This subject is related to the Combine era.

City 17 Trainstation

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This subject is related to the Combine era.

This article is about the Half-Life 2 trainstation. For the Episode One trainstation, see Technical Trainstation.

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Trainstation facade.jpg
City 17 Trainstation
General information

The Uprising


City 17


N/A, later refurbished by the Combine


Combine occupation



Game information
  • d1_trainstation_01
  • d1_trainstation_02
  • d1_trainstation_06
  • d3_c17_03
"Welcome. Welcome to City 17. It's safer here."
Wallace Breen[src]

The City 17 Trainstation, also referred to as Workforce Intake Hub[6] in Combine phraseology, is the first location visited by Gordon Freeman in Half-Life 2. It is a passenger train station converted by the Combine as the primary hub of transit between City 17 and other cities or Nova Prospekt. It appears in the chapters Point Insertion, "A Red Letter Day" and Anticitizen One.


The food hall inside the trainstation.

Under the main glass roof, several platforms receive Citizens from other cities and locations coming in old, battered and reused trains. Upon arrival, Wallace Breen welcomes them in one of his Breencast speeches. Citizens are instructed by Metro Cops to leave their luggage after getting off the train. City Scanners are flying around. After a turnstile follows a corridor leading to the waiting room where the schedules are displayed (which list other number cities, such as City 16, 15, 13, et al). After that follows a security checkpoint, with Metro Cops guarding entrances. From there, three paths are possible: one leads to the Trainstation Plaza, the second leads to interrogation rooms where Gordon Freeman reunited with Barney Calhoun and Isaac Kleiner, and the third leads to the platform where Razor Trains leave to Nova Prospekt. The Plaza path leads to a corridor that then leads to the former ticket hall of the station, transformed into a food hall, where Citizens queue for their food packages at a ration dispenser. There, another Breencast discussing the concept of instinct is also broadcast. Another corridor leads to the Trainstation Plaza, where the same Breencast is broadcast on a screen attached to an obelisk, facing the trainstation main facade. Each road is blocked by Combine Barricade checkpoints, leading to different precincts and watched by cameras. A Combine Watchtower is also attached to one of the buildings. By the time of the City 17 uprising, the main trainstation entrance is sealed by Combine technology[7] and the whole area is heavily damaged, with Combine Smart Barriers having destroyed most of the surrounding buildings. At this point, a Breencast about collaborating with the Combine is broadcast.[8]

Related Achievements[edit]

Half-Life 2
Hl2 put canintrash.png Submissive (5G)
Put the can in the trash.
Hl2 hit cancop withcan.png Defiant (5G)
Hit the trashcan cop with the can.

Behind the scenes[edit]

Facade evolution[edit]

The WC map pack contains several maps showing the evolution of the trainstation facade and the plaza, most of them last edited in 2002, after which the trainstation was remade almost from scratch. The trainstation main entrance was never to be used since the player was to access the plaza from a tunnel coming from the Combine Factories area, the first City 17 area visited right after the trainstation. It is unknown what were the plans for the trainstation itself at this point of development, since the only known WC map pack maps of the trainstation's interior are from the same era that the ones used in the Half-Life 2 leak, which are almost identical to the final version; no maps of the early interior seen in the concept art by Viktor Antonov can be found in the WC map pack, only the maps it was derived from, i.e. the stenographer's chasm building in the adjacent Combine Factories area.[9][10][11] The old City 17 originally contained several plazas (the trainstation one, the Breen/Consul statue one, the Breen/Consulcast one, etc.) which were eventually merged into a single plaza.

