Norwich railway station

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Norwich National Rail
Norwich Thorpe (6371284241).jpg
Norwich railway station
Place Norwich
Local authority City of Norwich
Grid reference TG239083
Station code NRW
Managed by Abellio Greater Anglia
Number of platforms 6
DfT category B
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2004/05 Increase 2.122 million
2005/06 Increase 2.328 million
2006/07 Increase 2.712 million
2007/08 Increase 3.450 million
2008/09 Increase 3.569 million
2009/10 Decrease 3.496 million
2010/11 Increase 3.749 million
2011/12 Increase 3.885 million
2012/13 Increase 4.126 million
2013/14 Increase 4.140 million
1 May 1844 Opened
12 December 1849 Renamed (Norwich Thorpe)
3 May 1886 Resited on adjacent site
5 May 1969 Renamed (Norwich)
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Norwich from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal
Norwich station in 1851, before its rebuilding in 1886.
LNER Thompson B1 4-6-0 in 1958

Norwich (formerly Norwich Thorpe) is a railway station serving the city of Norwich in the English county of Norfolk. The station is the northern terminus of the Great Eastern Main Line from London Liverpool Street. It is also the terminus of railway lines from Cambridge, Sheringham, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.


At one time there were three railway stations in Norwich. Norwich Thorpe which is the current station now simply named Norwich - though still known locally as "Thorpe Station", Norwich Victoria which was once the terminus for certain passenger services from the London direction until 1916 as well as a goods station until demolition in the 1970s, and Norwich City which was the terminus for the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway line from Melton Constable which closed in 1959.

Early History[edit]

The original station was opened by the Yarmouth & Norwich Railway (Y&NR) which was the earliest railway in Norfolk, England. Its Act of Parliament of 18 June 1842 authorised the issue of £200,000 worth of shares to build a line between the two, via Reedham and the Yare valley. The Chairman was George Stephenson and the Chief Engineer was his son Robert.[1] Construction started in April 1843 and the 20.5 miles were completed in a year, with an inspection/inaugural run on 12 April 1844 and a ceremonial opening on 30 April 1844, followed the next day by the beginning of regular passenger services.[2]

The Norwich and Brandon Railway arrived in the station in 1845 and this offered a route to Liverpool Street via Cambridge and Bishops Stortford. Four years later the Eastern Union Railway started services to Norwich Victoria and two years later services from Ipswich started serving the better placed station.

By the 1860s the railways in East Anglia were in financial trouble, and most were leased to the ECR; they wished to amalgamate formally, but could not obtain government agreement for this until 1862, when the Great Eastern Railway (GER) was formed by amalgamation. Thus Norwich Thorpe (and Victoria) became GER stations in 1862.[3]

Great Eastern Railway 1862-1922[edit]

With traffic growing it was apparent a new station was required and this was built to the north of the original station in the 1880s and is the structure standing today. The old terminus then became part of expanded goods facilities.

The new station was built by Messrs Youngs and Son, of Norwich, from designs by Mr J Wilson, the company‘s engineer, at the cost of £60,000. It had a circulating area with a high ceiling and the roof was supported by ironwork supplied by contractor Barnard Bishop and Barnard. The roof extended partly down the platforms which were then covered by canopies for part of their length. There were initially five platforms and engine release roads between platforms 2 and 3 and 4 and 5. These allowed the locomotive to be detached from the train without the need for a shunting locomotive (known as a station pilot) having to shunt the carriages out of the station. The attractive station building was built around a central clock tower (the clock was supplied by Dixons and Co of London Street Norwich) with two storey matching wings either side. A portico was built onto the clock-tower section.[4]

London and North Eastern Railway (1923-1947)[edit]

On 1 January 1923 the GER amalgamated with several other railways to form the London & North Eastern Railway as a result of the Railways Act 1921 which saw many of the 120 railway companies grouped into four main companies in an effort to stem their losses. [5]

During World War II the station was bombed in June 1940 and April 1942.[6]

British Railways (1948-1994)[edit]

The nationalisation of Britain's railways saw the operation of Norwich station pass to British Railways Eastern Region. Platform 6 was added in 1954 and in 1955 a modern booking hall was added. [7] During the late 1950s steam was phased out from the East Anglian Network as diesels took over.

