Peterborough railway station

Peterborough railway station serves the city of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England. It is 76 miles 29 chains (122.9 km) down the East Coast Main Line from London King's Cross. The station is a major interchange serving both the north–south ECML, as well as long-distance and local east–west services. The station is managed by London North Eastern Railway. Ticket gates came into use at the station in 2012.

Peterborough railway station in 2014, following the addition of platforms 6 & 7 the previous year.
General information
LocationPeterborough, City of Peterborough
Coordinates52.5748°N 0.2502°W / 52.5748; -0.2502
Grid referenceTL186988
Managed byLondon North Eastern Railway
Other information
Station codePBO
ClassificationDfT category B
Key dates
August 1850Opened
2017/18 4.909 million
 Interchange  0.961 million
2018/19 5.060 million
 Interchange  1.060 million
2019/20 4.935 million
 Interchange  0.913 million
2020/21 1.089 million
 Interchange  0.145 million
2021/22 3.720 million
 Interchange  0.548 million
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road
Derby – Lowestoft holiday express approaching by the Midland's Melton Mowbray line in 1962
View southward, towards Peterborough North station from Spital Bridge in 1962
London North Eastern Railway
Blair Atholl
Dunkeld & Birnam
Falkirk Grahamston
Glasgow Central
Edinburgh Waverley
Bradford Forster Square
Hull Paragon
Wakefield Westgate
Newark North Gate
London King's Cross


Peterborough railway line diagram
Werrington Junction
M&GNR to Wisbech North
Wisbech Junction
Westwood Junction
New England sidings
Peterborough North
Peterborough Crescent
Fletton Junction
N&P Line (NVR) to Orton Waterville

There have been a number of railway stations in Peterborough: Peterborough East (1845–1966), the current station which opened in 1850 (previously known by various names including Peterborough North); and briefly Peterborough Crescent (1858–1866).

Peterborough was the site of the first mast to be installed as part of the ECML electrification project, which is located behind platform 1.


Peterborough East opened on 2 June 1845[1] along with the Ely to Peterborough Line built by Eastern Counties Railway (ECR) and the Northampton and Peterborough Railway built by the London and Birmingham Railway, both of which provided routes to London. The Syston and Peterborough Railway by Midland Railway was opened in 1846. On 7 August 1862, the ECR became part of the Great Eastern Railway (GER).[2]

The Great Northern Railway (GNR) arrived in Peterborough with the opening of the major portion of its "loop line" between Peterborough, Spalding, Boston and Lincoln, which opened on 17 October 1848; at first GNR trains used the ECR station at Peterborough East.[3] During the construction of the GNR line south to London, it was decided that the GNR would need their own station at Peterborough; this was decided upon in December 1849,[4] and opened on 7 August 1850[1] together with the new line, which originally terminated at Maiden Lane, the permanent London terminus at King's Cross not being ready until 14 October 1852.[5] The GNR's Peterborough station is the current station, but it has had several names: originally simply Peterborough, it later became Peterborough Priestgate, then Peterborough Cowgate in 1902, reverting to Peterborough in 1911.[1]

On 1 January 1923 the GER and GNR became constituents of the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER), which found itself with two similarly named stations in Peterborough; to distinguish them, they were given new names on 1 July 1923: the ex-GER station became Peterborough East, and the ex-GNR station Peterborough North.[1] After Peterborough East closed on 6 June 1966, Peterborough North once again became Peterborough, the name by which it is still known.[1]

The Great Northern Railway heading north to Grantham and Doncaster (the Towns Line) opened in 1853 using the GNR station. This line was built alongside the Midland Railway as far as Helpston, resulting in adjacent but separate level crossings at various places, including the Crescent level crossings in Peterborough city centre.

Interchange between Peterborough East and the GNR station was inconvenient,[6] so on 1 February 1858 the Midland Railway opened Peterborough Crescent station,[1] a short distance from the GNR station and close to the level crossing of the same name. Some GER trains were working through to the GNR Station by 1863.[7] and the Crescent station closed on 1 August 1866[1] when Midland Railway trains began using the GNR station instead.[6]

The Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway (M&GNR) branch to Wisbech and Sutton Bridge opened in 1866. To access this line trains headed north and diverged left at Westwood junction, then continued north adjacent to the Midland Railway line but gaining height, then curved east and bridged over the Midland line, the GNR line and Lincoln Road and headed off towards Eye Green along approximately the route of the current A47 Soke Parkway.

