Peterborough railway station

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This article is about station in Cambridgeshire, England. For station in South Australia, see Peterborough railway station, South Australia.
Peterborough National Rail
Peterborough train station 5666.JPG
Station layout of Peterborough station.
Place Peterborough
Local authority City of Peterborough
Coordinates 52°34′29″N 0°15′01″W / 52.5748°N 0.2502°W / 52.5748; -0.2502Coordinates: 52°34′29″N 0°15′01″W / 52.5748°N 0.2502°W / 52.5748; -0.2502
Grid reference TL186988
Station code PBO
Managed by Virgin Trains East Coast
Number of platforms 7
DfT category B
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2002/03   3.387 million
2004/05 Increase 3.690 million
2005/06 Increase 3.720 million
2006/07 Increase 3.960 million
2007/08 Increase 4.071 million
2008/09 Increase 4.100 million
2009/10 Decrease 3.931 million
2010/11 Increase 4.077 million
2011/12 Increase 4.208 million
2012/13 Increase 4.290 million
August 1850 Opened
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Peterborough from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal
Derby – Lowestoft holiday express approaching by the Midland's Melton Mowbray line in 1962
View southward, towards Peterborough North station from Spital Bridge in 1962

Peterborough railway station serves the city of Peterborough, within Cambridgeshire, England. It is located approximately 76.5 miles (123.1 km) north of London Kings Cross on the East Coast Main Line. The station is a major interchange, and it benefits from serving both the north-south ECML, as well as East-West long-distance and local services. The station is managed by Virgin Trains East Coast. Ticket gates came into use at the station in 2012.


The station has a concourse and ticket office area which was internally redesigned and reopened in mid-2012. The concourse features both a newsagents style shop and a cafe. For general assistance there is a customer information point located on platform 2 by the concourse, as well as customer service offices on platform 5 and near the toilets on platform 2. Platforms 3, 4 and 5 are accessible by means of a passenger footbridge and also by a ramp bridge at the north end of the station.

Ongoing developments at a cost of £43m will see the platforms renumbered (Platform 1, a bay platform, will be removed as the current platform 2 will be extended, Platform 2 becomes platform 1, Platform 3 becomes platform 2, New platform 3, Platform 4 remains platform 4, Platform 5 remains platform 5, New platform 6, New platform 7) with a new pair of platforms built to the west of the existing platforms 4 and 5. The other new platform, platform 3, will be created by building a new platform face on the western side of the existing platform 3 thus providing a platform on the up fast line towards London.

There is on site car parking. Within a few minutes walk is Peterborough city centre, and the Queensgate shopping centre. As of March 2013, there is an automated cycle hire scheme outside the south end of the station building.


There are regular services to and from London King's Cross, which are operated by Virgin Trains East Coast and by Great Northern. Southbound EC services run either non-stop to the capital or call only at Stevenage, whilst northbound destinations served include Leeds, Newcastle Central and Edinburgh Waverley (though many Scottish services now run non-stop from London to York).[1] Great Northern trains start and terminate at Peterborough (twice each hour with peak period extras Mon-Sat) and serve the intermediate stations southwards.[2]

Cross Country and East Midlands Trains regional services run hourly, the former to Birmingham New Street via Leicester and Stansted Airport via Cambridge and the latter to Norwich and Liverpool Lime Street via Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester Piccadilly. EMT also operate local services to Spalding, Sleaford and Lincoln Central on an approximately hourly frequency (though morning peak and evening services only run as far as the former) and there is a two-hourly service to Ipswich via Ely and Bury St Edmunds run by Greater Anglia.

Sunday services run less frequently on the ECML, but on similar frequencies on the regional routes other than the Spalding line, which has no service.

Station layout[edit]

  • Platform 1 (old): South-facing bay platform, used predominantly for 4-carriage Great Northern Route services to and from London Kings Cross. Decommissioned & lifted in December 2013.
  • Platform 1: Through platform, predominantly used by Southbound Virgin Trains East Coast to Kings Cross. The services to and from Spalding occasionally use this platform. Renumbered from 2 in December 2013.
  • Platform 2: An island through platform (formerly numbered 3), mostly used by Great Northern and Virgin Trains East Coast services to Kings Cross. It is also used by the hourly service to Spalding & Lincoln, typically operated by class 153 units.
  • Platform 3: New though island platform alongside the up fast line, commissioned in December 2013. Used predominantly by Virgin Trains East Coast fast services to London, though some Great Northern suburban trains also use it; non-stop southbound trains also pass through this platform.
  • One through track between platforms 3 and 4 for non-stop passenger services. These are used by non-stop Virgin Trains East Coast trains northbound, and also by First Hull Trains and Grand Central Railway.
  • Platform 4: Through island platform, used predominantly by northbound Virgin Trains East Coast services to Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh Waverley. It is also used often by some East Midlands and CrossCountry train services.
  • Platform 5: Through island platform, adjacent to platform 4, used for CrossCountry services to Cambridge, Audley End & Stansted Airport via March & Ely and to Leicester and Birmingham New Street; East Midlands Trains to Norwich and Liverpool; and Greater Anglia services to Ipswich. Northbound Virgin Trains East Coast services can be diverted to platform 5 if required.
    • Platform 4 & 5 are used in the evening peak by terminating Great Northern services from Kings Cross, so the stock can be taken to the Nene Carriage Sidings located to the south of the station.
  • Platform 6 & 7: For a time freight was using the platform 6 face but a temporary slewing of track has been carried out to allow freight to take the avoiding line to the extreme west of the station. This will be maintained as the freight avoiding line when the redevelopment is completed although access to it will be from a new junction north of the Mayors Walk overbridge. The new platforms were commissioned over the Christmas break 2013.[3] Services to Birmingham, Ipswich, Stansted Airport, Norwich & Liverpool now use these platforms.
  • Freight lines: one freight line is located beyond platform 7. This is frequently used by the many freight services that pass through Peterborough along with platform 4 for southbound services. Much freight is to/from Felixstowe although other destinations are served.

