Stations and transfers

Stations and transfers

Station gallery

Select a city and a station to see the drawings:


Alicante's rapid transit system is called TRAM, which is a train-tram and is operated by FGV, owned by the Valencian regional government. This system has an underground line in the city center, with three stations on it. The layout consists with one or two mezzanines on level -1 and two side or one central platforms at level -2. Luceros and Mercado stations have direct connection with the underground parking lots, which are located above the TRAM tunnel.


Metro services in Amsterdam can be grouped in two groups. The North-South line (in Dutch, Noord/Zuidlijn) opened recently and M52 services run on it. The central part of the line is underground, running at a considerable depth with two parallel tunnels. The other group of lines consists of services M50, M51, M53 and M54. This line runs mostly overground or elevated, parallel to the Dutch Railways lines. In the city center this line goes underground but at a small depth.

Most of the underground stations consist of a mezzannine at level -1 and a central platform at level -2. The vast majority of overground and elevated stations also have central platforms, but the hall where the turnstiles and ticket machines are found is located on the ground level.

Taking into account that most of the metro network runs parallel to rail lines, transfers between these two modes of transport are quick and easy.


The Antwerp premetro (underground tramway) opened in 1975. One of the achievements consisted in linking both banks of the Scheldt river.

Despite the tram network being huge, the Premetro is short but complex. Lines can be grouped in two. The first group consists in an east-west line with two branches on the eastern side. However, there is a tunnel allowing services between both branches, thus forming a triangle. The second group of lines consists in a tunnel opened in 2015, connecting the city center with the eastern suburbs with a fast service, since most of stations are not opened yet.

The Central railway station is linked with Astrid and Diamant premetro stations, and together with an underground bike parking, they form a hub. The rail triangle is located in between those two stations. Since the premetro tunnels were built with metro standards, same-level track crossings are not allowed, therefore Astrid and Diamant stations had to be built with platforms at two different levels.


Barcelona is the queen of the long passageways. Until 1995, all transfer stations consisted of corridors with lenghts over 100 m, except for Sagrera and Catalunya.

Among the reasons for having such long corridors there is the lack of planning or the vision of the metro network as a bunch of individual lines. As an example: line 1 and line 4 were extended to Urquinaona in 1932, but both lines were not connected until 1972, as they were originally operated by different companies. In Plaça de Sants station, the L5 platforms were built as close as possible to the existing ones from L1, which opened 43 years before. However, there is a gap of 150 m, with the national rail tracks located in between.

Moreover, since the extension of the metro network was slower than the growth of the city, during the 60s and 70s, transfer stations were built 100-150 m apart, in order to increase the accessibility to the metro. Verdaguer is a good examples of this practice.

Right after 1980, transfer stations were designed in a more proper way, being the L2 stations the best example. A new type of transfer appeared 15 years ago with the extension of the metro towards hilly areas of the city: the vertical transfers. In those stations (eg: Vall d'Hebron, Fondo, Zona Universitària, Collblanc), a big shaft was built in order to fit either high-capacity lifts or series of escalators to reach the platforms.

The classic layout of metro stations in Barcelona is simple: on level -1 there is one or two mezzanines and in level -2 there are two side platforms, but since 2000 the new stations tend to have a central plafrom instead. In transfer stations, there is tipically a corridor linking the mezzanines of both lines.

Mandatory to mention the so-called Barcelona solution or Spanish solution: stations with two tracks and three platforms, where passengers alight using one platform and board using the opposite one, improving the flow of passengers and reducing the dwell time. Barcelona was not the first city to implement it, but it was named after most of the stations built in the 30s, 40s and 50s were designed with such layout.


The U-Bahn and the S-Bahn are the two rapid transit systems of Berlin. The city-state owns the first and the German railways own the second. The S-Bahn normally runs overground or elevated and the U-Bahn does it underground, as the name suggests in German, but this is not a norm since some parts of the U-Bahn are elevated and vice versa.

The oldest lines were built either in elevated sections or underground, but very close to the surface, creating a direct connection between the street and the platforms in most of the cases. The lines built after World War I are a bit deeper, in order to fit mezzanines and corridors between the street and the platform levels.

Transfer stations have a very easy tolopolgy, since stations are located close to the ground level and central platforms are predominant.


Despite the metro opened in 1995, its layout follows former metric-gauge rail lines that were converted to metro, such as the Bilbao - Plentzia line. Metro Bilbao operates lines 1 and 2 and Euskotren operates line 3, together with other suburban and regional services.

