A side platform is a platform positioned to the side of a pair of tracks at a railway station, a tram stop or a transitway. A pair of side platforms are often provided on a dual track line with a single side platform being sufficient for a single track line. An alternative arrangement is to use an island platform where a single platform is sandwiched between a pair of tracks which divide to accommodate the platform. Side platforms may result in a wider overall footprint for the station compared to an island platform where a single width of platform can be 'shared' by both tracks.
Where the station is close to a level crossing (grade crossing) the platforms may either be on the same side of the crossing road or alternatively may be staggered in one of two ways. With the 'near-side platforms' configuration, each platform appears before the intersection and with 'far-side platforms' they are positioned after the intersection.
In some situations a single side platform can be served by multiple vehicles simultaneously with scissors crossing (points) being provided to allow access mid-way along its length.
Most stations with two side platforms have an 'Up' platform which is used by trains heading towards the primary destination of the line, with the other platform being the 'Down' platform which takes trains heading the opposite way. Normally, the main facilities of the station are located on the 'Up' platform with the other platform accessed from a footbridge, subway or a track crossing. However, in many cases the station's main buildings are located on whichever side faces the town or village the station serves.
Larger stations may have two side platforms with several island platforms in between.