Milton Keynes Central railway station

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Milton Keynes Central National Rail
The frontage to Milton Keynes Central, known locally as Station Square. Also visible are the bus stops, with local and long distance buses visible.
Place Central Milton Keynes
Local authority Borough of Milton Keynes
Coordinates 52°02′06″N 0°46′23″W / 52.035°N 0.773°W / 52.035; -0.773Coordinates: 52°02′06″N 0°46′23″W / 52.035°N 0.773°W / 52.035; -0.773
Grid reference SP841380
Station code MKC
Managed by London Midland
Owned by Network Rail
Number of platforms 7 (numbered 1–2, 2A, 3–6)
DfT category B
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2002/03 Increase 3.925 million
2004/05 Decrease 3.815 million
2005/06 Increase 4.134 million
2006/07 Increase 4.557 million
2007/08 Increase 4.690 million
2008/09 Decrease 4.646 million
2009/10 Increase 4.917 million
2010/11 Increase 5.517 million
2011/12 Increase 5.558 million
2012/13 Increase 6.030 million
2013/14 Increase 6.286 million
Key dates Opened 17 May 1982 (17 May 1982)
Original company British Rail
2008 Platforms 2A and 6 added
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Milton Keynes Central from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal

Milton Keynes Central railway station serves Central Milton Keynes and the surrounding area of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England. The station is located on the West Coast Main Line between the stations of Bletchley and Wolverton, both of which are also within Milton Keynes. The station is served by Virgin Trains intercity services, and by London Midland and Southern regional services.

This station is one of the five stations serving Milton Keynes. The others are Wolverton (north Milton Keynes), Bletchley (south Milton Keynes), Fenny Stratford (also south Milton Keynes) and Bow Brickhill (south-east Milton Keynes). In addition, Woburn Sands railway station is just outside the Milton Keynes boundary and serves the south-east of the Borough. Milton Keynes Central, which opened on 17 May 1982,[1] is by far the busiest and most important of these, as well as being the largest in terms of platforms in use, having overtaken Bletchley when platforms 2A and 6 became operational.

History and development[edit]


The station was opened by British Rail in 1982. Before it opened, Bletchley railway station was the main station for Milton Keynes, served by British Rail InterCity services. These services moved to the new station, downgrading Bletchley.

2006–08 developments[edit]

The station lobby, with the huge National Rail logo above the entrance
Looking south from Milton Keynes Central, showing the bay platform 2A and the track on the left, which leads into platform 1 under the bridge. The bridge in the middle distance carries H6 Childs Way.

In May 2006, the Department of Transport announced a plan to upgrade the station.[2] The first phase added a down fast line platform 6, so that the existing platform 5 could be used for stopping express trains in either direction. The second phase provided an additional terminating bay platform (2A), nominally to extend the Marston Vale Line Bedford/Bletchley service via the WCML to Milton Keynes Central. This 5-car bay platform is indented into platform 1. The original platform 1 line was extended northwards from 'bay' to 'through' (becoming the up slow line), and platform 2 line is now a 'centre' terminating and reversing line, avoiding conflicting crossing movements. This work was completed on 29 December 2008. As of 2014, a direct service between Bedford and Milton Keynes is not in any published plan, being overtaken by later events (see next).

Platforms and layout[edit]

The main body of Milton Keynes Central, showing the triple island platform layout and the footbridge. The large station building provides the backdrop. Platform 6 is closest to the camera.

Milton Keynes Central has a total of seven platforms. Platforms 1 and 3 are the south and northbound slow platforms, while 4 and 6 are the south and northbound fast platforms. Platforms 2 and 5 are reversible, being slow and fast respectively. Platform 2 is used by terminating services from London Euston and East Croydon, whilst platform 5 is used by London Midland services to Birmingham New Street and Crewe. Platform 2A is a five-car south-facing bay platform originally intended for the extension of Marston Vale Line services into Milton Keynes Central. This proposal no longer appears in plans for the East West Rail Link, being replaced by a planned service to/from Oxford. Meanwhile, platform 2A is used only by exception when additional platform capacity is needed, such as when there is a service delay. The platform will also be used for services to Oxford and Aylesbury from 2019 (see 'Future Services' below). To the north of the station the six lines reduce to four (two slow and two fast), whilst there is a mile of five-track running to the south before this also reduces back to four.