Due to the orography of the city, stations may have different layouts. The stations located in the city center are deep, since the Nerbion river is located nearby and there are plenty of hills located in the meanders of the river. The stations of the line 1 branch are located on surface, since they were part of the former Plentzia railway.

Line 3 benefits from having already existing stations, such as Bilbao-Aduana (currently called Zazpikaleak/Casco Viejo) and Matiko, both part of the former Plentzia line, despite the connection between those two stations is made through a new double-track tunnel.

Some transfer stations have effective designs, such as Lutxana or the former Bolueta station.


All the rapid transit lines in Boston are centenary. Three of them originally opened as underground tramway tunnels in downtown Boston, but only two were converted to pure metro lines. The Green line is still an underground tram line.

Most of the downtown stations are quite unusual, as they were built using early construction methods and most were designed to serve as tram stations. For instance, some stations in the Orange line have offset platforms. At State station, the Orange line platforms are in different levels.

Underground stations tend to be located close to the surface. This can be appreciated at Government Center, where the Green line platform has a very particular shape because the streets located above ground were quite narrow when the line was constructed, and therefore impossible to dig wider tunnels.

Despite being a city where the rapid transit lines were built without a network plan, transfer stations have a good layout, providing short and quick connections.


The Brussels metro is a good example of a planned system. It was planned in the 60s, and the four existing lines were built following this criteria: if for practical reasons, the section to be opened was not long enough to be operated as a metro line, the section would open provisionally as a premetro (underground tram), with temporary low floor platforms and temporary ramps connecting the streets with the tunnel. Once the construction of the line is advanced, the premetro operation is cut and the line is converted into a full metro line, removing the ramps and elevating the platforms to metro standards. Currently lines 1, 2, 5 and 6 are fully metros and lines 3, 4 and 7 are premetros.

The whole network has been built following the same plan. Transfer stations have a good design as well, with the notable exception of Dè Brouckère, where there is a long corridor. Cross-platform transfers can be found in Beekkant and Gare du Midi. Arts-Loi, Montgomery and Rogier have crossing interchanges.

Most stations have side platforms located at level -2, whilst level -1 is reserved for mezzanines. Stations on line 6 have central platforms because trains run on the left side instead. Stations on lines 3/4 were built using the Spanish solution, where passengers board using the central platform (except in Gare du Midi).

In order to reduce fare evasion, most stations have been equipped with turnstiles during the last decade, replacing the existing honor system which is still present in some stations due to the complexity of its layout.


Budapest was the first city in continental Europe to have a metro. Line 1 opened in 1896. Similar to other systems opened around 1900, tunnels have a narrow profile. Trains are only 2.60 m high and 30 m long.

Lines 2 and 3 have a similar style to other Eastern European metros, despite the decoration has nothing to do. Line 4 was built recently. In these three lines, tracks are laid in two parallel tunnels that cross Budapest at a considerable depth. Stations have central platforms in two parallel galleries, which are connected with the ticket hall through a long escalator. The ticket hall can either be located at ground level or just underground. In the latter case, there are direct staircases connecting the hall with the tramway platforms or bus stops.

The northernmost and southernmost parts of line 3, tracks run underground but at a very little depth. Here stations have side platforms, which are located at level -2 (and a mezzanine at level -1) or directly at level -1, together with an independent booking hall for each direction.

Transfers differ, depending on the station. In Deák Ferenc Tér and Kálvin Tér, transfers consist in a quick connection through two escalators and a short corridor. In other stations, transfers may be longer since one line might be running close to the surface while the other may be running very underground (eg: Keleti pályaudvar, Batthyány tér)


The Bucharest metro consists of 5 lines, despite lines M1 and M3 share their tracks and line M5 has two branches. The original plan from the 70s consisted of three lines: a east-west line (M3 and southern section of M1), a north-south line (M2) and a circle line circa 40 km long.

Unlike other Eastern European metros, the Bucharest one was not built at a considerable depth but using cut-and-cover methods. The platforms are typically located at level -2 or -1 and tend to be central, despite some stations in line M1 have side platforms.

Buenos Aires

The Subte is the oldest metro network in Latin America. It consists of 6 lines. 4 of them run east-west (A, B, D, E) and the other two are north-south (C, F).

The entire network runs underground and except for line H, the tunnels were build close to the surface. Most of the stations have side platforms but those stations that are or had been terminus usually have central platforms.

