Experiencing the romance of the terminal at Zürich Hauptbahnhof

Now I am not really Sheldon Cooper, tall and sometimes awkward aside, I don’t have a crazy love of trains and am not a genius.

I take them because I need to get somewhere. I will admit to liking interchanges and terminals however, like how I tend to enjoy exploring airports.

It’s not the amenities, or the comfort – thought those help, its about the people passing though the interchange that makes it worth the exploration. There’s something incredibly mesmerizing about standing still at the centre of a busy terminal completely still as the souls of a million walk all around you whose life paths cross million others in a single day but never once meet each other.

Here at the terminal, the world was a stage for me to watch. I was not the actor though, I was the audience, a one-man audience with a million soul cast playing their roles with the most authentic of emotions. Oblivious to my knowledge a whirl of a narrativs going up around me simultaneously, some vying for attention as the main narrative others subtly hiding in the open.

There the people rush from one place to another, some clear of where they have to go, others confused about where they should go and still others wondering around with not intention to go anywhere.

The faces of the people at these terminals are the rainbow of emotions, there are those tearing from happiness and those weeping of sadness, others shed water from their eyes out of boredom and still some rub their eyes to hide their emotions.

This self indulgence can only be indulged in at terminals or interchanges full of people and the Zurich train station is one of those.

Located at the northern edge of the Zurich Altstadt, the station was originally built in 1847 and rebuilt in 2014. This railway station connects Zurich to all the major countries in continental Europe from Germany to Italy, and Austria to France. It is also a very important node in the Swiss transport system as many people live outside of Zurich and work in the city. You could argue that the breakdown of the station would render the city practically helpless.

It ranks the 5th most busy airport in all of Europe with just under 3000 trains pass through a day, 125 trains an hour, or 2 trains every minute. To service these trains and still run efficiently there are a total of 26 tracks for different types of trains. Despite those numbers, this station is ranked number 51 in the world (of the other 50 stations, 45 of them are in Japan) only, but it was one of the busiest train stations I had ever been at and a very large one and so I indulged for a while…

Is that person in the distance too tired to keep their eyes open? I wonder where they came from, did they not sleep well? Was the journey a long one? A train or plane arrived late, the door opens and out rush people, some clearly in a rush others relieved to finally be at the station.

One of the actors broke character and bumped into me. The play was over for the day, time to go somewhere else to explore.

I searched my pockets, it felt lighter…

Thankfully everything was still there.



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