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Helsinki Central railway station, Helsinki, Finland

November 4th, 2006 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Helsinki Central railway station is a widely recognised landmark in central Helsinki, Finland, and the focal point of public transport in the Greater Helsinki area. It serves as the point of origin for all trains in the local VR commuter rail network, as well as for a large proportion of long-distance trains in Finland. The station also hosts the Rautatientori metro station, which is the busiest station of the Helsinki Metro.

The railway station is used by approximately 200,000 customers per day.

The station is mostly built out of Finnish granite, and its distinguishing features are its clock tower and the two pairs of statues holding the lamps on either side of the main entrance. The statues have recently been featured in some major advertising campaigns by Finland's government-owned railway operator VR.

One of the station's less known features is a private 50 m² waiting lounge exclusively for the use of the President of Finland and his/her official guests. The lounge, featuring furniture designed by Eliel Saarinen, has two entrances, a bigger one leading outside to the Rautatientori square and a smaller one leading to the main station hall. The lounge was first completed in 1911 and was originally intended for the private use of the Emperor of Russia, but the First World War delayed its official inauguration to 1919, at which point it had been converted into a temporary military hospital, and was afterwards given to the use of the Finnish President. According to Kari Pekka Rosenholm, the former station manager, the lounge is the only one of its kind in the entire world.

The first railway station in Helsinki was built in 1860, as Finland's first railway between Helsinki and Hämeenlinna was opened. The station's plans were drawn by the Swedish architect Carl Albert Edelfelt. However, as the popularity of railways grew, the station turned out to be too small, and a contest was organised in 1904 with the intention of producing plans for a new station. The contest was won by Eliel Saarinen, and the new station built on his plans was finished in 1919, after 15 years of contruction.

The railway station has been renovated occasionally. In the 1960s the underground Asematunneli tunnel was built. The first surveillance cameras in the station hall were installed in the spring of 1968. The first electric train arrived at the station on January 13, 1969. After testing, regular electric train traffic was started between Helsinki and Kirkkonummi on January 26.

In 1982, the Helsinki Metro station Rautatientori was built under the railway station. In 2000, a glass roof, which had already been in the original drawings by Eliel Saarinen, was built over the railway station's platforms. In 2003, the shopping wing Kauppakuja was opened along with a hotel.

[Source: Wikipedia]

Send by: Jeronimo

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