Ticket gates are in operation.

Local facilities and interchange[edit]

The main building of station photographed from platform 1

The station building has a shop and café. There are other shops and restaurants on the south side of the station square. There are a number of hotels on Midsummer Boulevard (which begins opposite the station and leads up into Central Milton Keynes).

The station forecourt is the terminus or key intermediate destination for many bus services; almost all local urban and suburban buses stop there. These services are operated mostly by Arriva as well as some routes by Stagecoach and a number of independent operators. Numerous bus services each hour traverse Midsummer Boulevard, connecting the station to Central Milton Keynes Shopping Centre and Milton Keynes Theatre (for theatre district and Xscape). There is a public toilet in this area.

Stagecoach operate four major long-distance routes from here. Their 99 coach route runs to Luton Airport via Luton railway station, providing a direct link between the West Coast Main Line and the Midland Main Line.[3] Their X5 coach route between Oxford and Cambridge stops here and their X4 and X7 interurban bus routes to Northampton, Leicester and Peterborough also call. Arriva the Shires and Essex also operate route 150 to Aylesbury, via Leighton Buzzard, which terminates at the station.[4] For National Express coach services, see Milton Keynes Coachway.

The Milton Keynes redway system, a comprehensive network of cycle/pedestrian paths, connects to the station and its cycle parking facilities.

Also in the station forecourt, there is a taxi rank (to the left) and a pick-up space for private hire cars (to the right), plus limited (very) short term parking. There is a multi-story car-park to the north of the station. Parking in the surrounding streets is heavily restricted to discourage out-bound commuter parking.

The station square itself is a favourite site for skateboarding and freestyle BMX and as a result the granite facings of the planting surrounds have suffered from the continuous bumping and grinding. This has lessened somewhat since the opening of a dedicated skateboarding park (Sk8 MK) close to the former central bus station (now the Buszy youth centre).[5]


A London Midland class 350 standing at platform 2 after having terminated with a service from London.

London Midland[edit]

Before Milton Keynes Central was built. The WCML near Loughton Siding signal box in 1957

Milton Keynes Central is a principal start and terminus for London Midland's services to/from London Euston, and a major stop on others terminating/initiating at Northampton, Crewe or Birmingham New Street. During off-peak daytime hours, London Midland operate five departures per hour to Euston, two trains per hour to Birmingham New Street (via Northampton), one train per hour to Crewe, and one train per hour that terminates at Northampton. There are additional London Midland services during the rush hour.

Virgin Trains[edit]

Virgin Trains stop many of their inter-city services here, with three calls an hour in each direction off-peak on weekdays. Southbound services are to London Euston, northbound services are to Glasgow/Edinburgh via Birmingham New Street, to Manchester Piccadilly, and to Chester (with certain trains extending to Bangor and Holyhead for ferry connections to Dun Laoghaire or to Dublin Port). Additional services operate in the morning peak and evening peaks to and from Liverpool Lime Street, Preston, Glasgow Central (via Trent Valley Line), Wolverhampton and other destinations.


Since 2009 Milton Keynes has also been served by Southern, who provide an hourly service to South Croydon, running via the West London line. Additional Southern services operate to/from Kensington Olympia, Clapham Junction, Balham, Selhurst or East Croydon.

Across the three operators, seven trains per hour head north and nine south from the station.

Future services[edit]

East West Rail[edit]

Main article: East West Rail Link

From 2019, services are planned to operate (over a rebuilt East West Rail Link) to Oxford via Bletchley, Winslow and Bicester Town; and also to London Marylebone via Aylesbury and High Wycombe.[6][7] Extension of the Oxford service to Reading has been mooted.