The lower level of an average station comprises the platforms. If there is enough space between the platform level and the street level, a mezzanine can be found, containing the ticket booths and turnstiles. In the opposite case, each platform has independent accesses and turnstiles are located at the platform level and there are no overpasses or underpasses.

The Subte applies a bizarrenaming criteria. Station names are independent for each line. So, a transfer station will have multiple names, one for each line calling at it (eg: Pueyrredón (B) and Corrientes (F) are part of the same station). But there is also the opposite situation, where there are stations with the same name in different lines: Callao and Pueyrredón are four stations located in lines B and D, but they have nothing to do.


Copenhagen has a modern and automatic metro. Both the Metro and the S-tog have an honor system and most underground stations look like the same: mezzanine with vending machines at level -1, a landing at level -2 and central platforms at level -3. The connection between the platform and the mezzanine is provided by lifts and escalators. Upbound escalators are separated from the downbound ones.

Transfer corridors are connected to mezzanines in Frederiksberg and Kongens Nytorv, but not in Nørreport, where the corridor heading to the S-tog starts at the end of the Metro platform.


Despite Frankfurt has officially a U-Bahn (pure metro), technically is a Stadtbahn (light rail), despite the platform level is high even for stops located at the street. The S-Bahn is also part of the basic rail network of the city.

The main transportation hubs were desinged to provide quick transfers between the rail lines. Most transfer combinations involve passing through a staircase or an escalator, but in Hauptwache, a cross-platform is provided for transfers between S-Bahn and U-Bahn lines U6 and U7.


Glasgow has a very peculiar subway. It opened in 1896 as a circle line powered by cable, like the San Francisco cable cars. The subway was fully renovated between 1977 and 1980 in order to change its operation to electric power, build new workshops, relocate stations and refurbish the rest of stations.

Before the renewal, all stations had a very narrow central platform. A staircase located at the end of one platform lead to the ticket hall and the exit, typically located inside the station building. Most of the stations retain this layout today. However, escalators have been installed in some stations, to connect the ticket hall with the street. The stations with the highest patronage were completely rebuilt: Buchanan Street has a central and a side platform nowadays. In St Enoch, two side platforms replace the former central platform. Partick station was built during the renewal works in order to allow transferring from the Subway to ScotRail.


Hannover has a Stadtbahn, which is a mixture of a tramway that runs in a metro-like tunnel in the city centre.

There are three trunk tunnels in Hannover (A, B, C) that meet in Kröpcke station. Tunnels B and C run overlapped between Kröpcke and Aegidientorplatz.

The layout of an average station is simple and similar to the ones in other cities: a mezzanine at level -1 and side platforms at level -2.

Kröpcke station is a huge complex with lots of accesses, escalators, staircases and mezzanines, since is the only point where the three tunnels meet. Hauptbahnhof station (main station) has elevated rail platforms and an underground station for the Stadtbahn, composed of two central platforms and four tracks. Aegidientorplatz station has a peculiar layout, since the mezzanine is at level -1, the northbound platform is at level -2 (with 2 tracks) and the southbound platform is at level -3 (with 2 tracks as well).


The four lines of the Lyon metro are technically different. Lines A and B and D are rubber tired. Line A has manual conduction and line D was already opened with automatic trains. Line B switched from manual driving to automatic operation in 2022.

Line C partially follows the route of a former funicular that had a pent of 176‰. Therefore it operates as a rack railway between Hôtel de Ville and Croix Rousse, since normal metro lines have a maximum pent of 40‰.

Lines A and B run at a very little depth. Even line A crosses the Rhone using the box girder of Pont Morand. The stations of this line only have one underground level, with side platforms and turnstiles on it. Some stations have underpasses, connecting both platforms. Line D tunnels are not located deep either, but most stations have a mezzanine between the street and platform levels. The latter situation also occurs in the eastern section of line A.

Lyon had an honor system until two decades ago. Since some staion have secondary accesses connecting the streets with the platform, it is common to find turnstiles in the platforms.

Most of the transfer stations have an efficient layout, such as Hôtel de Ville, Saxe-Gambetta or Charpennes. However, the links between at the two main railway stations (Part-Dieu and Perrache) are long.


Currently the Lisbon metro consists of four lines. Until the mid-90s, the network had a Y-shaped single line. This line was split into three (Blue, Yellow and Green) and the Red line was built as a completely new line. Therefore, all the internal metro transfers are less than 25 years old.

The layout of the stations differs slightly: Baixa-Chiado and Campo Grande have parallel platforms for the two lines serving the stations. Saldanha, São Sebastião or Oriente allow quick transfers that involve climbing stairs or elevators. However, in Alameda or Entre Campos the transfer consists in a long passageway.

