Most hated non-UK station

Giugiaro

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Like with @Jamesrob637 post about Favourite non-UK station, I'd also like to explore the non-UK stations that have caused the greatest distaste in our experience.

Of the stations I've been to, I haven't found one that enraged me as much as my own country's Oriente Station, in Lisbon.
The interface between ground level and the top level, where the railway goes through, is unnecessarily maze-like:
- Step-free access requires you to take four separate lifts from Metro to National Rail;
- Mid floor, where the ticket offices and timetable boards stand, is separated physically in two parts and have only one narrow bridge connecting them on each far side;
- Escalators are very few, far apart and only go one way between the floor level and the mid-level. You have to go across the whole station to get to the right escalator that goes up/down;
- Information is scarce and some of it is outdated by years;
- All stairways are hidden from sight, in between walls and with no signalling;
- Platforms are relatively narrow, especially when two trains arrive at the same time, on both sides;
- Despite how gorgeous the station canopy looks, it's nearly useless when it's under a storm;
- The shopping centre that is directly interconnected with the station also has some very maze-like navigation. I once almost lost a train because I failed to find an escalator that went down, the only lift I've found was out of service, and there were no staircases in sight!
 
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JB_B

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For "most hated" I get the impression from earlier discussions that some forum members aren't too fond of Paris Gare du Nord. ( We're inevitably in the realms of subjectivity - esp. in an anglocentric forum like this.) It's not the most salubrious but it didn't seem quite as bad to me as some people make out.

( I liked your description of Oriente - some of the problems you mention aren't unfamiliar in the UK. )
 

Aictos

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For "most hated" I get the impression from earlier discussions that some forum members aren't too fond of Paris Gare du Nord. ( We're inevitably in the realms of subjectivity - esp. in an anglocentric forum like this.) It's not the most salubrious but it didn't seem quite as bad to me as some people make out.

( I liked your description of Oriente - some of the problems you mention aren't unfamiliar in the UK. )
I find Paris Gare Du Nord to be fine, the one Paris station I would say is worse is Paris Gare Du Est as staff there are rude and obnoxious, actually missed a train there as they wouldn't help me (my ticket was valid but wouldn't fit in the gateline reader) so had to pay out for another ticket and reservation.

Def the worse station staff I've come across.
 

jamesontheroad

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New York Penn station and Paris Châtelet Les Halles are two examples of terrible planning and extremely poor usability. I know the latter has had some improvements to access, but they are both confusing and illogical for 99% of passengers to navigate.
 

Richard Scott

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Currently the new Belgrade station. Not near the main city and next to no facilities!
 

eastwestdivide

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Paris Gare du Nord mostly OK, but my main problem with it is the lack of space in the Eurostar terminal. Crowded at the best of times (not enough seats for anything like a full train load) and if there's disruption, a complete bunfight.
 

Ianno87

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For "most hated" I get the impression from earlier discussions that some forum members aren't too fond of Paris Gare du Nord. ( We're inevitably in the realms of subjectivity - esp. in an anglocentric forum like this.) It's not the most salubrious but it didn't seem quite as bad to me as some people make out.

( I liked your description of Oriente - some of the problems you mention aren't unfamiliar in the UK. )

Paris Gare du Nord mostly OK, but my main problem with it is the lack of space in the Eurostar terminal. Crowded at the best of times (not enough seats for anything like a full train load) and if there's disruption, a complete bunfight.

Second the Eurostar lounge at Gare du Nord; I seem to have a crap experience every time. Last time (Dec 2019) the entire lounge had to be cleared due to some wally trying to take an old bomb casing onto his/her train.

So, yes, a 2 hour snaking queue across the concourse it was, followed by being shouted at by e* staff in the lounge accusing me (falsely) of queue-jumping.
 

Bungle965

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Paris Gare du Nord mostly OK, but my main problem with it is the lack of space in the Eurostar terminal. Crowded at the best of times (not enough seats for anything like a full train load) and if there's disruption, a complete bunfight.
This is a big problem for almost all the Eurostar terminals, St Pancras can also be absolutely dreadful for this, especially if you have a Brussels and Paris service departing within a similar timeframe.
Paris Châtelet Les Halles
I seem to recall have to change trains here and ended up in a right mess, took me twice as long as expected!
 

