Newcastle railway station

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This article is about the mainline station in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. For the Tyne & Wear Metro station, see Central Station Metro station. For other uses, see Newcastle railway station (disambiguation).
Newcastle National Rail
Newcastle Central Station
Portico, Newcastle Central Station, 29 November 2010.jpg
The main entrance
Place Newcastle City Centre
Local authority City of Newcastle upon Tyne
Coordinates 54°58′07″N 1°37′02″W / 54.9686°N 1.6171°W / 54.9686; -1.6171Coordinates: 54°58′07″N 1°37′02″W / 54.9686°N 1.6171°W / 54.9686; -1.6171
Grid reference NZ246638
Station code NCL
Managed by Virgin Trains East Coast
Number of platforms 12
DfT category A
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2004/05 Increase 5.728 million
2005/06 Increase 6.108 million
2006/07 Increase 6.230 million
2007/08 Increase 6.447 million
2008/09 Increase 7.099 million
2009/10 Increase 7.445 million
2010/11 Increase 7.500 million
2011/12 Increase 7.724 million
2012/13 Increase 7.808 million
2013/14 Increase 8.025 million
2014/15 Increase 8.053 million
Passenger Transport Executive
PTE Tyne and Wear (Nexus)
Zone 1
Original company York, Newcastle and Berwick Railway/Newcastle and Carlisle Railway joint
Pre-grouping North Eastern Railway
Post-grouping London and North Eastern Railway
29 August 1850 Opened as Newcastle-on-Tyne Central
1890s Extended
after 1948 Renamed Newcastle
National RailUK railway stations


* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Newcastle from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal

Newcastle railway station (or Newcastle Central Station) is the principal mainline railway station in the city of Newcastle upon Tyne in Tyne and Wear, North East England. Opened in 1850, it is a Grade I listed building and is located in the City Centre at the southern edge of Grainger Town and to the west of the Castle Keep. It is a nationally important transport hub, being both a terminus and through station serving the East Coast Main Line between London and Edinburgh, the Durham Coast Line to Middlesbrough, and the Tyne Valley Line to Carlisle. It is also served by the adjoining Central Station on the Tyne and Wear Metro. As of June 2015, the station is managed by Virgin Trains East Coast.

All Virgin Trains East Coast services between London and Edinburgh stop at Newcastle, with extensions to Southbound destinations run to London Kings Cross, York and Leeds. CrossCountry supplements services to Scotland, and operates trains southbound to the South West and south coast via Birmingham and the wider Midlands; trains reach as far as Penzance and Southampton. The station is also a terminus for First TransPennine Express, which connects Newcastle to Liverpool, via Leeds and Manchester, including some services to Manchester Airport.

Northern Rail variously combines three routes out of Newcastle in order to provide both terminating and through services. To the west, trains connect the city to the MetroCentre, Hexham and Carlisle, with intermittent extensions to Whitehaven, and to the north, Cramlington and Morpeth on the East Coast Main Line, with extensions to Chathill. To the south east, the Durham Coast Line serves Sunderland, County Durham, and Teesside. Important stops include Hartlepool, Stockton and Middlesbrough, the line being shared with Tyne and Wear Metro services to Sunderland. In peak hours some services arrive from Teesside via the East Coast Main Line. Additionally, Northern and Abellio ScotRail jointly operate a limited service to Glasgow via Carlisle. There is furthermore pressure for the line to Ashington to reopen and be included in the next Northern franchise with regular services from Newcastle.[1]

The station is connected to Central Station on the Tyne and Wear Metro, which lies directly beneath the mainline concourse and is an interchange between the green and yellow lines, providing frequent services through central Newcastle to the Airport and Whitley Bay, and through Gateshead to South Shields and Sunderland. Together with many local bus routes, the complex is one of the most important transport hubs in the North East. There are currently two Metro and twelve mainline platforms accounting for 13 million passengers annually, and in lieu of increasing numbers the mainline station has undergone an £8.6 million refurbishment to increase retail space and enhance the station environment including the pedestrianisation of the portico.[2][3] Nexus also began to refurbish the Metro station in 2015.[4][5] Passengers numbers for the mainline station alone currently stand at just over 8 million.[6]

Construction and opening[edit]

