Looking at Buildings

Building Types



Many station buildings were designed with an eye to economy, using mass-produced materials in standardized sizes and forms. Once the railway lines were in place these could be transported at minimal cost, often from far away (though the use of local materials, especially stone and brick, remained common well into the twentieth century).

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Oxford Station (L&NWR)

The former London & North Western Railway station at Oxford (Rewley Road), a small terminus of 1851, was a pioneering example of the prefabricated method. It has a pre-cast ironGlossary Term skeleton frame, with a glazed roof and simple timber claddingGlossary Term. The building dates from the same year as the Great Exhibition building in London - the famous Crystal Palace - which was built on similar prefabricated principles by the very same contractors, Fox & Henderson (who also worked on the train shed at Paddington station in London, opened in 1854). The historical importance of Rewley Road station led to its re-erection at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre when the site was taken for a new building in 1999.

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Denham Golf Club

On many railways the station designs were standardized too, especially after the 1860s. One of the simplest was the 'pagoda' shelter used by the Great Western Railway from c. 1904. These were clad in corrugated iron, and served as shelters for lightly used stations without full-scale facilities.

The removal of ticket facilities from stations and the need to cut costs have led to the replacement of many older stations by basic shelters like these. When lines are restored to passenger use, or long-closed stations reopened, the new buildings also tend to be of this type.


Cast iron

Hard and brittle iron, cast in a mould to the required shape rather than forged. Compare wrought iron.


External covering or skin applied to a structure, especially a framed building.