Stafford railway station
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|Local authority||Borough of Stafford|
|Managed by||Virgin Trains|
|Number of platforms||5 (1,3,4,5,6)|
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|Original company||Grand Junction Railway|
|Pre-grouping||London and North Western Railway|
|Post-grouping||London, Midland and Scottish Railway|
|4 July 1837||Station opened|
|1962||Current building opened|
|National Rail – UK railway stations|
|* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Stafford from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.|
Stafford railway station serves the county town of Stafford in Staffordshire, England. As it lies at the junction of the Trent Valley Line and the Rugby-Birmingham-Stafford Line, it is an important main line interchange station on the West Coast Main Line.
The first station was built by the Grand Junction Railway and opened in July 1837.:32 It soon became inadequate and was replaced by a second station in 1844. A third station was built in 1862 which was eventually replaced by the current concrete brutalist building in 1962, built as part of the modernisation programme which saw the electrification of the West Coast Main Line.
Lines originally built by the Stafford and Uttoxeter Railway and the Shropshire Union Railways and Canal Company (to Shrewsbury) also used the station. The Stafford to Uttoxeter line closed to passenger traffic in 1939, with the Shrewsbury line closing as part of the Beeching Axe in 1964.
Following the rebuilding the station in the 1960s, Isabel, a narrow gauge engine built by local firm W.G. Bagnall stood on a plinth on the opposite side of Station Road at the junction of Railway Street, until it was removed in the mid-1980s. Called Isabel, it is now on the Amerton Railway.
Two accidents have happened at Stafford, both in recent years:
- On 4 August 1990, an out-of-service train heading to a depot in Birmingham crashed into the back of an express train bound for Penzance on Platform 4 at Stafford station. The driver was killed and 36 people were injured.
- On 8 March 1996, a mail train collided with a freight train carrying industrial acid just south of Stafford. A mail sorter was killed and another 22 people were injured. The mail train locomotive was catapulted up the embankment and came to rest against a house.
The station today
There are five platforms in use at the station, all of which are accessible from either of the main lines that converge from the south. Platform 1 is used by Virgin Trains and London Midland services to London Euston, platform 3 by Virgin Trains and London Midland services from London Euston, platform 4 by Arriva Trains Wales, London Midland and CrossCountry services to Birmingham New Street, platform 5 by CrossCountry, Arriva Trains Wales and London Midland services from Birmingham New Street and platform 6 by starting/terminating London Midland services to/from London Euston, Birmingham New Street, Northampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Crewe and Liverpool Lime Street.
Platform 6 used to be the terminus of the Chase Line from Walsall and Birmingham, however this service has now been cut back since December 2008 to Rugeley Trent Valley, it is also used for Railtours and is split into "a" and "b" sections. The former bay platform 2 is no longer used by passenger trains nor the western most platform last used by Royal Mail trains.
In October 2012 Network Rail began refurbishment works at the station, due to the poor condition of some of the structures. The work includes resurfacing the platforms (Platforms 1 and 3 have already been completed), improving surface and roof drainage, renewing the opaque glazing on the footbridge, installing new canopy roof covers on the platforms and some structural work on the platform supports. The work is expected to be finished by June 2013. 
The station is a popular location for trainspotters and enthusiasts due to its high volume of through traffic - including many freight movements - and good visibility.
Stafford Area Improvements Programme
The Stafford Area Improvements Programme by Network Rail aims to allow more trains to run and also aims to reduce journey times by removing key bottlenecks in the area around Stafford.
The resignalling aspect of the programme was completed over the bank holiday weekend of 29-31 August 2015. All platforms now have bi-directional signalling, and the goods loop is now operational.
The last train was signalled in the early hours of 29 August 2015, and the first train was signalled from Rugby ROC on the morning of 1 September 2015.
From the south, two branches of the West Coast Main Line meet here: the Trent Valley Line and the Birmingham line. To the north, the trunk of the line continues towards Crewe, whilst the Manchester branch goes on to Stoke-on-Trent.
Typical weekday off-peak services are as follows, in trains per hour (tph).
Southbound rail services
- 2tph to Birmingham New Street (semi-fast). Operated by London Midland.
- 1tph to London Euston (semi-fast). Operated by London Midland.
- 1tph to London Euston only. Operated by Virgin Trains.
- 1tph to Bournemouth via Coventry and Reading. Operated by CrossCountry.
- 1tph to Bristol Temple Meads, with some trains continuing to Paignton or Plymouth. Operated by CrossCountry.
- 1 train per day to Birmingham New Street. Operated by Arriva Trains Wales.
Northbound rail services
- 1tph to Liverpool Lime Street (fast). Operated by Virgin Trains.
- 1tph to Crewe via Stoke. Operated by London Midland.
- 2tph to Liverpool Lime Street (semi-fast). Operated by London Midland.
- 2tph to Manchester Piccadilly. Operated by CrossCountry.
- 1 train per day to Holyhead via Chester. Operated by Arriva Trains Wales.
- Additional p.m peak services to Preston via Crewe. Operated by Virgin Trains.
Rail replacement bus services
Along the line between Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent, many stations are in use, but not served by rail services. Instead, a rail replacement bus service operates to serve these stations.
A connecting service operates from Stone to Stoke city centre via Stoke-on-Trent Railway Station (the X1 service, operated by Bakerbus), departing every hour throughout the day on weekdays and Saturdays. This service calls at more stations along the line that is not served by any rail services, including Barlaston and Wedgwood.
No Sunday service operates on either bus routes.
Under current proposals for the future High Speed 2 line, the station would be served by 1 train per hour in each direction on the London Euston to Liverpool Lime Street route. These 'classic compatible' services would leave or join the West Coast Mainline at a new junction near Lichfield.
A proposal was made in 2008 as part of early investigations into a high-speed route for a new station just north of the town to be built with the proposed name was Stafford Parkway. Nothing further was heard of this proposal and it does not feature in the plans for High Speed 2 Phase Two.
In 2009 the Association of Train Operating Companies, in its "Connecting Communities: Expanding Access to the Rail Network" report, identified the link to Wellington as a feasible alternative route.
- Lewis, Roy (1996). Staffordshire Railway Stations on old picture postcards (reprinted 2002). Nottingham: Reflections of a Bygone Age. ISBN 1-900138-05-0
- Drake, James (1838). Drake’s Road Book of the Grand Junction Railway (1838). Moorland Reprints. ISBN 0903485257.
- "A major improvement scheme at Stafford station is underway". Network Rail. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
- "Stafford - Crewe rail enhancements".
- "Second phase of railway upgrade between Stafford and Crewe gets underway". 20 January 2014.
- GB National Rail Timetable May 2016 - Tables 51, 65, 67 and 68 (Network Rail)
- "Updated economic case for HS2" (PDF). www.gov.uk. High Speed Two (HS2) Limited. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- "New Rail Stop for Stafford". Express and Star. 2008-07-10. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
- "Connecting Communities - expanding access to the rail network" (PDF). London: Association of Train Operating Companies. June 2009. p. 21. Archived from the original (pdf) on 29 July 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Stafford railway station.|
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
London - Crewe
|Arriva Trains Wales|
|Terminus||Great Northern Railway
Stafford and Uttoxeter Railway
|Terminus||London and North Western Railway|