Central Terminal, built to look like an Italian Renaissance palace. After years of neglect and seediness, the interior has now been beautifully restored.

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Sober Preacher's Kid

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Ottawa Union Station's Departure Hall is a half-scale duplicate of the lost one of New York's Penn Station. Both were Beaux-Arts and based on the Baths of Caracalla. Ottawa Union Station was replaced by a characterless suburban station in the 1960's and is now a government conference centre.

It's only a block from Parliament Hill on the other side of the National War Memorial.

The National Capital Commission has purchased most of the buildings on Wellington Street including Bank of Montreal's Ottawa Main Branch, a classic Main Branch building and IIRC the last major Commercial operation on Wellington Street. The current watchword is security, and that branch was right opposite Parliament Hill.

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Gee D
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Thank you Miss Amanda . It was always said of Euston that it was a gate from the city to the country beyond, and vice versa. Harold Macmillan's Govt ruined that. It may have got the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty right, but this was an error. Penn and Grand Central Stations served the same purpose, and the loss of Penn is gbhhfj. Beijing West is another example of the concept.

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PD
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Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal (not Station!) was pretty much forced on SP, UP, and ATSF by the City Fathers. By the mid-1930s, when construction began, passenger numbers were in decline and they really did not want to fork out the big bucks to build a new terminal. It is a beutiful building, and since the advent of Metrolink, reasonably busy, but it is an operating nightmare as it consists of ten (formerly sixteen) terminal platforms. The lack of through platforms makes through running from Orange County to Chatsworth/Santa Barbara or Santa Clarita/Palmdale time consuming. There is periodic talk of a bridge across the 101, and making four or five through platforms, but so far it has only been talk.

Washington Union Station is an interesting mix of terminus and through station. In my wandering I have only ever used the "Virginia" side of the station. Amtrak always seems to take an inordinate amount of time to change locomotives at Washington. 20 to 30 minutes seems excessive compared to the 6-8 minutes that was customary at Carstairs before the old Caley route from Carlisle to Edinburgh was electrified in the mid-1990s.

Richmond (Main Street) is another interesting station, and I hope that will be used more in the future, being close to down town. I don't know the railway geography of Richmond that well, but I would assume that the Silver Service trains on the former ACL mainline could use it too, that would leave just the four terminating workings from New York/Washington at the Amshack* in the 'Burbs.

PD

* "Amshack" - an Amtrak station of modular construction; usually of 1970s vintage.

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Sober Preacher's Kid

Presbymethegationalist
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One of the problems in the US is that the private railroads favoured stub-end terminals over run-through designs for Union Stations and other big city terminals. This made reuse by Amtrak which prefers run-through operation harder. Grand Central is a stub, as is Chicago Union Station*. Penn Station was made run-through for use by LIRR and New Haven connections, but Broad Street Station in Philadelphia was a stub.

*Chicago Union Station was served by the Pennsylvania Railroad from the East and the Milwaukee Road (Chicago connection for Union Pacific after 1955) and the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy. The layout is a double-ended stub with one run-through track. One lonely connection between the isolation of Eastern and Western railroading.

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Enoch
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It was always said of Euston that it was a gate from the city to the country beyond, and vice versa. Harold Macmillan's Govt ruined that. It may have got the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty right, but this was an error.

Unfortunately, for those of us that remember it, the Doric Arch was very impressive. So was the hall, though the decor was as scruffy as the clientèle by the time I remember it. But the rest of the station was a typical LNWR grubby mess. There were clusters of platforms with nondescript pitched roofs over them, jammed in where they could be fitted over the years, and separated by two sets of goods bays. The two original 1830s platforms were stuck in the middle, but not connected to either side.

Whether it would have been possible to fit a decent station on the site without removing the arch and hall, I'm not sure, but there is nothing that could be said in favour of the old Euston as a station rather than as an architectural monument.

When I commented on stations earlier, I too thought of Huddersfield, which has a magnificent frontage to the street. Then I remembered the nondescript station behind it. But at least the platforms are reasonably well arranged. The old Euston did not even have that. It was a place passengers could get lost in.

