Marylebone station

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Marylebone National Rail
London Marylebone
Marylebone station frontage - DSCF0473.JPG
Main Entrance
Marylebone is located in Central London
Location of Marylebone in Central London
Location Marylebone
Local authority City of Westminster
Managed by Chiltern Railways
Owner Network Rail
Station code MYB
DfT category A
Number of platforms 6
Accessible Yes [1]
Fare zone 1
National Rail annual entry and exit
2010–11 Increase 13.200 million[2]
2011–12 Increase 13.417 million[2]
2012–13 Increase 14.685 million[2]
2013–14 Increase 15.521 million[2]
2014–15 Increase 15.978 million[2]
— interchange 0.496 million[2]
Railway companies
Original company Great Central Railway
Pre-grouping Great Central Railway
Post-grouping London & North Eastern Railway
Key dates
1899 Opened
2006 Two new platforms built
Other information
Lists of stations
External links
WGS84 51°31′20″N 0°09′48″W / 51.5223°N 0.1634°W / 51.5223; -0.1634Coordinates: 51°31′20″N 0°09′48″W / 51.5223°N 0.1634°W / 51.5223; -0.1634

Marylebone station (Listeni/ˈmɑːrlbən/ MAR-li-bən), also known as London Marylebone,[3] is a central London railway terminus and London Underground complex. It stands midway between the main line stations at Euston and Paddington, about 1 mile (1.6 km) from each.

Originally the London terminus of the former Great Central Main Line to Sheffield and Manchester, which was closed north of Aylesbury in 1966, it now serves as the terminus of the Chiltern Main Line route to Birmingham, the London to Aylesbury Line (a remaining part of the former Great Central Line), and, in 2015 services commenced between Marylebone and Oxford Parkway, via a new chord connecting the Chiltern Main Line to the Oxford to Bicester Line.

Marylebone is the Central London terminus for Chiltern Railways which provides a large number of commuter/regional services approximately due north-west principally along the M40 corridor to destinations in Buckinghamshire, parts of Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and the West Midlands.

Opened in 1899,[4] it is the youngest of London's main line terminal stations, and also one of the smallest, having opened with half the number of platforms originally planned. It is also the only London terminal station to host only diesel trains, having no electrified lines. From 1967 for many years it was served only by diesel multiple-unit trains (DMUs). It now once again also sees locomotive-hauled trains daily.

Two new platforms were added in 2006 to accommodate increases in services and passengers. Marylebone is in Travelcard Zone 1.


The station stands just north of Marylebone Road, a straight west to east thoroughfare through Marylebone in central London and only yards to Baker Street to its east and south east which has notable shopping, entertainment and Madame Tussauds. It is in the northern Lisson Grove neighbourhood of the district in a northern projection of the Bryanston and Dorset Square ward immediately south of St Johns Wood. North-east is Regent's Park, north in a network of mostly residential streets is Lord's Cricket Ground and south, south-west and south-east are a mixed use network of streets.

National Rail[edit]

The main line station has six platforms; two originally built in 1899, two inserted into the former carriage road in the 1980s, and two built in September 2006. It is the only non-electrified terminal in London. Marylebone is operated by Chiltern Railways (part of Deutsche Bahn AG), making it one of the few London terminal stations not to be managed by Network Rail.

Chiltern Railways operates all services at the station, using the Chiltern Main Line and London to Aylesbury Line routes; these serve High Wycombe, Aylesbury, Bicester, Banbury, Leamington Spa, Warwick, Solihull, Birmingham Moor Street, Birmingham Snow Hill, and (at peak hours) Stourbridge Junction and Kidderminster. There are also services to Oxford Parkway via the Oxford to Bicester Line, and some services to Stratford-upon-Avon via the Leamington to Stratford branch line.


Pre 1958 – GCR and LNER[edit]

Its domestic scale fits H.W. Braddock's English Renaissance Marylebone Station (1899) unobtrusively into its urban context.

The station was opened to coal traffic on 27 July 1898.[5] and to passengers on 15 March 1899.[6][7] It was the terminus of the Great Central Railway's new London extension main line – the last major railway line to be built into London until High Speed 1. The designer was Henry William Braddock,[8] a civil engineer for the Great Central Railway.[9][10] Owing to the GCR's lack of money, the station's design is simple and modest.[11] It is a domestic version of the "Wrenaissance" revival style that owed some of its popularity to work by Norman Shaw; it harmonises with the residential surroundings with Dutch gables, employing warm brick and cream-coloured stone.[citation needed] The GCR crest was worked into the wrought iron railings in numerous places.[11]

