Milton Keynes Central railway station

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Milton Keynes Central National Rail
Milton Keynes Central
The frontage to Milton Keynes Central, known locally as Station Square. Also visible are the bus stops, with local and long distance buses visible.
Place Milton Keynes
Local authority Milton Keynes
Coordinates 52°02′06″N 0°46′23″W / 52.035°N 0.773°W / 52.035; -0.773Coordinates: 52°02′06″N 0°46′23″W / 52.035°N 0.773°W / 52.035; -0.773
Grid reference SP841380
Station code MKC
Managed by London Midland
Owned by Network Rail
Number of platforms 7 (numbered 1–2, 2A, 3–6)
DfT category B
Live arrivals/departures and station information
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2002/03 Increase 3.925 million
2004/05 Decrease 3.815 million
2005/06 Increase 4.134 million
2006/07 Increase 4.557 million
2007/08 Increase 4.690 million
2008/09 Decrease 4.646 million
2009/10 Increase 4.917 million
2010/11 Increase 5.517 million
2011/12 Increase 5.558 million
2012/13 Increase 6.030 million
Key dates Opened 17 May 1982 (17 May 1982)
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Milton Keynes Central from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
Portal icon UK Railways portal

Milton Keynes Central railway station serves Central Milton Keynes and the surrounding area of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England. The station is located on the West Coast Main Line between the stations of Bletchley and Wolverton, both of which are also within Milton Keynes. The station is served by Virgin Trains inter-city services and by London Midland local services. Also, Southern provide services to South Croydon via West London. Ticket Gates are in operation.

This station is one of the five stations serving Milton Keynes. The others are Wolverton (north Milton Keynes), Bletchley (south Milton Keynes), Fenny Stratford (also south Milton Keynes) and Bow Brickhill (south-east Milton Keynes). In addition, Woburn Sands railway station is just outside the Milton Keynes boundary and serves the south-east of the Borough. Milton Keynes Central, which opened on 17 May 1982,[1] is by far the busiest and most important of these, as well as being the largest in terms of platforms in use, having overtaken Bletchley when platforms 2A and 6 became operational.

History and development[edit]


The station was opened in 1982 to serve the new town of Milton Keynes. Before it opened, Bletchley was the nearest station served by British Rail InterCity services.

2006–08 developments[edit]

The station lobby, with the huge National Rail logo above the entrance
Looking south from Milton Keynes Central, showing the bay platform 2A and the track on the left, which leads into platform 1 under the bridge. The bridge in the middle distance carries H6 Childs Way.

In May 2006, the Department of Transport announced a plan to upgrade the station.[2] The first phase added a down fast line platform 6, so that the existing platform 5 could be used for stopping express trains in either direction. The second phase provided an additional terminating bay platform (2A) for the Marston Vale Line Bedford/Bletchley service via the WCML to Milton Keynes Central. This new 5-car bay platform is indented into platform 1. The original platform 1 line was extended northwards from 'bay' to 'through' (becoming the up slow line), and platform 2 line is now a 'centre' terminating and reversing line, avoiding conflicting crossing movements. This work was completed on 29 December 2008. However, Marston Vale Line services to Bedford are not expected to start before 2012 at the earliest.[3]


Main article: East West Rail Link

The Department for Transport has approved (November 2011) reopening of the western section of the former Varsity Line from Oxford, including extension of the service via Bletchley and the WCML to Milton Keynes Central, with a pattern of direct services from Milton Keynes to Oxford and Reading and Milton Keynes to Aylesbury/High Wycombe/London Marylebone.[4] In April 2008, the Department for Transport responded to an e-petition for support on East West Rail by reiterating that they would encourage private funding.[5]

Platforms and layout[edit]

The main body of Milton Keynes Central, showing the triple island platform layout and the footbridge. The large station building provides the backdrop. Platform 6 is closest to the camera.

Milton Keynes Central has a total of seven platforms. Platforms 1 and 3 are the south and northbound slow platforms, while 4 and 6 are the south and northbound fast platforms. Platforms 2 and 5 are reversible, being slow and fast respectively. Platform 2 is frequently used by terminating services from London Euston and East Croydon, whilst platform 5 is used mainly by the London Midland service to Crewe. Platform 2A is a five-car south-facing bay platform built for the extension of Marston Vale Line services into Milton Keynes Central. The platform will also be used for Varsity Line services to Oxford and Aylesbury from 2017 (see 'Future Services' below). To the north of the station the six lines reduce to four (two slow and two fast), whilst there is a mile of five-track running to the south before this also reduces back to four.

Local facilities and interchange[edit]

The station is the terminus for many bus services and almost all intra-city buses stop there. These services are operated mostly by Arriva as well as some routes by Stagecoach and a number of independent operators. The frontage of the station has six bus stops, four for local services and two for long-distance services. Stagecoach operate four major long-distance routes from here. Their 99 coach route runs to Luton Airport via Luton railway station, providing a direct link between the West Coast Main Line and the Midland Main Line.[6] Their X5 coach route between Oxford and Cambridge stops here and their X4 and X7 interurban bus routes to Northampton, Leicester and Peterborough also call. Arriva the Shires and Essex also operate route 150 to Aylesbury, via Leighton Buzzard, which terminates at the station.[7] For National Express coach services, see Milton Keynes Coachway.

