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Stations emerged alongside railways, as the staging-posts of this new industrial era. They increased in number as railways developed into networks that, in turn, could only develop alongside stations. From the outset, stations have been essential to the departure, the passage and the arrival of trains, and to the ebb and flow of all the travellers they carry. A railway network can be seen as lines irrigating a geographical area in the same way as a network of arteries nourish and keep alive a body and living being. Stations are the nodes and beating hearts of this network, and sustain it by injecting and managing the movements of all the travellers which are its lifeblood and raison d’être.

Stations are places of life and emotion: goodbyes as people depart for far-off destinations, on holiday or to war; of reunions, shared moments and daily commutes between home and work; and of children’s everlasting admiration for the beautiful steam engines or high speed trains which whisk them away. Stations are centres of transit, a “breather” between the city, its surroundings and other cities and places further away.

Stations have gradually become organised, transformed and developed to host all those passing through – whether travellers or not – and to offer board, lodging, or other everyday services. And since we must always go via somewhere in order to go anywhere, stations have become an interface between all the various modes of mobility – trains, metro, buses, cars and bicycles. They have thus become mediators and organisers of daily mobility.

This Next Station congress in Moscow – following that of Brussels – aims to highlight this evolution of stations in cities and the way in which they manage the ebb and flow of mobility in daily life.

Stations portend future change in society, and as the role of UIC is to anticipate change, this topic is of particular importance to our organisation, to help serve our members as always.

This special issue contains a variety of content, featuring entries you will find surprising, amusing and lyrical such as Dream Stations.
In A Gourmet Station you will meet a chef who has set up shop in a station, as well as serious and informative examples related to work undertaken by the SMGG focusing on the renovation of 13 railway stations across the world.

In the visual representations you will see the changing relationships between station stakeholders. As well as a depiction of how the concept of a “station” has changed over time and the interaction between stations and their urban environment, two slides explain complex phenomena which vary according to the context and reality of each country and even each station, all focusing on a complex web of stakeholders and spatial interaction between stations and cities. This moves from the most simplistic vision of an “introverted” station and builds up to a complex model showing all the scenarios of change in station governance, taking into account the degree to which stations are open to the surrounding city, as illustrated by a model of an “open” station.

Let us not forget a brief history of how the concept of “a station” developed between the 19th and 20th centuries; a section on Amazing Stations showing a selection of stations with unusual or surprising features, which appear in the Guinness Book of Records for whatever reason; and finally a bibliography and a picture gallery.

So plenty of material! The UIC editorial team hopes that you enjoy reading this issue!

Zoom on Station Renewals (1/2)

During this summer, significant work was undertaken by the UIC Passenger Department in consultation with the Station Managers Global Group (SMGG).
The work focuses on large station renovation projects around the world through various examples illustrating this phenomenon.
By clicking on these Polaroid images, you can travel to Brussels, Copenhagen, Paris, Stuttgart, Rome, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Madrid, Zurich, Moscow, Seoul...
For each of these railway stations, you will learn about the national railway system, governance and financing, as well as a description of the station renovation project.
We wish you a pleasant journey!

Zoom on Station Renewals (2/2)

Interaction between the Station & the City

The following two models are just one way of simplifying the complex phenomena of the interaction between stations and their environment, because station models differ depending on the context and reality of each country, and of course each station.

The aim is to highlight the evolution of governance and spatial interaction (station/city): starting from the most simplistic vision of an introverted station to a more complex model involving all scenarios of possible changes in the governance of stations, and the degree of openness of the station towards the city through an open station model.

Dream Stations

Passageways to other destinations, stations are also places of emotion, in which many people dream of elsewhere, their projects and the future…
This summer we therefore called on the creative instincts of the UIC staff and readers of UIC eNews to share with us their dream station, their ideal station, or their station of the future. Here are some of them!

A Gourmet Station

Interview with three-star Michelin chef Eric Frechon, proprietor of a new restaurant at Paris’ Gare Saint Lazare since September: when taste is part of the journey!

Tasteless, shapeless sandwiches wolfed down between stamping your ticket and boarding the train could henceforth be a thing of past for some rail travellers!

Nowadays Michelin-starred chefs are crowding into stations and spreading their own ideas about catering in environments such as these, places shaped by travel, hustle and bustle, short connections between trains, but also fun places where we like to enjoy and appreciate the taste of things.

French chef Eric Frechon, who has three Michelin stars and recently set up shop in Paris’ Gare Saint Lazare, takes us on a culinary journey in the station of (good) taste.

Eric Frechon delivers the best of his cuisine to travellers passing through, local residents and passing tourists, at Parvis de la Gare Saint Lazare, Rue Intérieure, 75 008 PARIS (www.lazare-paris.fr)

1As a triple Michelin-starred chef how have managed the transition from Paris’ luxury hotels, i.e. the Bristol to a station – to Saint Lazare?