Original plans for Marylebone show an eight-platform station,[12] but with half of the platforms designated as a 'possible future extension'.[13] The cost of building the GCR was far higher than expected, nearly bankrupting the company.[13] The line leading to the station cut through 70 acres (28 ha) of middle class housing, including the Eyre Estate in St John's Wood and the area around Lord's Cricket Ground, drawing protests and requiring a careful relocation of the track and station facilities.[14] Thus there was never enough money for the extra platforms, and only four platforms were built, three within the train shed and one west of the train shed (platform 4).[15] As a result, the concourse is unusually long and, for some 50 years, had only three walls, the northern wall being missing, since the GCR anticipated that the other four platforms, under an extended train shed, would be built later on. The cost of the London Extension also meant that the adjoining Great Central Hotel, designed by Sir R.W. Ellis, was built by a different company. The hotel only operated for a relatively short time and was converted to offices in 1945, becoming the headquarters of British Rail from 1948 to 1986.[5]

Manchester bound express waiting at Marylebone in 1956, headed by an A3 Pacific

The Great Central Railway linked London to High Wycombe, Aylesbury, Rugby, Leicester, Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester. Local services from northwest Middlesex, High Wycombe and Aylesbury also terminated at Marylebone.

Passenger traffic on the GCR was never heavy, perhaps because it was the last main line to be built, which meant it had difficulty competing against longer-established rivals (especially the Midland Railway and its terminal St Pancras) for the lucrative intercity passenger business. Furthermore, for 40 miles (64 km) between Aylesbury and Rugby the line traversed thinly-populated countryside, thus attracting little passenger business at intermediate stations. The GCR also struggled to compete with the Metropolitan Railway for 2nd- and 3rd-class traffic from nearby towns such as Harrow, Chesham and Aylesbury. However, the GCR had the upper hand on 1st-class travel between these towns, being quick, reliable and luxurious compared to the Met. Due to low passenger traffic, Marylebone was considered the quietest and most pleasant of London's termini. In 1903 there were only 14 daily passenger arrivals.[16]

While passenger traffic was sparse, the line was heavily used for freight, especially coal, and goods trains ran from the north and East Midlands to the former Marylebone freight depot which used to adjoin the station. The heyday of the line was between 1923, when the GCR was absorbed into the LNER[17] and 1948, when the LNER was nationalised to form the British Rail Eastern Region.[17] As a result, many prestigious locomotives, such as Flying Scotsman, Sir Nigel Gresley, and Mallard which ran on the East Coast Main Line, were also frequent visitors to the line. Special trains also ran on the line to destinations such as Scotland.

1958 to 1966 – service cuts[edit]

Up local train in 1961

The Great Central Main Line was regarded as a duplicate of the Midland Main Line, and long-distance trains from Marylebone began to be scaled back from 1958, leading to the eventual closure of the Great Central Main Line north of Aylesbury in 1966 as a part of the Beeching Axe. The rundown of services began after the line was transferred from British Railways' Eastern Region to the London Midland Region, (although Marylebone itself, and the first few miles of its route, had belonged to the Western Region since 1950).[18] In 1958, the Master Cutler, the line's daily crack London-Sheffield express, was diverted to London King's Cross and thenceforth ran via the East Coast Main Line. In 1960 all Express services were discontinued. From then until closure in 1966 only a few daily long-distance "semi-fast" services to Nottingham remained, mainly steam-hauled by LMR 'Black 5s'.[17] In 1965 freight services were curtailed.[17] Marylebone's large goods yard was closed and sold to the Greater London Council for housing.[16]

Following the removal of long-distance services, Marylebone was reduced to serving as the terminus for local services to Aylesbury and High Wycombe only, with some services extended to Banbury, which were switched to diesel multiple unit (DMU) operation following the phasing out of steam.[16]

1983 closure proposals[edit]

A Class 115 DMU at Marylebone in 1986

After the 1960s, lack of investment meant that the local services and the station itself became increasingly run down. Marylebone became the best place in London to see heritage trains. By the early 1980s Marylebone was under serious threat of closure. In 1983 British Rail chairman Peter Parker commissioned a report into the possibility of converting Marylebone into a 'high-speed bus way', whereby Marylebone would be converted into a coach station, The tracks between Marylebone and Harrow-on-the-Hill and South Ruislip would have been closed, and partly converted into a road for the exclusive use of buses and coaches. As part of this proposal, British Rail services via High Wycombe would have been diverted into nearby Paddington, and the Aylesbury services would have been taken over by London Underground as part of an extended Metropolitan line, and then routed to Baker Street. These proposals were seriously considered, and closure notices were posted at Marylebone in 1984. The closure proposals proved controversial, and faced strong opposition from local authorities. However they ultimately proved to be impractical and were quietly dropped.[16][19]

1986 onwards – success[edit]

The main trainshed at Marylebone in 2012, with platforms 1–3.