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Horseman Bree
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Given that it would appear to be the function of a station to get the passengers into/out of their trains, Euston was a total disaster.

I know that the appearance of some irrelevant part is terribly important to those who visit, but I would have to agree that, for passengers, the old Euston was a place to get lost in (and to get quite dirty in, as well).

Possibly the arch could have been reassembled in some appropriate place - Knock Fyrish already has a nice set of pointless gates, for instance, so a Doric Arch would just add piquance.

But I cannot remember any part of the actual train/person interface at the old Euston that was faintly attractive.

Paddington, OTOH, has no particular "street" appearance, but works well as a station (and a train-spotter's location, to boot), Marylebone has charm as street frontage and as a station, St. Pancras has a grogeous street frontage, and an impressive trainshed, leaving Kings Cross as a rather dirty but functional place. The jury is still out on Liverpool Street. Oh, yes, Fenchurch Street is quite attractive (or was, in my memory)

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Mr. Spouse

Ship's Pedant
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As an example of how to renovate and modernise a major terminus, Manchester Piccadilly stands out. Unlike the mess at its sister station, Victoria.

North America did a very good job of grand terminals - all the ones I've visited are impressive: Grand Central in New York, the VIA terminal in Toronto and Union Station in LA. The Santa Fe depot at San Diego is an attractive mission-style building with lots of tiling.

Others that come to mind-
Keeping to the Spanish Mission theme, an interesting use of an old station: La Jolla United Methodist Church (yes, it really was originally built as a railway station)

Ginormous station building in a tiny village: the former Italy-France border station at St Dalmas-de-Tende in the South of France.

[ 10. November 2009, 12:35: Message edited by: Mr. Spouse ]

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Alaric the Goth
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Yes, Manchester Piccadilly, and the railway lines out of it, are the best things about Manchester! [Two face]

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Lunatics and monsters underneath my bed' ('Totem', Rush)

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Firenze

Ordinary decent pagan
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
the decor was as scruffy as the clientèle by the time I remember it.

Mid-sixties: 3 teenagers making a rather unplanned journey from Germany to Ireland. Fetched up in Euston Station late at night - no trains until the morning - and we had no money (or idea) for accommodation.

There was a Ladies Waiting Room that stayed open all night. Despite the facilities being no more than a dozen or so hard chairs, strip lighting and a large mirror, the place was oddly bustling. I remember thinking somewhere in the small hours, of some girl backcombing her beehive before the glass, that a white pleated microskirt was such an impractical garment for travel.

I was glad when I heard it had been rebuilt. I don't even remember an arch.

[ 10. November 2009, 13:10: Message edited by: Firenze ]

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Angloid
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# 159

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Who are all these philistines who don't seem to care that one of the greatest and earliest monuments to the railway age (ie the Euston arch) was destroyed in a wanton attack of vandalism? It could easilu have been incorporated in a redesigned terminus with a minimum of
architectural imagination. Instead we're stuck with the blandest of bland corporate monsters which one wouldn't recognise as a station apart from the logo outside and the bewildered travellers falling over each others' luggage.

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Gee D
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I should of course have referred to All Saints Anglican Church in Canberra. This originally started as a mortuary station in Sydney. The train would be loaded at the city end with the deceased and (in separate carriages) the mourners; then the last journey to the cemetery, some 15 or so km away, where there was another gothic station. Separate funeral processions from there to the graveside.

The mortuary station was carefully demolished, stone by stone, and transported to Canberra. It was then rebuilt (windows filling side arches, sanctuary etc added) and has been the parish church there for 40+ years now - time from memory. It makes a delighful church.

