Hitchin railway station

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Hitchin National Rail
The tracks and platform 2
Place Hitchin
Local authority District of North Hertfordshire
Grid reference TL194297
Station code HIT
Managed by Great Northern
Number of platforms 2
DfT category C2
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2002/03   1.807 million
2004/05 Increase 1.948 million
2005/06 Increase 2.049 million
2006/07 Increase 2.368 million
2007/08 Increase 2.544 million
2008/09 Increase 2.569 million
2009/10 Decrease 2.479 million
2010/11 Increase 2.594 million
2011/12 Increase 2.641 million
2012/13 Increase 2.764 million
Original company Great Northern Railway
Post-grouping London and North Eastern Railway
7 August 1850 Station opened
National RailUK 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
Auto-train to Bedford in1955
Double-headed train of bricks off Bedford line in 1957
A 1902 Railway Clearing House map of railways in the vicinity of Hitchin (right)

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.[1]

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.[2][3][4]

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).[5] 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.[6]

After the opening of the Midland Railway's own line from Bedford via Luton to London, and their 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.[7] 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.[8]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • 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.[9]


Great Northern Route
King's Lynn
Downham Market
National Rail Peterborough
Ely National Rail
Cambridge National Rail
St Neots
Ashwell & Morden
Letchworth Gdn City
National Rail Stevenage
Welwyn North
Hertford North
Welwyn Gdn City
Welham Green
Crews Hill
Brookmans Park
Gordon Hill
Potters Bar
Enfield Chase
Hadley Wood
Grange Park
New Barnet
Winchmore Hill
Oakleigh Park
Palmers Green
New Southgate
Bowes Park
Alexandra Palace
London Underground Finsbury Park
National Rail London Underground King's Cross
Drayton Park
& Islington
London Underground London Overground
Essex Road
Old Street London Underground
Moorgate London Underground

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.[1]

Following a recent[when?] refurbishment of the station by First Capital Connect, the station's subway was refurbished at a cost of £300k.[10] 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.[11] In September 2014 the new lifts opened, after a two-month delay, giving step-free access to the southbound number 1 platform.[12]


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 2013-14 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 and limited stop expresses to Peterborough and London.[13]

On Sundays, there are two trains per hour to London (one semi-fast, one stopper) and Cambridge, and an hourly service to Peterborough.

Junction development[edit]

Main article: Hitchin flyover

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.[14]

In June 2013 Network Rail completed a flyover to carry Down trains to Cambridge over the top of the main line,[15] built at a final cost of £47million [16]


Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Great Northern
Great Northern Peterborough Line (fast)
Great Northern
Great Northern Peterborough Line (semi-fast)
Great Northern
Great Northern Cambridge Line (semi-fast)
Great Northern
Great Northern London-Hitchin/
Letchworth via Hertford (suburban services)
Disused railways
Line and station closed
London, Midland and Scottish Railway Terminus
Historical railways
Line open, station relocated
Great Northern Railway
Line open, station closed


  1. ^ a b Yonge, John (September 2006) [1994]. Jacobs, Gerald, ed. 2: Eastern. Railway Track Diagrams (3rd ed.). Bradford on Avon: Trackmaps. p. 15 section B. ISBN 0-9549866-2-8. 
  2. ^ Gordon, W.J. (1989) [1910]. Our Home Railways. London: Bracken Books. volume II, p. 44. ISBN 1-85170-314-4. 
  3. ^ Awdry, Christopher (1990). Encyclopaedia of British Railway Companies. London: Guild Publishing. p. 135. CN 8983. 
  4. ^ Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 121. ISBN 1-85260-508-1. R508. 
  5. ^ Awdry 1990, p. 158
  6. ^ Gordon 1989, volume I, pp. 77–8
  7. ^ Howard, Philip (2006). Take the Train from Hitchin. Hitchin: Hitchin Historical Society. pp. 20–22. ISBN 0-9552411-0-3. 
  8. ^ Network Rail. "Hitchin Flyover". Retrieved 15 April 2010. 
  9. ^ Trevena, Arthur (1981). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 2. Redruth: Atlantic Books. pp. 40–14. ISBN 0-906899 03 6. 
  10. ^ http://www.firstcapitalconnect.co.uk/Main.php?sEvent=News&sFileName=News.php&iId=158
  11. ^ https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/access-for-all-programme
  12. ^ http://www.thecomet.net/news/new_lifts_open_at_hitchin_railway_station_1_3759516
  13. ^ GB National Rail Timetable 2013-14, Table 25
  14. ^ "APPENDIX 2: Issues in defining and measuring railway capacity" (PDF). Office of Rail Regulation. 13 February 2006. p. 2. Retrieved 28 February 2014. 
  15. ^ "Hitchin flyover". Network Rail. Retrieved 16 June 2011. 
  16. ^ http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/infrastructure/single-view/view/hitchin-flyover-opens.html

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°57′11″N 0°15′47″W / 51.953°N 0.263°W / 51.953; -0.263