Ely railway station

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Ely National Rail
Local authorityEast Cambridgeshire
Grid referenceTL542793
Station codeELY
Managed byGreater Anglia
Number of platforms3
DfT categoryD
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2014/15Increase 2.068 million
– Interchange Increase 0.366 million
2015/16Increase 2.132 million
– Interchange Increase 0.386 million
2016/17Increase 2.209 million
– Interchange Increase 0.404 million
2017/18Increase 2.282 million
– Interchange Increase 0.456 million
2018/19Increase 2.386 million
– Interchange Increase 0.466 million
Key datesOpened 1845.[1] (1845.[1])
National RailUK railway stations
  • Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Ely from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.

Ely railway station is on the Fen line in the east of England, serving the city of Ely, Cambridgeshire.

It is 70 miles 30 chains (113.3 km) from London Liverpool Street and is situated between Waterbeach and Littleport stations on the Fen line to Kings Lynn. It is an important junction for three other lines; the Ely to Peterborough Line, the Ipswich to Ely Line and the Norwich to Ely line.

Ely is a busy station with trains running to a variety of destinations including London, Cambridge, King's Lynn, Birmingham, Nottingham, Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool. It is managed by Greater Anglia which is also one of four train operators that serve the station, the others being Great Northern, CrossCountry and East Midlands Railway.

The station was opened in 1845 by the Eastern Counties Railway at a cost of £81,500, the land on which it was built being a marshy swamp.[2] The station was modified substantially by British Rail in the early 1990s, at the time that electrification of the line was taking place.


The station is served by four operators:

  • CrossCountry trains provides an hourly service from Stansted Airport to Birmingham New Street. This service is routed via Cambridge, Peterborough and Leicester, and uses Class 170 Turbostar diesel multiple units.[3]
  • East Midlands Railway provides an (approximately) hourly service from Norwich to Liverpool Lime Street via Peterborough, Nottingham, Sheffield, and Manchester Piccadilly. Services are operated using Class 158 diesel multiple units (or, occasionally, Class 156 diesel multiple units) which reverse at Ely.[4]
  • Great Northern serve the station as part of their service from London King's Cross to King's Lynn. Outside peak hours the services run non-stop between London and Cambridge as part of the half-hourly "Cambridge Cruiser" service. Trains then continue beyond Cambridge, with one an hour terminating at Ely and one continuing stopping at all stations on the Fen Line to King's Lynn. The journey from King's Cross to Ely is timetabled to take just over an hour on the fastest services. During peak hours most trains divide (northbound) or couple (southbound) at Cambridge which adds some minutes to the journey time. In addition, during peak hours most services make additional stops between London Kings Cross and Cambridge which contributes further to an extended journey time. During recent years the number of direct services has increased; from the timetable change of December 2013 there are direct services from London every half hour from 16:44 to 23:14. Some off-peak services can take as little as 1 hour and 5 minutes between London and Ely. During peak hours they can take up to 1 hour and 21 minutes. Most services are operated by Class 387 electrical multiple units but are sometimes operated by Class 365s.
  • Greater Anglia serves the station with three routes:
    • An hourly service between Cambridge and Norwich via the Breckland Line. These services normally use three coach Class 755 units. Four units are diagrammed to work the hourly service. Nine services a day are extended to Stansted Airport [5]
    • A two hourly service between Ipswich and Peterborough via Bury St Edmunds. These services normally use three coach Class 755 diesel multiple units. Two units are diagrammed to work the two hourly service.[6]
    • On weekdays there are four services that operate to London Liverpool Street in the morning peak, three of which originate at King's Lynn while one commences at Ely. There are four return journeys in the evening; one terminating at Ely while the other three continue to King's Lynn. There is no service on Saturday or Sunday. These services normally use Class 379 electrical multiple units.[7]
The Hunstanton portion of the 10.39 service from Liverpool Street at Ely in 1958
Trains in the station platforms
Ely railway station signals


