Watlington railway station

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Watlington National Rail
Watlington railway station.jpg
Watlington railway station in 2005
Local authorityKing's Lynn and West Norfolk
Grid referenceTF612110
Station codeWTG
Managed byGreat Northern
Owned byNetwork Rail
Number of platforms2
DfT categoryE
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2013/14Decrease 131,742
2014/15Increase 143,904
2015/16Increase 148,928
2016/17Decrease 144,114
2017/18Increase 146,014
27 October 1846Opened as Watlington
1 June 1875Renamed Magdalen Road
9 September 1968Closed
5 May 1975Reopened
3 October 1989Renamed 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 is on the Fen line in the east of England, serving the village of Watlington, Norfolk. It is 90 miles 70 chains (146.2 km) measured from London Liverpool Street and is situated between Downham Market and King's Lynn stations. Its three-letter station code is WTG.

The station and most trains calling are operated by Great Northern (with service to and from London King's Cross), with some additional peak services being operated by Greater Anglia (to and from London Liverpool Street).


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 are operated by Class 387 electrical multiple units, but they previously used Class 317 units (these are still used on peak-hour services operated by Greater Anglia into London Liverpool Street).


  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]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Downham Market   Great Northern
Fen line
  King's Lynn
  Greater Anglia
Fen line
(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

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