Services to Rugby (by the London and North Western Railway from Peterborough East) and to Leicester (by the GNR from their Station) started in 1879 when the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) built a line from Yarwell junction near Wansford and Seaton linking the Northampton and Peterborough Railway and the Rugby and Stamford Railway. Also the Fletton curve via Woodston to Orton Waterville by the GNR.

In 1913 the two troublesome Crescent level crossings were finally abolished when Crescent Bridge was opened.

Train services in 1910

Rail services from the station were at their peak in 1910, before economies were made during World War I, most of which were never reversed.

The express services calling at Peterborough were mainly those between London and Leeds or York, but there were also through coaches to Grimsby via Spalding and Boston, to Cromer via the M&GNR line, to Sheffield Victoria and Manchester London Road via Retford and the Great Central line, and to Hull, Halifax, Blackburn, Harrogate and Bradford via Doncaster.

Bradford trains used a direct route either using the GNR line via Morley Top, or the LYR line via Thornhill.[8]

Most trains between London and Newcastle, and further north, passed through Peterborough without stopping, so it was usually necessary to change at Doncaster or York.

In 1910, the GNR were still running trains to Leicester via Wansford and Seaton, in direct competition with the Midland Railway which ran via Stamford. The GNR route and times were competitive but in 1910 they offered only three trains compared to six by the Midland Railway, and they did not serve any significant population centres en route.

Services to Northampton and Rugby ran from the East station.


GNR service to Leicester ended in 1916 during World War I. In March 1959 the line to Wisbech and to Sutton Bridge closed along with most of the rest of the M&GNR and local services on the GNR main line ended with a number of minor stations including Yaxley and Farcet and Tallington being closed.

The Northampton and Peterborough Railway closed in May 1964, followed 2 years later by the closure of Peterborough East station and the passenger services to Rugby in June 1966 (part of this line was eventually reopened as the Nene Valley Railway heritage line). In the same year several minor stations on the Birmingham line were closed including Helpston and Ketton & Collyweston.

The final closure came in October 1970 when the lines to Spalding, Boston and Grimsby were closed, although the Peterborough to Lincoln Line to Spalding was reopened on 7 June 1971 with a shuttle service of 3 trains each way per day. This service was improved in 1982 with the closure of the March to Spalding section of the former Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Railway when the Lincoln to Cambridge service became the Lincoln to Peterborough service.[9][10]


In the 1970s major alterations occurred under British Rail to the former North station. In 1972 the track layout was remodelled, to provide high speed through lines and two new platforms. GNR bay platforms 4 and 5 (redundant since the withdrawal of East Lincolnshire line services) and through platform 6 were removed, together with all of the buildings between platforms 3 and 6, the new through lines scything through the site of the latter. New platforms 4 and 5, an island to the west of the fast lines, on the site of the former Midland Railway lines, were opened.

In 1976, the life-expired GNR booking hall and east side buildings were demolished, due to their condition, and were replaced by Portakabins. A contract was awarded to local company, Bernard Stokeley Ltd., to provide replacement buildings (which, with alterations, are those in use today) and these were opened a couple of years later.

Further new facilities were provided, post privatisation, as part of Great North Eastern Railway's £10 million station improvement programme to modernise facilities at key stations along the ECML. The modern travel centre is part of a £1 million upgrade which includes new passenger lounges on platforms 2 and 3 (since renumbered 1 and 2, following the closure of the original bay platform at the south end of the former platform 2), new toilet facilities on platforms 2 (now 1), 4 and 5, new customer information screens and improved security including the installation of CCTV cameras within the station and car park.

A further major remodeling occurred in 2013, when three new platforms were opened and the original platform 1 bay was removed. Original platforms 2 and 3 were renumbered 1 and 2. A new platform face on the southbound through line was opened and numbered 3, together with a new island platform to the west of the station, on the site of the former fly-ash sidings and reversible freight line, these being numbered 6 and 7. Both the passenger footbridge and the former parcels bridge at the north end of the station were extended to the new island, lifts being added to the passenger footbridge.

