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Main entrance portico on Piazza Duca d'Aosta, 2016
|Location||Piazza Duca d'Aosta|
|Owned by||Rete Ferroviaria Italiana|
|Operated by||Grandi Stazioni|
|Opened||1 July 1931|
|Passengers||120 million per year|
Milano Centrale (Italian: Stazione Milano Centrale) is the main railway station of the city of Milan, Italy and is the largest train station in Europe by volume. The station is a terminus and located at the northern end of central Milan. It was officially inaugurated in 1931 to replace the old central station (built 1864), which was a transit station but with a limited number of tracks and space, so could not handle the increased traffic caused by the opening of the Simplon tunnel in 1906.
Milano Centrale has high speed connections to Turin in the west, Venice via Verona in the east and on the north-south mainline to Bologna, Rome, Naples and Salerno. The Simplon and Gotthard railway lines connect Milano Centrale to Bern and Geneva via Domodossola and Zürich via Chiasso in Switzerland.
Destinations of inter-city and regional railways radiate from Milano Centrale to Ventimiglia (border of France), Genova, Turin, Domodossola (border of Swiss Canton of Valais/Wallis), Tirano (border of Swiss Canton of Graubünden/Grisons), Bergamo, Verona, Mantova, Bologna and La Spezia.
The first Milano Centrale station opened in 1864 in the area now occupied by the Piazza della Repubblica, south of the modern station. It was designed by French architect Louis-Jules Bouchot (1817–1907) and its architectural style was reminiscent of Parisian buildings of that period. The station was designed to replace Porta Tosa station (opened in 1846 as the terminus of the line to Treviglio and eventually Venice) and Porta Nuova station (opened in 1850 as the second terminus on the line to Monza, which was eventually extended to Chiasso) and was interconnected with all lines, either existing or under construction, surrounding Milan. It remained in operation until 30 June 1931, when the current station was opened. There is now no trace of the old station left.
King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy laid the cornerstone of the new station on April 28, 1906, before a blueprint for the station had even been chosen. The last, real, contest for its construction was won in 1912 by architect Ulisse Stacchini, whose design was modeled after Union Station in Washington, DC, and the construction of the new station began. The purported style was an eclectic mix called "Assyrian-Lombard."
Due to the Italian economic crisis during World War I, construction proceeded very slowly, and the project, rather simple at the beginning, kept changing and became more and more complex and majestic. This happened especially when Benito Mussolini became Prime Minister, and wanted the station to represent the power of the Fascist regime. The major changes were the new platform types and the introduction of the great steel canopies by Alberto Fava; 341 m (1,119 ft) long and covering an area of 66,500 square metres (716,000 sq ft).
Construction resumed in earnest in 1925 and on July 1, 1931, the station was officially opened in the presence of Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano.
The station played a vital role during the Holocaust in Italy, when Jewish inmates from the San Vittore Prison, previously captured in northern Italy, would be taken to a secret track, Binario 21, underneath the station to be deported to extermination camps. Altogether, 15 deportation trains with 1,200 prisoners left the station from Binario 21. A Memoriale della Shoah was opened at the former platform in January 2013 to commemorate these events.
Its façade is 200 metres (660 ft) wide and its vault is 72 metres (236 ft) high, a record when it was built. It has 24 platforms. Each day about 330,000 passengers use the station, totaling about 120 million per year.
The station has no definite architectural style, but is a blend of many different styles, especially Liberty and Art Deco, but not limited to those. It is adorned with numerous sculptures. “The ‘incongruous envelope of stone’ (Attilio Pracchi) of this gigantic and monumental building dominates Piazza Duca d’Aosta.” 
On September 25, 2006, officials announced a €100 million project, already in progress, to refurbish the station. Of the total cost, €20 million has been allocated to restore "certain areas of high artistic value" while the remaining €80 million will be used for more general improvements to the station to make it more functional with the current railway services. The project includes moving the ticket office and installing new elevators and escalators for increased accessibility.
The station has 24 tracks. Every day about 320,000 passengers pass through the station using about 500 trains, for an annual total of 120 million passengers. The station is served by national and international routes, with both long-distance and regional lines. Daily international destinations include Bern, Lugano, Geneva, Zürich, Paris, Vienna, Marseille and Munich. The station is also connected to Milan-Malpensa Airport through the Malpensa Express airport train.
The following services call at the station (incomplete):
(CH for Switzerland, D for Germany, A for Austria, F for France, MN for Monaco)
On 11 December 2016, ÖBB will take over Deutsche Bahn's night trains. The Munich-Milan service will be withdrawn.
^ Train connects at Verona with ÖBB EuroNight Rome-Vienna: DB CityNightLine splits into two trains (first half couples with ÖBB Rome-Vienna and leaves for Vienna or Rome; second half continues to Munich or Milan). Vienna-Rome splits into two trains (first half continues to Rome or Vienna; second half couples with DB CityNightLine for Milan or Munich).
After the opening of Gotthard Base Tunnel, train services between Milan and Switzerland will increase in frequency from 11 December 2016. All SBB-CFF-FSS Eurocity will save 35 minutes of total journey time between Bellinzona and Arth-Goldau.
From December 2017, a new cross-border service Milan-Frankfurt (DB-SBB Eurocity) via Zürich will be operational.
|Preceding station||Trenitalia||Following station|
toward Bari Centrale
toward Turin Porta Nuova
toward Trieste Centrale
toward Basel SBB
toward Geneva Cornavin
toward Venice Santa Lucia
toward Paris-Gare de Lyon
|Preceding station||Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori||Following station|
|Preceding station||Trenord||Following station|
toward Verona Porta Nuova
Each platform is usually dedicated to some particular route. The current organization is as follows, although temporary changes may occur.
On the northern side of the railway yard there used to be a loop curve so that trains could turn around and reverse back into the station. The trains could so be displaced from the left side of the station to the right side and vice versa without crossing all the tracks. The tracks on the loop curve are partially broken up.
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