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A late nineteenth century photochrom of Amsterdam Centraal in the Netherlands

A central station usually designates the principal passenger railway station of cities which have multiple stations. The central station functions as the main transport hub for rail transport, normally with interchange with other modes of public transport. Certain services, such as intercity of high-speed routes make their only stop in the city at the central station, while commuter services may serve all stations in the city. A central station may be a terminal station, with all services ending at the station, or may permit through services.


Names and Stations



Non English language names for central station include Централна гара (tsentralna gara) in Bulgarian, Hauptbahnhof (abbreviated Hbf or HB) in German, Stazione Centrale in Italian, Gare centrale in French, hlavní nádraží (abbreviated hl. n.) in Czech, Centraal Station (abbreviated formerly as CS and currently as Centraal) in Dutch, Główny in Polish, Főpályaudvar (abbreviated főpu.) in Hungarian, sentralstasjon in Norwegian, centralstation (abbreviated central or C) in Swedish, and hovedbanegård in Danish.

United Kingdom

Railway stations in Britain using the suffix 'Central' often do not refer to a centrally located station and many of these cannot be said to be 'principal' stations, and are merely called Central to distinguish them from other stations called North, South, East or West, for reasons of prestige or in some cases refer to a station that was originally owned by the Great Central Railway often GCR stations in locations served by more than one station were called 'Central'.

One of the few "principal" stations in the UK that is called Central and truly is in the centre of the town or city it serves is Glasgow Central station, although at one time was served by four "principal" terminus stations, all equally within the city centre, only one was called 'Central'. Likewise, Cardiff Central is located in the city centre and is the mainline hub of South Wales' rail network which includes 19 other stations in Cardiff itself, one of which is another principal city centre station, Cardiff Queen Street.


There are five stations designated as "central stations" in the Netherlands.


There are only three stations as "central stations"

Germany, Austria and Switzerland

In German-speaking countries, the general term for a central station is "Hauptbahnhof", literally meaning "Main Station" but also translated as "Central Station"


All central stations in Austria:

  • Graz Hauptbahnhof
  • Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof
  • Klagenfurt Hauptbahnhof
  • Leoben Hauptbahnhof
  • Linz Hauptbahnhof
  • Salzburg Hauptbahnhof
  • St. Pölten Hauptbahnhof
  • Vienna Hauptbahnhof - the new central station for Vienna, currently under construction.
  • Villach Hauptbahnhof
  • Wels Hauptbahnhof
  • Wiener Neustadt Hauptbahnhof
  • Wörgl Hauptbahnhof



There are only two stations:


Elsewhere in Europe


North America

A union station is a central station that in the past served more than one railway company. This is most commonly used for naming of North American stations, where in the past several private railway companies served the same city at a common station; this is not the case anymore, since when during the '80 all the passenger activities were got from the National funded AMTRAK Company. The term was also used in Europe prior to the nationalization of railway companies.

United States


South America


Central stations in Malaysia are called Sentral, which is the Malay spelling for the English word central.



Hong Kong



  1. ^ This station now serves Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, and the Long Island Rail Road; Grand Central Terminal serves Metro-North. Other important hubs in the area include Hoboken Terminal, Jamaica Station, Pennsylvania Station (Newark), and Secaucus Junction.
  2. ^ Suburban Station and Market East Station are also hubs in that city, connected by an underground railway corridor; however, 30th Street serves Amtrak as well as SEPTA, whereas the others don't.


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