Watlington railway station
Watlington railway station in 2005
|Local authority||King's Lynn and West Norfolk|
|Managed by||Great Northern|
|Owned by||Network Rail|
|Number of platforms||2|
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|27 October 1846||Opened (Watlington)|
|1 June 1875||Renamed (Magdalen Road)|
|9 September 1968||Closed|
|5 May 1975||Reopened|
|3 October 1989||Renamed (Watlington)|
|National Rail – UK 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.|
|UK Railways portal|
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.
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).
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
|Abellio Greater Anglia
Liverpool Street - King's Lynn
(peak hours only)
Line open, station closed
|Great Eastern Railway
Line open, station closed
Line and station closed
Line and station open
- 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.
- Media related to Watlington railway station at Wikimedia Commons
- for Watlington railway station