Train-spotting and people-watching at five major stations

Main railway station in Prague

The main railway station in Prague is the largest passenger railway station in the Czech Republic. The historical building above the station is also the largest Art Nouveau monument in the country. Work on it started in 1869 and its present-day appearance is the result of a recent reconstruction made according to the original design by architect Josef Fanta. The station handles 27 million passengers annually.

Montreal Central Station

Central Station opened in 1943. It is the second-busiest rail station in Canada, after Toronto's Union Station (Ontario, Canada). The station is adorned with art deco bas-relief friezes on its interior and exterior walls. The east and west interior walls of the station feature two large bas-reliefs depicting Canadian life, arts and industry. Included in the bas-reliefs are some of the lyrics of Canada's national anthem, O Canada. The lyrics are in French on the east side of the station and in English on the west side.

The North Station in Bucharest, Romania

The North Station in Bucharest is the biggest railway station in Romania. Approximately 300 trains are arriving in and departing from this station every day. The station was built between 1868 and 1872, the building being included on the list of historical monuments in Bucharest. Even if it was not designed to be the main station in Bucharest, it has become the main railway node of the Capital City and of Romania, but it was already too small to accommodate the growing flow of traffic as early as 1880. The communist period saw a spectacular growth in railway transport, but the number of passengers has plummeted all across Romania since 1990. Among other issues, the precarious state of the station also led to the reduction of rail traffic. As early as 1906, when the famous Orient Express train was inaugurated, the North Station in Bucharest was included as a stop on this route. At present, the Orient Express is running twice a year.

Main station in Zurich, Switzerland

Switzerland is known around the world for having a dense and well-organized railway network, where the trains run on time and to all corners of the country. That’s no small feat considering the Alps spread over about 60% of Switzerland’s geographical area. The Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) is the largest railway company and handles the majority of national and international traffic. According to the SBB, there are about 10,600 trains and 1.26 million passengers per day. Furthermore, there are about 800 railway stations and stops in Switzerland. Zurich main station is the largest of these: it has multiple platforms, facilities and shops above and below ground.

Railway station in Warsaw, Poland

Warszawa Centralna is the main railway station in Warsaw, Poland. It construction began in 1972 and was a flagship project during the Communist-era. The station is located in the very center of the city. Some years ago the grey concrete building had a refurbishment and the main hall has more light and a more friendly atmosphere. In 2017 Warszawa Centralna was used by 15,1 Million passengers. Every day nearly 1000 trains run through. You can catch a direct train to capitals like Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Budapest, Kiev or Moscow.

Project ‘The Sounds of...’
Radio Prague and its partners have collaborated to bring you soundscapes and images of similar places in each of our countries. The videos from swissinfo.ch, Radio Canada International, Radio Poland, Radio Praha and Radio Romania International provide a chance to tour the train stations of their countries.