When the station closed briefly for electrification works by the Eastern Region in 1986, Trowse railway station, a disused suburban station, was put back into service as the temporary terminus of the line. It closed again when Norwich re-opened. The signalling was also modernised at this time and the track layout simplified.

The privatisation era (1994-present)[edit]

Following privatization of the UK railways, Railtrack became responsible for infrastructure maintenance in 1994. Following financial problems Network Rail took over operation of the infrastructure in 2002.

The operation of the line was privatised in 1997 when the franchise was awarded to Anglia Railways who operated it until April 2004 when National Express East Anglia won the replacement franchise operating under the brand name 'One' until February 2008. From 5 February 2012 Abellio Greater Anglia took over operating the franchise.

Ticket barriers were installed in January 2009.

Former train operating company Anglia Railways ran services known as London Crosslink from here to Basingstoke via Stratford. This service started in 2000 and ended in 2002.

Station Layout[edit]

The entire station is a terminus at the end of the Great Eastern Main Line, the Breckland line and the Bittern/Wherry Lines.

Train services[edit]

The following services currently call at Norwich:

Operator Route Rolling Stock Frequency
East Midlands Trains Liverpool Lime Street - Liverpool South Parkway - Widnes - Warrington Central - Manchester Oxford Road - Manchester Piccadilly - Stockport - Sheffield - Chesterfield - Alfreton - Nottingham - Grantham - Peterborough - Ely - Thetford - Norwich Class 158 1x per hour
Abellio Greater Anglia London Liverpool Street - Colchester - Manningtree - Ipswich - Diss - Norwich Class 90 + Mark 3 Coaching Stock 1x per hour
Abellio Greater Anglia London Liverpool Street - Stratford - Chelmsford - Colchester - Manningtree - Ipswich - Stowmarket - Diss - Norwich Class 90 + Mark 3 Coaching Stock 1x per hour
Abellio Greater Anglia Cambridge - Ely - Brandon - Thetford - Attleborough - Wymondham - Norwich Class 170 1x per hour
Abellio Greater Anglia Norwich - Salhouse (two hourly) - Hoveton and Wroxham - Worstead - North Walsham - Gunton - Roughton Road - Cromer - West Runton - Sheringham Class 153, Class 156, Class 170 1x per hour
Abellio Greater Anglia Norwich - Brundall Gardens - Brundall - Lingwood - Acle - Great Yarmouth Class 153, Class 156, Class 170 1x per hour
Abellio Greater Anglia Norwich - Brundall Gardens - Brundall - Cantley - Reedham - Berney Arms - Great Yarmouth Class 153, Class 156, Class 170 2x per day
Abellio Greater Anglia Norwich - Brundall - Cantley - Reedham - Haddiscoe - Somerleyton - Oulton Broad North - Lowestoft Class 153, Class 156, Class 170 1x per hour

Typical journey times[edit]


Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
East Midlands Trains Terminus
Limited Service
Abellio Greater Anglia
Terminus Abellio Greater Anglia
Terminus Abellio Greater Anglia
Terminus Abellio Greater Anglia
Terminus Dutchflyer
Historical railways
Terminus Anglia Railways
Great Eastern Railway
Line open, station closed
Great Eastern Railway
Line open, station closed

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • Thorpe rail accident, East Anglia's worst rail crash, occurred at Thorpe St Andrew between Norwich and Brundall in 1874, killing 25 people and injuring 75.
  • On 21 January 1881, two passenger trains collided at Norwich Thorpe Junction just beyond Carrow Road Bridge. Both trains had the locomotive and the leading carriage were derailed. There were no casualties.[8]
  • On 21 July 2013, two passenger trains collided in Platform 6, injuring eight people.[9]

Engine sheds[edit]

Norwich engine shed was located to the south and west of the station.

This depot closed in 1982 and was replaced by a new facility at Crown Point, Norwich which in 2015 is responsible for the maintenance of the main line electric fleet and local DMUs.


