Killing time at the train station is usually a downside of business travel. But these five train stations make the journey worthwhile. Wander around these transportation hubs for a look at the history and architecture of a by-gone era. From marble pillars to magnificent skylights, here are five train stations you should stop and see.
GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL, NEW YORK CITY
Grand Central Terminal is one of the most visited attractions in the world and has 44 platforms, more than any other station. Built by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1871, its distinctive aquamarine ceiling with gold-leafed signs of the zodiac has been featured in many films including Men in Black and Superman. Before you catch your train, check out the world’s largest Tiffany clock and take a seat at the Grand Central Oyster Bar, which has been serving bivalves for 100+ years.
CHHATRAPATI SHIVAJI TERMINUS, MUMBAI
There’s a reason UNESCO deemed the imposing Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) a World Heritage Site. Built by the British in honor of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, this intricate building sits in the heart of Mumbai, showcasing Victorian Gothic Revival architecture at its best while entwining Indian styles — the extraordinary dome, pointed arches and turrets are stunning. The Oscar-winning hit movie, “Slumdog Millionaire” filmed scenes here.
St. PANCRAS INTERNATIONAL, LONDON
Towering spires, beautiful windows and pointed arches make up this 17th-century station in the heart of London, which took 20 years to build. Its grand Gothic Revival facade was thought to be old-fashioned in the 1930s, and threats of demolition constantly swirled and it even withstood the brutal Blitz of the Second World War. Since then, it’s been restored and revived, and is now home to Europe’s longest champagne bar and the popular Eurostar line that connects the British and French capitals.
Penn Station, Baltimore
Today’s riders are probably on Amtrak’s Acela Express, but Baltimore was a dominant rail hub throughout the 19th century and their central station is a hidden gem of Beaux-Arts style architecture from architect Kenneth Mackenzie Murchison. The interior features a magnificent skylight on the ceiling adorned with three glass domes that help bounce natural light off the building's marble walls. Outside the station, the controversial Male/Female statue is the centerpiece of the station’s plaza.
KUALA LUMPUR RAILWAY STATION, KUALA LUMPUR
This neo-Moorish edifice incorporates both eastern and western designs, and is the masterpiece of British architect Arthur Benison Hubback. It was the Malaysian capital’s busiest railway station until 2001 when the Kuala Lumpur Sentral station opened a short distance away. Its open floorplan often attracts wedding parties as well as masses of meandering tourists.