Cambridge railway station

Cambridge railway station

Infobox UK station
name = Cambridge

caption = Cambridge railway station, front entrance
manager = National Express East Anglia
locale = Cambridge
borough = Cambridge
usage0405 = 6.060
usage0506 = 6.137
usage0607 = 6.522
code = CBG
platforms = 6
start = 1845

Cambridge railway station is a railway station serving the city of Cambridge in Cambridgeshire, England.

There are several routes starting at the station
*the West Anglia Main Line to London Liverpool Street, heading southwards
*the Fen Line to King's Lynn, heading northwards
*the Hitchin-Cambridge Line, heading southwards and following an alternate route, to London King's Cross, via Hitchin

Most of these routes are electrified at 25 kV AC overhead but the Ipswich to Ely Line isn't.

At 514 yards, it is sometimes claimed that Cambridge has the longest railway platform in the country, but this honour belongs to Colchester, with Gloucester in second place. This suggestion is due to the station having only one through platform, with a scissors crossover in the middle to divide it in two, and to allow trains from both directions to pass trains already stopped there. The section south of the crossover is platform 1 (alongside bay platforms 2 and 3), and the section north is platform 4 (alongside bays 5 and 6). There are proposals to create an additional island platform incorporating platforms 7 and 8, on the eastern side of the station. This would enable southbound through trains to use these new platforms enabling the existing platforms 1 and 4 to be used exclusively for northbound trains. However, there is no timescale for this and costs have escalated in recent years.

The station was built some distance from the town centre (about one mile (1.6 km) south-east) owing to opposition from university authorities according to legend, but engineering factors were also important. There are tentative plans to built an additional station at Chesterton (Cambridge Parkway) approximately 3 miles north of the existing station. It is envisaged that this may alleviate some of the pressure on the existing station.


The Eastern Counties Railway opened to Cambridge in 1845. The station building, with its long classical façade and porte-cochère (infilled during the 20th century) has been attributed to both Sancton Wood and Francis Thompson [cite book|author=Biddle, Gordon and Nock, O. S.|title=The Railway Heritage of Britain|publisher=Michael Joseph|year=1983] and is listed Grade II. The single long platform is typical of its period but now unusual in that (apart from a brief period in the mid-19th century) it was never supplemented by another through platform. There were major platform lengthenings and remodellings of the main building in 1863 and 1908. The station layout was altered in 1896 by deviating the Newmarket line approaches.

The University helped to block later 19th century attempts to create a central station. [cite journal|author=Gray, Adrian|title=Cambridge’s quest for a central station|journal=Journal of the Railway and Canal Historical Society|volume=22|pages=22–4|date=1976] It also took powers to allow it to prevent undergraduates from travelling by train.

Historically, services from the station included

* Great Eastern Railway
** Main line from London Liverpool Street to Norwich and King’s Lynn
** Cross-country services to Bury St Edmunds via Newmarket and to Colchester
** Cross-country services via Ely, March and the Great Northern and Great Eastern Joint Line to northern England
** Branch line to St Ives and beyond
** Branch line to Mildenhall

*Great Northern Railway
** Services to London King's Cross via Hitchin, the best remembered being the Cambridge Buffet Car Expresses (known as the “beer trains”)

*London and North Western Railway
** Cross-country "Varsity Line" to Oxford

* Midland Railway
** Services via St Ives to Kettering

Each of the four companies also had its own goods facilities in the station area, and, except for the M.R., its own motive power depot. The G.E.R. maintained a special locomotive for the Royal Train here. Under the London and North Eastern Railway in the 1920s signal boxes in the station area were converted to electric operation.

The line from Bishop's Stortford to Cambridge was electrified by British Rail in 1987, enabling electric trains to operate between Liverpool Street and Cambridge.


One of East Anglia's major stations, Cambridge is served by several operators.
*First Capital Connect serve the station as part of their service from London King's Cross. These services use Class 317 or Class 365 electrical multiple units, although Class 365 units usually work the Cambridge Cruiser and semi-fast services.
**The "Cambridge Cruiser" (termed 'Cambridge Express' from London) operates non-stop between London and Cambridge. It operates every 30 minutes Monday-Saturday during the off-peak, departing Cambridge for London at "xx15" and "xx45". One service per hour continues beyond Cambridge, stopping at all stations on the Fen Line to King's Lynn. The northbound service departs Cambridge at "xx33" for King's Lynn, and the southbound service forms the "xx45" Cambridge Cruiser departure to London. The Cambridge Cruiser north and south bound services depart each hour at "xx15" on Sundays and bank holidays.
**There are also semi-fast trains between Cambridge and London, calling at Royston, Baldock, Letchworth Garden City, Hitchin, Stevenage and Finsbury Park. These services depart Cambridge at "xx24" or "xx28".
**There is an hourly stopping service to London King's Cross, stopping at all station to Stevenage, then Knebworth, Welwyn North, Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield and Potters Bar. These services depart Cambridge at "xx54".

*National Express East Anglia serve the station with three routes:
**The half-hourly service to London Liverpool Street via the West Anglia Main Line. Trains depart Cambridge at "xx32" (semi-fast service) and "xx51" (stopping service). These services use Class 317 electrical multiple units. During the morning peak some services start from King's Lynn, and during the evening peak some are extended beyond Cambridge to Ely and King's Lynn. On Sundays, the "xx51" service does not go to Liverpool Street, instead calling at all stations to Stratford via Tottenham Hale.

**An hourly service between Cambridge and Norwich via the Breckland Line. These services use new Turbostar units. During the weekday off-peak, these trains depart at xx12. From the new Summer 2007 timetable, all trains will call at Brandon and there will be additional stops on Sundays at Lakenheath (for the nearby RSPB reserve).
**The Ipswich-Cambridge service. These services use Class 153, Class 156 or rarely, Class 170 diesel multiple units. Almost without exception, these depart (Monday to Saturday) at xx43, with the 1943 extended through to Harwich International.

*CrossCountry also serve the station with their Birmingham New Street to Stansted Airport service, via Leicester and Peterborough. Services are operated using Class 170 diesel multiple units.



* ISBN 0-902675-65-6
* ISBN 0-902675-62-1
* ISBN 0-7153-7431-1
* ISBN 0-7110-2333-6

External links


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