The standard layout for the stations built before the Carnation Revolution consisted in two side platforms at level -2 and a mezzanine at level -1. These stations featured short platforms, that were extended years later to allow 6-car trainsets. Together with these platform extensions, secondary mezzanine and accesses were added. The stations built recently tend to have a single mezzanine and are located at deeper, since they were built in hilly areas.


The London Underground (or the Tube) is the oldest in the world and it consists of two different networks: the sub-surface lines (running close to the surface) and the deep tube lines (runing deep, with tunnels that ressemble a tube).

The sub-surface lines are the ones inherited from the Metropolitan Railway and from the District Railway, two lines built using cut-and-cover methods or running elevated or at ground level, which were steam operated until the early 20th century. Stations consists in a building located at ground level, containing the ticket offices and fare gates, and the platforms placed at level -1. The stations were located inside a block of houses whenever possible and most of them had a canopy (still in place in Paddington, Bayswater or Earl's Court). With the electrification of the tracks and real estate speculation, most of the stations have been covered with concrete labs (such as in Gloucester Road or Mansion House).

The deep tube lines began to be built in the last decades of the 19th century, when the boring methods were a bit developed. They were already planned to be operated with electric trains. The tunnels were bored at a depth of 20 m and until the construction of the Victoria Line, they followed the streets. Stations consists of a building hosting the ticket offices and the fare gates, which are connected with the platforms (most of them are central platforms) via lifts and spiral staircases located inside of shafts. In 1913 an escalator was installed at Earl's Court as part of a test to replace lifts. Since the result was favorable, the practice of building stations with lifts and spiral staircases in shafts was abandoned. From this moment on, the new stations were built with escalators, and the existing ones (especially those with a high ridership) were transformed.

Initially each line was operated by a different company, so transfers between lines weres not granted. This was corrected after the nationalisation of the Tube.

Some stations host huge flows of passengers. This obligated the local authorities to build wider or newer passageways and escalators in some transfer stations. That is the reason some transfer stations have one-way corridors as well, such as in Oxford Circus or Victoria.


technically, the Madrid metro lines can be divided into two: the narrow profile lines (1-5 and the Ramal) and the wide profile lines (6-12). The narrow profile lines were the first to be built and were inspired by the Paris metro. That is why old stations have side platforms located at level -2 and one mezzanines at level -1. Decades after the opening, lines 1 and 3 got their platforms extended from 60 m to 90 m long and secondary mezzanines and accesses were added.

The lines with a wider profile were built with the aim of fitting larger trains and larger stations. Moreover, these lines were built a highest depth in comparison to the narrow profile lines, at a depth of 15 to 25 m below surface level. The streets and the platforms are connected through 3 to 5 series of staircases and escalator, with the ticket hall in between. Therefore, access times are longer compared to narrow gauge lines.

Since the 90s, the design and layout of new stations have been standadrised, with stations being built using cut-and-cover methods with slurry walls.

Madrid has plenty of different layouts for transfer stations. In comparison with other cities, Madrid has a great amount of stations containing long corridors, but not at the level of Barcelona.

Possibly the most prominent stations are the macrohubs built in the first decade of the 2000s, with huge mezzanines, wide staircases and lots of lifts and escalators, allowing quick connections between metro, commuter train and interurban buses as well. The best example is Nuevos Ministerios, but Chamartín, Sol, Príncipe Pío, Plaza de Castilla or Moncloa also need to be mentioned.


The Marseille metro is formed by two lines that cross themselves in Saint-Charles and Castellane, both located in the city centre. The links between lines in these two stations are quick, since in Saint-Charles line 2 is between the two tracks of line 1 and in Castellane both lines have their platform very close to the intersect point.

There are three kinds of stations, according to their layout: the suburban, which are elevated (eg: Bougainville, Ste-Margueritte, La Rose); the underground ones close to the surface, with the ticket hall at level -1 and side platforms at level -2 (eg: Baille, Périer); and the deep centric stations, which have central platforms and a single access consisting of long escalators connecting the street level with the mezzanine (eg: Cinq Avenues, Estrangin).

Noailles station is the most particular since the former tram tunnel was diverted when metro line 2 was built. Currently the former tunnel serves as a passageway, and the former tram terminus is a ticket hall.


