Train station#Terminus

A head station - known colloquially as bag station - is a railway station, at the end the tracks at the station and thus can and inside out again into the opposite direction, all trains on one side only. A common structural feature of a head station is a so-called cross- head or platform which extends transversely beyond the rail member and longitudinally disposed all platforms together.

A head station, which was applied at a mountain railway because of the topographic situation and takes over the task of a hairpin at the same time of the routing ago, is also called the switchback railway station.

At terminal stations, the station building is mostly transverse to the buffer stops, so the track ends, or created but the tracks are enclosed in a U-shape of the building.

Are usually not counted among the terminus stations stations that only as a result of a haul decommissioning became a railhead or are at the beginning of a planned but unrealized route. In these stands the reception building - as in the transit station - parallel to the tracks.

  • 4.1 Germany
  • 4.2 Switzerland
  • 4.3 Austria


Most head stations were built in the second half of the 19th century at what was then the outskirts of major cities as endpoints of railway lines. This design made ​​it possible to introduce stations relatively close to the city center and to highlight the importance of the city as target traffic. In the 20th century, many terminal stations were added as end points of random routes, most branch lines. In particular, at the end of mountain valleys, where no extension was to be expected, was preferred this design. Many terminus stations can also be found on the shore of a sea or lake larger, often in the form of a port stop with a direct transition option for shipping.

As to the middle of the 20th century due to the entrained limited fuel supplies and operating times of steam locomotives they had to be changed more often anyway, the operational disadvantages of a head station were initially less important. Added to this was that the rail routes, which ended in a terminal station, were often operated by different railway companies, which also made ​​it necessary to change the tractor. A head station was in the 19th century as the - for travelers - pleasant shape to the station, where the train companies do not operate various terminal stations at different locations of the city, like today for example, still in Paris and Budapest.

After installation of a head station it was later often no longer possible to rework this by breaking up of stations on the front page to passage stations. Examples are numerous, sometimes not still bandaged head railway stations in Paris, Vienna, London or Moscow.

In Berlin, this problem was overcome in 1882 with the Berlin Stadtbahn in part, the long-distance and commuter train traffic passes a viaduct through a system of viaducts through the middle of the metropolis. In Brussels, in the years 1911 to 1954 was a sechsgleisige underground connection path between two terminal stations, 2.5 km away. In Oslo, a similar compound railway was opened in 1980.

Frequently mixed forms are to be found, such as the Dresden main station. He has next nine through seven tracks also tracks stump in the middle position, since the train service west of Dresden significantly denser than east of the city. Many transit stations have additional tracks stump on the front side of the reception building, sometimes also called wing station. Most of these have slightly shorter platforms and serve the regional traffic.

Due to various operational disadvantages terminal stations were replaced early in Germany by crossing stations. After the Second World War Terminus stations among others in Emden, Brunswick, Ludwigshafen, Heidelberg and Kempten were replaced by transit stations that have been doing consistently moved away from the city center. The station areas are no longer needed in the center were later sold each. Elsewhere, for example in Wiesbaden, Stuttgart or Zurich, the disadvantages of head stations due to the difficult topographical conditions and associated high costs of transit stations were accepted. In Kassel ( Kassel- Wilhelm height ), Ludwigshafen and Baden -Baden are or were terminal stations also avoided. In France, some trains bypass the Parisian terminal stations. In Frankfurt, a part of the long-distance traffic at the main station is passed over the railway stations and the airport Frankfurt Süd.

Last but not least with the introduction of electric traction and diesel locomotives to terminal stations proved increasingly negative as time-consuming change of locomotives were rare. At the same time, the time required for operations by push-pull trains, relay interlockings could be reduced. In order to minimize the disadvantages of the train station, the terminus stations of Frankfurt am Main, Stuttgart, Hamburg -Altona and Munich as part of the suburban railway construction have been expanded in the 1970s through underground tunnel exclusively for the S -Bahn operation to passage stations. In Leipzig, was until 2013 also a commuter train tunnel ( Leipzig City Tunnel ) built with underground station. The head station Zurich main station was extended on the occasion of the S -Bahn construction in 1991 through a comprehensive four tracks underground station, an additional transit station for long-distance transport is currently under construction (completed in June 2014 ).