The main building of station photographed from platform 1

The station building is home to a shop and there are other shops and restaurants on the south side of the station square. There are a number of hotels on Midsummer Boulevard (which begins opposite the station and leads up into Central Milton Keynes). Numerous bus services each hour traverse Midsummer Boulevard, connecting the station to Midsummer Place and Central Milton Keynes Shopping Centre. The Milton Keynes redway system, a comprehensive network of cycle/pedestrian paths, connects to the station and its cycle parking facilities.

The station square itself is a favourite site for skateboarding and freestyle BMX and as a result the granite facings of the planting surrounds have suffered from the continuous bumping and grinding. This has lessened somewhat since the opening of a dedicated skateboarding park (Sk8 MK) close to the central bus station.[8] At the end of June 2011, the Borough Council announced that work would begin in August 2011 to restructure the lanes immediately in front of the station, giving turnback facilities to taxis (on the one hand) and minicabs and private cars (on the other), with two through routes for buses and coaches with associated shelters.[9]


A London Midland class 350 standing at platform 2 after having terminated with a service from London. This will form one of the two trains an hour which start from Milton Keynes Central when it returns to London.

London Midland[edit]

Milton Keynes Central is a principal stop on London Midland's services from Birmingham New Street to London and from Crewe to London Euston. All London-bound trains run to Euston, with some only stopping at Watford Junction or not stopping at all and other with a more intermittent stopping pattern. The pattern is as follows (some peak hour and morning/evening services call also at Apsley, Kings Langley and Bushey):

  • xx.05 Watford Junction and London Euston
  • xx.14 London Euston only
  • xx.21 Bletchley, Leighton Buzzard, Berkhamsted, Hemel Hempstead, Watford Junction and London Euston
  • xx.41 Bletchley, Leighton Buzzard and London Euston
  • xx.47 Bletchley, Leighton Buzzard, Cheddington, Tring, Berkhamsted, Hemel Hempstead, Watford Junction and London Euston

Northbound, London Midland's Birmingham New Street services operate to Northampton, Rugby and Coventry whilst the Crewe trains serve Nuneaton, Tamworth, Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent. There are five departures per hour to London Euston on a weekday, and four departures per hour to the north.

Before Milton Keynes Central was built. The WCML near Loughton Siding signal box in 1957

Virgin Trains[edit]

Virgin Trains stop many of their inter-city services here, with three calls an hour in each direction off-peak on weekdays. Southbound services are to London Euston, northbound services are to Glasgow/Edinburgh via Birmingham New Street, to Manchester Piccadilly, and to Chester (with some extending to Bangor and Holyhead). Additional services operate in the mornings and evenings to Liverpool Lime Street, Preston/Glasgow Central via the Trent Valley line and to Wolverhampton.


Since 2009 Milton Keynes has also been served by Southern, who provide an hourly service to South Croydon, running via west London and connecting with services to Brighton. Across the three operators, seven trains per hour head north and nine south from the station.

Future services[edit]

From 2019, services will operate over the East West Rail Link westwards via Winslow to Aylesbury, High Wycombe and London Marylebone and to Bicester Town, Oxford and Reading.[10][11]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Rugby   London Midland
London — Crewe
  London Euston
Wolverton   London Midland
West Coast Main Line
Coventry or
  Virgin Trains
WCML West Midlands Route
  London Euston or
Watford Junction
Stoke on Trent or Crewe   Virgin Trains
WCML Manchester Route
  London Euston or
Watford Junction
Crewe   Virgin Trains
WCML North Wales Route
  London Euston
Terminus   Southern
Milton Keynes — South Croydon
Future services
Terminus   East West Rail Link
Milton Keynes Central — Oxford and Reading
Terminus   East West Rail Link, London — Aylesbury
Milton Keynes Central — London Marylebone

In film[edit]

The station and its plaza were used in the movie Superman IV: The Quest for Peace as a substitute for the United Nations building. Other scenes were shot in the Central Milton Keynes area.


  1. ^ Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 160. ISBN 1-85260-508-1. R508. 
  2. ^ West Coast Main Line: Progress Report – May 2006
  3. ^ More delays to Bedford-Milton Keynes [Central] rail link Luton Today 27 August 2009
  4. ^ East-West Rail Consortium: Western Section: Final Report 5.1 p38
  5. ^ "East-west-rail – epetition reply". Retrieved 27 April 2008. 
  6. ^ "VT99 Timetable". Borough of Milton Keynes / Stagecoach. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ sk8m8 : Sk8MK Skate Plaza – Milton Keynes
  9. ^ Station Square Improvements – Milton Keynes Borough Council
  10. ^ RAIL Magazine, Issue 685, 14–28 December 2011, Pages 10–11
  11. ^ Bucks Herald (31 March 2014). "Disappointment as East West Rail delayed by two years". Retrieved 1 May 2014. 

External links[edit]