A major turnaround in the station's fortunes occurred in the late 1980s, when the station came under the control of the Network SouthEast sector of British Rail. A sharp rise in the number of commuters into London absorbed the spare capacity at Paddington and Baker Street stations, eliminating the possibility of Marylebone's services being diverted to these stations. Marylebone was given a formal reprieve from the threat of closure on 30 April 1986, and a large modernisation programme of the station and its services ensued. The station was given an £85 million-pound facelift. This was paid for by selling off part of the station to developers. The land sold to developers included two of the original platforms at the west of the station and the third span of the train shed, and so as a replacement, the central cab road was removed, and two new platforms numbered 2–3 were created in its place. The run-down lines running into Marylebone were extensively modernised, with new signalling and higher line speeds. In 1991, the fleet of elderly Class 115 trains on the local services was replaced by a modern fleet of Class 165 Turbo trains, and service frequencies were increased.[19] In 1993 services to Banbury were extended to the reopened Birmingham Snow Hill, creating the first long-distance service into Marylebone since 1966.[16]

Upon rail privatisation in 1996,[20] Chiltern Railways took over the rail services and developed the interurban service to Birmingham Snow Hill. To cope with Chiltern Railways' success over the last ten years and with increased passenger numbers, a new platform (platform 6) was inaugurated in May 2006. This was part of Chiltern's £70-million project Evergreen 2. Platform 5 and the shortened platform 4 opened in September 2006. The canopies on platforms 5 & 6 were built in a similar style to the canopy on the original platform 4, demolished in the 1980s. A new depot has been opened near Wembley Stadium railway station to compensate for the closure of Marylebone's station sidings and to make space for the new platforms. Some services from Marylebone have been extended beyond Birmingham to Kidderminster.

The platforms 5 & 6 added in 2006.

In late January 2006, a new company was formed called Wrexham & Shropshire. In September 2007, the Office of Rail Regulation granted it permission to operate services from Wrexham (in North Wales) via Shrewsbury, Telford and the West Midlands to Marylebone; these started in early 2008, restoring direct London services to Shropshire (Wrexham already being served by a Virgin Trains service to Euston), with five return trips per day on weekdays. This was reduced to four trains a day in March 2009.[21] These services ceased on 28 January 2011.

In 2011, Chiltern Railways took over the Oxford to Bicester Town route from First Great Western, in preparation for the opening of a link from the Chiltern Main Line to the Varsity Line (the railway where Bicester Town station is located), which would see a twice-per-hour service from London Marylebone to Oxford. The construction was to start in 2011, but a problem with bats roosting in one of the tunnels on the Varsity line delayed the approval. Later in 2012, when the problem was resolved, construction started. Services to Oxford Parkway started in October 2015, with services to Oxford expected to start in 2016.[22]


Main exit out of Marylebone station

Chiltern Railways has suggested that it has a long-term aspiration to reopen the Great Central Main Line between Aylesbury and Rugby[23] and, if successful, Leicester. The possibility of reopening the line between Princes Risborough and Oxford has also been examined but rejected. Chiltern Railways has confirmed that instead its connection to Oxford will be by building a short connection at Bicester to link the Chiltern Main Line with the Varsity Line.[24] In February 2009 consultation and planning stages started with a firm commitment made to progress the scheme despite the recent economic downturn.[25] In January 2010 it was announced that the project would certainly go ahead.[26] The public enquiry is expected to reach a recommendation on the transport and works order and a decision made in 2011.[27] At the same time (2010–2013), line speeds have been and will be increased from Marylebone to Birmingham: £250 million is being invested.

Marylebone station concourse at night photographed in December 2008

In December 2008, a proposal was made for the return of direct services between Aberystwyth in mid-Wales and London, which last ran in 1991, with Marylebone proposed as the London terminus. Arriva Trains Wales announced a consultation for two services a day, following the route of the WSMR connecting with the Cambrian line at Shrewsbury.[28] This idea has now been abandoned following objections by Wrexham & Shropshire.[29]

It is possible that in the future a new station may be constructed on the main line out of Marylebone. There is currently a large gap north of Marylebone until trains reach either Wembley Stadium or Harrow-on-the-Hill. The new station is most likely to be at West Hampstead.[30] It could be made an interchange with the Metropolitan line, which also has a large gap between stations.


