Marc Weller, Berne

Downtown Switzerland

Zurich's main station features in the third part of the definitive stamp series "Swiss railway stations". The enormous building with its impressive hall and lateral tract has a long history.

Zurich main station is by far the largest and busiest station in Switzerland. It also handles the largest volume of traffic in the country. With around 3,000 trains per day it is even one of the most heavily used stations in the world.

The building, with its impressive hall and the lateral tract on the Bahnhofstrasse side, was built by the architect Jakob Friedrich Wanner in 1871. He constructed it under the influence of a design by the renowned architect Gottfried Semper. Semper lived in Zurich from 1855 to 1871, and during this period he was responsible for building what is now the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). He was a representative of the Historicism and Renaissance Revival schools. The main entrance with its triumphal arch at the end of Bahnhofstrasse is typical of this style of architecture.

The station was erected in place of a previous building constructed in 1847 as the terminus for the Swiss Northern Railway (SNB). Informally known as the Spanisch-Brötli-Bahn (the Spanish rolls line), this line was the first railway to open in Switzerland.

The station underwent numerous refurbishments and expansions. Latterly the terminal station was extended to create the two subterranean through stations of Museumstrasse (1990) and Löwenstrasse (2014).

Jürg Freudiger