Set on the confluence of the rivers Limmat and Sihl, on the northern end of Zürich Altstadt, or old town, this is the Zürich Hauptbahnhof.
The station was originally opened in August 1847 with trains arriving from the west via a bridge over the Sihl River, and being turned around using a turntable located on the eastern end of the station. The River Sihl runs underneath the station through tunnels, and has rail lines running above and below it.
With the expansion and development of the Swiss rail network, a larger station was required. This was designed by architect Jakob Friedrich Wanner and subsequently opened in 1871. The new design featured a massive arch that faced the north end of the then newly built Bahnhoffstrasse. A monument in honor of the railway pioneer Alfred Escher stands in front of the arch, while the building itself is a sandstone monolith of luxuriously decorated lobbies and atriums.
The electrification of railway lines out of Zürich Hauptbahnhof took place during the course of 11 years. From 1916, when the SBB decided that all lines on it’s network would be electrified by the use of the high-tension single-phase alternating current system, which is still being used today.
The evolution of the station was furthered in 1933 when the station’s concourse was built with seven and a half arches made of iron and glass. These arches covered all 16 tracks on the main ground level concourse.
As one of the world’s busiest train stations, it’s no surprise that this station serves as a hub for a formidable network of rail line. With 13 platforms and 26 tracks, it services destinations to and from across Switzerland, as well as neighboring countries such as Austria, Germany, France and Italy.
Zürich HB also houses the largest underground shopping centre in the world, with a staggering 200+ stores and other businesses. The Haupthalle, or atrium of the building is used as a passenger circulation zone but otherwise often used for events such as the “Open Air” cinema, flea and vegetable markets and various other events.
Find out more about the Zürich Main Station on their website here.
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