Changes in 2014

Network Rail spent a reported £2.5 million on Peterborough station and its surroundings, in a move that is intended to increase passenger capacity on trains and ease freight movements through the station. This upgrade has seen changes to the booking office and station concourse building along with the introduction of ticket gates. In addition some refurbishment work and changes have been made to the waiting rooms and other facilities on platform 4/5.[11]

Station Masters

  • Donald Mackenzie 1897 - 1916[12] (formerly station master at Holbeck)
  • Harry Sutcliffe 1916[13] - 1918
  • F.J. Trotter 1918 - 1921
  • George Sutcliffe 1921 - 1927[14] (afterwards station master at King's Cross)
  • Harry Ireland 1927 - 1932[15] (afterwards station master at King's Cross)
  • William E. Stephenson 1932[16] - ???? (formerly station master at Monkseaton, Whitley Bay and Cullercoats)
  • Reginald Repath 1950[17] - 1956 (afterwards station master at Bolton)
  • Maurice Hughes 1956[18] - ????


The station has a concourse and ticket office area which was internally redesigned and reopened in mid-2012. The concourse features both a newsagents and a cafe. For general assistance there is a customer information point located on platform 1 by the concourse, as well as customer service offices on platform 5 and near the toilets on platform 2. All platforms are accessible by means of a passenger footbridge with lifts and also by a ramp bridge at the north end of the station.

There is on site car parking. Within a few minutes walk is Peterborough city centre, and the Queensgate shopping centre. As of March 2013, there is an automated cycle hire scheme outside the south end of the station building.


There are regular services to and from London King's Cross, operated by London North Eastern Railway and by Great Northern. Southbound EC services run either non-stop to the capital or call only at Stevenage: northbound destinations include Edinburgh Waverley , Glasgow Central, Leeds, Lincoln Central, and Newcastle (though many Scottish services now run non-stop from London to York).[19]

Great Northern trains start and terminate at Peterborough (twice each hour with peak period extras Mon-Sat) and serve the intermediate stations southwards.[20] This has now become a Thameslink service largely to and from Horsham.

CrossCountry regional services run hourly between Birmingham via Leicester and Cambridge.

East Midlands Railway are also hourly, between Norwich and Liverpool via Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester Piccadilly.[21] EMR also operate local services to Spalding, Sleaford and Lincoln on an approximately hourly frequency (though morning peak and evening services only run as far as Spalding).[22]

Greater Anglia operate a two-hourly service to Ipswich via Ely and Bury St Edmunds.[23]

Sunday services run less frequently on the ECML, but on similar frequencies on the regional routes other than the Spalding Line, which has no service.

Station layout

  • Platform 1: Through platform, predominantly used by terminating Thameslink services from Horsham via St. Pancras International, as well as Great Northern (peak times only) and London North Eastern Railway services to King's Cross. The East Midlands Railway shuttle services to/from Spalding occasionally use this platform. Renumbered from 2 in December 2013. A south-facing bay platform, former Platform 1, was decommissioned & lifted in December 2013.
  • Platform 2: An island through platform (formerly numbered 3), predominantly used by terminating Thameslink services from Horsham via St. Pancras International, as well as Great Northern (peak times only) and London North Eastern Railway services to King's Cross. It is also used by the hourly East Midlands Railway service to Spalding & Lincoln, typically operated by Class 156 DMUs.
  • Platform 3: New through island platform alongside the up fast line, commissioned in December 2013. Used almost entirely by London North Eastern Railway fast services to London, though some Great Northern suburban trains also use it; non-stop southbound trains also pass through this platform.
  • Down Fast: Through track between Platforms 3 and 4 for non-stop passenger services. These are used by northbound non-stop London North Eastern Railway, Hull Trains, Grand Central and Lumo services.
  • Platform 4: Through island platform, used predominantly by northbound London North Eastern Railway services to Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh Waverley. It is also used, albeit infrequently, by some East Midlands train services.
  • Platform 5: Through island platform, adjacent to platform 4, used predominantly for freight; East Midlands Railway between Norwich and Liverpool and northbound London North Eastern Railway services can be diverted to platform 5 if required.
    • Platforms 4 & 5 are used in the evening peak by terminating Great Northern services from King's Cross, so the stock can be taken to Nene Carriage Sidings, located to the south of the station.
  • Platforms 6 & 7: These new platforms were commissioned over the Christmas break 2013,[24] and are now used by CrossCountry services between Stansted Airport/Cambridge via Ely and Birmingham New Street via Leicester; East Midlands Railway services between Norwich and Liverpool; and Greater Anglia services to Ipswich. No overhead line electrification.
  • Two-Way Goods Line: bi-directional freight loop located beyond platform 7. This is frequently used by the many freight services that pass through Peterborough along with Platforms 4–7. Much freight is to/from Felixstowe although other destinations are served.