Monday-Friday (off-peak)

  • 2 trains per hour (tph) to/from Birmingham (one fast, first stop Bicester North, and one semi-fast, first stop High Wycombe).
  • 1tph to/from Banbury (semi-fast, first stop High Wycombe). Some extend to Stratford-upon-Avon.
  • 1tph to/from Bicester North (semi-fast, first stop Gerrards Cross)
  • 1tph to/from Princes Risborough (semi-fast, first stop Gerrards Cross)
  • 1tph to/from High Wycombe (stopping service)
  • 1tph to/from Gerrards Cross (stopping service)
  • 2tph to/from Aylesbury (via Amersham). One of these services in each hour continues on to serve Aylesbury Vale Parkway
  • 2tph to/from Oxford Parkway (fast)

Additional services run in the peak hours, and some Birmingham trains extend to Kidderminster or Stourbridge Junction. In the evenings there are direct services to Aylesbury via High Wycombe.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Gerrards Cross   Chiltern Railways
Chiltern Main Line
semi-fast services
Harrow-on-the-Hill   Chiltern Railways
London to Aylesbury Line
Wembley Stadium   Chiltern Railways
London – High Wycombe
stopping services
High Wycombe
Bicester North
  Chiltern Railways
Chiltern Main Line
fast services

Locomotive servicing facilities[edit]

The GCR constructed a small engine shed at the site in 1897, which did not survive for long. However, a locomotive servicing area nearby, consisting of turntable and coaling stage remained in use until the end of steam traction at the station in 1966.[31] The area was allocated the shed code 14F until 1963, then 1D. The turntable remained in situ until the mid-1980s.

Station facilities[edit]

The station concourse contains a small selection of shops, notable examples being Marks and Spencer, Burger King and WH Smith. There are also four cashpoints, a barber, a flower shop, a public house called the Victoria & Albert, and office space and meeting rooms.

Toilet facilities have been refurbished[32] and, as of July 2009, these cost 30p to use.

London Underground[edit]

Marylebone London Underground
Marylebone northbound Bakerloo Line platform.jpg
Bakerloo line platform
Location Marylebone
Local authority City of Westminster
Managed by London Underground
Number of platforms 2
Fare zone 1
London Underground annual entry and exit
2012 Increase 12.11 million[33]
2013 Increase 13.40 million[33]
2014 Decrease 13.30 million[33]
2015 Decrease 12.53 million[33]
Key dates
1907 Opened as temporary terminus (BS&WR)
1907 Service extended (BS&WR)
Other information
Lists of stations

The underground station is served by the Bakerloo line. It is between Baker Street and Edgware Road stations and is in Travelcard Zone 1. Access is via a set of escalators from the main line station concourse, which also houses the underground station's ticket office.

Compared to some of the other London termini, the main line station's Underground links are poor. This is because the main line station was opened thirty-six years after the Metropolitan Railway constructed the first part of what is now the northern section of the Circle line which bypasses the station to the south.

For main line passengers wishing to use services on the Circle, Jubilee, Hammersmith and City or Metropolitan Lines, it may often be quicker to walk the short distance to nearby Baker Street station, than to make the journey on the Bakerloo line and change trains there.

The underground station is accessed through a separate set of ticket barriers to the main line platforms. Until 2004 a wooden escalator led downwards into the station, one of the last left on the London Underground that had yet to be replaced with a newer metal equivalent.


The underground station was opened on 27 March 1907 by the Baker Street and Waterloo Railway under the name Great Central (following a change from the originally-intended name Lisson Grove),[34] and was renamed Marylebone on 15 April 1917.[35] The original name still appears in places on the platform wall tiling, although the tiling scheme is a replacement designed to reflect the original scheme.[36]

The present entrance opened in 1943 following the introduction of the escalators and wartime damage to the original station building that stood to the west, at the junction of Harewood Avenue and Harewood Row. This building, designed by the Underground Electric Railways Company of London's architect, Leslie Green, had used lifts to access the platforms. It was demolished in 1971 and the site is now occupied by a budget hotel.

Preceding station   Underground no-text.svg London Underground   Following station
Bakerloo line


London Buses routes 2, 13, 18, 27, 30, 74, 82, 113, 139, 189, 205, 274 and 453 and night routes N13, N18, N74 and N205 serve the station.


