For a hundred years, rail travel was the only quick way to get from one place to another, and every larger village had a train station or access to one. As cars became common, and air travel as well, many of these stations were abandoned. Even in the current century, metro stations were built and then abandoned as they were no longer needed.
These ghost stations are pieces of history, often with an eerie feel. We can think of the people and the places they may have been going when the stations were ‘alive’ and functioning as we stand in them or look at their images. In some ways the stations still are alive; the platforms have a memory, and if we are very quiet we may experience what it must have been like back in time. Here are ten of the most incredible ghost stations we found.
10. Estacion Canfranc, Spain
This used to be one of the three biggest railway stations in Europe. Situated in Spain, near the French border, a town built up around it called Canfranc Estacion. Old trains, long abandoned to rust, set the scene. Built in 1928, the station was shut in the ’70s when an international train accident destroyed a bridge nearby which cut off the link.
9. Pinkenba Railway Station, Australia
An abandoned station in Pinkenba, a suburb of Brisbane, Australia. As you can see in the picture, it has a mostly rural feel to it and the station has been allowed to become overgrown. A ghost station indeed.
8. Echizen-Tano, Tokyo, Japan
Echizen-Tano is a station in Japan that has been recently abandoned. There is not much information about this one, but the photographer caught the image of the ghostly station in the wet drizzle beautifully. Can you imagine the women of yesteryear parading down the platform with their parasols, waiting for departed lovers to return? Perhaps they are still there in ghostly form if you look closely enough.
7. St. Martin Métro Station, Paris, France
The phantom subway station of St. Martin in Paris was originally closed in 1939 at the start of WWII and reopened after France was liberated. It closed again, though, as there was another stop just 100 meters away. The Salvation Army currently uses the eastern section of the subway stop as a day shelter for homeless people.
6. Kymlinge Metro Station, Stockholm
In the 1970s, authorities in Stockholm planned a metro line to continue out to
Kymlinge, but for whatever reasons they half built the station then abandoned the plans. The metro opened in 1976 without it. Though they will be able to continue work on it in the future if needed, the reputation of the ghost station might be a problem. People say “”Bara de döda stiger av i Kymlinge,” meaning “only the dead get off at Kymlinge”!
5. Abandoned Boxcars, Unknown Station
Boxcars piled up at an unknown ghost station. Perhaps the ghosts of hobos who traveled in them still lurk, hoping for one more ride!
4. Chamberí Station, Madrid, Spain
This is a restored ghost station that people can visit in Madrid. It was built using the ‘open method’ whereby the construction workers dig the street completely up and build the station, then pile the street back on top. It had been full of graffiti and debris until the Spanish decided to make it into a bit of a museum that can be visited free of charge.
3. Aldwych Tube Station, London, UK
Aldwych Tube Station opened in 1907 and finally closed in 1994 because the income just didn’t cover the costs of running repairs. However, the station is still iconic as it has been used in many films, not just as itself but also masquerading as other underground stations.
2. Abandoned Station, France
Like many railway stations from yesteryear, this one was in a lovely old stone house. A beautiful example of a past structure, trains once passed through it speeding on their way to distant destinations as people in their finery went on exciting journeys. Now it lies abandoned with just the memories of what once was.
1. Szabadka, Serbia
These incredible images, taken in Szabadka (‘Subotica’ in Serbian), show an abandoned station built in the 1800s when the city belonged to Hungary. Today the station has been forgotten – few even know of it – and as the photographer said, there is the sense that one can “feel the history behind the sighting”. The station is surrounded by fields and it takes an hour to walk to it – but it’s worth it to see a bit of history.
These ten examples are among the best, but there are many thousands of abandoned stations around the world. When you pass them, don’t just think of it as a closed station, but recall the history it holds – the lives and drama of the people who used it, the soldiers who went off to war, the lovers who parted or reunited, and the families who came together for reunions.