Below are the routes that Peterborough is currently on, as well as those that it has been on in the past:

Preceding station National Rail Following station
London King's Cross   London North Eastern Railway
  York or
Newark North Gate
London King's Cross
  London North Eastern Railway
London-Leeds/West Yorkshire
  Grantham or
  London North Eastern Railway
  Grantham, York or
Newark North Gate
  London North Eastern Railway
  Grantham or
  London North Eastern Railway
London-Lincoln (Limited Service)
  Grantham or
Newark North Gate
Thameslink (Peterborough to Horsham Line)
Great Northern
Great Northern (Peterborough to King's Cross Line)
Peak times and weekday evenings only
Limited Service
East Midlands Railway
Limited Service
Limited Service
East Midlands Railway
Nottingham-Norwich (via Loughborough)
Limited Service
TerminusEast Midlands Railway
Mondays-Saturdays only
Greater Anglia
Historical railways
Line open, station closed
Great Northern Railway
Yaxley and Farcet
Line open, station closed
Line open, station closed
Great Northern RailwayTerminus
Line open, station closed
Midland Railway
Syston and Peterborough Railway
Line open, station closed
Line open, station closed
Great Eastern RailwayTerminus
Disused railways
Orton Waterville
Line and station closed
London and North Western Railway
To Leicester Belgrave Road
TerminusMidland and Great Northern Joint Railway
Sutton Bridge line
Eye Green
Line and station closed

See also

British Rail Class 317 in Peterborough.


  1. Butt 1995, p. 184
  2. Waszak 1984, p. 10
  3. Waszak 1984, pp. 100–1
  4. Waszak 1984, p. 105
  5. Butt 1995, p. 134
  6. Waszak 1984, pp. 109–110
  7. Bradshaws General Railway and Steam Navigation Guide, Feb 1863
  8. Bradshaw's Railway Guide, July 1922
  9. A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain. Volume 9. The East Midlands. (Robin Leleux)
  10. The Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway (A. J. Wrottesley)
  11. "Peterborough station - Improvements - Network Rail". Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  12. "Peterborough Stationmaster's Retirement". Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. England. 17 May 1916. Retrieved 10 September 2017 via British Newspaper Archive.
  13. "New Stationmaster at Peterborough". Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. England. 2 August 1916. Retrieved 10 September 2017 via British Newspaper Archive.
  14. "Big Promotion. Old Bostonian Becomes Stationmaster at King's Cross". Boston Guardian. England. 5 November 1927. Retrieved 10 September 2017 via British Newspaper Archive.
  15. "L.N.E.R. Appointments". Dundee Courier. Scotland. 8 June 1932. Retrieved 10 September 2017 via British Newspaper Archive.
  16. "Whitley Station-Master's Move". Shields Daily News. England. 30 July 1932. Retrieved 10 September 2017 via British Newspaper Archive.
  17. "Rail Promotion". Hull Daily Mail. England. 18 January 1950. Retrieved 10 September 2017 via British Newspaper Archive.
  18. "Stationmaster at the North". Peterborough Advertiser. England. 29 June 1956. Retrieved 10 September 2017 via British Newspaper Archive.
  19. GB National Rail Timetable May 2016, Table 26
  20. GB National Rail Timetable May–December 2016, Table 25
  21. GB National Rail Timetable May 2016, Tables 47 & 49
  22. GB National Rail Timetable May–December 2016, Table 18
  23. GB National Rail Timetable May–December 2016, Table 17
  24. Peterborough railway station closed to complete £43m upgrade BBC News 24 December 2013; Retrieved 11 January 2014
  • Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-85260-508-1. R508.
  • Waszak, Peter (September 1984). Peterborough. Rail Centres. Shepperton: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-1389-6. CE/0984.

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