A scheme for a central station was proposed by Messrs Richard Grainger and Thomas Sopwith in 1836[7] but was not built. The station was designed by John Dobson for two companies: the York, Newcastle and Berwick Railway (YN&BR) and the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway (N&CR).[8] The YN&BR merged with other companies in 1854 to form the North Eastern Railway (NER), which later absorbed the N&CR in 1862. The station was constructed in collaboration with Robert Stephenson who was responsible for the High Level Bridge, between 1845 and 1850. The opening ceremony, attended by Queen Victoria, took place on 29 August 1850. Originally named Newcastle-on-Tyne Central, the station name was simplified to Newcastle sometime between 1948 and 1953.[9] The building has a neoclassical styled frontage, and its trainshed has a distinctive roof with three curved, arched spans — the first example of its kind, which set the 'house style' for the NER's subsequent main stations, culminating in the last major British example half a century later, the rebuilt and enlarged Hull Paragon in 1904. A porte-cochère, designed by Thomas Prosser, was added to the station entrance in 1863,[10] and the trainshed was extended southwards in the 1890s with a new span designed by William Bell.

An underground station for Tyne and Wear Metro trains was constructed during the late 1970s, and opened in 1981. Part of the porte-cochère was temporarily dismantled while excavation work took place.[11] The metro station sees 5 million passengers a year and is the third busiest station on the system.

The eastern approach to the station in 1960, viewed from The Castle 
A similar view in 2005. The station was reduced in size after the Metro replaced suburban heavy rail services. 

Train services[edit]

East Coast and CrossCountry trains at opposite platforms
A Northern service leaving Newcastle. The Castle Keep is in the background
First Transpennine and CrossCountry trains terminating at Newcastle
Departures board in the main station concourse
Northern services arriving/departing at Newcastle

Newcastle is a principal stop on the East Coast Main Line. The station is operated by Virgin Trains East Coast.

Virgin Trains East Coast[edit]

Virgin Trains East Coast provides high-speed inter-city services southbound every half hour to London (one fast, one semi-fast) as well as 3 trains per 2 hours continue northbound into Scotland. One service is also provided each evening Monday - Friday from Newcastle to Sunderland.[12]

Rolling stock used: Inter-City 225 (Class 91 electric locomotive and DVT) and Inter-City 125 (HST)

Flying Scotsman[edit]

  • early morning service, the Flying Scotsman provided by Virgin Trains East Coast, which runs between Edinburgh Waverley and London King's Cross calling at Newcastle Central only. Arriving at King's Cross at 09.40.

Rolling stock used: Inter-City 225 (Class 91 electric locomotive and DVT).


CrossCountry provides a number of services north into Scotland, supplementing Virgin Trains East Coast services, and southbound there are at least 2 trains per hour to the CrossCountry hub at Birmingham from where they are extended towards the South West and South Coast.[13]

Rolling stock used: Class 220, Class 221 'Voyager' diesel multiple units and Inter-City 125 (HST)

First TransPennine Express[edit]

Newcastle is a terminus for First TransPennine Express providing services to Manchester/Liverpool via Leeds (though some services will be extended through to Edinburgh from December 2019 as part of the new TPE franchise agreement).[14]

With the electrification of the Manchester to Liverpool Line, from May 2014 a new timetable was introduced which is made up an hourly express service between Newcastle and Liverpool via Leeds and Manchester reducing journey times to Liverpool to 3 hours as part of the Northern Hub scheme.[15] Services to Manchester Airport now mainly operate in the early morning/late evening (but will become hourly all day from December 2017). Services to Leeds/York are also supplemented by Virgin Trains East Coast and CrossCountry.

Rolling stock used: Class 185 "Pennine" diesel multiple units

Northern Rail[edit]

Northern Rail provides a number of commuter and regional services :[16]

Some services on the Tyne Valley line extend beyond Carlisle, including one service to Whitehaven and three services to Glasgow Central via the Glasgow South Western Line. The Glasgow services are operated using Abellio Scotrail Class 156 trains, but operate as Northern services with Northern crew between Newcastle and Carlisle.