Line 1 opened in 1964 and was the first metro line in the world to be built using slurry walls. Line 2 opened four years, following the same design standards for line 1. Stations have a very functional layout, since passenger flows were seriously taken into account. Almost all stations have one-way staircases connecting the side platforms (located at level -2) and mezzanines (at level -1): one for passengers entering and another for passengers alighting.

The same concept was latter aplied to lines 3 and 5, opened decades later, despite both having a radically different design in their stations, compared to lines 1 and 2. Most of their stations also have mezzanines at level -1 and side platforms at level -2.

Engineers opted to superimpose the tracks in the central section of line 3, where tracks follow the narrow streets of the old city. As a result, the stations of this sections are a maze of lifts, one-way staircases and escalators, combined with a peculiar decoration.

The transfers are typically short and quick, especially in Loreto, Centrale, Cadorna and Repubblica. The only two stations having long corridors are Lotto and Porta Venezia.


The Paris Metro has the most labyrinthine interchanges in Europe.

Almost all the metro network was opened before World War 2. The first transfer stations, opened in the early 1900s, had simple transfers, with bidirectional passageways. Since 1920, the company responsible for the metro began to install portillons automatiques (automatic doors) in some stations. The portillons automatiques are doors located at the entrance of a platform, that blocks the access to it once a train enters the station, in order to reduce the dwell time and prevent last-second passenger boarding the trains. Therefore, in order to limit the access to platforms but not the exits, they decided to build two-directional corridors and staircases. That is how the stations began being underground mazes.

In the 1970s the RER (suburban railway) was opened. This meant that some metro stations had to be partially rebuilt.

Taking the advantade that the spacing between stations is one of the lowest in the world, some RER stations were placed between two metro stations, so both could be connected with the RER. The most extreme case is that 6 metro and RER stations are connected underground (St-Augustin, St-Lazare, Haussmann-St-Lazare, Havre-Caumartin, Auber and Opéra).

The average metro station in Paris consists of a mezzanine at level -1 and two side platforms at level -2. The termini of the oldest lines used to have a loop (Place d'Italie M5, Étolie M6, Nation M6, Porte Dauphine M2). Some of these stations were actually doubled, since there was a station for the trains that terminate there and another one for the trains (and passengers) beginning their journey.

New York

The New York subway combines an extensive network of elevated trains (in Brooklyn and in the Bronx) with an underground train network that was built in the first half of the 20th century, especially in Manhattan. The subway links Manhattan with the other boroughs with tunnels or via the well known bridges, such as the Williamsburg Bridge or the Manhattan Bridge

A characteristic feature of this subway is the existence of local and express services in separate but parallel tracks, so a tunnel can have 4 tracks (2 per direction and 2 for each type of service). The express trains run in the central tracks and the local trains run in the side ones.

The elevated sections have stations placed above the streets and they can be accessed via staircases located in the sidewalks. Ticket halls are located at level +1, inside the viaduct, and platforms are at level +2, partially covered by shelters. The stations with express services tend to have central two platforms.

The underground lines run very close to the surface and they have plenty of piles of steel between the tracks and in the platforms. The stations that are served only by local services have side platforms at level -1, together with the ticket halls. Platforms are not linked via an underpass or an overpass. Express stations have two central platforms at level -2, allowing cross platform transfers between the local and express trains. In this kind of stations, mezzanines with the fare gates are located at level -1.


The three lines of the Prague metro form a radial network. All the lines cross at three selected stations in the city center. Almost the totality of the network is underground. The first line that was built (C) is the one running closer to the surface, especially at the city center and in the southern section. Lines A and B run much deeper.

The deep stations have central platforms at the deepest point of the station. The ticket hall, which is located beneath the street level, is connected with the platforms through escalators. A few stations even have two mezzanines, one at each end of the station.

Line C has not very deep stations at the southern part. They are composed of a central platform at level -1 and two ticket hall buildings located at ground level, each one at a different end of the platform.

At Můstek i Florenc, both metro lines run at a considerable depth, so both stations are linked through a rather short corridor, located at a level between both metro lines. Hoewever, Muzeum station has line C located close to the surface, whilst line A station is deep. Both lines are connected through a series of escalators.

Most of the metro stations have shops and stores in the ticket halls.


The Rome metro has few lines compared to the extent of the city. Until a few years ago, there were only two lines that intersected at Termini station, which is the central railway station as well. Because of it, Termini station is the one with the highest ridership of the city and most of the times it gets crowded. This station has one-way corridors for entering, exiting and even for transferring. A decade ago, the city had to build an extra set of escalators and corridors to decongest the existing link connecting lines A and B.

