19 Gorgeous Abandoned Train Stations Around the World
A look back at the Golden Age of railways
Modern train travel is a far cry from that of the Golden Age. (Let's be real, Amtrak is not exactly the Orient Express.) But while the days of private butlers and cocktail cars are long gone, some of the original ornate depots remain. Whether they're still in use—like New York City's iconic Grand Central Terminal—or left hauntingly empty, it's hard not to imagine what these architectural wonders looked like in their heyday. From crumbling Art Deco railways to preserved Beaux-Arts beauties, here are the most stunning abandoned train stations on the planet.
City Hall Station, New York, New York
When the first subway opened in New York City some 115 years ago, City Hall Station—with its Romanesque Revival style, vaulted ceilings, wrought iron chandeliers, and amethyst skylights—was its most brilliant architectural feat. Though it closed in 1945, visitors can still take a tour today.
Canfranc International Train Station, Huesca, Spain
Canfranc was one of Europe's largest and most opulent train stations in the early 20th century. Throughout its life, the Art Deco building shuffled French and Spanish nationals all over the Pyrenees, and later—during World War II—it served as an escape route for Jews who fled the Nazi regime.
Michigan Central Train Station, Detroit, Michigan
Michigan's Central Station has been described as the Ellis Island of Detroit—a Beaux-Arts icon that both whisked locals off to war and welcomed those who came ready to work in Motor City's burgeoning auto industry. While it closed in 1988 as highways and airports became more accessible, it is slated to reopen in 2022 as a Ford Motor Co. campus.
Anhalter Bahnhof, Berlin, Germany
Since its inauguration in 1841, Anhalter Bahnhof was undoubtedly Berlin's most important railway station. The lavish structure—which was adorned with zinc sculptures—connected the German capital to Leipzig, Frankfurt, and Munich. Unfortunately, its past isn't as pretty as its façade and the station, which was used to deport a third of the city's Jewish population, was bombed by Allied forces at the end of World War II.
Gudauta Station, Abkhazia, Georgia
Abkhazia, a break-away region of Georgia on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, is no stranger to abandoned train stations. This derelict depot went out of commission in 1990, but its striking columned façade remains.
Lagos Old Railway Station, Lagos, Portugal
The Lagos Old Railway Station opened on the western end of the Algarve line back in 1922. While it operated for many decades, it was replaced by a new, more modern building in 2003. Today, visitors still drop by to photograph the red roof and mosaic tiles.
Old Central Station, Jersey City, New Jersey
Jersey City's Romanesque, red brick Central Station joins the likes of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty in Liberty State Park. While the 20-track riverfront station once ushered millions of people in and out of the city, it closed in 1967 as more and more commuters turned to cars. Since then, it's been used as a film set, concert venue, and viewing spot for fourth of July fireworks.
16th Street Station, Oakland, California
In its early days—AKA back in 1912—the Beaux-Arts 16th Street Station serviced hundreds of thousands of people as they traveled through the Bay Area via the Southern Pacific Railroad. After a devastating earthquake and the introduction of several new stations, though, it closed shop in 1994. Today, the space can be rented for private events.
Hall Railway Station Psyrtskha, New Athos, Georgia
New Athos, or Psyrtskha as it was formerly known, lies 14 miles from Sukhumi on the shores of Georgia's Black Sea. The port town is home to a few attractions including the ruins of a third-century Grecian village, New Athos cave (one of the largest in the world), and the abandoned Hall Railway Station Psyrtskha, which also served as a monastery, hospital, and museum.
Varshavsky Station, St. Petersburg, Russia
While it would eventually connect St. Petersburg to other European capitals, Varshavsky Station was initially built to zip the Tsar from the city to his personal residence in Gatchina. After it closed in 2001—a century and a half after its inauguration—the grand building was transformed into a museum and then a shopping center.
Aldwych Underground Station, London, England
From 1907 to 1994, the Strand, as it's better known, served Londoners riding on the Piccadilly line. While it transported millions of people in its lifetime, it's most known for its role in World War II, when it closed for six years to function as an air-raid shelter and storage space for priceless artworks from the British Museum.
Kácov Station, Kácov, Czech Republic
This cheery yellow station can be found in Kácov, a sleepy village roughly 40 minutes southeast of Prague in the country's rural Bohemia region. Little is known about its origin, but it is said to have been featured in the Czech film Dark Blue World.
Colonia del Sacramento, Colonia, Uruguay
Colonia del Sacramento, which is situated just across the Río de la Plata from Buenos Aires, Argentina, is one of Uruguay's oldest towns. While its abandoned railway station isn't as talked about as its historic quarter (which is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site), it's still a pretty sight to see.
Swanbourne Station, Buckinghamshire, England
When the railway came to Swanbourne in 1851, it was a big deal. The new brick and timber station connected the remote parish to Oxford, Buckingham, and Aylesbury, and it enabled trade and travel in surrounding towns. With little ridership, though, it closed its doors for the last time in 1968.
Union Station, Gary, Indiana
Gary's Union Station has been shuttered for decades now, but the Beaux-Arts beauty remains in tact. The two-story neoclassical building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2019, and recently, there's been interest in transforming it into a community center or art gallery.
Helensburgh Station, New South Wales, Australia
In the 1880s, seven tunnels—known collectively as the Helensburgh Tunnels—began to pop up on the Sutherland to Wollongong line in New South Wales. By 1920, each was shut down in favor of a new route, but not before the stations saw multiple train-related deaths. Alas, they're a popular haunt for today's ghost hunters.
Old Dhanushkodi Railway Station, Tamil Nadu, India
The Dhanushkodi Railway Station didn't close because of declining ridership or a bigger and better station. Unfortunately, it was destroyed—along with much of Tamil Nadu—during the Rameswaram cyclone of 1964. To this day, the storm, which caused $150 million of damage, remains one of the most powerful and devastating to ever occur in India.
Natur-Park Südgelände, Berlin, Germany
Berlin's Natur-Park Südgelände was once the Tempelhof railway yard. Since its abandonment in 1952, though, flora and fauna canvassed the entire industrial area. Finally, in 1999, it was turned into a 45-acre nature park that still nods to its past with railway relics like a steam locomotive and an original water tower.
High Line, New York City
This former New York Central Railroad freight track went out of use in 1980 and was transformed into a 1.45-mile public park 30 years later, saving it from demolition. The elevated greenway—which stretches from Manhattan's Meatpacking District to the brand new Hudson Yards entertainment area—now features an array of plants, murals, art installations, and skyline views.
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