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LA Dave
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Until Amtrak, Chicago was served by a plethora of stub-end stations. In addition to the aforementioned Union Station, LaSalle Street Station served the NYC and Rock Island, Dearborn Street served the Santa Fe, Grand Trunk and Wabash, Central Station served the IC, Northwestern served the CNW (and for a brief period the C&O and B&O) and Grand Central served the C&O, B&O and the Soo Line. All but Union Station have been demolished, though I think that the Dearborn Street station building still remains. Suburban services (Metra) run out of the new Northwestern and LaSalle Street Stations (which are located under modern office buildings), as well as from Union Station and Millenium Station (formerly Randolph Street Station), the Metra electric (formerly IC) line.
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Sober Preacher's Kid

Presbymethegationalist
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The NYC also stopped at Illinois Central's Central Station. The Michigan Central used this depot as it was semi-independent of its owner the New York Central. When NYC merged the MC out of existence in the 1950's it consolidated the MC trains at La Salle Street Station.

One question I have never been able to answer is how through cars from the Pennsy and New York Central were forwarded to the Santa Fe. The Chief and Super Chief carried through sleepers from the Broadway Limited and 20th Century Limited in the 1950's. How were the cars handled between La Salle/Union Station and Dearborn Station?

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daviddrinkell
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Wasn't there some talk a while ago about salvaging the stones of the Euston arch (from the bottom of a canal, was it?) and rebuilding it?

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David

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Baptist Trainfan
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The River Lea in east London, I think it was.
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Mr. Spouse

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# 3353

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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
Who are all these philistines who don't seem to care that one of the greatest and earliest monuments to the railway age (ie the Euston arch) was destroyed in a wanton attack of vandalism? It could easilu have been incorporated in a redesigned terminus with a minimum of
architectural imagination. Instead we're stuck with the blandest of bland corporate monsters which one wouldn't recognise as a station apart from the logo outside and the bewildered travellers falling over each others' luggage.

I agree with you about the arch, but not about the station design. As an example of good 1960's design it still works, especially now they have removed some of the obstacles (aka retail opportunities) that removed the sense of space. I still find leaving the underground platform areas and arriving in the foyer space uplifting. No, bland it isn't. That title should go instead to the monstrous office blocks outside. Hopefully, the planned redesign will open up the space from Euston Road and make it clearer that there is a major terminus station there.

PS Information on the Euston Arch here.

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Try to have a thought of your own, thinking is so important. - Blackadder

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
Who are all these philistines who don't seem to care that one of the greatest and earliest monuments to the railway age (ie the Euston arch) was destroyed in a wanton attack of vandalism? It could easilu have been incorporated in a redesigned terminus with a minimum of
architectural imagination.

Well, parts of the old entrance are now in use as a Lesbian bar...

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Spouse:
I agree with you about the arch, but not about the station design. As an example of good 1960's design it still works, especially now they have removed some of the obstacles (aka retail opportunities) that removed the sense of space. [/URL].

No, its a rubbish station. Far less user-friendly than any other major London station - even London Bridge (which is cobbled together from bits of what look like lego) or Victoria (which has to handle well over twice as may passengers in not much more space)

A couple of years ago I wrote down my reasons for not liking Euston on a blog linked here I don't think its improved much.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
Who are all these philistines who don't seem to care that one of the greatest and earliest monuments to the railway age (ie the Euston arch) was destroyed in a wanton attack of vandalism?

Hey, at least the big terminus building at the other end of the line still exists [Smile]

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Alaric the Goth
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
Who are all these philistines who don't seem to care that one of the greatest and earliest monuments to the railway age (ie the Euston arch) was destroyed in a wanton attack of vandalism?

Hey, at least the big terminus building at the other end of the line still exists [Smile]
OK Marvin, excuse my ignorance, but is that (station) building in Birmingham? Liverpool? Glasgow even? Holyhead [Eek!] ?? 'Cause all of those could claim to be at the other end of the line from Euston!
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Baptist Trainfan
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It's Curzon Street in Birmingham, because the original line from Euston was the London and Birmingham. Of course it amalgamated with all sorts of other railways such as the Liverpool & Manchester, the Lancaster & Carlisle, the Chester & Holyhead, and the Grand Junction to become the London & North Western with its northern terminus at Carlisle.

Because of the L&M link, the LNWR used to call itself (somewhat naughtily) "the oldest passenger firm in the business"!

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
It's Curzon Street in Birmingham, because the original line from Euston was the London and Birmingham.

Yep.

