Bedford railway station

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Bedford National Rail
Bedford Midland
Bedford railway station MMB 06 222022.jpg
Place Bedford
Local authority Borough of Bedford
Coordinates 52°08′11″N 00°28′46″W / 52.13639°N 0.47944°W / 52.13639; -0.47944Coordinates: 52°08′11″N 00°28′46″W / 52.13639°N 0.47944°W / 52.13639; -0.47944
Grid reference TL041497
Station code BDM
Managed by Thameslink
Number of platforms 5
DfT category C1
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2012/13 Decrease 3.303 million
– Interchange  Decrease 50,718
2013/14 Increase 3.472 million
– Interchange  Decrease 42,514
2014/15 Increase 3.713 million
– Interchange  Increase 48,198
2015/16 Increase 3.830 million
– Interchange  Increase 49,460
2016/17 Increase 3.941 million
– Interchange  Increase 53,452
Original company Midland Railway
Pre-grouping Midland Railway
Post-grouping London, Midland and Scottish Railway
1 February 1859 (1859-02-01) Opened as Bedford
1890 Avoiding lines built
2 June 1924 Renamed Bedford Midland Road
8 May 1978 Renamed Bedford Midland
5 May 1988 Renamed Bedford
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Bedford from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK Railways portal
Stations around Bedford
Midland Main Line
Varsity Line
Bedford station sidings
Bedford Cauldwell Walk depot
Bedford St Johns
Bedford St Johns(former)
Marston Vale line
Bedford–Hitchin line
Midland Main Line

Bedford railway station (formerly Bedford Midland Road) is the larger of two railway stations in the town of Bedford in Bedfordshire, England. It is on the Midland main line from London St Pancras to the East Midlands and the terminus of the Marston Vale line from Bletchley through Bedford St Johns.


The original station was built by the Midland Railway in 1859 on its line to the Great Northern at Hitchin. It was on land known as "Freemen's Common" approximately 200 yards (180 m) south of the current station on Ashburnham Road.

The London & North Western Railway (LNWR) also had a station on its line between Bletchley and Cambridge. The Midland crossed it on the level and there was a serious collision when an LNWR train passed a red signal. (Curiously, both drivers were named John Perkins). Following this accident, the Midland built a flyover in 1885.[1]

The extension to St Pancras opened in 1868. The connection to Hitchin is long gone, but the line north of Bedford to Wigston Junction is still officially referred to as the Leicester to Hitchin line.[2] At this time the station was substantially altered, with the replacement of a level crossing by the Queen's Park overbridge. In 1890 fast lines were added to the west to allow expresses to bypass the station.

Serious damage occurred during World War II when a bomb destroyed the booking hall's glass ceiling. The current station was built to replace it and was opened by Sir Peter Parker (chairman of BR) on 9 October 1978.[3] The station was moved about 110 yards (100 m) north; the slow lines were realigned to the west next to the 1890 fast lines, to which platforms were added.

Although the intention was for what remained of the old awnings to be transferred to the Midland Railway at Butterley in Derbyshire it proved impossible to save them. Nothing remains of the original station buildings.

Services over the Marston Vale line to/from Bletchley were transferred here from the old LNWR St Johns station in May 1984. A new connection, which runs along the formation formerly used by the abandoned line to Hitchin (closed to passenger traffic from 1 January 1962 and completely three years later), was laid from the Marston Vale branch up to the main line to permit this. The original St Johns station closed on 14 May 1984 with a replacement halt on the new chord opening the same day.[4] Bletchley trains henceforth used a bay platform (numbered 1A) on the eastern side of the station and still do currently (summer 2016).

The track layout around the station is set for significant changes as Network Rail aims to make operations easier and faster, in conjunction with electrification northward to Sheffield and westward to Bletchley and Oxford. The majority of the work will be north of the station.


The main entrance on 4 June 1962
The main entrance on 13 January 2007 from the car park.

The station is served by three operators and managed by Thameslink.

East Midlands Trains semi-fast services along the Midland Main Line between London St Pancras and Nottingham call at the station, as do London-Corby services. These services mostly use Class 222 Meridian diesel-electric multiple units. Morning and evening peaks see some Nottingham services extended to Lincoln via Newark Castle and Corby services extended to Melton Mowbray, plus some Derby and Sheffield services calling. The weekend sees trains operating to York and in the summer months these extend to/from Scarborough.[5]

Thameslink operates Thameslink route services to Brighton through St Albans and London St Pancras. Services from the station also call at Luton Airport Parkway and Gatwick Airport. Additional services start or terminate at Gatwick Airport or Three Bridges. These services use Class 700 electric multiple units. Thameslink also runs a few services a day to Sutton on the Sutton Loop line, via both Wimbledon and Mitcham Junction.[6]

London Northwestern Railway operates local services to Bletchley via the Marston Vale Line using Class 150 Sprinter and Class 153 Super Sprinter diesel multiple units. There is no Sunday service on this line.[7]

Service summary[edit]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
East Midlands Trains
East Midlands Trains
London Northwestern Railway
Mondays-Saturdays only
Disused railways
TerminusLondon, Midland and Scottish Railway
Line and station closed
Line and station closed
London, Midland and Scottish RailwayTerminus
Historical railways
Line open, station closed
Midland Railway
Line open, station closed
  Future Services  
Line open
East West Rail

Community Rail Partnership[edit]

In common with other stations on the Bedford to Bletchley Marston Vale line, Bedford station is covered by the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership[permanent dead link]. The partnership aims to increase use of the Marston Vale line by getting local people involved with their local line.


The main line and platform layout from the overbridge.

The station has the following facilities:

The station is in the PlusBus scheme, where train and bus tickets can be bought together to save money.

Future developments[edit]

Plans were being promoted by Network Rail and Bedford Borough Council for the redevelopment of the station quarter.[8] A new station building was erected on the site of the former Victorian station, which was closed and bulldozed in 1978 when the current buildings opened. This area is now a council pay-and-display car park. Platform 1A was extended through the existing building to accommodate 12-car trains.

The station will be the eastern terminus for some time of East West Rail, a plan to reopen the railway from Oxford and Aylesbury. As of December 2017, extension to Cambridge and East Anglia via Sandy is planned but not funded. The scheme was given further impetus in December 2017 with the announcement of additional funding.[9][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Radford, B., (1983) Midland Line Memories: a Pictorial History of the Midland Railway Main Line Between London (St Pancras) & Derby London: Bloomsbury Books.
  2. ^ Jacobs, G., (Ed) (2005 2Rev) Railway Track Diagrams: Midlands and North West: Book 4 Chart 2,3 Bradford on Avon:TRACKmaps.
  3. ^ Slater, J.N., ed. (June 1979). "Bedford Electrification On Schedule". Railway Magazine. Vol. 125 no. 938. London: IPC Transport Press. p. 267. 
  4. ^ Station Name - Bedford St Johns Disused Stations Site Record; Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  5. ^ Table 53 National Rail timetable, May 2016.
  6. ^ Table 52 National Rail timetable, May 2016.
  7. ^ Table 64 National Rail timetable, May 2016.
  8. ^ "Back to the future for railway station". Bedfordshire on Sunday. Archived from the original on 21 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  9. ^ "Chancellor accepts East West Rail targets and strengthens plans with extra cash". 
  10. ^ Transport Secretary officially launches East West Railway Company at Bletchley Park East West Rail, 22 November 2017

External links[edit]