Leicester railway station

Leicester railway station

Infobox UK station
name = Leicester

manager = East Midlands Trains
locale = Leicester
borough = Leicester
usage0405 = 4.457
code = LEI
usage0506 = 4.361
usage0607 = 4.778
platforms = 4
start = 1840
Rebuilt 1894
latitude = 52.632
longitude = -1.124

Leicester railway station serves the City of Leicester in Leicestershire, England. The first station on the site opened in the Victorian era, in 1840, though this was replaced in 1894 by a new station (parts of which still stand). Up until the closure of Central, Belgrave Road and West Bridge Railway stations it was known as "Leicester London Road".

The station is an interchange point between the Midland Main Line (MML) from London St Pancras to Leeds and services on the Cross Country Route from Birmingham through Cambridge to Stansted Airport and Norwich. Until the mid twentieth century, the station was host to through trains from Manchester and Glasgow to London.

Leicester is now owned by Network Rail and is operated under a franchise by East Midlands Trains who provide all of the trains to London, along with local services and inter-urban routes to destinations such as Lincoln, Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds. Other services are provided by CrossCountry to destinations such as Birmingham, Cambridge and Stansted Airport.

More than 4.5 million people entered and left the station in the twelve months to March 2007, an increase of nearly 500,000 thousand in five years. This makes it the 64th most-used Network Rail station and the 45th-busiest outside the central London area. In addition, it was estimated that more than 350,000 people used the station to change trains. [cite web| last = Office of Rail Regulation| title =Station usage| publisher = Office of Rail Regulation| date =2006| url = http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/xls/station-usage-2006-07.xls| accessdate = 2008-06-23]

Through-fares to continental Europe are now available from Leicester to Paris, Brussels and other destinations in France and Belgium. [cite web |url=http://www.eurostar.com/UK/uk/leisure/about_eurostar/press_release/through_fares_UK_continental_europe_available_eurostar.jsp |title=Through-fares from 68 UK towns and cities to continental Europe now available on eurostar.com |work=Eurostar.com |accessdate=2007-12-28] The station has the Plusbus scheme which allows bus and train tickets to be bought together at a saving.


Main line train services into Leicester are operated by East Midlands London. There are regular services to London, Nottingham, Derby, Sheffield, the North East, and limited direct services to/from Leeds, York and Barnsley. From 2010 a limited through service to Skegness is proposed.

Local services from Birmingham to Cambridge and Stansted Airport are provided by Cross Country.

East Midlands Local provide the local services throughout the East Midlands with hourly services to Loughborough, Nottingham and Lincoln.

The station gets four East Midlands London trains to/from London per hour, going to Sheffield, Nottingham or Derby, with additional trains, during the peaks. From December 2008 they will run a mainline service to Lincoln.


Leicester was one of the first cities to be served by a railway, when the Leicester and Swannington Railway built its terminus station at West Bridge on the eastern side of Leicester in 1832 [cite web|url=http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/ITleicester.htm|title=Leicester=March 09 2008|publisher=spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk] . The Leicester and Swannington Railway was later absorbed by the Midland Railway.

In total Leicester had seven railways stations (eight if the two sites at West Bridge are treated separately). In addition to the current Leicester station three other main railway stations existed. The original station at "West Bridge" closed to passengers in 1928. "Leicester Belgrave Road" (on the Great Northern Railway) closed to passengers in 1962 and "Leicester Central" (on the Great Central Railway) closed in May 1969. Up until this time the current Leicester station was known as "Leicester London Road".

In addition there were smaller stations within the city boundary at Humberstone Road on the LMR, Humberstone on the GNR, and for a while a halt was operated on the Leicester - London mainline allowing access to the Cattle Market, although this allowed passengers to leave the trains not board them.

The station buildings

The first station on the present site was constructed by the Midland Counties Railway on Campbell Street and was first used on 4 May 1840, when a train of four first and six second-class carriages, pulled by the 'Leopard' steam engine, arrived from Nottingham. All that remains of the first station are a pair of Egyptian-looking gateposts in Campbell Street.

The Midland Railway completely rebuilt the station in 1894. The station frontage on London Road remains as a well-preserved late Victorian building, but the interior of the booking hall and the structures on the platforms were reconstructed by British Rail in the 1970s.

The station clock is the only hand-wound station clock in the UK. [ cite news|url=http://leicesterstationclockwebcam.blog.co.uk/2007/03/05/dramatic_developments~1851945|title=Leicester station clock webcam ]

London, Midland and Scottish Railway

Until the line through Buxton was closed in the Beeching era, the 'main lines' were those from London to Manchester, carrying named expresses such as "The Palatine" and the "The Peaks", and trains to Leeds and Scotland tending to use the Erewash Valley Line towards the Settle and Carlisle Line. Expresses to Edinburgh, such as "The Waverley" travelled through Corby and Nottingham.

British Railways

When Sectorisation was introduced in the 1980's, the station was served by the Intercity Sector until the Privatisation of British Railways.

With the advent of power signalling in 1986, the signal box and the crossovers disappeared, and the tracks approaching the station were relaid to allow trains from any direction to enter or leave any platform.


Upon the privatisation of British Rail, the station became owned by Railtrack and later Network Rail, though, in common with most British railway stations, the day-to-day operation was contracted out to the largest user of the station, in this case Midland Mainline (East Midlands Trains' predecessor). Midland Mainline continued to refurbish the station with the installation of a large electronic departure board in the station entrance hall and smaller boards on all platforms.

