Dresden and Hünfeld win Train Station of the Year 2014

Customer perspective: Pro-Rail Alliance names winning stations

Saxon jewel: The Dresden’s main station wins the title of Train Station of the Year 2014 in the city category.

Berlin, August 19, 2014. After making extensive inspection visits throughout Germany, the jury has reached its verdict: Dresden and Hünfeld are this year’s winners of the Train Station of the Year award. For the eleventh year in a row, the Pro-Rail Alliance has made the award for Germany’s most customer-friendly train station. The winner in the city category was Dresden, situated in the state of Saxony. The jury described the station as a monument to bright and uplifting lightness. In the small town category, the jury was won over by Hünfeld in the state of Hesse, described as being “idyllically rural with an overall concept.”

The jury of six members is made up of representatives from the rail customer groups Pro Bahn and DBV, the transport club VCD, the Autoclub Europa ACE, the German cyclist association ADFC and the German Pro-Rail Alliance.

Why Dresden and Hünfeld? The jury explains (in German)

Dresden main station: the jewel

How does a single building combine the splendour of past eras with the modern demand for functionality? “Dresden’s main station proves every day that such a balancing act is possible,” was the jury’s verdict. It is not only the fact that the magnificent building is both a railway terminus and a through station. After extensive rebuilding, and surviving flooding, the burden of history on this protected, sandstone ensemble was transformed into bright and uplifting lightness. The building’s quiet serenity shines down on travellers: there is no hectic rush in Saxony’s state capital. “It would be a real pity to simply rush to this jewel of a station for your onward journey.” The jury was unanimous: “The Train Station of the Year is like a good wine – it is there to be enjoyed.”

Hünfeld train station – rurally idyllic

The neo-classical reception station building is very clean and very green, with the meadows and fields of the Rhön biosphere reserve beginning immediately behind the tracks. “Hünfeld is a rural station in the best possible way,” was the jury’s verdict after its first-hand inspection in Hünfeld in Hesse. The town obviously decided to look after its guests in an exemplary manner. “You search in vain for travellers with question marks over their heads.” There is a travel agent in the building and unobtrusive signposts to the city centre and hiking routes outside. Travellers have to try hard to get lost. “In Hünfeld, the town’s desire to look after its guest is almost tangible,” said the jury. Its praise was not just aimed at the smart surroundings. “The station has a well thought out overall concept. This makes Hünfeld, the adopted home of the computer inventor Konrad Zuse, a credit to its ancestors.

The award for the small town category goes to the idyllic train station Hünfeld.

Eleven years of Train Station of the Year. Only a few states are still empty handed

“In the course of the competition’s eleven year history, nearly every German states has been represented by at least one winning station,” said Dirk Flege, jury member and managing director of the Pro-Rail Alliance, on Tuesday in Berlin. “Only Saarland, Rheinland Palatinate, Schleswig Holstein and, unfortunately, North Rhine-Westphalia have still not won any Train Station of the Year awards.” Flege pointed out that the jury spent a lot of time over the summer this year in North Rhine-Westphalia to finally discover a worthy station, but without success. “Quite obviously, levels of train station culture vary widely between the different states,” said Flege. The states with the most award winning stations are: Hesse (3), Lower Saxony (3), Baden-Württemberg (3) and Bavaria (3).

Out and about with the checklist

The Pro-Rail Alliance has made the awards for the ‘Train Station of the Year’ competition to Germany’s best station in a city and in a smaller town since 2004. Only stations that satisfy the needs of customers and citizens, according to a defined set of criteria, can receive the award. Objective demands such as customer information, cleanliness, and integration with the city and connections with other modes of transport are as important to clinching the vote as more subjective ‘feel-good’ factors. Dirty toilets, for example, are an obvious knockout factor. The previous winners were 2013: Göttingen and Oberursel, 2012: Bremen and Aschaffenburg, 2011: Leipzig and Halberstadt, 2010: Darmstadt and Baden-Baden, 2009: Erfurt and Uelzen, 2008: Karlsruhe and Schwerin, 2007: Berlin Main Station and Landsberg am Lech, 2006: Hamburg Dammtor and Oberstdorf, 2005: Mannheim and Wismar, and 2004: Hannover and Lübben.

Additional information (German)