Gloucester railway station

Coordinates: 51°51′54″N 2°14′20″W / 51.865°N 2.239°W / 51.865; -2.239
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National Rail
Gloucester railway station in October 2019
General information
LocationGloucester, City of Gloucester
Coordinates51°51′54″N 2°14′20″W / 51.865°N 2.239°W / 51.865; -2.239
Grid referenceSO836185
Managed byGreat Western Railway
Other information
Station codeGCR
ClassificationDfT category C1
Key dates
4 November 1840Birmingham line opened
8 July 1844C&GWUR opened
19 September 1851G&DFR opened
1 December 1975Former MR Eastgate station closed
2018/19Increase 1.521 million
2019/20Increase 1.547 million
2020/21Decrease 0.395 million
 Interchange  9,535
2021/22Increase 1.214 million
 Interchange Increase 34,343
2022/23Increase 1.453 million
 Interchange Increase 63,110
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road

Gloucester, formerly known as Gloucester Central, is a railway station serving the city of Gloucester in England. It is located 114 mileschains (183.5 km) west of London Paddington, via Stroud.[1]

The station was built originally as the terminus of the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway in 1840; the arrival of the broad gauge Bristol and Gloucester Railway and Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway in 1844, and then conversion to a through station for the South Wales Railway in 1851, resulted in a very complex layout. Subsequent closures and rationalisation have left Gloucester with a station that is located off the main Bristol-Birmingham line; thus means that Great Western Railway services must reverse, while CrossCountry and Transport for Wales services continue to Newport.


A 1910 Railway Clearing House map of railways in the vicinity of Gloucester (shown here as G.W. STA)

The railway development at Gloucester was very complex involving four different railway companies and five distinct railway stations. The first company to open was the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway, which was a standard gauge line opening 4 November 1840.[2] This line from Cheltenham was built by the Birmingham and Gloucester railway on a formation built by the Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway (see below). The first station was a terminus built on land near the cattle market. This was seen as a temporary structure to be replaced by a more permanent structure nearer the docks when more finance was available, but this never happened and this structure determined the site of the station today.

The Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway (C&GWU) opened a 7 ft (2,134 mm) broad gauge line from Swindon to Gloucester on 8 July 1844, and built their station adjacent and to the north of the Birmingham and Gloucester station.[3] The line from Gloucester to Cheltenham was upgraded to mixed gauge so that the C&GWU could share tracks to Cheltenham, which meant trains had to reverse at Gloucester.

At the same time as the C&GWU opened, the Bristol and Gloucester Railway also opened a broad gauge line from Bristol to Standish Junction a few miles south of Gloucester, and shared the tracks of the C&GWU into Gloucester station. In 1845, the Midland Railway, which had already bought the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway, also absorbed the Bristol and Gloucester Railway.[4] Similarly, the Great Western Railway had taken over the C&GWU, which resulted in a jointly-owned (MR & GWR), mixed-gauge station from which trains ran on shared mixed-gauge track both northwards and southwards from Gloucester.

In 1847, the GWR opened the Cheltenham Loop line which completed the triangle junction east of the station. This allowed GWR trains to avoid the reversal at Gloucester, but so as to allow GWR passengers to access Gloucester, a link line was built to a station on the loop called the Gloucester T station. Carriages were detached from trains at the T station, turned on turntables and taken into the main Gloucester station. This operation was not very successful and so was abandoned, along with the loop line, in 1851. Hereafter, GWR trains from London to Cheltenham continued to reverse at the main station, a practice that continues to this day.

On 19 September 1851, the Gloucester and Dean Forest Railway and the South Wales Railway opened a line southwestwards from Gloucester towards the Forest of Dean, Chepstow and South Wales. A new, 2-platform through-station was built immediately north of the existing station, although this was rebuilt in 1855 with a longer, single platform after it was found the original station was too small.[5]

Gloucester railway stations
to Cheltenham
Gloucester Station
to Cheltenham
Gloucester Station
to Bristol and Swindon
to Cheltenham
Gloucester Station and line to South Wales
to Bristol and Swindon
to Cheltenham
Gloucester Station and line to South Wales
Tuffley Junction
to Bristol and Swindon
to Cheltenham
Gloucester (GWR) and line to South Wales
Gloucester (MR)
Tuffley Junction
to Bristol and Swindon
to Cheltenham
Gloucester Station and line to South Wales
to Bristol and Swindon

On 22 May 1854, the Midland Railway opened a new, standard gauge railway between Gloucester and Standish Junction, thus avoiding running on the ex-CGWU line into Gloucester. This new line paralleled the old route as far as Tuffley, where the Tuffley Loop swung into Gloucester and looped back onto the main Bristol-to-Birmingham line. The MR also rebuilt the old 1840 station, lengthening platforms and adding new buildings, but because this was still a terminus and the Tuffley Loop headed eastwards, trains still had to reverse in and out of the station. This anomaly was not sorted out for another 40 years until the MR opened a new station on 12 April 1896, south-east of the existing station, on the Tuffley Loop.[6] The old station was demolished, to be replaced by sidings, and the new MR station was linked to the GWR station by a 250-yards-long, covered footbridge.