Rolling stock used: Sprinter (Class 156) and Pacer (Class 142) diesel multiple units

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
First TransPennine Express Terminus
Edinburgh Waverley   Virgin Trains East Coast
Flying Scotsman
  London Kings Cross
Darlington   Virgin Trains East Coast
London-Edinburgh/Scotland express
Durham or
  Virgin Trains East Coast
    Alnmouth or
Morpeth or
Berwick-upon-Tweed or
Edinburgh Waverley
Darlington   Virgin Trains East Coast
Durham   Virgin Trains East Coast
Northern Rail Terminus
Terminus Northern Rail
Terminus Northern Rail
Northern Rail Terminus
Terminus Northern Rail
Terminus Northern Rail

Layout and platforms[edit]

Departures board between platforms 3 and 4

The National Rail station has 12 platforms. The arrangement is:

  • Platform 1 is an east-facing bay platform which handles terminating Northern local services from the south over the High Level Bridge and from the north.
  • Platform 2 is the main through platform for Virgin Trains East Coast and CrossCountry services heading northbound to Scotland.
  • Platforms 3 and 4 are the main through platforms for southbound Virgin Trains East Coast services to London and for southbound CrossCountry services to Birmingham and the South West. They are also used for inter-city services which terminate at Newcastle including Virgin Trains East Coast services from London, evening Virgin Trains East Coast services from Edinburgh, and some CrossCountry services.
  • Platforms 5/6 share the northbound side, and Platforms 7/8 the southbound side, of the newer island platform, and are used mainly by Northern Rail services westbound to Hexham and Carlisle and eastbound to Sunderland and Middlesbrough.
  • Platforms 9 to 12 are west-facing bay terminal platforms. Platforms 9 and 10 are used for First TransPennine Express services heading to Manchester and Liverpool and some Northern Rail Tyne Valley trains. CrossCountry services heading to Reading via Doncaster mainly use platform 11. Platform 12 is not in regular use.

Station redevelopment[edit]

Station redevelopment underway at entrance to Newcastle Central station
A British Rail InterCity service at Newcastle in 1983

Plans were revealed on 30 April 2013 for a major redevelopment,[17] including an £8.6 million project to regenerate the inside of the station,[18] and a further £11.4 million to develop the area surrounding the station.[19] The portico redevelopment was completed in April 2014.[20]

The redevelopment plans contain a number of improvements, including:

  • New retail space in the portico area, which will be turned into glazed arches to provide weather protection as well as retail units replacing the existing ticket office and travel centre. This will double the current amount of retail space to make it equivalent to that of the new King's Cross Station.[17][18][21][22]
  • The travel centre and ticket office will be reduced in size and relocated to the area beyond where the current Sainsbury's Local store is.[17][18][23]
  • Improved toilet facilities.[17][18][22]
  • Clearer signage.[17][18][22]
  • Increased covered cycle-park space.[18]
  • A simpler layout that accentuates the grade one listed architecture including the Castle Keep. The line of sight across the concourse will also be greatly improved.[18]
  • Sand-blasting of the walls and new lighting to be fitted.[23]
  • The current access points to the station will be moved to make it easier to enter and leave the station.[17]
  • Improved waiting rooms.[22]
  • Alteration to the existing bridge structure.[22]
  • New lifts and escalators.[22]
  • New glazed canopies.[22]

The redevelopment plan also includes a number of improvements to the area surrounding the station, including:

  • New taxi rank to the east side of the portico.[18][21][23]
  • A two-way cycle track at the west end of Neville Street.[17][23]
  • Change of traffic flow patterns to ease congestion.[24]
  • Pedestrian crossings on Neville Street and Grainger Street.[17]
  • Pedestrianisation of the car-park space outside the Centurion Pub.[21][23]
  • Wider footways and pavement cafes outside the station.[17]

The work began in May 2013 and was completed during April 2014 by Miller Construction.[18] The station operated as normal throughout the works.[18] The £8.6 million funding for the internal station work was provided by the Department for Transport's Station Commercial Project Facility Fund.[18] The external works were jointly funded by NE1, Regional Growth Fund and Newcastle City Council.[19]

Railway infrastructure[edit]

Simplified rail network around Newcastle
East Coast Main Line via Morpeth
Heaton Depot
North Tyneside Loop via Walkergate
Heaton Closed 1980
Riverside Branch via Byker
North Tyneside Loop via Jesmond
Manors Tyne and Wear Metro
Carliol Square
Closed 1850
Tyne Valley Line via Scotswood  
Newcastle Central Tyne and Wear Metro
King Edward VII Bridge 
High Level Bridge River Tyne
Tyne Valley Line via Metrocentre 
Durham Coast Line via Heworth
East Coast Main Line via Durham 

Trains cross the River Tyne on one of two bridges. The older High Level Bridge south-east of the station, designed by Robert Stephenson opened on 27 September 1849. Its location meant north-south trains had to reverse in the station to continue their journey. The King Edward VII Bridge south-west of the station opened on 10 July 1906 allowing north-south trains to continue without reversing. The two bridges enable the trackwork north and south of the river to form a complete circle, allowing trains to be turned if necessary. The former Gateshead depot, next to the connecting tracks on the south side of the Tyne, mirrored Newcastle station.

