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I just came across platform zero at JR Kyoto station. Are there places with more exotic station numbers, such as negative numbers, fractions or complex numbers? I'm interested in places that have such numbers as a joke, and places that have it for a serious reason.

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I'm gonna be bad cop here because I think this is the kind of question our overlords want to avoid, it doesn't have a "real problem you're trying to solve". –  hippietrail Sep 20 '12 at 7:44
    
@hippietrail Ordinarily I would agree with you but this one is kinda borderline. If you are looking for oddities at various rail stations during one's travel. –  Karlson Sep 20 '12 at 12:54
    
I do programming during my trips but I wouldn't ask programming questions here. I think the same reasoning goes into why Stack Exchange doesn't like shopping questions for instance. Things you could do while either travelling or not don't become travel questions because you do things on your trip. They're supposed to be inherently travel related. But yeah this is just me trying to follow Stack Exchange standards. It would be helpful if the SE staff advised us from time to time how to keep on track. –  hippietrail Sep 20 '12 at 15:12
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I voted to close, not because this isn't a “real problem” (I don't care about that), but because this is asking for a list of places. Such lists do not work on Stack Exchange — SE wants answers, not items. –  Gilles Sep 20 '12 at 20:26
    
eliciting list-style answers it's okay if very specific criteria are given, as per faq. I think this question meets the guidelines. –  Geeo Oct 9 '13 at 10:33
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5 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

In Amsterdam Centraal platforms are quite long, thus allowing two different trains to stop at each end of the platform. On which end of the train stops is denoted by a letter, either "a" or "b" after the number of the track. This causes huge confusion among travelers. In more than one occasion I have seen people who wanted to go to Schiphol (the airport) on the train to Lelystad (the opposite direction).

Also what's quite unusual, there are 3 tracks between each pair of platforms, with the middle track (inaccessible to passengers) is also numbered.

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Quite typical for many Dutch train stations. –  MastaBaba Sep 20 '12 at 16:33
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What surprised me with the answers to this question was how confusing some platform numbers can be. Yours is one of the best examples of this, so you get the answer tick! –  Andrew Grimm Oct 19 '12 at 9:54
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It's not a real platform, but King's Cross station in London has a faux Platform 9¾ (9 and 3/4), in reference to the platform in the Harry Potter novels. It has a luggage trolley half embedded in the wall, to allow people to take photographs with it.

Platform 9 3/4

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It even shows on the station map! –  Gagravarr Sep 20 '12 at 8:20
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Haha.. I wonder which books they're selling in the window to the left? :) –  Molomby Sep 27 '12 at 8:35
    
It also has a platform 0 paragraph 3 of the history section in your link states it was opened in 2010 –  Stuart Oct 5 '12 at 18:27
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London King's Cross also has a Platform 0.

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Not really unusual but different:

In France most stations number their platforms starting at 1. But some stations have chosen to use letters instead, or mix both. This includes the Lyon station, one of Paris' busiest train terminals. The concourse is divided in two parts; one has the numbers while the other has the letters.

This is reflected in the passenger waiting process: in SNCF stations, the track number is shown 20 minutes before departure, in order to avoid passengers rushing to the platform sooner as the train is still being prepared, or another arriving train is releasing its passengers on the other side of the same platform. Before the track number appears, the concourse in which to wait is mentioned, like "Hall 1" (numbers) or "Hall 2" (letters).

Another quirk in the same area is that, a few hundred meters apart, there is another, smaller terminal, the Bercy station. It is mainly used for regional trains, sleepers trains to Italy, some chartered trains and motorail services. It has a few tracks only (let's say about 6, I do not remember the exact count), which are lettered in alphabetic order starting where the Lyon station's lettering has stopped.

For instance, the last letter used at Lyon station is N. At Bercy station, there is a track lettered R and no A.

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In most SNCF stations, the exact location within a platform (Repère) is lettered. But in my experience, the lettering is reversed: starting from Z and going back as far as needed by the length of the platform. I never found a A. –  mouviciel Sep 20 '12 at 19:10
    
That's right. I have not checked how those positions are marked on the lettered tracks of the aforementioned stations. Reverse alphabetic order of positions seems logical, so that there remains a gap in the lettering to avoid confusion. This is the case in Bordeaux St Jean station, which has 3 dead-end tracks for regional trains numbered A B C without positions since such trains are short and non-reserved. In the same station, positions on long run-through platforms are lettered in the R-Z range. –  DavLink Sep 21 '12 at 8:45
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In Dordrecht (the Netherlands), they've added tracks without renumbering the existing tracks. In particular, they've added them "before" track 1, so they logically would have to be 0 and -1. But to make it confusing, they're numbered 15, 16 and 20 (where 15 and 20 are east and west of the station building).

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