Before carriages were lit by electric lighting they were lit by gas. Norwich had an oil gas works and carriages north of a line from Harwich to Cambridge were supplied with oil gas.[10] The gas was distributed to other stations in a dedicated fleet of ten tank wagons. Use of the facility declined in the 1930s although up until the 1950s catering vehicles were still supplied.[11]

Children‘s author Arthur Ransome set the opening paragraph of Coot Club (1934) at Norwich station.[12] It also appears in the 1971 film The Go-Between.[13]

Bus services[edit]

Bus services depart from outside the station and on Thorpe Road. Bus services are operated by First, Anglian Bus, Simonds, Konectbus and Neaves.

  • 1 (Station - City Centre - Harford - Swainsthorpe - Flordon - Long Stratton - Tivetshall - Gissing - Diss)
  • 2 (Station - City Centre - Harford - Swainsthorpe - Long Stratton - Pulham - Tivetshall - Dickleburgh - Scole - Diss)
  • 8 (Toftwood - Dereham - City Centre - Station)
  • 14 (Wymondham - Hethersett - City Centre - Station - Dussindale Park - New Rackheath - Salhouse - Wroxham)
  • 14A (Wymondham - Hethersett - City Centre - Station - Dussindale Park - Rackheath - Wroxham)
  • 15 (Wymondham - Hethersett - City Centre - Station - Brundall - Blofield Heath)
  • 15A (Wymondham - Hethersett - City Centre - Station - Brundall - Lingwood)
  • 25, 25A,(University - City Centre - Station)
  • 32 (City Centre - Station - Sprowston)
  • 121 (Eaton - City Centre - Station)
  • 122A (Keswick Hall - Cringleford - City Centre - Station)
  • 123 (City Centre - Station - Dussindale - Rackheath - Wroxham)
  • 124 (City Centre - Station - The Plumsteads - South Walsham)
  • X47 (City Centre - Station - Brundall - Blofield - Acle - Great Yarmouth - Gorleston - James Paget Hospital)
  • X47 (City Centre - Station - Acle - Great Yarmouth - Gorleston - James Paget Hospital) Limited stop service


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Allen, Cecil J. (1975). The Great Eastern Railway (6th ed.). Shepperton: Ian Allan. 
  2. ^ Hawkins, Chris (1990). Great Eastern in Town and Country. Pinner UK: Irwell Press. p. 1. ISBN 1 871608 16 3. 
  3. ^ Vaughan, Adrian (1997). Railwaymen, Politics and Money. London: John Murray. pp. 134, 135. ISBN 0 7195 5150 1. 
  4. ^ Hawkins, Chris (1990). Great Eastern in Town and Country. Pinner UK: Irwell Press. pp. 11–14. ISBN 1 871608 16 3. 
  5. ^ Railways Act 1921, HMSO, 19 August 1921 
  6. ^ Hawkins, Chris (1990). Great Eastern in Town and Country. Pinner UK: Irwell Press. p. 18. ISBN 1 871608 16 3. 
  7. ^ "Norwich Railway Station". Norwich Heart. Norwich Heritage and Economic Regeneration trsut. Retrieved 31 May 2015. 
  8. ^ Voisey, Fred (July 1983). "Accidents on the GER part3:Collision at Norwich 1881". Great Eastern Journal (35): 21. 
  9. ^ "Greater Anglia and East Midlands trains in Norwich station crash". BBC News Online. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  10. ^ Pember, Geoff (April 1983). "Lineside features 7:Large locomotive depots". Great Eastern Journal 35: 9. 
  11. ^ Kenworthy, Graham (October 1998). "Norwich Gas Works". Great Eastern Journal 96: 52. 
  12. ^ "Norwich Railway Station". Norwich Heart. Norwich Heritage and Economic Regeneration trsut. Retrieved 31 May 2015. 
  13. ^ Ward, Ken. "East Anglia in book and film". Norwich the old city. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°37′37″N 1°18′25″E / 52.627°N 1.307°E / 52.627; 1.307