There are plenty of ways to measure the greatness of a railway station. The more destinations you can go, the better. Easy platform access and navigation: also essential. And, most important of all, you’ll want good dining options so you can stock up on travel snacks (and maybe grab a quick train beer).
Of course, many stations do not measure up to these criteria at all. In fact, plenty are dingy hellholes without even a single vending machine. But some are truly splendid – and that’s where the annual European Railway Station Index comes in.
Every year, this very important list ranks 50 or so major stations across the European continent according to those factors, and rail aficionados duly go wild over the results.
So which station came out top in 2021? That’d be the Hauptbahnhof (main station) in the German city of Leipzig. Researchers at the Consumer Choice Center chose it because it offered the highest number of domestic destinations and has an impressive array of shops and restaurants. Fair play.
Last year’s winner, London’s St Pancras terminus, was knocked down into third place. Which is nothing to do with Brexit, probably. Rounding out the top five, Vienna Hauptbahnhof came second and Amsterdam Centraal and Moscow Kazansky joint fourth.
For true trainspotters, here’s the full top ten:
1. Leipzig Hauptbahnhof
2. Vienna Hauptbahnhof
3. London St Pancras
4=. Amsterdam Centraal
4=. Moscow Kazansky
6=. Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof
6=. Munich Hauptbahnhof
8. Moscow Kursky
9. Milano Centrale
10. Birmingham New Street
You can check out the complete ranking of 51 stations here. That’s a whole lot of potential train beers.
Love trains? Here are 15 more epic stations around the world.
And did you know Europe is getting a ton of cool new sleeper trains, and three new Orient Express routes?