Bedford railway station
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.
|Local authority||Borough of Bedford|
|Number of platforms||5|
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections|
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|Original company||Midland Railway|
|Post-grouping||London, Midland and Scottish Railway|
|1 February 1859||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 Rail – UK 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.|
Stations around Bedford
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.
The extension to St Pancras opened in 1868. The connection to Hitchin ceased public services during 1961, but the line north of Bedford to Wigston Junction is still officially referred to as the Leicester to Hitchin line. 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. 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. Bletchley trains henceforth used a bay platform (numbered 1A) on the eastern side of the station and still do currently (summer 2018).
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 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.
The station is the northern terminus of Thameslink who operate 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.
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.
The typical off-peak service in trains per hour (tph) is:
- 2tph to Brighton via Gatwick Airport (Thameslink)
- 2tph to Gatwick Airport via Redhill (Thameslink)
- 2tph to London St Pancras International (East Midlands Trains)
- 1tph to Corby (East Midlands Trains)
- 1tph to Nottingham via Leicester (East Midlands Trains)
- 1tph to Bletchley (London Northwestern Railway)
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
|East Midlands Trains|
|East Midlands Trains|
|London Northwestern Railway|
|Terminus||London, Midland and Scottish Railway||
Line and station closed
Line and station closed
|London, Midland and Scottish Railway||Terminus|
Line open, station closed
Line open, station closed
|Ridgmont||East West Rail
Community Rail PartnershipEdit
In common with other stations on the Bedford to Bletchley Marston Vale line, Bedford station is covered by the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership. The partnership aims to increase use of the Marston Vale line by getting local people involved with their local line.
A second CRP with Bedford Midland as its northern terminus - The Bedford to St Albans City Community Rail Partnership (BSAC CRP) - has been set up (June 2019), covering the eight stations on the Midland main line between Bedford Midland and St Albans City 
The station has the following facilities:
- 2 waiting rooms
- Cafe/newsagent/bar and coffee bar
- Post box
- FastTicket machine
- Car park with 614 spaces
- Fully wheelchair accessible
- Ticket barriers
The station is in the PlusBus scheme, where train and bus tickets can be bought together to save money.
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 November 2018[update], extension to Cambridge and East Anglia via Sandy is planned but not funded.
- Radford, B., (1983) Midland Line Memories: a Pictorial History of the Midland Railway Main Line Between London (St Pancras) & Derby London: Bloomsbury Books.
- Jacobs, G., (Ed) (2005 2Rev) Railway Track Diagrams: Midlands and North West: Book 4 Chart 2,3 Bradford on Avon:TRACKmaps.
- Slater, J.N., ed. (June 1979). "Bedford Electrification On Schedule". Railway Magazine. Vol. 125 no. 938. London: IPC Transport Press. p. 267.
- Station Name - Bedford St Johns Disused Stations Site Record; Retrieved 23 August 2016.
- Table 53 National Rail timetable, May 2016.
- Table 52 National Rail timetable, May 2016.
- Table 64 National Rail timetable, May 2016.