Hitchin railway station
The tracks and platform 2
|Local authority||District of North Hertfordshire|
|Managed by||Great Northern|
|Number of platforms||2|
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|Original company||Great Northern Railway|
|Post-grouping||London and North Eastern Railway|
|7 August 1850||Station opened|
|National Rail – UK railway stations|
|* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Hitchin from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.|
|UK Railways portal|
Hitchin railway station serves the town of Hitchin in Hertfordshire. It is located approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) north east of the town centre and 31 miles 74 chains (51.4 km) north of London Kings Cross on the East Coast Main Line.
Until the current Stevenage station opened in 1973, many Intercity services stopped at Hitchin.
In August 2007 Hitchin was awarded Secure Station status after improvements to station security were made by First Capital Connect, including new lighting, extra CCTV and the installation of automatic ticket gates.
The first section of the Great Northern Railway (GNR) - that from Louth to a junction with the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway at Grimsby - opened on 1 March 1848, but the southern section of the main line, between Maiden Lane and Peterborough, was not opened until August 1850. Hitchin was one of the original stations, opening with the line on 7 August 1850.
On 21 October 1850 Hitchin became a junction station with the opening of the first section of the Royston and Hitchin Railway, between Hitchin and Royston (it was extended to Shepreth on 3 August 1851). The Midland Railway (MR) opened a route from Leicester via Bedford to Hitchin on 1 February 1858, by which MR trains used the GNR to reach London.
After the opening of the Midland Railway's own line from Bedford via Luton to London, and the line's terminus at St. Pancras in 1868, their line between Bedford and Hitchin was reduced to branch status. It lost its passenger service in 1961 and was closed completely in 1964, with the exception of a stub from Bedford to Cardington which itself was closed in 1969. In May 1964 part of the line was used for the railway scene in the film Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines. The embankment for the line could, until early 2012, still be walked from just north of the station, through the fields to Ickleford, but this section is now closed off. Opened in June 2013 a new embankment now carries a single-track line onto a viaduct for Letchworth-bound trains over the East Coast Main Line as part of the Hitchin Flyover project.
Accidents and incidents
- On 14 April 1949, the solicitor and historian Reginald Hine committed suicide here by jumping in front of the slow train from Cambridge.
- On 19 November 1958, a freight train overran signals and was in a rear-end collision with another. A third freight train ran into the wreckage.
There are 12 car platforms on the Up and Down Slow lines only. 17 chains (340 m) to the north of the station is Cambridge Junction, where northbound trains for Cambridge need to cross the two Up (southbound) lines.
Following a refurbishment of the station by First Capital Connect in 2007, the station's subway was refurbished at a cost of £300k. The refurbishment also involved general cosmetic work throughout the station, as well as a new high quality waiting room in the existing station buildings on Platform 2. This waiting room is fully accessible at all times via the automatic doors.
There is a small shop located by the stairs on Platform two, and various vending machines throughout the station.
The station has a large booking office and a variety of modern Touch Screen ticket machines located in the booking office, and the station's cycle facilities were completely upgraded in 2007 and now include sheltered spaces for 68 bicycles provided next to the station buildings. The station also has help points throughout.
Hitchin station now has automatic ticket gates at the station entrance, which were installed by First Capital Connect during 2007.
In 2013, Network Rail proposed plans for two new lifts, one on each platform to improve access via the existing subway for those with pushchairs or disabilities, funded through the Department for Transport’s Access for All scheme. In September 2014 the new lifts opened, after a two-month delay, giving step-free access to the southbound number 1 platform.
Hitchin railway station is managed by Great Northern and has two platforms situated on the slow lines. Platform 1 is used for trains towards London and a few starting/terminating services to/from London. Platform 2 is used for trains towards Peterborough and Cambridge. Platform 1 also provides access to the sidings, used for removing stone and scrap metal.
In the current 2016 off-peak timetable there are two trains per hour to both Peterborough and Cambridge northbound, plus one that terminates at Letchworth. One of the Cambridge services calls at principal stations only whilst the other serves all intermediate stations; Peterborough trains call at all stations north of here. Southbound there are four trains per hour to Kings Cross - two are limited stop whilst the other two serve principal stations then Potters Bar, Finsbury Park and Kings Cross. There is also an hourly service to Moorgate via Hertford North on weekdays only. There are a number of peak hour service variations and extra calls, including some trains that start & finish at Royston, trains to Kings Lynn and limited stop expresses to Peterborough and London.