Great North Western[edit]

Great North Western Railway has been given permission to run 6 trains a day from London to Blackpool North from 2018, with conditional permission for a stop at Milton Keynes Central dependent upon future capacity after infrastructural work. [8]


Main article: Crossrail

Network Rail's July 2011 London & South East Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) recommended diverting West Coast Main Line (WCML) services from stations between London and Milton Keynes Central away from Euston, to Crossrail via Old Oak Common, to free up capacity at Euston for High Speed 2. Doing so would provide a direct service from the WCML to the Shenfield, Canary Wharf and Abbey Wood, release London Underground capacity at Euston, make better use of Crossrail's capacity west of Paddington, and improve access to Heathrow Airport from the north.[9] Under this scheme, all Crossrail trains would continue west of Paddington, instead of some of them terminating there. They would serve Heathrow Airport (10 tph), stations to Maidenhead and Reading (6 tph), and stations to Milton Keynes Central (8 tph).[10]

In August 2014, a statement by the transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin indicated that the government was actively evaluating the extension of Crossrail as far as Tring and Milton Keynes Central, with potential Crossrail stops at Wembley Central, Harrow & Wealdstone, Bushey, Watford Junction, Kings Langley, Apsley, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Tring, Cheddington, Leighton Buzzard and Bletchley. The extension would relieve some pressure from London Underground and London Euston station while also increasing connectivity. Conditions to the extension are that any extra services would not affect the planned service pattern for confirmed routes, as well as affordability.[11][12]

Service summary[edit]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Wolverton or
  London Midland
London commuter service
  Bletchley or
Leighton Buzzard
Rugby   London Midland
Wolverton   London Midland
  Bletchley or
Watford Junction
Birmingham New Street or
Coventry or Rugby
  Virgin Trains
WCML West Midlands Route
London–West Midlands
  London Euston or
Watford Junction
Stoke on Trent or Crewe or
  Virgin Trains
WCML Manchester Route
  London Euston or
Watford Junction
Rugby or Stafford   Virgin Trains
WCML Liverpool Route
  Watford Junction or
London Euston
Crewe or Nuneaton   Virgin Trains
WCML North Wales Route
London–Chester/North Wales/Holyhead for Dublin
  London Euston
Coventry   Virgin Trains
West Coast Main Line
London–Scotland/North West
  London Euston
Rugby   Virgin Trains
West Coast Main Line
London–Glasgow/North West
  London Euston or
Watford Junction
Terminus   Southern
West Coast Main Line
Milton Keynes–South Croydon
  Future services  
Terminus   East West Rail Link
Milton Keynes Central — Oxford and Reading
Terminus   East West Rail Link, London — Aylesbury
Milton Keynes Central — London Marylebone
  Proposed development  
Preceding station   Crossrail roundel.svg National Rail logo.svg Crossrail   Following station
Terminus Crossrail
Line 1
Milton Keynes
towards Abbey Wood or Shenfield


Milton Keynes Central railway station is located in Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes Central railway station
Milton Keynes Central
zoom in

The station is to the west of Central Milton Keynes, near the junction of the A5 with the A509. The nearest post-code is MK9 1LA.

In film[edit]

The station and its plaza were used in the movie Superman IV: The Quest for Peace as a substitute for the United Nations building. Other scenes were shot in the Central Milton Keynes area.


  1. ^ Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 160. ISBN 1-85260-508-1. R508. 
  2. ^ West Coast Main Line: Progress Report – May 2006
  3. ^ "VT99 Timetable" (PDF). Borough of Milton Keynes / Stagecoach. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ sk8m8 : Sk8MK Skate Plaza – Milton Keynes
  6. ^ RAIL Magazine, Issue 685, 14–28 December 2011, Pages 10–11
  7. ^ Bucks Herald (31 March 2014). "Disappointment as East West Rail delayed by two years". Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  8. ^ Topham, Gwyn. "Virgin has a rival: GNWR to run London to Blackpool west coast rail service". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  9. ^ Rail Utilisation Strategy, 2011, pp. 150.
  10. ^ "'Emerging scenario' suggests Crossrail to the West Coast Main Line". Rail (Peterborough). 10 August 2011. p. 8. 
  11. ^ "Crossrail extension to Hertfordshire being considered". BBC News. 7 August 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014. 
  12. ^ Topham, Gwyn (7 August 2014). "New Crossrail route mooted from Hertfordshire into London". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 

External links[edit]