It’s not actually that different – I’ve always been a boss at heart. Even at the Bristol I manage my kitchens like I’m the owner, and as it’s been 15 years since I’ve been there, it came to the point where I needed another challenge. We’ve got three stars under our belt, but it’s also nice to have projects – it opens the mind. What I enjoy now is sharing my knowledge and making it available through restaurants, books and the art of good eating, with simple cooking and quality ingredients, with a touch of originality. The aim is to democratise fine food and taste by making it accessible to as many people as possible; through passing on the knowledge.

2Your strategy of setting up in a station was no coincidence: do you think there’ll be more travellers, more Parisians and more foreign visitors in your Lazare restaurant? What are your thoughts?

The aim at the start of this project wasn’t to just base it purely around the station. We also wanted to make it into a genuine “destination”; a final port of call informed both by the station and by what Parisians want. If the project was based purely around the station it wouldn’t be viable as we would have to close at the same times, whereas in the current set-up we cater for travellers with the table d’hôte menu, the bar and the lounge, and we’ve reserved the restaurant area for Parisian customers or travellers who want to dine for longer.

3Is a station an inspiring place to cook? Does the lively, bustling atmosphere bring something special to your cuisine?

Definitely; we’ve totally adapted to demand, so if travellers only want a ham sandwich because they haven’t got time, then we prepare it for them and it’s the best! Or they can eat a main meal at the counter in 20 minutes. We really tailor our service to how much time the traveller or restaurant client has to dine. We really adapt to travellers’ needs. If they say to us “I’ve only got five minutes to eat”… well then there’s a limit as to what we can do; we cook here, we’re not a fast-food chain. Sandwiches here are prepared on the spot, so the traveller has to wait for it to be made. That’s why it’s a good sandwich. I don’t create food here; I make good food, great food, fine food, that’s all! I prepare food that I would want to eat today! So I designed this restaurant by putting myself in the client’s shoes, that is to say I wouldn’t want 50 pastries but one or two excellent ones; one sandwich, but the best; less, but the best!

4Life, cities, stations… stations are evolving; boundaries are breaking down… how do you see the relationship between cities and stations – these new points of service where one can also come to enjoy oneself without necessarily aiming to catch a train?

I don’t personally like the term “restaurant”. This is a living place, a place of sharing. We come here in a certain frame of mind, to have a good time, to treat ourselves, to share things. Everything’s done on-site. We’ve got a storehouse and a laboratory, all in the station. There are 16 of us in total, working 7 days a week, morning to night. This lunchtime we served around a hundred covers. I’ve got the feeling that this place is making the station open outwards and that it’s removing the boundaries with the city and making them almost invisible. When I say that the restaurant is open even when there’s no time left or when the station’s shut, it’s a sign of communication between the city, Paris and the station. We’re kind of the “binder”, the ingredient between the two, so that the recipe works. This really is a living place between the outside and inside!

5What’s your general opinion on eating in railway stations?

I do take the train sometimes, it does happen. In my case I either eat before or after! If I were a traveller and I had to take the train from Saint Lazare station I’d come and get my sandwich from Lazare and eat it on the train. At the same time it’s normal that the triangular sandwiches that we had back in the day (not the best quality admittedly) – sold in stations and on trains – aren’t any good because as soon you’re dealing with large volumes it’s difficult to combine it with quality. The volumes that we deal with here enable us to use our know-how and still manage the quantities; we do everything on-site, which makes all the difference. As soon as you outsource certain things the quality suffers. A sandwich is only good when it’s made in front of you, otherwise it can’t be good. If the bread has been in the fridge or baked three hours before it will obviously be less tasty!

6How should one eat in a station?

I think travellers should spend a minimum amount of time dining! I think there should be thirty minutes between when the traveller arrives and leaves. Thirty minutes is enough time to have the dish of the day, a cold cut platter, or a cheese dish. When I say thirty minutes I mean it’s the maximum. Sometimes people go on about how long it is and then they are the ones who take two hours to eat!

7Could you describe your signature dessert, the “Paris-Deauville”?

Ah yes…it was to thumb our noses slightly at the famous “Paris-Brest”. It’s a dessert which has an incredible effect! It unsettles people, and because it’s a unique creation they can’t measure it against anything. You can only find it here! People say it resembles a crème brûlée, but not quite…that it’s like a very light semolina cake, but there’s no semolina. The texture is a bit like rice pudding…so people try and find a point of reference – which goes to show they need one! But there isn’t one with this! I broke the rules a bit…it’s actually a cold soufflé filled with caramel, inspired by my Norman roots (also my reason for wanting to set up in Gare Saint Lazare). This dessert was my mother’s recipe and I reworked it to make the Paris-Deauville. Also partly with respect to the Paris-Deauville route, and Deauville which will be served by the TGV in 2014!