Changes 2012[edit]

Network Rail spent a reported £2.5 million on Peterborough station and its surroundings, in a move they say is intended to increase passenger numbers.[citation needed] This upgrade has seen changes to the booking office and station concourse building along with the introduction of ticket gates. In addition some refurbishment work and changes have been made to the waiting rooms and other facilities on platform 4/5.


Peterborough Railway Line Diagram
Great Northern Railway to Grantham
Syston and Peterborough Railway
Peterborough to Lincoln Line
Werrington Junction
Walton (Cambridgeshire)
M&GNR to Wisbech North
Wisbech Junction
Westwood Junction
New England sidings
North Station (GNR Station)
Peterborough Crescent
River Nene
Ely Line to Peterborough East
Fletton Junction
N&P Line to Orton Waterville
Great Northern Railway to London

There have been a number of railway stations in Peterborough: Peterborough East (1845–1966), the current station which opened in 1850 (previously known by various names including Peterborough North); and briefly Peterborough Crescent (1858–1866).

Peterborough was the site of the first mast to be installed as part of the East Coast Main Line electrification project to Edinburgh. This can be found behind platform 1.


Peterborough East opened on 2 June 1845[4] along with the Ely to Peterborough Line built by Eastern Counties Railway (ECR) and the Northampton and Peterborough Railway built by the London and Birmingham Railway, both of which provided routes to London. The Syston and Peterborough Railway by Midland Railway was opened in 1846. On 7 August 1862, the ECR became part of the Great Eastern Railway (GER).[5]

The Great Northern Railway (GNR) arrived in Peterborough with the opening of the major portion of its "loop line" between Peterborough, Spalding, Boston and Lincoln, which opened on 17 October 1848; at first GNR trains used the ECR station at Peterborough East.[6] During the construction of the GNR line south to London, it was decided that the GNR would need their own station at Peterborough; this was decided upon in December 1849,[7] and opened on 7 August 1850[4] together with the new line, which originally terminated at Maiden Lane, the permanent London terminus at Kings Cross not being ready until 14 October 1852.[8] The GNR's Peterborough station is the current station, but it has had several names: originally simply Peterborough, it later became Peterborough Priestgate, then Peterborough Cowgate in 1902, reverting to Peterborough in 1911.[4]

On 1 January 1923 the GER and GNR became constituents of the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER), which found itself with two similarly named stations in Peterborough; to distinguish them, they were given new names on 1 July 1923: the ex-GER station became Peterborough East, and the ex-GNR station Peterborough North.[4] After Peterborough East closed on 6 June 1966, Peterborough North once again became Peterborough, the name by which it is still known.[4]

The Great Northern Railway heading north to Grantham and Doncaster (the Towns Line) opened in 1853 using the GNR station. This line was built alongside the Midland Railway as far as Helpston, resulting in adjacent but separate level crossings at various places, including the Crescent level crossings in Peterborough city centre.

Interchange between Peterborough East and the GNR station was inconvenient,[9] so on 1 February 1858 the Midland Railway opened Peterborough Crescent station,[4] a short distance from the GNR station and close to the level crossing of the same name. Some GER trains were working through to the GNR Station by 1863.[10] and the Crescent station closed on 1 August 1866[4] when Midland Railway trains began using the GNR station instead.[9]

The Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway (M&GNR) branch to Wisbech and Sutton Bridge opened in 1866. To access this line trains headed north and diverged left at Westwood junction, then continued north adjacent to the Midland Railway line but gaining height, then curved east and bridged over the Midland line, the GNR line and Lincoln Road and headed off towards Eye Green along approximately the route of the current A47 Soke Parkway.

Services to Rugby (by the London and North Western Railway from Peterborough East) and to Leicester (by the GNR from their Station) started in 1879 when the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) built a line from Yarwell junction near Wansford and Seaton linking the Northampton and Peterborough Railway and the Rugby and Stamford Railway. Also the Fletton curve via Woodston to Orton Waterville by the GNR.

