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Beecroft railway station, in Sydney, Australia, is an island-platform station in the middle of a reverse curve An island platform (also known as center platform or centre platform) on a railway is where a single platform lies between at least two tracks, serving both of them. Usually, the two tracks are on the same line, running in opposite directions. One station may have two island platforms in a four-track express configuration; in this case each platform may serve trains in one direction, with local and express trains stopping on opposite sides of a single platform. Contents 1 Advantages and tradeoffs 2 Constant track centres 3 Gallery 4 References // Advantages and tradeoffs Island platforms generally have a lower construction cost and require less space than side platforms, a pair of separate platforms with the tracks running between them. However, island platforms may become overcrowded, especially at busy stations, and this can lead to safety issues such as Clapham Common (see image) and Angel (now rebuilt) on the London Underground, or else the curves at either end of an Island platform can impose undesirable speed limits, such as at Belmore, Turrumurra and in Melbourne. Additionally, the need for the tracks to diverge around the center platform requires extra width along the right-of-way on each approach to the station, especially on high-speed lines. Track centers vary from rail systems throughout the world, but are normally 3 to 5 meters (10 to 16 ft). If the island platform is 6 meters (20 ft) wide, the tracks have to slew out by the same distance. While this is not a problem on a new line that is being constructed, it makes it impossible to build a new station on an existing line without altering the tracks. In addition, a single island platform makes it quite difficult to have through tracks (used by trains that do not stop at that station), which are usually between the local tracks (where the island would be). Clapham Common station on the London Underground Northern Line. A common configuration in busy locations on high speed lines uses a pair of island platforms, with slower trains diverging from the main line so that the main line tracks remain straight. High-speed trains can therefore pass straight through the station, while slow trains pass around the platforms. This arrangement also allows the station to serve as a point where slow trains can be passed by faster trains. A variation at some stations is to have the slow and fast pairs of tracks each served by island platforms. A rarer layout, as at 34th Street in New York, uses two side platforms for local services with an island in between for fast services. Island platforms are popular in the modern railway world for several reasons. Besides their lower construction cost, island platforms also allow facilities such as escalators, elevators, shops, toilets and waiting rooms to be shared between both tracks rather than being duplicated or present only on one side. On commuter rail lines, passengers tend to use trains in one direction in the morning and the other direction in the evening. With two side platforms, one platform becomes crowded while the other is deserted. An island platform prevents this as the same large platform is used for trains in both ways. Passenger convenience is another significant consideration. Generally, even able-bodied passengers dislike climbing steps to pass between platforms, and in some areas subways (i.e., pedestrian walkways) under the railway line may also pose vandalism and security problems. A growing consideration is the requirement for wheelchair accessible stations. An island platform makes it easier for wheelchair users and the infirm to change services, but it means that on a station at ground level, it is impossible to reach the platform without using a bridge, subway or track crossing. On the other hand, island platform subway stations allow passengers to use any station entrance and eliminate the need for some signage. The historical use of island platforms depends greatly upon the location. In the United Kingdom the use of island platforms is relatively common when the railway line is in a cutting or raised on an embankment, as this makes it easier to provide access to the platform without walking across the tracks. Many of the stations on the Great Central Railway (now closed) were constructed in this form. This was because the line was planned to connect to a Channel Tunnel. If this happened, the lines would need to be compatible with continental loading gauge, and this would mean it would be easy to change the line to a larger gauge, by moving the track away from the platform to allow the wider bodied continental rolling stock to pass freely while leaving the platform area untouched. In Toronto 29 subway stations use island platforms (a few on the Bloor line and namely in the newer stations, a few on the YUS line and all of the Sheppard Line) and 1 station on the Scarborough Rapid Transit line (Scarborough Centre). Constant track centres In Sydney on the Eastern Suburbs Railway and the Epping Chatswood Railway the twin tunnels are widely spaced and the tracks can remain at a constant track centres while still leaving room for the island platforms. Gallery Ashton-under-Lyne station an island platformed station in England The underground island platform in Dingxi Station of the Taipei Metro system. Navy Yard station on the Washington Metro Green Line after a baseball game at Nationals Park. Agios Dimitrios Station in Athens Metro Woodcrest Station on the PATCO line in Cherry Hill, NJ has 2 island platforms between 3 tracks. Dual island platforms at Porte de Charenton on the Paris Metro. Jardim São Paulo station on the São Paulo Metro. References Railway Technical Web Pages v · d · eRailway track layouts Running lines Single track • Passing loop • Double track • Quadruple track • Crossover Rail sidings Balloon loop • Headshunt • Rail yard • Classification yard Junctions Flying junction • Level junction • Double junction • Facing and trailing • Grand union • Wye • Switch / turnout / points • Swingnose crossing • Level crossing Stations Side platform • Island platform • Bay platform • Split platform • Terminal station • Balloon loop • Spanish solution • Cross-platform interchange Hillclimbing Horseshoe curve • Zig Zag / Switchback • Spiral