Curzon Street station lasted only 16 years in regular passenger use (1838-1854), after which New Street took over the passenger traffic and Curzon Street was relegated to a goods depot, in which form it lasted until 1966. There have been recent calls to reopen it to passenger use in order to relieve the pressure on New Street, but its out-of-the-way location and the associated difficulty for passengers trying to make connections between it and New Street/Moor Street/Snow Hill mean that's never really going to happen.

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Mr. Spouse

Ship's Pedant
# 3353

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quote:
Originally posted by Alaric the Goth:
Yes, Manchester Piccadilly, and the railway lines out of it, are the best things about Manchester! [Two face]

Careful... But it's reminded me of Manchester's most impressive station - Liverpool Road, the first ever railway station. Now a museum, with a very good tableau in the former first class ticket office.

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LA Dave
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# 1397

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SPK: I don't know how the through cars were transferred, but there was probably some interchange in the yard trackage south of Dearborn Street/LaSalle Street stations that would serve the purpose. Also, thanks for the tip on the Michigan Central.

Of these Chicago stations, my most vivid memories are of Grand Central (where the C&O trains to my home town departed)and Northwestern Stations. I recall that LaSalle Street Station was sort of a dump, a vivid contrast to Grand Central Station at the other end of the 20th Century Limited's run.

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LA Dave
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# 1397

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For most beautiful North American stations not currently used for passenger service, I would nominate St. Louis Union Station (magnificent Romanesque station building and the largest train shed in the US, now used to cover a shopping mall) and the P&LE station in Pittsburgh (now an upscale restaurant).
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ken
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# 2460

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And as for New Street - its the only large station in the UK that is less pleasant than Euston [Mad]

There are some pictures of it here and here and here's a reather fuzzy one of Moor St next door

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Ken

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

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quote:
Originally posted by LA Dave:
The P&LE station in Pittsburgh (now an upscale restaurant).

Not to mention Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Station, which still serves the railroad via an Amshack out back. The original waiting room is now rented out as a banquet hall, and the hotel that originally topped the station is now an apartment building. Miss Amanda lived their briefly a few years ago. What a thrill it was to look out my window and see trains snaking their way across the bridge that spans the Allegheny River and wending their way through the station.

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Angloid
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# 159

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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
And as for New Street - its the only large station in the UK that is less pleasant than Euston [Mad]

There are some pictures of it here and here and here's a reather fuzzy one of Moor St next door

Ken... your blog comments about Euston are spot on. As you imply, it wouldn't be so bad if it predominantly catered for short-distance commuters instead of long-distance travellers, many with luggage, many slightly bewildered by London crowds and rush, most of them dying for somewhere to sit down. If you want to eat anything there's a choice between a crappy food court like something from a 1960s Arndale Centre, or the slightly less crappy pub which is up two steep flights of stairs.

Victoria is much more 'like a station', and user-friendly, despite the monstrous first-floor shopping mall. But I prefer Waterloo: apart from the (now temporarily abandoned) Eurostar extension, it's hardly changed since the 1920s when it was not just a massive commuter terminus but also the (or a, with apologies to GWR enthusiasts) gateway to the South-west and the Atlantic coast. It still looks and feels like a real railway station, without being in any way inefficient. (Though I have to say it's a couple of years since I've used it and things like ticket barriers etc have probably sprung up since.)

But Birmingham New Street is the pits. I had the misfortune to change there the other day; I managed to find an escalator to reach the concourse; discover (and double-check) the platform my train was leaving from, struggle down a long flight of steps to it (there would have been a lift but it was not worth the hassle of searching for it), then with less than ten minutes to departure be told 'platform alteration'. This time there was no escalator and not enough time to find the lift. Moor Street just down the road is a beautiful contrast: almost like a heritage line restoration in vintage GWR style.

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Enoch
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# 14322

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I never really knew the old New Street, but I do remember Snow Hill when it was a fully functioning main line station. It was a really pleasant place to be, friendly to the passenger, clean, airy and well laid out.

Waterloo is well designed and Edwardian. There was a previous horror on the same site which was even more of a ramshackle mess than the old Euston. There was even a connecting siding that ran across the concourse and into the side of the SECR station next door.