In 2006, work was started on the installation of automatic ticket gates. Leicester City Council issued plans for the redevelopment of the station area including a total of eight platforms, but these are not expected to start until 2010.

tation amenities

The main entrance to the station is on London Road. A slope takes pedestrians towards Station Street and the City centre. The ticket office, travel centre, lost property and lockers exist within the small (for a large station) concourse. This concourse gives access to the main station overbridge to all platforms, and via a corridor to the lifts. There is a footbridge at the northern end of the station giving access to the long-stay car park and Cambell Street.

The station is based on two island platforms which are wide with a long series of buildings. Inside these buildings are many services and amenities including a newsagents and several food outlets including a licensed restaurant. There are also toilets and a large waiting room.

Midland Mainline erected a first class lounge at the southern end of platform 3 during 2000. Passenger information systems were updated at the same time and now use dot matrix display screens. Leicester retains a manual Tannoy system, a rarity amongst the larger stations in the UK. In 2006 automatic ticket barriers were installed on all approaches to the station, these were complemented with ticket vending machines and additional FastTicket machines.

The station benefits from an office for the British Transport Police and Cash point in the porte-cochere as well as the only taxi rank and short-stay drop-off and pick-up area.


Rail routes run north-south through Leicester along the route known as the Midland Main Line, going south to Kettering, Bedford, Luton and London; and north to Derby, Nottingham, Lincoln, Sheffield and Leeds.

Junctions north and south of the station link the east-west cross country route, going east to Peterborough and Cambridge; and west to Nuneaton and Birmingham.
*Ivanhoe Line
*Birmingham to Peterborough Line
*Midland Main Line
*Leicester and Swannington Railway

Train operators using the station include CrossCountry and East Midlands Trains. Due to a 15mph maximum speed to the south of the station, all passenger trains stop at the station with the exception of the morning southbound "The Master Cutler" express from Leeds to London St Pancras.

Leicester is a bottleneck station as it has only four platforms, all platforms are well utilised especially platforms two and three which receive freight as well as passenger trains. A freight loop goes to the east of the station alongside the carriage sidings which run adjacent to platform four.

*Platform one -
**Hourly local CrossCountry service to Birmingham New Street via Hinckley

*Platform two -
**Hourly fast East Midlands Trains service to Nottingham and to Sheffield, with peak hour services to Leeds and weekend services to York and Scarborough
**Hourly semi-fast East Midlands Trains service to Derby via Loughborough, with peak hour services to Burton upon Trent
**Hourly semi-fast East Midlands Trains service to Nottingham via Loughborough, with peak hour services to Lincoln and weekend services to Skegness
**Hourly CrossCountry service to Stansted Airport via Cambridge

*Platform three -
**Hourly fast East Midlands Trains service to London St Pancras
**Hourly semi-fast East Midlands Trains service to London St. Pancras via Luton Airport Parkway
**Hourly semi-fast East Midlands Trains service to London St. Pancras via Luton Town
**Second fast East Midlands Trains service to London St. Pancras through from Nottingham
**Hourly fast CrossCountry service to Birmingham New Street

*Platform four -
**Hourly East Midlands Trains 'Ivanhoe' service to Lincoln via Syston and Newark with peak hour trains to Sleaford


Regeneration of the station

"Leicester Regeneration Company" are leading plans which aim to regenerate the city centre area of Leicester, the station is to be incorporated into a new business quarter [ cite news|url=http://www.leicesterregeneration.co.uk/index.html|title=Leicester Regeneration company > Business Quarter ] . Plans for the station include to rotate it around so that passengers come out into an open city square rather than the current ring road. This would also enable the sharp bend at the south of the station to be straightend and linespeeds increased.

Renewed plans were released in 2008 for the £150 million redevelopment, promising over 2800 new jobs in the area due to the new shops and offices which would be created [ cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/leicestershire/7280724.stm|title=Plans for £150m station facelift |source=BBC News |date=2008-03-06 ] .

"Network Rail" have recently released their freight utilisation strategy [ cite news|url=http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browseDirectory.aspx?dir=RUS%20DocumentsRoute%20Utilisation%20StrategiesFreight&pageid=2895&root=|title=Route utilisation strategy > Freight ] , over the coming years as a cross country freight route is developed the railway through Leicester, from Syston to Wigston Junctions would be enhanced with additional slow lines and platforms at Leicester created.

Ivanhoe Line

After phase one of the Ivanhoe Line was completed in the mid 1990s it was originally planned that phase two would extend the line west to Burton upon Trent on the current freight-only line via Coalville and Ashby-de-la-Zouch. However this development now looks unlikely, in the short term at least. The Conservative Party released a brief of their plans for the reopening recently, however this is thought by many to be political spin.

Leicester Central station

Leicester Central was Leicester's station on the Great Central Main Line which opened in 1899 and closed in 1969. When open, the station had services between London (Marylebone) and Sheffield via Leicester and Nottingham until closure of most of the route in 1966. The section between Rugby Central and Nottingham (initially Victoria, later cut back to Arkwright Street) remained open until 1969. This service was unusual in being self contained - none of the stations were used by trains on any other service.

Leicester Central was situated on Great Central Street which is today just off the inner ring road.

The station buildings remain largely intact, although the platform were demolished. The large section of the former Great Central Railway alignment through Leicester is now part of route 6 of the National cycle route none locally as the 'Great Central Way'.

Today the heritage preserved Great Central Railway currently operates a station called "Leicester North" at its southern terminus in the suburb of Belgrave. There are plans to extend the line back to Leicester Central in the future.

See also

*Leicester Central railway station
*Leicester Belgrave Road railway station
*Leicester West Bridge railway station


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