The other interchange station is San Giovanni. Line C opened in 2018 but the final passageway between both lines is not completed yet. Currently, passengers need to exit through the faregates and enter again.

The stations of the southern section of line B were opened in the 1950s and are very simple. The construction of the northeastern section of line B and the entire line A is much more recent and their stations were designed with one-way staircases and passageways.


The Rotterdam metro has 5 different services that can be grouped into two lines. One of these services even arrives to the city of the Hague. The design of the stations is rather simple. For stations located underground, the layout consists of a mezzanine is located at level -1 and two side platforms at level -2. Elevated stations tend to have a central platform at an upper level and a mezzanine at the street level.

Blaak and Beurs have layouts were two lines cross, one over the other. The connection is provided via direct staircases linking both platforms.

São Paulo

The metropolis of São Paulo has a rapid transit network operated by three different companies. This is a relatively new metro (it was opened in 1968, despite some lines were converted from existing railways), with a layout and design thought to hold huge flows of passengers. Trains can be up to 200 m long.

Stations are very wide. Some of them, such as Sé or Luz (line 1) have the Barcelona solution, in order to ease the passenger flows.


Saragossa does not have metro but the commuter line C-1 has an urban section with three underground stations. This section was covered when the high speed rail line arrived to the city.

All the stations have a building at street level that hosts vending machines and the fare gates. Platforms are located at level -1, just under street level.

Miraflores station has a temporary access to a car parking, since the urbanisation of the street over the rail line has not been finished and the station building cannot be used. This station also has an underpass to reach the secondary platform.

Goya station has connection with the tramway, at Fernando el Católico station. The connection has to be performed by crossing two zebra crossings.


The Valencia metro is actually the merge of different narrow gauge suburban railways that were connected via a tunnel crossing the city center. So this system is somehow the hybrid of a premetro and a rail, since in the city of Valencia is like a metro, but in the suburbs this works like a rail with lots of level crossings and single track sections.

The vast majority of underground stations have one or two mezzanines at level -1 and two side platforms at level -2. There are some stations with a different layout compared to the others, especially in lines 3 and 5: Bailén, Avinguda del Cid, Àngel Guimerà and Colón have central platforms. Alameda has four tracks and three platforms (2 for the Rafelbunyol line and 2 for the Marítim line).

Xàtiva station has a radically diferent layout, as the platforms are overlapped because there is the juntion of the line towards Bailén and Jesús just 20 m after the platform end (on the eastern side).


Line 1 has two types of stations: the ones located in the suburbs, having side platforms at level -1 and ticket halls at street level, and the ones located in the city centre, having a central platform at level -2 and a mezzanine at level -1.

The stations on line 2 are similar to the ones with a central platform on line 1, with the difference that the platforms are located a bit deeper.

There are two main transfer stations. Świętokrzyska is the crossing point of both metro lines and the transfer is quick. Half a kilometer to the south, there is the hub consisting of Centrum metro station, Śródmieście suburban rail station and the Central rail station. The latter two form a huge underground complex, combined with a shopping mall. The connection of Centrum and Śródmieście stations is done at street level.


Part of the current metro network (U-Bahn) is inherited from a primitive urban rail network known as Stadtbahn that was steam-powered until the 1920s. Once the network was electrified, the rolling stock used was similar to the ones used for the tramways. Most of its network was elevated or ran at a street level, but without level crossings.

During the 60s, the municipal government decided to build a couple of tram tunnels. At the same time, they also planned a metro network consisting of a basic network, with parts of it coming both from the Stadtbahn (U4) and from the newly tram tunnels (part of current U2), asides from the construction of line U1. In the 1980s the second phase took place: line U3 was built and line U6 was integrated from the Stadtbahn.

The layout of the stations depends on the time they were built. The non-underground stations that were part of the Stadtbahn have side platforms and the access is made via the station buildings, which are in the Art Nouveau style. The stations that were part of the tram tunnel are located under street level and are quite simple: offset side platforms at level -1. The new stations built from the 1970s on typically have a central platform at the lower level and two mezzanines at the upper level, which can be either on street level or below, and is connected with the platforms via escalators or elevators. The depth of the latter stations is variable, but the ones located in the city center may be very deep.

All the transfer stations have been built after 1970 and their layout reflects the idea of having efficient links. Except for Praterstern, all stations have quick transfers.

About this project

Albert Guillaumes Marcer


Getting in, transferring or getting out of a metro station is a situation experienced by million people worldwide every day. The layout of these stations affects their mobility. If time could be converted into money, we would perceive that one minute spent transferring is more expensive than one minute spent riding a train or a bus. The cost of transferring includes the waiting time and the time spent while changing platforms. The physical effort should also be considered.