In 1901, the Cheltenham Loop, now known as 'the Gloucester avoiding line', was re-instated, primarily for goods traffic, but also for passengers from 1908. Between 1914 and 1920, the GWR station was expanded with a second long platform north of the running lines, two centre tracks for through movements and bay platforms. The two main platforms were also split in two with a scissors crossing in the middle. On 17 September 1951, the Western station was renamed Gloucester Central and the Midland station renamed Gloucester Eastgate to avoid confusion.

The station in April 1962
Two 0-4-2Ts employed on the auto-train service to Chalford in June 1962
View towards Birmingham in 1968

By the mid-1960s, plans were floated to rationalise the stations - the 1914 upside platform at Gloucester Central was reduced to a parcels-only platform and Gloucester Eastgate was reduced to two platforms. There was also a proposal for an entirely new station on the triangular junction east of the existing stations, to avoid the troublesome reversals, but this was not taken further. Even then, although the through-platforms of Gloucester Eastgate on the Bristol-Birmingham (former Midland Railway) line avoided the still-current problems with trains having to reverse direction, it was seen as a hindrance because the Tuffley Loop line had five level crossings, which caused a lot of traffic problems in town. Therefore, on 1st December 1975, Gloucester Eastgate and the Tuffley Loop line were closed and all operations were concentrated at Gloucester Central.[6] This station was redeveloped and re-opened in 1977 with new station buildings and an extended platform at 1977 ft, long enough to take two Inter-City 125 trains then being introduced to the Western Region.[2] In 1984, the 1914 parcels platform was brought back into use as a passenger platform and a new footbridge was opened to provide access.

On New Year's Eve 2010, a fire broke out in the booking office due to arson and the ground floor was severely damaged.[7] The booking office was closed for over a year while the station was refurbished and a temporary ticket office was erected to the right of the entrance. In May 2013, the new booking office was reopened by Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester[8] and new lifts were installed. Further redevelopment is being planned after complaints that the station does not give a good impression for visitors to the city.[9]

In September 2015, Gloucester Railway Station was the first to sign up to a football style card system for dealing with constant trouble makers.[10]

GWR Stationmasters[edit]

  • John Ashbee 1849 - 1874
  • J.E. Randall 1874[11] - 1885
  • Edwin Morgan Bridger 1885 - 1899
  • William Francis Marvin 1899 - 1916[12] (formerly station master at Ross)
  • W.P. Roberts 1916 - 1926[13] (formerly station master at Stroud)
  • Arthur George Ludecke 1926[14] - 1929 (formerly station master at Ealing Broadway)
  • Frederick L. Bannister 1929 - 1932[15]
  • F.C. Price 1932 - 1941[16] (afterwards station master at Oxford)
  • E.G. Powell 1941[17] - 1945 (formerly station master at Cheltenham St. James)
  • R.G. Barnard 1945[18] - ca. 1950

Midland Stationmasters[edit]

  • Y.E. Fry ca. 1859 - 1874[19]
  • Edward L Needham 1874 - 1876[20]
  • John H. Stalvies 1877 - 1891[20]
  • William Orton 1891 - 1901[20] (formerly station master at Redditch)
  • Richard William Mapp 1902 - 1903[20] (formerly station master at Belper, afterwards station master at Leicester)
  • John Henry Garton 1903[20] - 1908 (formerly station master at Kettering)
  • H.L. Bailey 1908 - 1925[21] (formerly station master at Bath)
  • William Hardy 1925 - 1927 (formerly station master at Willenhall, afterwards station master at Lincoln)
  • James Davies 1927[22] - 1928 (formerly station master at Bath)
  • Douglas Harold Day 1928 - 1931[23] (afterwards station master at Stoke on Trent)
  • Walter James Burfitt 1931 - 1938
  • Harry James King 1938[24] - 1946[25] (formerly station master at Evesham)
  • Alfred John Pickthorne 1946 - 1950


At 1,977 feet 4 inches (602.69 m), Gloucester has the second-longest platform in the UK — the longest is Colchester's platform at 2034 ft (620 m), albeit Gloucester has the longest unbroken platform, as Colchester's is two different physical platforms. The platform was lengthened as part of the 1977 rebuilding by British Rail and was intended to handle two InterCity 125 trains at the same time. These trains were put into service on the Western Region London Paddington to Cheltenham Spa services at this time and all services were handled by the same platform.

The ticket office just inside the station entrance is open for most of the day, seven days a week. There is a Costa Coffee outlet on the main concourse of the station.