Cultural references[edit]

As one of the quietest London terminals, Marylebone has been popular as a filming location. In 1964 several scenes in The Beatles film A Hard Day's Night were filmed here, as was the opening scene of the 1965 film of The IPCRESS File.[16] It appeared in an episode of Magnum, P.I. when the series was filmed around London.[37] Marylebone station doubled for Charing Cross in the 1974 episode of Upstairs Downstairs – Women Shall Not Weep.[38][better source needed] In ITV's The Upchat line (1977), Mike Upchat (played by John Alderton), a writer who lives out of a locker on Marylebone station, has the rare ability to become any character that best fits the situation.[39][better source needed] The station appeared in the BBC's spy drama Spooks (Season 4, Episode 1), standing in for Paddington.[37] and the Doctor Who serial, Doctor Who and the Silurians.[40][better source needed]

Marylebone is one of four stations on the British version of the Monopoly board game, along with King's Cross, Fenchurch Street and Liverpool Street. The four stations were all LNER termini at the time the board was designed in the mid-1930s.[41]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "London and South East" (PDF). National Rail Enquiries. National Rail. September 2006. Archived from the original (pdf) on 6 March 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Station usage estimates". Rail statistics. Office of Rail Regulation.  Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
  3. ^ "Station facilities for London Marylebone". National Rail Enquiries. Retrieved 29 May 2013. 
  4. ^ Cole 2011, p. 162
  5. ^ a b McCarthy & McCarthy 2009, p. 74
  6. ^ Butt 1995, p. 156
  7. ^ Dow 1962, p. 340
  8. ^ Braddock was the son of a stone carver from Bolton, Lancashire. As a civil engineer he had been employed on the Mersey railway tunnel, but returned to London, where he had been living with his wife Selina, following completion of the project. His son was Tom Braddock (1887–1976), Labour M.P. Palgrave, p. 23
  9. ^ Christopher 2015, p. 48
  10. ^ The terminus was described and illustrated by G. A. Hobson and E. Wragge in "The Metropolitan Terminus of the Great Central Railway", Minutes of the Proceedings 143 (1901.1) pp 84ff; the volume also contains a round-robin discussion of the terminus, in which Braddock was not included.
  11. ^ a b Weinreb et al 2008, p. 535
  12. ^ Dow 1962, p. 409
  13. ^ a b Dow 1962, p. 287
  14. ^ Weinreb et al 2008, pp. 534–535,797
  15. ^ Dow 1962, p. 328
  16. ^ a b c d e f Lambert, Anthony J. (1999). 1899–1999 Marylebone Centenary. London: Metro. OCLC 841865579. 
  17. ^ a b c d Sanders, Shawn (n.d.). "London Extension 1899–1969". The Great Central Railway. 
  18. ^ "Revision of Regional Boundaries of British Railways". The Railway Magazine. London. 96 (587): 201–4. March 1950. 
  19. ^ a b "Almost Terminal: Marylebone's Brush With Destruction". London Reconnections. 20 February 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2015. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ "WSMR cuts service". Modern Railways. London. April 2009. p. 6. 
  22. ^ "New £320m Oxford to London Marylebone rail line opens". BBC News. 
  23. ^ "Chiltern Train Route". April 2009. 
  24. ^ "Chiltern Railways plan to make Bicester well connected". Railnews. Stevenage. 29 August 2008. Retrieved 4 September 2008. 
  25. ^ "Evergreen 3". Chiltern Railways. April 2009. 
  26. ^ "£250m investment from Chiltern Railways creates new main line" (Press release). Chiltern Railways. 15 January 2010. Retrieved 16 January 2010. 
  27. ^ "Evergreen 3 Newsletter: Now for the Public Enquiry" (PDF). Chiltern Railways. Autumn 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  28. ^ "Aber-London rail link may reopen". BBC News Online. 19 December 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2009. 
  29. ^ "Aberystwyth to London direct rail route rejected". BBC News Online. London. 1 March 2010. Retrieved 1 March 2010. 
  30. ^ "West Hampstead Interchange". 11 January 2006. Archived from the original on 9 January 2008. Retrieved 6 June 2008. 
  31. ^ Griffiths & Smith 1999, p. 81
  32. ^ "New Toilet Facilities open at Marylebone". 
  33. ^ a b c d "Multi-year station entry-and-exit figures" (XLS). London Underground station passenger usage data. Transport for London. April 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  34. ^ Day 1979, pp. 72,75
  35. ^ Rose, Douglas (1999). The London Underground, A Diagrammatic History. Douglas Rose/Capital Transport. ISBN 1-85414-219-4. 
  36. ^ Rose, Douglas. "Great Central". London's Underground Edwardian Tile Patterns. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  37. ^ a b "Location of the Month 2007 August 2007 – Marylebone Station". Film London. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  38. ^ "Upstairs Downstairs fact file". Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  39. ^ British Comedy Guide.
  40. ^ "Marylebone Station – The Locations Guide to Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures". The Locations Guide to Doctor Who, Torchwood, and the Sarah Jane Adventures. 
  41. ^ Moore 2003, pp. 158–9


External links[edit]