Some cities have taken intermodality as a serious issue, while others have not given importance. There are several key aspects to ensure quality to the transfers: distance, the lack of architectural barriers, timetable coordination and a good wayfinding system, among others.

For the last 10 years I have been able to draw around 625 stations from different European cities, motivated by the curiosity of understanding how engineers were able to fit underground stations comprising 4 or 5 lines under Place de la République in Paris or the Puerta del Sol in Madrid.

A pen, a notebook, a bit of spatial vision and the willingness to navigate all the staircases, corridors, platforms and mezzanines are enough to draw a station. Some may content errors, despite I try to complement themwith information found in the internet: historic, construction and survey maps, pics and videos, as well with data about train lengths.

Due to the boredom provoked by the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, I decided to digitalize all the sketches I had drawn in since the early 2010s, plus all the station plans I collected from construction projects. I have also drawn stations from cities I have never been. Sources may vary, but some of them come from construction projects (London, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro), other sketches found in Wikimedia Commons (Boston).

Short transfers

Short and fast transfers are a common practice for networks that had a solid planning behind it.


As the name suggests, the transform is performed by crossing a central platform, from one track to the opposite one. This layout allows passengers to change doing a physical effort close to zero. In some cities, timetables are planned to coordinate the arrivals and departures at stations having a cross-platform interchange, removing the waiting times and reducing the transfer time to a few seconds.

Some examples are: Gare du Midi (Brussels), Mehringdamm (Berlin), Príncipe Pío (Madrid, lines 6-10) and Längenfeldgasse (Vienna).

Sandwich station

This station consists of two lines crossing perpendicularly at different levels. One station is over the other, allowing passengers to change rapidly by climbing (or descending) a short staircase.

Several transfer stations in Berlin have this layout: Berliner Str., Bismarckstr., Gleisdreieck, Hermannplatz, Hermannstr., Leopoldplatz, Osloer Str., Ostktreuz, Südkreuz, Schöneberg and Wesktreuz.

Other examples outside Berlin are: Gorg (Barcelona), Downtown Crossing (Boston), Arts-Loi (Brussels), Hauptwache (Frankfurt), Colombia (Madrid), Miromesnil (Paris), Beurs (Rotterdam) and Stephansplatz (Vienna).

Parallel platforms

The platforms of two lines are built parallel, but cross-transfer is not warranted. Transfer is made by passing through an overpass or an underpass.

Some examples include: Paral·lel (Barcelona), Brandenburger Tor (Berlin), Baixa-Chiado and Campo Grande (Lisboa), Jussieu and Villiers (París).

Long transfers

Never-ending corridors

This layout is found in systems where the network was not planned or was poorly planned. In Barcelona this kind of transfers were promoted in order to increase accessibility to public transportation in some areas.

Due to the inconvenience of walking through the never-ending corridors, some transfer stations are part of the general culture of the mentioned cities, such as Passeig de Gràcia (Barcelona, 270 m appr.), Diego de León (Madrid, 250 m appr.), Stadtmitte (Berlin, 150 m appr.) o Châtelet (Paris, 170 m appr.).

Deep stations

Some cities have very deep lines while in others tunnels are close to the surface. This depends of the soil, the construction method and the presence of obstacles, such as rivers, rocks, caves or underground water. Some cities may have both kinds of lines. In Western Europe, people tend to think about London when thinking about deep stations, but this is a common practice in many ex-communist European cities (Moscow, Prague, Budapest, etc), as well as in cities located in archipelagos such as Stockholm or Helsinki. These stations have a huge gallery containing escalators, connecting the ticket hall with the platform level.

In Madrid, almost all the stations constructed during the 70s and 80s were built at a considerable depth and consist of some series of escalators. In Barcelona, some stations in lines 9 and 10 were built so deep that platforms can only be reached by elevator.

Examples of stations including platforms at very different levels include: Collblanc and Zona Universitària (Barcelona), Plaza de España (Madrid), Deák Ferenc Tér (Budapest), Madeleine (Paris), Schottenring (Viena).


Garibaldi (Milan)

This is one of the three most important rail stations in Milan, together with Centrale and Cadorna.

The rail station comprises two parts: a surface terminus opened in 1961 –not depicted– with 20 platforms, and two underground platforms that are part of the Passante Ferroviario line, opened in 1997. Next to the underground section of the railway station, there are the two metro stations.