Preceding station   National Rail National Rail   Following station
Limited Service
East Midlands Railway
Limited Service
Limited Service
Great Northern
Fen Line
Greater Anglia
Limited Services
Greater Anglia
Greater Anglia
Liverpool Street-King's Lynn/Ely
Peak only
  Future Services  
Cambridge   East West Rail
Historical railways
Line open, station closed
Great Eastern RailwayTerminus
Line open, station closed
Great Eastern RailwayTerminus
Disused railways
Line and station closed
Great Eastern RailwayTerminus


There are two branches of Locoespresso[8] on the station, one on platform 1 and the other on platform 2/3. These serve hot and cold drinks as well as snacks, magazines and newspapers. Platform 1 also includes an L.A. Golden Bean kiosk which sells hot and cold drinks and snacks.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 25 August 1866, a passenger train derailed near Ely due to defective track. One person was killed and five were seriously injured.[9]
  • On 1 June 1870, a passenger train was derailed near Ely. Some passengers sustained minor injuries.[10]
  • On 2 April 1874, two freight trains collided at Ely.[11]
  • On 16 January 1890, a train from Newmarket ran into the rear of a freight train near Ely.[12]
  • On 26 September 1905, a freight train derailed at Dock Junction, fouling the adjacent line. A passenger train collided with derailed wagons. Four passengers were injured, one seriously.[13]
  • On 22 June 2007, a goods train derailed at Hawk Bridge which carries the Ipswich line over the River Great Ouse a mile south of Ely. Photographs showed derailed wagons on their side, only prevented from plunging off the embankment by subsidiary structures and their attachment to the rest of the train. As a consequence of the derailment the bridge had to be rebuilt and there were no train services between Ely and Bury St. Edmunds until the works were completed on 21 December 2007.[14]
  • On 14 August 2017, a freight train was derailed at Ely West Junction, near Queen Adelaide. The line between Ely and Peterborough was closed until 21 August.[15][16]

Low bridge[edit]

Immediately north-east of Ely station, the railway lines pass on a bridge[17] over the A142. The height available for road traffic passing beneath the bridge is only 9.0 feet (2.7 m) which is unusually low for a bridge over an A-road. Despite the various warnings, the limited headroom is a frequent cause of accidents.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ History Of The City of Ely
  2. ^ Gordon, D.I. (1968). Volume V: The Eastern Counties. A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain. David and Charles.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  3. ^ GB eNRT December 2015 Edition, Table 47 (Network Rail)
  4. ^ GB eNRT December 2015 Edition, Table 49 (Network Rail)
  5. ^ GB eNRT December 2015 Edition, Table 17 (Network Rail)
  6. ^ GB eNRT December 2015 Edition, Table 14 (Network Rail)
  7. ^ GB eNRT December 2015 Edition, Table 22 (Network Rail)
  8. ^ "Locoespresso".
  9. ^ "Great Eastern Railway" (PDF). Board of Trade. 11 September 1866. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Railway Accident near Ely". Bury and Norwich Post, and Suffolk Herald (4589). Bury St. Edmunds. p. 7.
  11. ^ "Railway Accidents". The Bradford Observer (3514). Bradford.
  12. ^ "Railway Accident Near Ely". The Yorkshire Herald, and The York Herald (12053). York.
  13. ^ "Great Eastern Railway" (PDF). Board of Trade. 30 September 1905. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  14. ^ "Derailment at Ely Dock Junction, 22 June 2007" (PDF). Rail Accident Investigation Branch. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  15. ^ "A derailed freight train has caused chaos on services across the East of England". BBC News Online. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  16. ^ "Derailment at Ely West Junction, 14 August 2017". Rail Accident Investigation Branch. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  17. ^ "Photo of Ely Low Bridge". www.geograph.org.uk. 23 March 2007.
  18. ^ "Cambridgeshire Local Transport Plan 2004-2011" (PDF). www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk. July 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 June 2011.

External links[edit]

Media related to Ely railway station at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 52°23′25″N 0°15′59″E / 52.39028°N 0.26639°E / 52.39028; 0.26639