The first train stations were built more than 150 years ago. Their floor plans both developed from and were informed by circulation requirements arising from the need to move passengers and trains safely and efficiently. While the prominent route of movement through stations was largely determined by their layout, certain architectural elements appeared in many stations regardless of their plans. Many of these features first appeared in response to functional needs but later acquired symbolic significance, transforming them into railway iconography. The resulting iconography not only helped distinguish train stations from other types of architecture but enhanced the legibility of the spaces within the stations, making wayfinding easier for its users.
Quinn, T. R. (2008). Train Stations: Iconography, Wayfinding, and the Evolution of a Type. Inquiry: The University of Arkansas Undergraduate Research Journal, 9(1). Retrieved from https://scholarworks.uark.edu/inquiry/vol9/iss1/16