  1. This first known version shows the trainstation located along a road near the Combine Factories area. The facade is made of bricks and features three pediments and three arches on the main building.[12] As seen in concept art, the platforms are located behind, in a large hangar with a glass roof (derived from the stenographer's chasm building), black and white tiles on the floors and a deep chasm in the middle, reaching down into the rock. Two tracks are parallel to the trainstation's main facade and connect to the Combine Factories area on one side and other parts of the city on the other side. Many other tracks go in several directions above and below the main tracks, deep into the chasm. The exterior is filled with Metro Cops and Combots. A brush APC is parked nearby while Citizens are queuing.[12]
  2. The road is enlarged to become a plaza, the building is opened, some prototype Combine technology is added inside (not shown). The brick textures are replaced by stone textures and the building is emptied. The glass-roofed building is completely remade and features more stone ornaments. Two stone columns are added on the plaza.[13] The nearby Combine Factories are moved to another map, while the improved glass-roofed building can be found in some subsequent versions.[14]
  3. The building with pediments is replaced by another smaller stone building, also with three arches on the main building. The plaza gets even larger.[15]
  4. The new stone building is modified, more columns are added, and it features a lift and a cable car that crosses the plaza. The stone columns are replaced by actual models, each one with a horse on its top (one exemplar of the column appears at the end of the Half-Life 2 chapter "Follow Freeman!"). The APC is also replaced by the first APC model. The Citizens queuing, the Metro Cops and the Scanners are still there. The Combine Factories are now completely separated from the map (they are present in e3_industrial, which is based on the directly preceding map). This is the map e3_terminal (a modified version of d1_terminal_01), which was to be shown at E3 2002 and involve a battle between Rebels and Combine forces, including a Combine Guard. It is also featured in the Half-Life 2 E3 2002 Trailer. The next version, remade almost from scratch, is the current seen in Half-Life 2.



Budapest Western railway station.
  • The City 17 Trainstation was designed by Viktor Antonov. In Raising the Bar, he states that the first version of the Trainstation was much more fantasist and very close to a trainstation located at Budapest and designed by Gustave Eiffel, designer of the Eiffel Tower. He adds that the final version was more closely based on a train station near where he used to live in Paris.[16] However he might refer only to the inside of the trainstation (thus the halls and corridors), as the final version of the main facade and the platforms in the back are still reminiscent of that Budapest trainstation, that appears to be the Budapest-Western Railway Terminal ("Budapest Nyugati pályaudvar" in Hungarian). Simplifying the facade clearly reveals the Half-Life 2 trainstation.
  • The player's path through the trainstation was meant to play a role similar to that of the tram ride in Half-Life, i.e. reveal the story setting to the player. In Half-Life 2, the story would unfold at the player's own speed, rather than on a fixed rail, and come about through interaction with the characters naturally found in that setting.[16]
  • The Trainstation Plaza was originally called "Terminal Square", then "Terminal Plaza", which constitutes most of the E3 map "Terminal". The "Terminal Hotel" seen on the plaza in the retail version is a reminiscence of this old name.
  • The scene where Barney calls Kleiner in his lab to tell him Gordon has returned is a bit longer in the Half-Life 2 leak. Most of the sentences were kept but rerecorded, while others, revealing more plot and setting information to the player, have been cut.[17]
  • Early Half-Life 2 screenshots and the leak show that the Citadel originally appeared in the first map, and was to be seen from the tracks behind the platforms, where the game starts. As Gordon does not go to that location after the teleportation failure in Kleiner's Lab, as he was not to discover the Citadel before the plaza and as the area beyond the glass roof cannot be seen in the final game, it was deemed irrelevant and was removed.
  • Strangely enough, Kleiner's Lab is extremely close to the City 17 Trainstation. Obvious security precautions would have rather placed the lab very far from a very crowded and security-enforced place like a train station. An explanation for this choice is that several levels originally set between the train station and the lab were cut from the final version, such as the Manhack Arcade and the Combine Factories. Therefore the original lab was originally much farther from the train station than it is now.


Concept art[edit]




List of appearances[edit]

Main games[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. This image is still on the Half-Life 2 cover art as of today, even if that map and the NPCs' skins were cut from the retail version. The first Half-Life 2 trailer features other signs on the building on the left.
  2. Note that the cable car and its mechanism on top of the trainstation building appear to be scrapped in this version of the map, instead being replaced by three Combine Watchtowers.


Preceded by
Half-Life 2 story arc journey Succeeded by
Kleiner's Lab