Bedford railway station

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Bedford National Rail
Bedford Midland
Bedford Station - - 691207.jpg
Place Bedford
Local authority Borough of Bedford
Coordinates 52°08′11″N 0°28′46″W / 52.1364°N 0.4794°W / 52.1364; -0.4794Coordinates: 52°08′11″N 0°28′46″W / 52.1364°N 0.4794°W / 52.1364; -0.4794
Grid reference TL041497
Station code BDM
Managed by Thameslink
Number of platforms 5 (1 terminus platform)
DfT category C1
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2008/09 Increase 3.199 million
2009/10 Decrease 2.981 million
2010/11 Increase 3.175 million
2011/12 Increase 3.314 million
- Interchange 53,767
2012/13 Decrease 3.303 million
- Interchange Decrease 50,718
2013/14 Increase 3.472 million
- Interchange Decrease 42,514
1859 Bedford Midland opened
1868 Rebuilt
1890 Avoiding lines built
1978 Rebuilt
National RailUK railway stations


* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Bedford from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal
Railways of Bedford
Midland Main Line
Bedford (Midland)
Varsity Line
Bedford station sidings
Bedford St Johns (current site)
Bedford Cauldwell depot
Bedford St Johns (old site)
Marston Vale Line
Midland Main Line

Bedford railway station is the larger of two railway stations in the town of Bedford in Bedfordshire, England. It is on the Midland Main Line from London St Pancras to the East Midlands and the terminus of the Marston Vale line from Bletchley through Bedford St Johns. It was formerly called Bedford Midland Road, and is to the west of the town centre. It is used by a substantial number of commuters to London.


The original station was built by the Midland Railway in 1859 on its line to the Great Northern at Hitchin. It was on land known as "Freemen's Common" approximately 200 yards (180 m) south of the current station on Ashburnham Road.

The LNWR also had a station on its line between Bletchley and Cambridge. The Midland crossed it on the level and there was a serious collision when an LNWR train passed a red signal. (Curiously, both drivers were named John Perkins.) Following this accident, the Midland built a flyover in 1885.[1]

The extension to St Pancras opened in 1868. The connection to Hitchin is long gone, but the line north of Bedford to Wigston Junction is still officially referred to as the Leicester to Hitchin line.[2] At this time the station was substantially altered, with the replacement of a level crossing by the Queen's Park overbridge. In 1890 fast lines were added to the west to allow expresses to bypass the station.

Serious damage occurred during World War II when a bomb destroyed the booking hall's glass ceiling. The current station was built to replace it and was opened by Sir Peter Parker (chairman of BR) on 9 October 1978.[3] The station was moved about 110 yards (100 m) north, the slow lines were realigned to the west next to the 1890 fast lines, to which platforms were added.

Although the intention was for what remained of the old awnings to be transferred to the Midland Railway at Butterley in Derbyshire it proved impossible to save them. Nothing remains of the original station buildings.

The track layout around the station is set for significant changes as Network Rail aims to make operations easier and faster, in conjunction with electrification northward to Sheffield and westward to Bletchley and Oxford. The majority of the work will be north of the station.


The main entrance on 4 June 1962
The main entrance on 13 January 2007 from the car park.

The station is served by three operators and managed by Thameslink.

East Midlands Trains semi-fast services along the Midland Main Line between London St Pancras and Nottingham call at the station, as do London-Corby services. These services mostly use Class 222 Meridian diesel-electric multiple units. Morning and evening peaks see some Nottingham services extended to Lincoln via Newark Castle and Corby services extended to Melton Mowbray. The weekend sees trains operating to York and in the summer months there are weekend trains to Scarborough.

Thameslink operates Thameslink route services to Brighton through St Albans and London St Pancras. Services from the station also call at Luton Airport Parkway and Gatwick Airport. Additional services start or terminate at Gatwick Airport. These services use Class 319 or Class 377 Electrostar electric multiple units. These are due to be replaced with new Desiro-based rolling stock as part of the Thameslink Upgrade Programme. Thameslink also runs a few services a day to Sutton on the Sutton Loop line, via both Wimbledon and Mitcham Junction.

London Midland operates local services to Bletchley via the Marston Vale Line using Class 153 Super Sprinter diesel multiple units. There is no Sunday service.

Thameslink runs one train per day jointly service with Southeastern to Ashford International, using the Thameslink to Elephant & Castle and the Maidstone East Line from Bromley South.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
East Midlands Trains
East Midlands Trains
Terminus Thameslink
Bedford-Brighton, Sutton Loop and Catford Loop Lines
London Midland
Mondays-Saturdays only
Disused railways
Terminus London, Midland and Scottish Railway
Line and station closed
Line and station closed
London, Midland and Scottish Railway Terminus
Historical railways
Line open, station closed
Midland Railway
Line open, station closed

Community Rail Partnership[edit]

In common with other stations on the Bedford to Bletchley Marston Vale line, Bedford station is covered by the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership. The Partnership aims to increase use of the Marston Vale line by getting local people involved with their local line.


The main line and platform layout from the overbridge.

The station has the following facilities:

The station is in the PlusBus scheme, where train and bus tickets can be bought together to save money.

Future developments[edit]

Plans were being promoted by Network Rail and Bedford Borough Council for the redevelopment of the station quarter.[4]

Platform 1A will be extended through the existing building to accommodate 12-car trains; presently it is only long enough to handle four-car trains and is a terminating bay.[5]

Therefore, a new station building would be erected on the site of the former Victorian station, which was closed and bulldozed in 1978 when the current buildings opened. This area is now a council pay-and-display car park with an empty retail unit. An outline planning application for the work was submitted in April 2010, with the project complete by the end of 2011,[5] and is under consideration by Beford Borough Council.[6] By the end of February 2011, the former retail outlet had been demolished and the site stands empty.

The scheme would be part of an overall plan to regenerate Bedford town centre.

The station will be the eastern terminus of the East West Rail Link, a plan to reopen the railway from Oxford and Aylesbury Vale Parkway, with possible extensions to Cambridge and East Anglia by the now-closed Varsity Line. The scheme was given the go-ahead by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne in his 2011 Autumn Statement by Chancellor George Osborne with £270 million committed, due for completion in 2017.[7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Radford, B., (1983) Midland Line Memories: a Pictorial History of the Midland Railway Main Line Between London (St Pancras) & Derby London: Bloomsbury Books
  2. ^ Jacobs, G., (Ed) (2005 2Rev) Railway Track Diagrams: Midlands and North West: Book 4 Chart 2,3 Bradford on Avon:TRACKmaps.
  3. ^ Railway Magazine. July 1979. p. 267.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Back to the future for railway station". Bedfordshire on Sunday. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  5. ^ a b "Revealed:First Glimpse of New Station at Bedford" (Press release). Network Rail. 2010-03-16. Retrieved 2010-04-22. 
  6. ^ "Documents associated with Planning Application10/00701/EIA". Retrieved 2010-09-14. 
  7. ^ East West Rail could be running by 2017 Accessed 14 December 2011
  8. ^ Steve Broadbent (14–28 December 2011). Nigel Harris, ed. "Sudden "yes" for East-West link surprises campaigners". RAIL (685): 10–11. 

External links[edit]