ANYONE who visited Friedrichstraße station in Berlin before the Iron Curtain fell would barely recognise it today. Last month German Railway completed a four-year rebuilding programme of this major interchange, and the grim building where east and west were strictly segregated - with the eastern platforms only accessible under the eyes of gun-toting frontier troops - is now but a distant memory.

Although more than 400 main line trains a day use the station, the programme of work costing DM220m has been completed without any major interruption to traffic. Reconstruction has allowed 50 retail outlets to be created, with sales potential to the 110000 passengers a day who use the station.

The main north and south concourses have been rebuilt, the overall glass roof has been modernised, platforms for S-Bahn and long-distance trains have been reconstructed, and 12 escalators installed to facilitate passengers moving between main line trains, S-Bahn services, U-Bahn trains and city trams.

Metro-North Railroad opened new entrances to New York’s Grand Central Terminal on August 18, built at a cost of US$112m. Passengers can now enter the station at 48th, 47th or 45th Street rather than using the concourse.