With the acceleration of the long-distance transport in the built from the 1970s new and upgraded lines were first cut out large terminus stations. This increased to a relative production costs in these nodes, for example, rolling stock and train crew. On the other proceeds effects were not used by several million DM per minute of saved travel time and year. Through technological advances and cost reductions in tunneling and the possibility of electric trains to ride steeper ramps, it came to new ideas, to transform large terminal stations in transit stations. The projects 21 tracks the German railway since the mid-1990s for various stations. It also no longer required for railway operations areas are to be sold each. The best known of these projects is Stuttgart 21

Comparison with transit station


Terminal stations can for new plants due to mounting position are usually easier introduced to an existing town center and enable the alignment of the track axis ends to the center. With a through station a trail or a tunnel would have to be struck by the city core with the same orientation. In practice, however, both transit and terminal stations have been built mostly long ago only the old town center and now grown into the center. The transfer is accessible possible over the cross platform to the track ends without having to overcome height differences.

In urban space is required on only one side of the station the place for the access tracks, but then usually with a wider track field than in a comparable transit station. The separation of the urban space, which is caused by the railway track, it affects more to the inner-city cross traffic, but not on the transport to the center of, because there are usually fewer arterial routes cut.

Travelers take the access to the platforms from concourse true as clearer than in transit stations. Another advantage lies in the most step-free access platform.

Old terminal stations as the main train stations in Frankfurt or Munich serve as a transportation hub. The city center is aligned reception building to emphasize this feature.


From an operational point of view have terminal stations against passage stations a number of disadvantages:

  • All train and shunting movements are carried out only through a railway station side. This leads to comparatively many disabilities.
  • Driveways in the butt Railroad terminus stations are restricted for security reasons in Germany to 30 km / hr. Retracting trains, thereby resulting in loss of time. (On the territory of the former Deutsche Reichsbahn of the GDR are some example 40 Km / hr. )
  • Traits that are not set up for push-pull operation, require a change of locomotive and thus an extension of the holding time.
  • The one-sided track supply trains that come from the other side of town need to take detours. In Frankfurt am Main, this results in, for example, multipath 3-11 km.
  • For exchanging locomotives are comparatively long held the end of the platform. This reduces the achievable mileage.
  • Translation and ( formerly ) Expressgutwagen can be added is only from one side.

A head station required for the same number of train movements more tracks and thus a larger footprint than a transit station of the same capacity. Due to the longer availability of the platforms more platform tracks are required. The extension of platforms is considered much more difficult than with passage stations. In order to achieve a sufficient performance often expensive slip switches are required in the track ahead of terminal stations. To compensate for overlapping afferent line tracks in the track ahead of terminal stations staggered bridges are often required, leading to a much larger construction effort. The track systems usually take far-reaching areas and have their width is usually a strong separation effect.

Travelers in terminal stations to cover longer distances on average, since the main access is from the cross- platform and not from the center of the platform. This transition periods be extended to connecting trains and the capacity of the trains is uneven. In some terminal stations such as Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof or Frankfurt Central Station tunnel shorten or under bridges over the tracks the way.

Another disadvantage is urban nature: the necessary and extensive city-wide track systems are an urban growth over time in the way.

Operational function

Before extending from an end station must be " head made ​​", ie the train are turned. In a conventional train without control car dome maneuvers are necessary for it.

Usually the locomotive that pulled the train into the station off and hitched a new locomotive at the other end of the train. After the departure of the train, the first locomotive runs solely from the concourse to the depot or harnessed to a different train. With heavy trains, but also the opportunity was taken in addition to push with the previous motive power at the exit of the train.