Châtelet - Les Halles (Paris)

This gigantic hub is located in the geographic centre of Paris. It actually consists of two metro stations (les Halles and Châtelet) plus the RER station (Châtelet – Les Halles), located between the mentioned metro stations.

Châtelet metro station is located in the surroundings of place du Châtelet. The station is served by 5 lines and their platforms are placed apart. Therefore, in the mid-2010 the station was divided in sectors for practical reasons. The Seine sector is located next to the river and it is the stopping point for lines 7 and 11.

A long corridor with moving walkways connects the Seine sector with the Rivoli sector, located next to the street with the same name. This sector hosts the platforms of lines 1, 4 and 14, which are interconnected through a maze of one-direction corridors, escalators and staircases. Beneath the line 1 platforms, there is a corridor with moving walkways connecting with the RER station. There is a supplementary corridor connecting the RER station with lines 4 and 14.

The Forum sector is comprised by the RER station, Les Halles metro station and a large shopping mall called Forum des Halles. This site was constructed after demolishing the former central market in the 1970s and it was fully renovated in the 2010s. The main access from the street to the train station is found inside the shopping centre.

Nuevos Ministerios (Madrid)

The underground link between Atocha and Chamartín was built under the Paseo de la Castellana. A station was constructed near some government offices and it was opened in 1967.

The metro line 6 station was opened in 1979, located about 100 m to the west of the rail station. Line 10 station was opened three years later, as part of the old line 8 (Fuencarral – Av. América), and it was located in parallel to the rail station, but on the eastern side.

This station became important with the extension of line 8 –the line serving the airport. The whole station is refurbished and a new mezzanine is created, even with check-in counters as an extension of the airport services. These counters were closed few years later.

In 2008 a second tunnel connecting Atocha and Chamartín was opened. However, this tunnel was located at a lower level. This station is ranked the 3rd in number of passengers.

Nation (Paris)

Nation is located in the east of the city. It is served by 4 metro lines and a RER line.

All the complex is located the square. The mezzanines serving the metro station are located in level -1. The platforms of metro lines 1, 2 and 6 are located at level -2. Level -3 contains the transfer corridors connecting the metro lines, as well the booking hall for the RER. Line 9 platforms are located at level -4, while level -5 hosts the exit hall from passengers coming from the RER. The RER platforms are located at the deepest level of the hub.

One common feature about the Parisian metro stations is that some corridors are actually one-way. In Nation, this is taken to the limit. Almost all the corridors and staricases are one way, even to the point that the entrances to the RER station are different to the exits.

Friedrichstraße (Berlín)

The complex comprises an elevated railway station with 6 platforms, 2 of which are specific for the Stadtbahn line (est-west) of the S-Bahn. On the eastern side, there is the U6 U-Bahn station, located underground; whereas in the west side, there are the platforms of the Nordsüd S-Bahn line. Despite having been built next to the river, both underground stations are not located very deep. Above the U6 platforms, at the street level, there are some bus stops, as well as a tram stop.

This station has historic significance during the Cold War, since it served as a multi-modal station for both western and eastern transportation networks, despite being physically located in East Berlin;and as a border pass as well.

The East Berlin station only comprised the two elevated platforms dedicated nowadays to the S-Bahn, plus a bunch of bus and tram stops. The rest of the elevated platforms were part of the West Berlin network, together with the U-Bahn and Nordsüd S-Bahn stations. Internal transfer between the western lines was allowed. Exiting to the street was only allowed by passing through the border.

This was the only station of the western network to be opened in East Berlin. The rest of stations in U6, U8 and the Nordsüdbahn were closed between 1961 and 1989 and received the popular name of ghost stations.

Saint-Lazare (París)

Saint-Lazare railway terminus is the oldest station in the city. It is part of a much larger complex of connected stations, consisting of Saint-Augustin, Saint-Lazare, Haussmann-Saint-Lazare, Havre-Caumartin, Auber and Opéra.

The railway station has 27 platforms and it is served by the suburban Transilien lines J and L, as well TER trains to other regions.

The metro station is served by 4 lines. Beneath Cour du Havre there is a circular concourse that acted as the booking hall for the former Nord-Sud Metro (lines 12 and 13). Lines 3 and 14 are located beneath Cour de Rome. Together with the extension of line 14 from Madeleine to Saint-Lazare, a large concourse was built, removing most of the existing one-way corridors under Cour de Rome. One-way corridors are still present on the paths heading towards lines 12 and 13.