I'm not convinced about Victoria. It's still really two stations. About 40 years ago a journalist was able to recount with pride how they'd been quoted two different prices to go to the same place, one from the ticket office on the Brighton side and the other from the one on the Chatham side. The last laugh though was on the journalist who, not being a nerd, didn't realise the historical reason why there were two ticket offices, or that the trains were going to the same place by different routes.

Even now, London Bridge is fairly confusing. Unless you know a bit about south London railway history, it's difficult to guess which part of the station is the best bet to get to where you want to go to. Last time I was there, the next train indicators for the different sections seemed to be completely unaware of each other and not cross referenced in any way.

At one time there was an extra section in the middle of the Brighton part of London Bridge,which was not connected internally to the two sections on each side. So even within the Brighton side, you had to go out into the street to get between different platforms.

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LA Dave
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# 1397

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Miss Amanda: What a lovely station. When I was kid, my family often visited Pittsburgh because that's where my grandparents and uncle lived. I remember Penn Station as a grimy dump (though with a neat rotunda entryway). Glad to see that, cleaned up, it retains its Victorian elegance.

There was a third station in Pittsburgh, a 1956 building that served the B&O, located along the Mon at Grant Street. It has been demolished.

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Benny Diction 2
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# 14159

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I quite like Marylebone Station. It's not too big and is still fairly "oldie worldie". Though the concourse has been blotted with various portakabin type shops.

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Angloid
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# 159

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Didn't John Betjeman compare it to a public library in Nottingham? It was about as quiet as that for much of its history, though it seems to be having something of a revival. And it is probably unique in being the only London terminus served exclusively by diesel trains.

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daviddrinkell
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# 8854

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
I'm not convinced about Victoria. It's still really two stations. About 40 years ago a journalist was able to recount with pride how they'd been quoted two different prices to go to the same place, one from the ticket office on the Brighton side and the other from the one on the Chatham side. The last laugh though was on the journalist who, not being a nerd, didn't realise the historical reason why there were two ticket offices, or that the trains were going to the same place by different routes.

Hmmm, I was at Liverpool Street a few years ago and was quoted two different prices to go to the same place (Colchester) by the same route but in stock belonging to different operators.

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ken
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# 2460

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In fact Victoria is almost 3-and-a-half stations. A platform (8? IIRC) has been strpped put between the Brighton side and the Chatham and Dover side for the Gatwick Express and ordinary passengers aren't allowed through it (though I think that situation is soon to change) And on the Brighton side, the South London suburban trains o from the main bit, platfroms 9-14 I think, and the Brighton Line trains are all platformed up at the far end at 15-19. So if you kn ow where you are going you can go to the right section in advance of any announcement.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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chiltern_hundred
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# 13659

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Back in 1981, a friend (now a priest) who used it to visit me remarked that it was the only London station where he'd ever heard birds sing.

Even though they're drowned out by the incessant public announcements these days, it's still a decent station. I am in the fortunate position of using it every working day.

Further to what has been said about the others, Euston is depressing and Kings Cross worse. Even though the environs have been cleaned up a bit, it's far too small for the number of people who use it. St Pancras, next door, is terrific, as is London's other seriously modernised station, Liverpool Street.

quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
Didn't John Betjeman compare it to a public library in Nottingham? It was about as quiet as that for much of its history, though it seems to be having something of a revival. And it is probably unique in being the only London terminus served exclusively by diesel trains.



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"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." - Galileo Galilei

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
And as for New Street - its the only large station in the UK that is less pleasant than Euston [Mad]

I disagree - at least there's somewhere to sit while waiting for your train at New Street.

quote:
There are some pictures of it here and here
The second of those is of the signalbox, not the station.

More pictures of New Street: one two three four five.

quote:
and here's a reather fuzzy one of Moor St next door
Some better ones of Moor Street: one two three

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
But Birmingham New Street is the pits. I had the misfortune to change there the other day; I managed to find an escalator to reach the concourse; discover (and double-check) the platform my train was leaving from, struggle down a long flight of steps to it (there would have been a lift but it was not worth the hassle of searching for it), then with less than ten minutes to departure be told 'platform alteration'. This time there was no escalator and not enough time to find the lift.

