Thetford railway station

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Thetford National Rail
Thetford railway station.JPG
Place Thetford
Local authority Breckland
Grid reference TL867836
Station code TTF
Managed by Abellio Greater Anglia
Number of platforms 2
DfT category E
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2010/11 Increase 0.243 million
2011/12 Increase 0.258 million
2012/13 Increase 0.287 million
2013/14 Increase 0.290 million
2014/15 Increase 0.295 million
Key dates Opened 30 July 1845 (30 July 1845)
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Thetford from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.

Thetford railway station is on the Breckland Line in the east of England, serving the town of Thetford, Norfolk. The line runs between Cambridge in the west and Norwich in the east.

Thetford is situated between Brandon and Harling Road, 93 miles 50 chains (150.7 km) down-line from London Liverpool Street via Ely. The station is managed by Abellio Greater Anglia, which operates most of the services, typically one to two trains per hour in either direction. East Midlands Trains operates a regular service between Norwich and Liverpool Lime Street via Nottingham & Manchester Piccadilly.

It is the nearest station to the Center Parcs holiday village at Elveden Forest, approximately five miles to the west.


The Bill for the Norwich & Brandon Railway (N&BR) received Royal Assent on 10 May 1844. The line was to link with an Eastern Counties Railway (ECR) project of a line from Newport in Essex to Brandon in Norfolk. Once complete the line would enable trains to travel from Norwich to London. Work started on the line in 1844.

One month before the N&BR opened a Bill authorising the amalgamation of the Yarmouth & Norwich Railway with the N&BR came into effect and so Thetford station became a Norfolk Railway asset.[1]

The line opened on 30 July 1845 including the ECR Brandon to Newport line. However, the line only got to Trowse, in the suburbs of Norwich, as the contractors were having to build a swing bridge to cross the navigable River Wensum. Thetford station was, when opened, between Brandon (Ely direction) and Roudham (Norwich direction).

The ECR and its rival the Eastern Union Railway (EUR) were both sizing up the NR to acquire and expand their railway empire. The ECR trumped the EUR by taking over the NR, including Thetford Station on 8 May 1848.

By the 1860s the railways in East Anglia were in financial trouble, and most were leased to the Eastern Counties Railway, which wished to amalgamate formally but could not obtain government agreement for this until an Act of Parliament on 7 August 1862, when the Great Eastern Railway (GER) was formed by the amalgamation. Actually, Thetford became a GER station on 1 July 1862 when the GER took over the ECR and the EUR before the Bill received the Royal Assent.[1] Also in the 1860s the GER opened a line from Roudham towards Swaffham. Roudham was renamed Roudham Junction.

A decade later the a Bill received the Royal Assent promoting a line linking Bury St.Edmund's (on the Ipswich to Cambridge line) and Thetford. The Act was passed on 5 July 1873 and work was started by the Thetford & Watton Railway (T&WR) in 1874. The T&WR opened the 1st part of the line on 15 November 1875. The line went south and terminated at Thetford Bridge, the first station after Thetford going towards Bury St. Edmund's. The opening made Thetford a joint GER and T&WR station. 4 months later the rest of the line opened to Bury St. Edmund's. 2 years later the GER took over the T&WR and joint working at Thetford ended.

The system settled down for the next 4 decades, apart from the disruption of First World War. The difficult economic circumstances that existed after World War 1 led the Government to pass the Railways Act 1921 which led to the creation of the Big Four. The GER was absorbed into the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER). Thetford became a LNER station on 1 January 1923.

A generation later, in 1947, the Government of the day passed the Transport Act which nationalised the Big Four and created British Railways (BR). On 1 January 1948 Thetford became a BR station.

5 years after nationalisation BR decided to close the Thetford to Bury St. Edmund's line. Thetford lost its junction status on 8 June 1953.

One decade later BR, as part of the Beeching rationalisation plan closed the Roudham Junction and Swaffham line including Roudham Junction station on 15 June 1964. With Roudham Junction gone Harling Road became the next station after Thetford going towards Norwich. The 1960s also saw steam withdrawn and replaced by Diesel.

29 years after Roudham Junction closed the Government of the day passed the Railways Act 1993 which privatised the ownership and management of the track on 1 April 1994.

Three years after Railtrack took over the track, in 5 January 1997 train services serving Thetford were privatised with most services passing to Anglia Railways and services towards the West Midlands were taken over by Central Trains on 2 March 1997.

5 years after the train operating companies took over (2002) the infrastructure company got into serious problems following serious train accidents where poor track maintenance was to blame, Hatfield was the most notorious. So, the Government of the day restructured Railtrack and formed a new company called Network Rail.

Two years after Railtrack disappeared, on 1 April 2004 Anglia trains handed over their franchise to National Express-East Anglia (NE-EA). NE-EA trains were branded as One. Three years later, on 11 Nov 2007 the Central Trains franchise was broken up and services to Norwich were taken over by East Midland Trains who still run that franchise today (Feb-2016).

Four years (2008) after NE-EA took over train services the "One" brand was dropped and the National Express name predominated. One year later (2009) deep into the financial recession, NX walked away from the East Coast franchise and so the Government announced that the NX-EA franchise would not be extended for three years in 2011.

The Coalition Government did give short extensions to NX-EA until Feb 2012. By then the Government granted the franchise to Abellio-Greater Anglia (AGA). AGA took over on 5 Feb 2012 and was extended to October this year (2016).

Last year (2015) the Government nationalised Network Rail so only the Train Operating Companies remained private.

Thetford signal box in June 2010; it closed in August 2012

The original station building of knapped flint was constructed by the Norwich & Brandon Railway in 1845; the brickwork extension dates from 1889, and the year is engraved on its facade. The well-preserved station complex is a Grade II listed building.


As of December 2015, there are typically two trains per hour eastbound to Norwich and one train per hour westbound to Cambridge; these services are operated by Abellio Greater Anglia.[2]

There is also an hourly service between Norwich and Liverpool Lime Street which calls at Thetford, operated by East Midlands Trains. Westbound services call at Ely, where connections are available for trains to Stansted Airport.[3]


  1. ^ CJ Allen - Great Eastern - page46
  2. ^ GB eNRT December 2015 Edition, Table 17 (Network Rail)
  3. ^ GB eNRT December 2015 Edition, Table 49 (Network Rail)

External links[edit]

Preceding station   National Rail National Rail   Following station
Abellio Greater Anglia
(Limited services)
East Midlands Trains
(Limited services)
(Limited services)
Historical railways
Line and station open
Great Eastern Railway
Line open, station closed
Disused railways
Terminus Great Eastern Railway
Line and station closed

Coordinates: 52°25′08″N 0°44′44″E / 52.4190°N 0.7455°E / 52.4190; 0.7455