Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A terminal station, or terminus (plural: termini) is commonly used to describe a bus station or train station/railway station. Specifically this refers to an end destination, where the route or line terminates.
In the context of rail transport, a terminal station refers to the termination of the railway line at that point. Hence, all platforms may be accessed without having to cross the rail tracks. This may not be true if the station yard lies behind the passenger station, but in this case, the station may not strictly be regarded as a terminus.
The largest and most famous rail terminal in the United States is that of Grand Central Terminal in New York City, USA. Often major cities will have one or more termini, rather than routes straight through the city. Some cities have both situations.
Usually a terminus is the end destination for any trains calling at the station, but this may not necessarily be the case. If the train must continue a journey after calling at a terminal station, the train may not continue in a straight line through the station, it must reverse out of the station.
In such a situation convenience of reversing direction is especially important. For such a train service preferably a train is used for which the driver just has to walk to the other side:
- Some locomotives can operate in push-pull mode, where they can either pull the carriages, or push them.
- Multiple units (diesel or electric) can usually operate in either direction.
If the locomotive cannot run in such a fashion, it must detach from the main train, and 'run around' to the other end of the train (or if it is blocked in by its own train, another engine must take out the train).
The same applies if the station is not a terminus, but the train service involves reversing direction anyway.
Examples of train routes involving reversing direction at a terminus:
- The Hague Centraal, Netherlands (gvc) (at night only): multiple unit.
- Antwerp Centraal, Belgium (weekends only): locomotive on one side and a passenger car with driver's cabin on the other side.
Examples of train routes involving reversing direction at a station that is not a terminus:
- Haarlem (hlm) and Utrecht Centraal (ut), Netherlands: multiple unit.
- Rotterdam Centraal (rtd), Netherlands (a few times a day on the route Amsterdam (asd) - Hoek van Holland (hld)): multiple unit.
Reversing direction often causes some worry to travellers who are inexperienced and have no detailed geographic knowledge of the railway lines: they think they will be going back all the way, but instead, there is of course a junction soon, where the train takes another branch than where it came from. Some travellers prefer facing forward; if possible they change place when there is a reversal of direction.
Train journeys through some cities, including Paris, often require alternative transport (metro, bus or taxi) from one terminus to the other, since they are not well connected by train.
See also Commuter train.
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