So without the platform alteration you'd have been fine? Hardly a major condemnation.

By the way, all the escalators are at the B ends of the platforms, and the lifts are at the A ends. There's plenty of signage around the place to direct those who aren't familiar with the station. But sometimes I think people just like to have a stick to beat it with. It's the fashionable thing to do...

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chiltern_hundred
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# 13659

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Marvin, I've decided after viewing your photos to take a trip up to Brum just to experience Moor Street.

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"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." - Galileo Galilei

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Angloid
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
So without the platform alteration you'd have been fine? Hardly a major condemnation.

Perhaps not. But nearly every time I've had to change there something like that happens.

quote:
By the way, all the escalators are at the B ends of the platforms, and the lifts are at the A ends. There's plenty of signage around the place to direct those who aren't familiar with the station. But sometimes I think people just like to have a stick to beat it with. It's the fashionable thing to do...
I may be wrong, but my recollection is that not all the platforms are served by escalators (or they only go up, not down, which is fine unless you've got heavy luggage). It's all very well to say 'look for signs' but even a railway nerd like me finds it difficult to orientate myself in such places, and the confusing icons used on signs these days don't make it easy (does a stick figure in a box mean lift or loo?). When the platform is crowded and most people know where they are going, a stranger easily gets bewildered especially if they have luggage, or small children, or wheelchairs to look after. And talking of loos, there don't seem to be any at platform level: they are up on the concourse and charge 30p a pee. Leeds, which is a similarly complex and busy station, has free ones on several platforms.

Having passed through Brum several times, I've often wanted to stop off and explore the city, but the experience of New Street just makes me want to get away from the place ASAP.

Having said all that, I'm sure any visitor to Liverpool would be put off by the Northern Line platforms at Liverpool Central. Only two of them, and only serving local destinations, but I have to admit the experience of using them makes New Street look like state-of-the-art planning and customer-friendly efficiency.

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Mr. Spouse

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# 3353

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quote:
Originally posted by Angloid:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:By the way, all the escalators are at the B ends of the platforms, and the lifts are at the A ends. There's plenty of signage around the place to direct those who aren't familiar with the station. But sometimes I think people just like to have a stick to beat it with. It's the fashionable thing to do...
I may be wrong, but my recollection is that not all the platforms are served by escalators (or they only go up, not down, which is fine unless you've got heavy luggage). It's all very well to say 'look for signs' but even a railway nerd like me finds it difficult to orientate myself in such places
You should look at National Rail's Stations made easy map (with photos). According to that only platforms 1 and 12 aren't served by escalators but there is only one per stairwell so presumably are up only. All the platforms have lifts but accessed from a subway except for 6/7 and 8/9 which are in a corridor off the main concourse.

If you don't mind stairs, the overbridge from Victoria Square isn't a bad place to hang around and react to last minute platform alterations.

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Enoch
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# 14322

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So without the platform alteration you'd have been fine? Hardly a major condemnation.

I disagree. Not being able to run a station without changing your mind at the last minute - after you've announced where a train is going to depart from - is a major condemnation.

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PD
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# 12436

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Birmingham New Street can be very confusing on acquaintence, but it really isn't that bad apart from two things.

1. It is over capacity in terms of the number of trains it handles, which leads to a lot of platform alterations. Also since the Midland and LNWR sides have been merged it an be hard to find your train sometimes.
2. It is very unappealing at platform level.

On the plus side, it has twelve platforms not the 17 of Leeds, neither does it have the convoluted layout of the merged "New" and "Wellington Street" stations. The up side to Leeds is that it is not buried under a shopping centre, and the platform allocations are fairly predictable.

PD

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Sober Preacher's Kid

Presbymethegationalist
# 12699

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One station that I really like is Kansas City Union Station. A large Union Station which served 12 different roads, including the Union Pacific and the Santa Fe. Excellent mix and well designed. Plus the restaurant was run by Fred Harvey.

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