8Could you envisage setting up in other stations? Or in stations abroad?

Yes, why not! At the moment there are lots of foreign visitors to Saint Lazare station as it’s a benchmark for many people; to see how it was designed, how it was refurbished and given a new lease of life. It’s a real achievement; I don’t think the architects of this renaissance were expecting the station to be quite as successful as it is.


Articles and scientific magazines

  • Switzerland’s stations close to asphyxiation. RTS Info (virtual Swiss television channel) news bulletin, 23 August 2012
  • Zurich station, a true city. Geneva Tribune newspaper, 18 January 2010
  • Zurich underground. Le Temps newspaper, 28 September 2012
  • Bridges and tunnels to cope with passenger flows. Suisse Info newspaper, 19 July 2012
  • Reform of Belgian rail, an inextricable struggle? D’autres repères magazine, December 2012
  • The idea of a unified structure gains ground at SNCB. The Echo, 14 June 2012
  • Belgian government approves controversial rail reform. Belgian Daily, 9 January 2013.
  • Intermodality and transferability of Belgian stations, p35-36. Le Rail magazine: N°160, October 2009
  • A new idea of a station. Ville Rail & Transport magazine, 21 March 2012
  • Stuttgart: a 21st century station, p13-18. La vie du rail magazine, 6 October 2010
  • SNCF wants to export Saint-Lazare model, p42. Ville Rail & Transport magazine, 9 April 2013
  • Japan’s Rail Stations. Japan Railway and Transport Review N°56, December 2010
  • Germans protest against Stuttgart 21. The Figaro, 27 August 2010
  • Station business models undergoing rapid change, p8-9. La vie du rail magazine, 27 March 2013
  • Saint-Lazare station: a business success, p4-7. La vie du rail magazine, 3 April 2013
  • Paris-Lyon: the hall next door, p22-23. Ville Rail & Transport magazine, 2 July 2013
  • Paris-Lyon: inauguration of Hall 2, p4-7. La vie du rail magazine, 10 July 2013
  • Enter the station of the future. The Figaro, 19 May 2013
  • Assessment of station development projects, p37-39. Transport N°479, May-June 2013
  • Yassir Khalil selected for Casablanca station, p30-32. Rail Maghreb, June-July 2013
  • Aiming for the creation of new space – development of Tokyo station city. JR East Technical Review-N°10, June 2011
  • High Speed: the dilemma of the central-peripheral station, p30-44. General Railway Magazine, April 2013

UIC Reports

  • High speed and the city. International Union of Railways (UIC), September 2010.
  • Best Commercial Opportunities in European Stations. International Union of Railways (UIC), 2007
  • High speed rail: Fast track to sustainable mobility. International Union of Railways (UIC), November 2010
  • Guide to best practice for station interchange on the European Rail Network. International Union of Railways (UIC), SMGG Group, November 2008


  • Regional Passenger Rail Transport in Europe: An overview and comparison of organisation and responsibilities. CER (Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies). 2010
  • The modern station. Keller Report, November 2009
  • Bianco Report: successfully reforming rail. Jean Louis Bianco, April 2013
  • Stations Strategy and Plan for Control Period 4. Network Rail report. October 2007
  • Privatisation of the Integrated DB AG – Effects and Alternatives, June 2005
  • Organisation of Swiss public transport companies: future development of rail infrastructure (ZEB project), Union of Public Transport and Rail (UTP), 2008
  • White Paper on quality of service. Union of Public Transport and Rail (UTP), June 2011


  • City and railways in Japan: the expansion of private rail companies in Tokyo and Osaka, Natacha Aveline. CNRS Editions, 2004
  • The property bubble in Japan, Natasha Aveline. Bordas, 1995
  • Station to station, Steven Parissien. Phaidon press, 2001
  • Cities on rails, The Redevelopment of Railway Stations and their Surroundings, Lucas Bertolini. Routledge, 1998
  • The new principles of urbanism, François Ascher. Aube, 2004



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    We thank UIC Members for their contributions

    UIC would like to thank its Members for their contributions (pictures). Particular thanks go to the Members of the Station Managers Global Group (SMGG) for their comments and advice.

    Reproduction of the content is only authorised with specific mention of the source (UIC).

  • Published by:
    UIC Passenger and High Speed Department
    Ignacio Barron de Angoiti
    With the participation of Sabrina Beniddir and Marc Guigon

    Managing Editor:
    Marie Plaud, UIC Communications Department
    English Editing:
    Helen Slaney, UIC Communications Department
    Web design/development/graphics:
    Aymeric Boniou, UIC Communications Department