Från järnvägsstation till kommunikationsnod
In organizational terms train stations were for a long period of time a component of railway transportation. Therefore during the crisis period for railways after the Second World War the stations did not often receive the attention and the resources they deserved. Investments in modernization and refurbishment were the product of assessments made by the railway bodies.
The demand for a fast, environmental-friendly and accessible means of transport has caused railway travel to become more attractive again. The development of stations has fallen out of tune with the increasing number of passengers and with the development of railway technology and the urban transport needs. Some of the station's basic functions have lost their importance while the new functions and new services have emerged within the station and its immediate proximity. Travel tradition and travel culture change, urban and inter-urban transportation develop in areas adjacent to the station, which contribute to the advent of new categories of passenger with varied interests and needs. High number of visitors cause train stations to become increasingly attractive for commercial purposes. All this results in the train stations being transformed into complex communication nodes, meeting places in the city with their own structures and logistics.
The dissimilarity between passenger categories generates variation in movement patterns and flows, differences in demands for services and in choices of means of transport, requirements of reorganization of the railway station space, and more flexibility in designing the links between operate functions and the station buildings, adjacent and track areas. Changes cause the new trends that physically affect the station building and its proximity in the form of extensions of the stops and access points, the design of the station space, the location of station components of the station and their relationships between functions, services and commercial activities.
This thesis "From railway station to Communication Node" is based on a field work of 37 large and medium-size stations in seven countries. Through visits to these places, my own observations on place, and on my own extensive photographic documentation, these stations have been documented in text and imagery. The seven chapters describe and analyze the railway stations with regard to their internal spatial organization, functions, passenger movements and flows through the buildings and adjacent areas i.e. their encounters with the surrounding city.
The purpose of this thesis is to provide a broad understanding of the railway stations’ qualities, weaknesses and opportunities in contemporary demands on the station as a communication node in order to develop new prerequisites for planning and the utilisation of space. The intention is that this work will generate a coherent and broad foundation for decisions concerning the alteration of station buildings and give a deeper picture of present day demands regarding the modernisation of stations and their surroundings as well as providing a basis for continued in-depth studies of the various aspects that have been brought to light.