In 1913 the two troublesome Crescent level crossings were finally abolished when Crescent Bridge was opened.


GNR service to Leicester ended in 1916 during World War I. In March 1959 the line to Wisbech and to Sutton Bridge closed along with most of the rest of the M&GNR and local services on the GNR main line ended with a number of minor stations including Yaxley and Farcet and Tallington being closed.

The Northampton and Peterborough Railway closed in May 1964, followed 2 years later by the closure of Peterborough East station and the passenger services to Rugby in June 1966 (part of this line was eventually reopened as the Nene Valley Railway heritage line). The local services on the Syston and Peterborough Railway ceased in the same year with the closure of the remaining village stations including Helpston and Ketton & Collyweston.

The final closure came in October 1970 when the lines to Spalding, Boston and Grimsby were closed, although the Peterborough to Lincoln Line to Spalding was reopened on 7 June 1971 with a shuttle service of 3 trains each way per day. This service was improved in 1982 with the closure of the March to Spalding section of the former Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Railway when the Lincoln to Cambridge service became the Lincoln to Peterborough service.[11][12]


The new facilities were part of GNER’s £10 million station improvement programme to modernise facilities at key stations along the East Coast Main Line. The modern travel centre is part of a £1 million upgrade which includes new passenger lounges on platforms 2 and 3, new toilet facilities on platforms 2, 4 and 5, new customer information screens and improved security including the installation of CCTV cameras within the station and car park.[citation needed]

Train services in 1910[edit]

Rail services from the station were at their peak in 1910, before economies were made during World War I, most of which were never reversed.

The express services calling at Peterborough were mainly en route to or from Leeds or York, but there were also through coaches to Grimsby via Spalding and Boston, Cromer via the M&GNR line, Sheffield Victoria and Manchester London Road via Retford and the Great Central line, and Hull, Halifax, Blackburn, Harrogate and Bradford via Doncaster.

Bradford trains used a direct route either using the GNR line via Morley Top, or the LYR line via Thornhill. [13]

There were few trains for Newcastle and beyond. At that time it was necessary to change at Doncaster or York.

In 1910, the GNR were still running trains to Leicester via Wansford and Seaton, in direct competition with the Midland Railway which ran via Stamford. The GNR route and times were competitive but in 1910 they only offered three trains compared to six by the Midland Railway, plus they did not serve any significant population centres en route.

Services to Northampton and Rugby ran from East station.


Below are the routes that Peterborough is currently on, as well as those that it has been on in the past:

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Limited Service
London Kings Cross
  Virgin Trains East Coast
London-Leeds/West Yorkshire
London Kings Cross   Virgin Trains East Coast
  York or
Newark North Gate
Stevenage or
London Kings Cross
  Virgin Trains East Coast
  Grantham or
York or
Newark North Gate
London Kings Cross or
  Virgin Trains East Coast
  Grantham or
London Kings Cross or
  Virgin Trains East Coast
  Grantham or
Newark North Gate
East Midlands Trains
Limited Service
Limited Service
East Midlands Trains
Nottingham-Norwich (via Loughborough)
Limited Service
Terminus East Midlands Trains
Mondays-Saturdays only
Great Northern
Great Northern Peterborough Line
Abellio Greater Anglia Terminus
Historical railways
Line open, station closed
Great Northern Railway
Line open, station closed
Line open, station closed
Great Northern Railway Terminus
Line open, station closed
Midland Railway
Line open, station closed
Line open, station closed
Great Eastern Railway Terminus
Disused railways
Line and station closed
London and North Western Railway Terminus
Terminus Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway
Sutton Bridge line
Line and station closed

Future services[edit]

Main article: Thameslink Programme

From 2018, new services from Peterborough will be introduced to destinations south of central London.[14] In May 2014, a proposed timetable has been released; the planned services are:

See also[edit]

British Rail Class 317 in Peterborough.


  1. ^ GB National Rail Timetable May 2013, Table 26
  2. ^ GB National Rail Timetable May 2013, Table 25
  3. ^ Peterborough railway station closed to complete £43m upgradeBBC News 24 December 2013; Retrieved 11 January 2014
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Butt 1995, p. 184
  5. ^ Waszak 1984, p. 10
  6. ^ Waszak 1984, pp. 100–1
  7. ^ Waszak 1984, p. 105
  8. ^ Butt 1995, p. 134
  9. ^ a b Waszak 1984, pp. 109–110
  10. ^ Bradshaws General Railway and Steam Navigation Guide, Feb 1863
  11. ^ A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain. Volume 9. The East Midlands. (Robin Leleux)
  12. ^ The Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway (A. J. Wrottesley)
  13. ^ Bradshaw's Railway Guide, July 1922
  14. ^ Proposed Thameslink service pattern
  • Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-85260-508-1. R508. 
  • Waszak, Peter (September 1984). Peterborough. Rail Centres. Shepperton: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-1389-6. CE/0984. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Peterborough railway station at Wikimedia Commons