Bletchleyite

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I believe they've tarted it up a bit (but it still has the ugly red ceiling) but Praha Hlavni Nadrazi (new bit) always struck me as a bit grim, just felt really seedy.

Paris Nord is an overcrowded toilet in the middle of an area that is basically a toilet. The lot needs flattening and redoing from scratch. This isn't a Francophobe view; Gare de l'Est is much nicer in just about every way.

Brussel-Zuid is barely better (and the area is worse).

That said, they are by no means the worst - pick a neglected wayside halt in parts of Germany or Eastern European countries, some of them look like they closed years ago even if they're open.
 

Bletchleyite

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Currently the new Belgrade station. Not near the main city and next to no facilities!

I believe it's like Birmingham New St but they forgot the shopping centre and just provided steps down from the concrete slab on which that would be built? I've seen pics of when it was just a Beovoz (S-Bahn) station, though, it was far worse than now! :)
 

duesselmartin

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Bruxelles Midi and Nord are certainly high on the list, but also my home station Duisburg Hbf in Germany.
I also dont like Paris Montparnasse but that could be due to the construction work
 

Jamesrob637

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Praha-Bubny whilst there were bridge works over the Vltava into Masarykovo. It was a rainy day at the very start of COVID in Europe (early March) and you could sense the impending gloom. I only used it as an alternative to the Metro as far as Veleslavín since that is currently the nearest heavy rail/metro/bus interchange for the airport.

However, the bridge works finished in July and Masarykovo has been done up also, so no need to use Bubny anymore.
 

gordonthemoron

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Liege Guillemains is all style and no substance, Barcelona Sants suffers a similar problem to New York Penn, Gar Sai Gon is a tad basic, Gar Ha Noi is much better. Newcastle NSW Interchange isn't very good, although it is brand new
 

Richard Scott

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I believe it's like Birmingham New St but they forgot the shopping centre and just provided steps down from the concrete slab on which that would be built? I've seen pics of when it was just a Beovoz (S-Bahn) station, though, it was far worse than now! :)
That sums it up. When we first went there we were expecting a few shops on top but all we could see was concrete and rebar!

Bruxelles Midi and Nord are certainly high on the list, but also my home station Duisburg Hbf in Germany.
I also dont like Paris Montparnasse but that could be due to the construction work
I judged Duisburg on its station then was completely taken aback as to how nice a place the city was!
 

317666

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I quite liked Duisburg Hbf when I was last there, I'd say it sums up the Ruhrgebiet as a whole - quite run-down in places but with a lot of character. It also has a reasonable amount of shops and food outlets, which is something the old Wuppertal Hbf didn't (but the rebuilt station has improved a lot in that respect).

My most-hated non-UK station could well be Brussel-Centraal, horrendously crowded with last-minute platform alterations in the peak. Noord and Zuid might not be in the most pleasant areas (I personally wouldn't go as far as saying that they're dangerous) but at least there's enough room for everyone!
 

43096

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Another vote for Paris Gare du Nord and Gare de l'Est - both horrible and the walk between them is pretty squalid as well. The last time I was there I was glad to get out as fast as possible and get into Switzerland. Thankfully it was ICE to Strasbourg, then Sybic to Basel.

New York Penn also utterly vile and horrible.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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I didn't find Napoli Centrale easy to navigate (to the Piazza Garibaldi platforms in the basement anyway, or the Circumvesuviana alongside).
The main terminus has some remote side-platforms too, taking ages to get to.
That's before realising that the train from Rome to Sicily reverses in the terminus so that your carefully chosen seat for the journey south is precisely the wrong one.
 

Polarbear

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There's a few on my list, including some of those mentioned by others, (Gare du Nord, Paris & Brussels Midi), but one of the most squalid dumps I've ever bailed at must be Kobanya-Kispest in the Budapest suburbs.

Broken escalators, uneven stairs with missing floor tiles, loads of graffiti, uneven platform surfaces & a generally uninviting air about the place. Would not like to spend any more time than necessary there.
 