Alternatively, the locomotive can be uncoupled, drive around the train and are coupled at the other end of the train. These must be installed and a free siding next to the platform track ( Lokverkehrsgleis ) present at the end of the track a corresponding switch (eg in Chemnitz Hauptbahnhof between tracks 2 and 3). In the early days of the railroad, there was for turntables at the track end of the train station with which the locomotive was also turned. Or the train must be pulled into the run-up to a switch engine, so the engine switch to another track, the shunting engine driving the train back to the platform, uncouple and can be removed so that the train locomotive Hitch after a new track change on the other side of the train can. All of these maneuvers require considerable manpower and time.

In addition to passenger stations other station types can be created in head shape. This is the case for some marshalling yards (especially in Italy), freight yards, Abstellbahnhöfe or factory or port to railway stations.

Special terminal stations


The largest terminal stations in Germany are located in Leipzig, Frankfurt, Munich and Stuttgart. However, there are continuous S- Bahn tracks at these stations. In Frankfurt and Leipzig this run underground. Stuttgart Central Station is to be replaced by a transit station (see Stuttgart 21). The comparable projects Frankfurt and Munich 21 21 were dropped. The obtained in parts of the buildings is the oldest German railhead Bayerischer Bahnhof in Leipzig, which was taken in 1842 in operation. It was closed due to construction at the Leipzig City-Tunnel in 2001, in the period following the railway facilities were canceled. On 14 December 2013, the City Tunnel and with it was taken on the grounds of the Bayerischer Bahnhof two break points and a branch office in operation. The Hamburg-Altona station is the only railway terminus and loading station for car trains.


The largest railway in Switzerland is Zurich's main train station. There is, however, also a continuous underground route, mainly by S-Bahn lines to Rapperswil and Winterthur, but partly also of other trains ( local trains, freight trains, mail trains) is traversed. A second " diameter line " is currently under construction. Furthermore, there is an underground railway terminus, in this end / start the S-Bahn into the Sihl Valley and to the Uetliberg. Other major terminal stations are those in Lucerne and those at Geneva airport (only fake head station because as a through station created). Of traffic, less important are the stations Locarno and Einsiedeln. For a number of stations, which consist of several parts of the railway station, one of these parts is of head station, this is the case in the stations novel horn, Langenthal and tuna.

The railway station of Bern is forming a through station, individual routes / but start in an underground railway terminus.

Designed from the Basel SBB railway station is a through station, but it is used only for the few secondary trains towards Mulhouse / Strasbourg as such. In contrast, the directly adjacent French train station is a real head station.

Several terminals of mountain railways are terminal stations, such as the train stations in Zermatt, Arosa and Engelberg. In addition, there are a number of terminal stations on mountain roads, this terminal stations fall partly also in the switchback railway station category.


The great Viennese stations west and Franz Josef station are terminal stations. The third major Vienna train station was until December 2009 the Vienna South Station ( South Station 3 ) as a double end station for the southern runway and outgoing at right angles Eastern Railway. Remained, after withdrawal of the platforms away from the previous South Railway Station and construction of a temporary station ( south station 4 ) for the Eastern Railway, the railway terminus Vienna South is ( Eastern Railway ). The function of the South Station for the Southern Railway has temporarily taken over the transit station Wien Meidling.

With the completion of under construction through station Wien Hauptbahnhof the former Vienna South and East Station will be replaced and the long-distance transport of the western railway be routed to the central station. Although the Westbahnhof railway station remains head, but then loses its function as a remote station and after ÖBB planning to pure local train station.

Another special railway terminus is the central part of the Salzburg main railway station, which separates the island station and simultaneously double end station a part of the Austrian National rail and in functioning as a border station rail traffic to Bavaria. Since November 2008, the Salzburg train station is located within the ÖBB Bahnhof offensive in the reconstruction, which should be completed by 2014. This conversion of the island station is removed by its two terminal stations and the train station to the pure transit station.