Planned redevelopment[edit]

In 2018, the government approved a £3.75 million redesign of the station with the backing of GFirst and Gloucester City Council but the funds were unavailable until April 2020. In February 2019, the council began a £425,000 redesign of the station. The project includes a new underpass and access, redesigned forecourt and cladding.[26][27]


The station is served by several train operating companies:

When engineering work occurs in the Severn Tunnel, trains run by Great Western Railway along the South Wales Main Line can be diverted at short notice via Gloucester, with trains running from Swansea to Swindon and London Paddington.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Lydney   Transport for Wales
Gloucester–Newport line
  Terminus or
Cheltenham Spa
Cheltenham Spa   Great Western Railway
London – Swindon – Cheltenham
  Great Western Railway
Cheltenham – Swindon – Westbury
Yate or
Cam and Dursley
  Great Western Railway
Great Malvern – Gloucester – Westbury
  Terminus or
Cheltenham Spa
  Historical railways  
Terminus   Midland Railway
Birmingham and Gloucester Railway
Line open, station closed
Line open, station closed
  Midland Railway
Bristol and Gloucester Railway
Cheltenham (Malvern Road)
Line and station closed
  Great Western Railway
Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway
  Stonehouse (Burdett Road)
Line and station open
Terminus   Great Western Railway
Ledbury and Gloucester Railway
  Barbers Bridge
Line open, station closed


  1. ^ Padgett, David (June 2018) [1989]. Munsey, Myles (ed.). Railway Track Diagrams 3: Western & Wales (6th ed.). Frome: Trackmaps. map 19A. ISBN 978-1-9996271-0-2.
  2. ^ a b "Gloucester". Trainline. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  3. ^ "Gloucester Railway Station". ABC Railway Guide. Archived from the original on 25 August 2020. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  4. ^ Parkhouse, Neil (2017). Gloucester Midland Lines Part 1 : North. Lightmoor Press. ISBN 9781911038184.
  5. ^ Farnworth, Roger (28 May 2020). "Gloucester Docks and Railways – Part 2 – The High Orchard Branch and Railways to the East Side of the Docks". Roger Farnworth. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Gloucester (Eastgate)". Disused Stations. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  7. ^ "Fire at station booking office in Gloucester". BBC News. 31 December 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  8. ^ Rail, Network. "Gloucester MP opens station improvements and gives passengers a lift". Network Rail. Archived from the original on 3 May 2014.
  9. ^ Citizen, Gloucester. "£2m major revamp for Gloucester railway station unveiled". Gloucester Citizen. Archived from the original on 3 May 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  10. ^ "Green light for red and yellow cards at first UK rail station". Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gloucestershire. 10 September 2015. Archived from the original on 25 August 2020. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  11. ^ "Local jottings". Gloucester Journal. England. 12 September 1874. Retrieved 10 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  12. ^ "Retirement of G.W.R. Stationmaster". Cheltenham Chronicle. England. 25 March 1916. Retrieved 10 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  13. ^ "Former Station-Master". Gloucester Citizen. England. 3 October 1931. Retrieved 10 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  14. ^ "Personalia". Middlesex County Times. England. 23 January 1926. Retrieved 10 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  15. ^ "Mr. F.L. Bannister Retires". Gloucester Journal. England. 29 October 1932. Retrieved 10 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  16. ^ "Mr. F.C. Price Promoted". Gloucester Journal. England. 22 November 1941. Retrieved 10 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  17. ^ "Gloucester's New Stationmaster". Gloucester Citizen. England. 8 December 1941. Retrieved 10 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  18. ^ "New Gloucester Stationmaster". Gloucester Journal. England. 30 June 1945. Retrieved 10 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  19. ^ "1871-1879 Coaching". Midland Railway Operating, Traffic and Coaching Depts: 340. 1871. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  20. ^ a b c d e "1876-1908 Gloucester, Bath, Bristol". Midland Railway Operating, Miscellaneous Depts: 1. 1899. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  21. ^ "Gloucester Stationmaster". Gloucestershire Chronicle. England. 29 May 1925. Retrieved 10 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  22. ^ "New Midland Stationmaster at Gloucester". Gloucestershire Echo. England. 20 April 1927. Retrieved 10 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  23. ^ "New Gloucester Station-Master". Gloucester Citizen. England. 12 March 1931. Retrieved 10 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  24. ^ "Mr. H.J. King's Promotion to Gloucester". Evesham Standard & West Midland Observer. England. 12 February 1938. Retrieved 10 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  25. ^ "Stationmaster Retires". Gloucester Echo. England. 2 March 1946. Retrieved 10 June 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  26. ^ "Major overhaul of Gloucester station and 'infamous' underpass gets go-ahead with £3.7m funding". Gloucestershire Live. 22 February 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  27. ^ "'Unattractive' Gloucester railway station work to begin". BBC News. 7 February 2019. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  28. ^ "Timetables". Transport for Wales. 10 December 2023. Retrieved 6 January 2024.
  29. ^ "Timetables". CrossCountry. 10 December 2023. Retrieved 6 January 2024.
  30. ^ "Train Times". Great Western Railway. 10 December 2023. Retrieved 6 January 2024.
  • Oakley, Mike (2003). Gloucestershire Railway Stations. Dovecote Press. ISBN 1-904349-24-2.
  • Smith, Peter (1985). An Historical Survey of the Midland in Gloucestershire. Oxford Publishing co. ISBN 0-86093-301-6.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]