Mag_seven

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I would nominate Bratislava Petržalka. I made my feelings known on it in another thread from a few years back:

While staying in Vienna I did a day trip to Bratislava using that ticket. Was diesel hauled Vienna HBF to Hlavná and electric hauled back from Petržalka to Vienna HBF. I waited ages for an overcrowded bus from the city centre to Petržalka for the trip back and I thought Petržalka station was very derelict looking and unappealing - would not like to travel to/from that station after dark.
 

alex397

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Currently the new Belgrade station. Not near the main city and next to no facilities!
I think it was a very poor decision to close the original Belgrade Main station - a much better location (although not in the very centre, its still much closer than the new one), beautiful architecture, excellent transport links next to the coach station, and a major tram and bus interchange - it couldn't really be more perfect in terms of location and transport links! Even though the old station was closed, it was still busier than the new one (with people going to the still existing cafe, and walking through to get to the coach station). Although it wasn't completely closed - the ticket office was still open, selling tickets! I also got to witness the platforms being demolished in front of me (the last train was in 2018, and my visit was summer 2019).

The new Belgrade 'Centar' station is in the suburbs, connected to the centre by one bus. I do actually think the new station has potential to be a good station though - it did feel better quality than I was expecting, but far from usual European standards, and the staff were friendly. But I can only presume passenger numbers have dropped a lot since the move - its really inconvenient. It was more like a ghost station - more trains than people, and no one getting on/off the only bus to the station.

So, I would also nominate this station as my least favourite non-UK station.

I'm not particularly fond of Bruxelles-Midi either - I don't find it very easy to get around, architecturally it is nothing special and just feels like its had bits added on to it, the Eurostar terminal is cramped and dark with no natural light, and you definitely need to keep your wits about you outside of the station!
 
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Jan Mayen

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Can't think of one I hate, it's been a few years since I've been abroad, but there was one in Warsaw I found frustrating. I couldn't work out which platform was which and set off in the wrong direction. Fortunately, I realised what was happening and got out at the next station, then got a train heading where I wanted to go. A bit like getting a train at New Street thinking you were going to Leamington Spa, but ending up at Wolverhampton.
 

cle

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Came here for Penn. But that is the American way (per Sants as someone mentioned) - even Philly 30th St, which is America's Second Station after GCT, has the dingy, narrow underground set-up. As a well-fed country, their escalators are stupidly narrow too and people are scared to walk on them.
 
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Of the Paris stations, Montparnasse is the worst in my opinion - dismal 1960s 'architecture' and a very inconvenient interchange with the Metro. The concourse is far too small and always packed with passengers waiting for their train to come on the departure board. The passenger facilities are very poor and the booking-office always seems to have huge queues. If you are really lucky (not) your train will be from the 'annexe' - Vaugirard (for Granville etc.) It is not an inspiring station for some of the premier TGV routes in France.

Bercy is another dismal dump - essentially the overflow for Gare de Lyon (for Clermont Ferrand etc.) Austerlitz is currently in the course of being ruined with hideous over-track development. Conversely, I quite like the Gare du Nord - it has fine train shed and flamboyant facade - the concourse just needs a radical declutter and overhaul. Gare de l'Est does have quite a fine entrance hall (although most folk approach from the sides), but yes the concourse and platform canopies are very utilitarian. St. Lazare has been quite nicely restored, although with the inevitable 'retail experience'.
 

Birdbrain

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Agreed the new Belgrade is awful. I actually like Kobanya Kispest though, it’s real.
 

alex397

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It was closed to enable the railway right of way to be redeveloped as part of the Belgrade Waterfront project. Transport experts criticised the closure.
Indeed. You can’t get in the way of ‘progress’!
There was a display at the airport, including a model of the development, which has the old Main station on it. At least the building will survive. I don’t understand why the railway couldn’t have been incorporated into the development, and if it was in the way, it could have been put in a tunnel or have large bridges going over it.
 

bussikuski179

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I despise, absolutely despise, Malaga Centro Alameda. It’s way too small, always crowded and I never get a seat, whether it be 8 in the morning, 4 in the afternoon, 12 midday, 9 in the evening or 2 at night, the trains are always completely packed and I have to stand at least until Torremolinos. Not nice when going almost the whole line, to Carvajal, which I always did since I lived there for a winter.
 

61653 HTAFC

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In defence of Brussels Midi, I don't think it's all that bad. It isn't the prettiest building but it's functional and fit for purpose, I didn't think the immediate surrounding area was all that bad either. Sure there's a few beggars outside, but show me a non-rural station that doesn't have that problem.
Midi reminds me of Euston in a lot of ways, much like Barcelona Sants reminds me of Birmingham New Street.
 

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