When the railways were constructed there was a need for regular halts, like the inns along the routes of the stage coaches in the coaching days. These stops were not only meant as places where the travelers could get in or out of the coach or get a refreshment but were also needed to change horses, to give them a rest and to feed them. Similarly the railwaystops or stations needed buildings for offices and other activities. Also there was a need for waitingrooms for the travelers, rooms for stocking goods and, at the larger stations, for a buffet. A house for the stationmaster and for the restorant keeper were also needed. Some railway yards offered the opportunity to provide the 'iron horses' with coal and water. So it is not surprising that the early railwaystops are compared with the inns from older times. These inns often had a yard where the horses could rest('hof' in German.)Therefore these sites, that could be compared with the older inns, got the name 'Bahnhof' or 'yard along the railwaytrack'. At first the grounds, surrounded with a gate, at which the railway activities took place got the name 'station', later the name 'station' related more precisely to the reception building in the yard.

The type of stations that were built varied with the economic situation of the railway companies. In richer times the buildings were large and luxurious while in poorer periods the buidings were sober and sometimes even normalized standardstations were built.

On these pages you find a collection of station buildings from all over Europe.

Copyright 2000 Gert van der Pijl, pictures Gert van der Pijl