Behind the Scenes of the Largest Station in Europe
THE MAIN FAÇADE and entrance of the Milan Central Station. The façade is decorated with a colonnade 607 ft long, and 90 ft in height. The building looks on to the Piazza Andrea Doria, one of the largest squares in Italy. An area of 103 acres is occupied by the station.
MILAN is the commercial and industrial capital of Italy. As the centre of a highly industrialized territory, and at the same time of one of the most fertile districts in Europe, it was predestined, by its geographical position, to become a great railway junction where through trains could converge from all corners of Europe. Milan had long required adequate facilities for dealing with millions of passengers and with the vast goods traffic. Before the war of 1914-
The vast programme comprised the construction of a new central station for passenger and express goods service, the layout of a new marshalling and goods yard, the construction of a new locomotive depot, various new junction lines, and subsidiary goods stations. During the war, and the years immediately afterwards, nothing was done, and it was only in 1925 that work was begun. As a result, the new Central Station was opened on July 1, 1931.
Travellers from all over the world have judged the Milan terminus to be the most magnificent railway station in existence. The splendour and wealth of its decoration, together with its imposing size, make it an object well worth a place among the railway wonders of the world.
Milan Station is the largest in Europe. It covers an area of over 103 acres, more than four times as much as that of the largest railway station in Great Britain; the fine bay roof is second only to that of Leipzig, which is the biggest in Europe. Milan Station comprises the station buildings, the track layout, 25 ft above the level of the street, and the express goods depot, constructed at street level below the platforms.
A PLAN OF THE STATION showing the various arrangements on the platform level.
The station building is horseshoe-
Adjoining the carriage-
THE BOOKING HALL. This striking interior presents a majestic appearance. It has a length of 209 ft, a width of 110 ft, and a height of 138 ft. Twenty-
Six panels beautifully sculptured in relief are fitted into the walls, to enliven the otherwise monotonous effect of the long polished surfaces. The panels represent famous episodes from the history of Rome. The huge candelabra flanking the staircases are of an especially striking design.
Beautiful and Practical
The length of the platforms is 1,051 ft, with the exception of two at either side, which start at the extremity of the wings, and are only 591 ft long.
Imposing in its size is the platform roof, which covers an area of 80,000 square yards. The roof is composed of five bays of three-
THE MAGNIFICENT APPROACH TO THE STATION. The roof is composed of five bays of steel arches. The huge centre bay has a span of 236 ft. All the main lines run straight into the station, four of them being for trains departing and four for arrivals. The longest platforms measure 1,051 ft.
The wings of the building contain, at the platform level, on the side of Via Sammartini, the offices of the station-
An idea of the imposing size of the station building may be gathered from the following figures. The building has a volume of thirty-
THE MAIN CONCOURSE, which is 705 ft long, 72 ft wide, and 82 ft high. It is decorated with rose-
Of particular interest are the Rawie Patent movable buffer stops at the end of each line. This efficient arrangement consists of a buffer coupled to a series of interconnected sleepers, which rest upon a concrete bed. When the buffer stop is in its normal position the sleepers are lying close together. They are connected with one another by articulated steel bars. When the first sleeper is pulled by some outside force it opens the articulated bars connected to the second sleeper, until these are fully open, then the second sleeper will be pulled and moved forward, opening the bars connected to the third sleeper, and so forth. This movement might be compared with that of a concertina. Now, should a train strike the buffer head (which is strong enough to withstand the first shock), the whole buffer is pushed forward by the engine and slides over the concrete bed, pulling the first sleeper, which, as explained, pulls the second sleeper, and so forth, until nearly all the sleepers are spread out with the drawn-
At the first impact, the braking force is comparatively small, but it increases rapidly, as each sleeper is brought into play. The friction between sleeper and concrete bed is by itself a considerable one, and it is increased enormously by the weight of the locomotive, which bears on the sleepers. During the tests made after the installation of the buffers, a train weighing four hundred tons was run into the buffer at a speed of twelve miles an hour, and was brought to a standstill within 36 ft, and, what is of utmost importance, without the slightest damage being done to the locomotive or carriages or to the buffer itself.
A MASSIVE STEEL SUPPORT for the central arch. The total weight of the roof structure is 9,400 tons; each arch of the centre bay weighs eighty tons.
Water supply is ensured by two pumping stations at the extremity of the station lay-
Special attention was paid to the problems of heating the vast building and of pre-
At night the station is illuminated by powerful floodlights, which are installed on eight latticed towers, 105 ft in height. The lighting has been designed so as to prevent lateral shadows being thrown by the rolling-
AN IMPRESSIVE SPECTACLE is made by this view of the approach to the great station at night. The station lay-
The signalling system is of the Westinghouse all-
We have so far described the station building and the lay-
This subsidiary station is laid out between the wings in a longitudinal direction, and between Via Pergolesi and Viale Brianza in a transverse direction; the distance between these two main roads being 1,018 ft. The whole construction is in reinforced concrete. When we consider the enormous weight of the platforms above, including the trains, which the roof of this subsidiary station has to carry, we can well imagine the dimensions of the concrete pillars supporting the concrete girders, some of which have a width of 7 ft.
ON THE STREET LEVEL. This interesting diagram shows the details of the construction of the Milan Central Station on the ground floor.
The loading and unloading lines are parallel to the platforms of the main station above. Communication between the two stations is effected by means of two electric wagon lifts, 36 ft long, and of a capacity of forty-
In that part of the station adjoining Via Ferrante Apporti a parcel-
The entrance to the goods station is in Via Sammartini. On this side large courtyards have been built, one for incoming, the other for outgoing traffic. The receiving and dispatch offices are installed here, as well as special dispatching rooms for newspapers, various accessory services and storage rooms for perishable goods.
Many other services are housed in the basement of this subsidiary station. We find here, besides the hot-
A description of Milan Station would be incomplete without referring to the Locomotive Depot at Greco, which forms an integral part of the station. The depot is situated about two and a half miles north of the station and, as mentioned before, it is connected therewith by two special locomotive lines. The depot can accommodate 150 locomotives. The main building is a concrete structure covering an area of 65,000 square feet. The repair shop is equipped with powerful electric cranes, every kind of machine tool of the most modern type, smithies, electric furnaces, complete plants for electric and oxy-
There are two turn-
The expenditure involved by the construction of Milan Station and the reorganization of the railway services, including the Locomotive Depot at Greco and the marshalling yard at Lambrate, amounted to about one thousand million lire, which, at the present rate of exchange, would be equivalent to over seventeen million pounds.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION. A remarkable photograph taken of the roof of the station while it was being built. The completed roof covers an area of 80,000 square yards. The ingenious method of raising two sections simultaneously by two sheer-