The station was noted for its complex set of diamond crossings to the east of the station which facilitated access to the High Level Bridge and northbound East Coast Main Line and was said to be the greatest such crossing in the world.[25] The crossing was the subject of many early-1900s post cards, titled The Largest Railway Crossing in the World - photographed from the castle (towards the station), or from the station towards the castle.[26]

The crossing has been simplified in recent years as the opening of the Metro brought about the withdrawal of many heavy-rail suburban services and the closure of the bay platforms they operated from on the north side of the station removing the need for such a complex crossing. Much of this work was carried out in 1988-9 as part of remodelling and resignalling work associated with ECML electrification. A new island platform on the former goods lines was commissioned as part of this work, with signalling control relocated to the Tyneside IECC on the opposite side of the river. Heaton depot is to the north of the station, on the East Coast Main Line.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 17 August 1951, two electric multiple units were in a head-on collision after one of them departed against a danger signal. Two people were killed.[27]
  • On 19 April 1955, a collision occurred between V2 locomotive 60968 and Fairburn tank locomotive No. 42085 on the diamond crossings. Both locomotives were derailed.[28]

Tyne & Wear Metro[edit]

Newcastle station is located above Central metro station on the Tyne and Wear Metro, one of five underground stations serving the city centre. Central is an interchange between the Yellow and Green lines, and is the last stop prior to crossing the River Tyne towards Gateshead.

Preceding station   Tyne and Wear Metro   Following station
towards St James via the Coast
Yellow line
towards South Shields
towards Airport
Green line
towards South Hylton

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Newcastle Central Station". Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "ORR Station Usage Estimates". 
  7. ^ A Proposal for Concentrating the Termini of the Newcastle & Carlisle, Great North of England & proposed Edinburgh Railways by Richard Grainger, 1836. A short pamphlet plus fold-out map. The original from which reference has been made is in the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers. It is reference Tracts vol 57 p200ff
  8. ^ Allen, Cecil J. (1974) [1964]. The North Eastern Railway. Shepperton: Ian Allan. p. 86. ISBN 0-7110-0495-1. 
  9. ^ Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 168. ISBN 1-85260-508-1. R508. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Odd bits". Timmonet. 23 December 2000. Retrieved 25 April 2008. 
  12. ^ GB eNRT 2015-16 Edition Table 26
  13. ^ GB eNRT 2015-16, Table 51
  14. ^ TPE Franchise Improvements - Newcastle (DfT)
  15. ^ GB eNRT, Table 39
  16. ^ GB eNRT 2015-16, Tables 44 & 48
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Exciting plans for Central Station" (Press release). Newcastle City Council. 30 April 2013. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "New Era for Newcastle Central Station". East Coast. 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Daunt, Joe (30 April 2013). "Revamping Newcastle Central Station: Multi-Million Plans Revealed to Public". Sky News Tyne and Wear. 
  20. ^ Lognonne, Ruth (7 April 2014). "Newcastle Central Station's new look is unveiled". The Journal ( Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  21. ^ a b c Pearson, Adrian (12 March 2013). "Businesses welcome plans to revamp Newcastle's Central Station". Evening Chronicle (Newcastle). 
  22. ^ a b c d e f g "Newcastle Central Station to Benefit from an £8.6million Investment". Network Rail. 2011. 
  23. ^ a b c d e Pearson, Adrian (11 March 2013). "Newcastle's Central station set for radical £8 million makeover". Evening Chronicle (Newcastle). 
  24. ^ Pearson, Adrian (20 April 2013). "Radical Plans for Newcastle Central Station are Revealed". The Journal (Newcastle). 
  25. ^ Guy, Andy (2003). Steam and Speed: Railways of Tyne and Wear. Tyne Bridge Publishing. p. 80. ISBN 1-85795-161-1. 
  26. ^ "Old Postcards And Photographs Of Newcastle upon Tyne", 
  27. ^ Hoole, Ken (1983). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 4. Truro: Atlantic Books. p. 17. ISBN 0-906899-07-9. 
  28. ^ Trevena, Arthur (1981). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 2. Redruth: Atlantic Books. p. 38. ISBN 0-906899 03 6. 


External links[edit]

  • Newcastle Central Station - Part of the 2000 art exhibition "Stephenson's Legacy." Includes old photographs of the station.