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5 Of The World’s Most Unusual Train Stations

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What kind of things do you hope to find in your local train station? Updated and accurate departure boards, clean bathrooms, maybe a place to grab a quick coffee? Those are all ideal train station components, but there are some cities who’ve decided to take station design to the cutting edge – or is that the edge of reason?

Read on to discover some of the world’s weirdest and most interesting train stations before booking any European Rail or worldwide train adventures…

1. Estacion de Atocha – Madrid, Spain

One of the greatest pleasures of taking the train is the freedom to sit and watch the view as it passes by your window, but at the Estacion de Atocha in Madrid, Spain, you’ll find there’s plenty to see before you get on board too. This stunning station is not only an architectural marvel but it’s also home to an amazing 4000-square-meter jungle.

The current incarnation of the station was built in 1892 and designed by Alberto de Palacio Elissagne and Gustave Eiffel, the designer of the Eiffel Tower. 100 years later, it was decided that to put the impressive interior to best use, a jungle would be installed to create a unique vantage point for commuters. Seeing as there are more than 500 species of animals and plants contained within the station walls, there’s always a new discovery to be made.

2. Expo Station – Singapore

Train stations are different all over the world because they need to be reactive to the environment they exist in and Singapore’s Expo Station is a perfect example. This station was designed with two express goals in mind – to welcome people to the city and to provide shelter, comfort and beautiful surroundings in one of the world’s warmest climates.

Designed by Norman Foster, this station is instantly recognisable by a large UFO-like disc held above the roof. This innovative structure is made of titanium panels and reflects the sun’s rays away from the station, helping to keep passengers cool as they commute. The futuristic aspects of the design are complemented by lovely gardens which have shaded spots for people to stop and enjoy a quiet moment during their journey.

3. Olaias Station – Lisbon, Portugal

Walking into this train station is like walking into a colourful and crazed piece of art. Most arresting is the dramatic, multi-coloured design of the ceiling, which is sure to brighten up any waiting time.

Olaisa’s Metro is often described as a hidden treasure, thanks to its lavish exits and amazing and intricately wrought steel pillars. It has a very modern and fun feel and was designed by Tomas Taveira and a team of Portuguese artists. The station is like a work of art in itself and is sometimes jokingly referred to as the best tourist attraction the area has to offer.

4. Hua Hin Railway Station – Thailand

Often, the railway stations that get the most press are the largest ones, but there’s something to be said for the miniature beauty of what must be one of the world’s smallest. The Hua Hin station connects a small beach town to Bangkok, but it’s the fact it was once a destination frequented by royalty that explains the lavish nature of this small outpost.

The wooden structure was formerly a royal pavilion in Sanamchan Palace, Nakhon Pathom province and was rebuilt in Hua Hin for the king in 1968. It even contains a Royal Waiting Room that at one time served the king and his court when they visited the beach town. Now, the station remains a lovely example of traditional Thai architecture.

5. Bockenheimer Warte – Frankfurt, Germany

A sense of humour isn’t likely to be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking of train stations, but the Bockenheimer Warte station in Frankfurt certainly has one. This U-bahn station was designed to have an instantly recognisable entrance with the aim of making it easy for people to find their way onto the underground.

With an entrance that looks like a classic train carriage emerging from the ground at an uphill slant, it’s certainly unmissable. This whacky train station is one of the quirkiest about and puts a little fun into any train journey.

What’s the most interesting station you’ve ever been in? Is there anything you’d like to see in your local train station to make it a more inviting place? Tweet or Facebook us and let us know.

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