Milton Keynes Central railway station
|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||Central Milton Keynes|
|Local authority||Borough of Milton Keynes|
|Managed by||London Midland|
|Owned by||Network Rail|
|Number of platforms||7 (numbered 1–2, 2A, 3–6)|
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|Key dates||Opened 17 May 1982|
|Original company||British Rail|
|2008||Platforms 2A and 6 added|
|National Rail – UK 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.|
|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 intercity services, and by London Midland and Southern regional services.
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, 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
The station was opened by British Rail in 1982. Before it opened, Bletchley railway station was the main station for Milton Keynes, served by British Rail InterCity services. These services moved to the new station, downgrading Bletchley.
In May 2006, the Department of Transport announced a plan to upgrade the station. 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), nominally to extend the Marston Vale Line Bedford/Bletchley service via the WCML to Milton Keynes Central. This 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. As of 2014[update], a direct service between Bedford and Milton Keynes is not in any published plan, being overtaken by later events (see next).
The Department for Transport has approved (November 2011) reopening of the western section of the former Varsity Line from Oxford, with services via Bletchley and the WCML to Milton Keynes Central. This will provide direct services between Milton Keynes and Reading via Oxford, and between Milton Keynes and London Marylebone via Aylesbury/High Wycombe.
Platforms and layout
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 used by terminating services from London Euston and East Croydon, whilst platform 5 is used by London Midland services to Birmingham New Street and Crewe. Platform 2A is a five-car south-facing bay platform originally intended for the extension of Marston Vale Line services into Milton Keynes Central. This proposal no longer appears in plans for the East West Rail Link, being replaced by a planned service to/from Oxford. Meanwhile, platform 2A is used only by exception when additional platform capacity is needed, such as when there is a service delay. The platform will also be used for services to Oxford and Aylesbury from 2019 (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.
Ticket gates are in operation.
Local facilities and interchange
The station building has a shop and café. 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). Taxi and minicab services operate to left and right of the main entrance.
The station is the terminus or key intermediate destination for many bus services; 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. Numerous bus services each hour traverse Midsummer Boulevard, connecting the station to Central Milton Keynes Shopping Centre and Milton Keynes Theatre (for theatre district and Xscape). There is a public toilet in this area.
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. 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. For National Express coach services, see Milton Keynes Coachway.
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 former central bus station (now the Buszy youth centre).
Milton Keynes Central is a principal start and terminus for London Midland's services to/from London Euston, and a major stop on others terminating/initiating at Northampton, Crewe or Birmingham New Street. During off-peak daytime hours, London Midland operate five departures per hour to Euston, two trains per hour to Birmingham New Street (via Northampton), one train per hour to Crewe, and one train per hour that terminates at Northampton. There are additional London Midland services during the rush hour.
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 certain trains extending to Bangor and Holyhead for ferry connections to Dun Laoghaire or to Dublin Port). Additional services operate in the morning peak and evening peaks to and from Liverpool Lime Street, Preston, Glasgow Central (via Trent Valley Line), Wolverhampton and other destinations.
Since 2009 Milton Keynes has also been served by Southern, who provide an hourly service to South Croydon, running via the West London line. Additional Southern services operate to/from Kensington Olympia, Clapham Junction, Balham, Selhurst or East Croydon.
Across the three operators, six trains per hour head north and nine south from the station.
In January 2015 and despite Network Rail support, the Office of Rail Regulation refused the application from the Great North Western Railway Company to run a competing inter-city service on the West Coast Main Line, for reasons that included protection of the revenues of Virgin Trains and thence payments to the Department for Transport and because of capacity issues.
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.
- Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 160. ISBN 1-85260-508-1. R508.
- West Coast Main Line: Progress Report – May 2006
- East-West Rail Consortium: Western Section: Final Report 5.1 p38
- "VT99 Timetable" (PDF). Borough of Milton Keynes / Stagecoach. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
- sk8m8 : Sk8MK Skate Plaza – Milton Keynes
- RAIL Magazine, Issue 685, 14–28 December 2011, Pages 10–11
- Bucks Herald (31 March 2014). "Disappointment as East West Rail delayed by two years". Retrieved 1 May 2014.
- West Coast Main Line open-access bid rejected - International Rail Journal, 8 January 2015
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Milton Keynes Central railway station.|
- Train times and station information for Milton Keynes Central railway station from National Rail
- Pendolino rounds Wolverton bend before coming to a stop at Milton Keynes Central