Watlington railway station

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Watlington National Rail
Watlington railway station.jpg
Watlington railway station in 2005
Place Watlington
Local authority King's Lynn and West Norfolk
Grid reference TF612110
Station code WTG
Managed by Great Northern
Owned by Network Rail
Number of platforms 2
DfT category E
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2011/12 Increase129,014
2012/13 Increase137,874
2013/14 Decrease131,742
2014/15 Increase143,904
2015/16 Increase148,928
27 October 1846 Opened (Watlington)
1 June 1875 Renamed (Magdalen Road)
9 September 1968 Closed
5 May 1975 Reopened
3 October 1989 Renamed (Watlington)[1]
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Watlington from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK Railways portal

Watlington railway station serves the village of Watlington in Norfolk, England. Watlington station lies on the Fen Line from Cambridge to King's Lynn, which is electrified at 25 kV AC overhead.


The Bill for the Lynn and Ely Railway received Royal Assent on 30 June 1845. Work started on the line in 1846 and the line and its stations were opened on 27 October 1846. Watlington station opened with the line and was, as it is now, situated South of Lynn station (now King's Lynn). The station to the south was St Germain's station. The line ran from Ely to Downham, the eventual destination being Ely.[2]

Watlington station, from 1847 part of the East Anglian Railway, became part of the Great Eastern Railway in 1862, and was renamed Magdalen Road in 1875 (a name which, perhaps, better reflects its lonely rural location in the middle of the flatlands of the East Anglian Fens). From 1848 onwards, Watlington was a junction, as the line once branched off from there to Wisbech. The branch, along with Magdalen Road station, was closed in 1968.

Due to local efforts, however, Magdalen Road station was reopened in 1975, and in 1989 returned to its original title of Watlington. The signal box at the station, in active use today, still bears a Network SouthEast sign with its post-1875 name. The current southbound platform, behind the signal box, dates from the early 1990s; the original station buildings on the southbound side have since been converted into a private residence. The original wooden waiting room on the northbound platform was replaced around the same time, though the original platform still survives as part of an extended platform.

Before electrification, services were normally operated by InterCity (latterly Network SouthEast) locomotive-hauled trains, normally pulling British Rail Mark 2b coaches (many services featured restaurant cars). The locomotives were usually Class 37 diesel-electrics, sometimes Class 31s or 47s. Off-peak links were often provided by Metro-Cammell diesel multiple units.

The station is mentioned by author Lisa St Aubin de Teran in a memoir as being the station closest to her Norfolk home - she reminisced about conversations with the train guard who was checking tickets, where she requested that the train stop at the station (for many years, most trains only called at the station if a passenger requested it, rather than it being a regular timetabled stop).[citation needed]

Current services[edit]

The station is served by Great Northern as part of their 'Fen Line' service from London King's Cross to King's Lynn. Outside peak hours the services run non-stop between London and Cambridge as part of the half-hourly "Cambridge Cruiser" service. These services now normally use former-British Rail Class 365 electrical multiple units, although for some years Class 317 units were used (these units are still used on services operated by Abellio Greater Anglia into London Liverpool Street).

Preceding station National Rail Following station
Downham Market   Great Northern
London-King's Lynn
  King's Lynn
  Abellio Greater Anglia
Liverpool Street - King's Lynn
(peak hours only)
Historical railways
Line open, station closed
  Great Eastern Railway
Fen Line
  St Germain's
Line open, station closed
Disused railways
Magdalen Gate
Line and station closed
  British Rail
Eastern Region

Wisbech Line
  King's Lynn
Line and station open


  1. ^ Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations, Patrick Stephens Ltd, Sparkford, ISBN 1-85260-508-1, pp. 152 & 243.
  2. ^ C.J. Allen[full citation needed]
  • Oppitz, Leslie (2002). Lost Railways of East Anglia. Countryside Books. ISBN 1-85306-595-1. 
  • Adderson, Richard; Kenworthy, Graham (2002). Mitchell, Vic, ed. Ely to King's Lynn, including the Stoke Ferry branch. Middleton Press. ISBN 1-901706-53-2. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°40′22″N 0°22′58″E / 52.67273°N 0.38270°E / 52.67273; 0.38270