There’s something about railway stations that always stirs my traveller’s soul; it’s the thrill of the imminent journey; the feeling of haste, purpose and urgency; the echoing sounds of footsteps, voices and rumbling engines; the smells of coffee, fries and pastries; the crowds and their thousands of stories. But often, too, there’s a special magic in the station itself that is more than the sum of all this; it’s the rows of constantly flickering arrivals and departure boards, the lines of quais and the tracks leading away to who knows where; it’s the lofty halls, the broad concourses and the grand facades; the exquisite architectural details and the decorative flourishes in unexpected corners; it’s the perfect marriage of form and function.
Budapest’s Nyugati Pályaudvar is one of the world’s great railway stations and one of the city’s most beautiful buildings. The elegant glass and iron construction was completed in 1877. It was designed by August de Serres and the Eiffel Company of Paris which was responsible for that famous French tower.
The station’s iron-framed hall is typical of its time and is considered to be one of the best examples of Eiffel’s magnificent complex ironwork. The finished building measured 6,153 meters square and 25 meters high which made it, at the time, the fifth largest train station in the world. For many years, it was also Europe’s most modern railway station.
Renovations to the station during the past few decades have included the addition of a traffic overpass, an underground area for passengers, and several stores including a large department store.
Alongside the Nyugati Pályaudvar is one of the world’s most beautiful and ornate McDonald’s restaurants. It also the second busiest McDonald’s in the world.