On Sundays, there are three trains per hour to London (two semi-fast, one stopper), two to Cambridge (semi-fast and stopping), and an hourly service to Peterborough.
After the Thameslink Programme is complete (scheduled for 2018), Great Northern services will be extended to destinations south of central London. In September 2016, a proposed timetable was released; the planned services are:
- 2 trains per hour to Brighton (fast) via London St Pancras, London Bridge, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport and Burgess Hill. This service would originate from either Cambridge or Cambridge North.
- 2 trains per hour to Maidstone East (stopping/semi-fast) via Welwyn Garden City, London St Pancras, London Bridge and Otford. This service would originate from Cambridge.
- 2 trains per hour to Horsham (fast north of London, stopping south of London) via London St Pancras, London Bridge, East Croydon, Redhill, Gatwick Airport and Crawley. This service would originate from Peterborough.
- 4 trains per hour to Cambridge (2 semi-fast, 2 stopping) via Letchworth Garden City and Royston. The semi-fast service would originate from Brighton, while the stopping service would originate from Maidstone East. Thameslink is also examining the possibility of extending the semi-fast services to/from the new Cambridge North station.
- 2 trains an hour to Peterborough (stopping) via St. Neots. This service would originate from Horsham.
As a result of this, all of the above services will be re-branded as Thameslink. There will also be some additional limited-stop services between London King's Cross (not extended through central London) and Cambridge during rush hour and in the evenings; these services will remain under the Great Northern brand.
Down trains from London to Cambridge used to use a ladder crossing over the up lines in order to reach the Cambridge Line, which often caused significant delays to trains in both directions.Together with the Digswell Viaduct some 10 miles (16 km) to the south, the flat junction just north of Hitchin was a major bottleneck.
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
Great Northern Peterborough Line (fast)
Great Northern Peterborough Line (semi-fast)
Great Northern Cambridge Line (semi-fast)
Great Northern London-Hitchin/
Letchworth via Hertford (suburban services)
Line and station closed
|London, Midland and Scottish Railway||Terminus|
Line open, station relocated
|Great Northern Railway||
Line open, station closed
- Yonge, John (September 2006) . Jacobs, Gerald, ed. 2: Eastern. Railway Track Diagrams (3rd ed.). Bradford on Avon: Trackmaps. p. 15 section B. ISBN 0-9549866-2-8.
- Gordon, W.J. (1989) . Our Home Railways. London: Bracken Books. volume II, p. 44. ISBN 1-85170-314-4.
- Awdry, Christopher (1990). Encyclopaedia of British Railway Companies. London: Guild Publishing. p. 135. CN 8983.
- Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 121. ISBN 1-85260-508-1. R508.
- Awdry 1990, p. 158
- Gordon 1989, volume I, pp. 77–8
- Howard, Philip (2006). Take the Train from Hitchin. Hitchin: Hitchin Historical Society. pp. 20–22. ISBN 0-9552411-0-3.
- Network Rail. "Hitchin Flyover". Retrieved 15 April 2010.
- Whitmore, Richard (2007). The Ghosts of Reginald Hine. Hitchin: Mattingley Press. p. 183. ISBN 0-9554662-0-2.
- Fleck, Alan L. (2004). "Hine, Reginald Leslie (1883–1949)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
- Trevena, Arthur (1981). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 2. Redruth: Atlantic Books. pp. 40–14. ISBN 0-906899 03 6.
- GB National Rail Timetable 2016, Tables 24 & 25
- Timetable consultation : Thameslink and Great Northern
- Proposed Thameslink service pattern
- "APPENDIX 2: Issues in defining and measuring railway capacity" (PDF). Office of Rail Regulation. 13 February 2006. p. 2. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- "Hitchin flyover". Network Rail. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
- Train times and station information for Hitchin railway station from National Rail
- Hitchin: Here we explain our plans to improve the rail links between London, Hitchin and Cambridge on Network Rail website