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Bishop's Stortford railway station

Bishop's Stortford railway station is on the West Anglia Main Line serving the town of Bishop's Stortford in Hertfordshire, England. It is 30 miles 27 chains (48.8 km) down the line from London Liverpool Street and is situated between Sawbridgeworth and Stansted Mountfitchet stations. Its three-letter station code is BIS.

Bishop's Stortford National Rail
Bishop's Stortford Station.jpg
PlaceBishop's Stortford
Local authorityDistrict of East Hertfordshire
Coordinates51°52′01″N 0°09′54″E / 51.867°N 0.165°E / 51.867; 0.165Coordinates: 51°52′01″N 0°09′54″E / 51.867°N 0.165°E / 51.867; 0.165
Grid referenceTL491208
Station codeBIS
Managed byGreater Anglia
Number of platforms3
DfT categoryC2
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2013/14Increase 2.920 million
– Interchange Increase 82,687
2014/15Increase 3.030 million
– Interchange Increase 85,714
2015/16Increase 3.104 million
– Interchange Decrease 73,276
2016/17Increase 3.165 million
– Interchange Increase 79,203
2017/18Increase 3.180 million
– Interchange Increase 85,333
Original companyNorthern and Eastern Railway
Pre-groupingGreat Eastern Railway
Post-groupingLondon and North Eastern Railway
16 May 1842 (1842-05-16)Station opened
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Bishop's Stortford from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
Bishop's Stortford station in 1961

The station and all trains serving it are operated by Greater Anglia, including the half-hourly Stansted Express service.


The station was opened by the Northern and Eastern Railway as a temporary terminus on 16 May 1842, and became a through station on 30 July 1845 when the line was extended through to Norwich.

In 1843 the train from London to Bishop's Stortford was timetabled to run at 36 miles per hour (58 km/h), exclusive of stops - the fastest booked run on any English railway at the time.[1]

The station site included a large goods yard occupying the land now used for car parking as well as sidings running as far west as the riverside wharves of the Stort Navigation. To the east, a small turntable and engine sheds lay on land recently used as a garage and (as of 2012) earmarked for supermarket use. During the station's heyday, the station had two signal boxes, "South", located opposite the current building and behind platform 3, and "North", controlling access to the Bishop's Stortford–Braintree branch line.

For most of the station's life, four lines passed through it (as opposed to the current three lines); up and down main lines to the west of the now much extended island platform, and a branch line and passing loop (with access to turntable) to the east of the island platform, the northern end of which was located where the footbridge is today.

Bishop's Stortford was also a junction station for the cross-country route to Dunmow and Braintree, which opened to passengers on 22 February 1869 and closed on 3 March 1952. The line continued in use for freight trains and occasional excursions, closing in stages with the final section to Easton Lodge closing on 17 February 1972.[2]

The station was the scene of a fatal crash on the last full day of the General Strike of 1926 when a southbound goods train manned by a volunteer crew crashed into the rear of an earlier train sitting in platform two. The platform canopy was demolished and a waiting passenger killed.


The typical off-peak service is:[3]

On Sundays this is reduced to:

  • 4 tph to London, of which:
    • 2 call at Tottenham Hale only
    • 1 call at Sawbridgeworth, Harlow Town, Broxbourne, Cheshunt and Tottenham Hale
    • 1 call at Sawbridgeworth, Harlow Mill, Harlow Town, Roydon, Broxbourne, Cheshunt, Tottenham Hale and Hackney Downs
  • 2 tph to Stansted Airport, both running non-stop
  • 2 tph to Cambridge, of which:
    • 1 calls at Audley End and Whittlesford Parkway
    • 1 calls at Stansted Mountfitchet, Elsenham, Newport, Audley End, Great Chesterford, Whittlesford Parkway and Shelford

Other servicesEdit

On Mondays to Fridays a small number of trains during the peak hours are extended beyond Cambridge to terminate at Ely and King's Lynn. At other times it is necessary to change at Cambridge for onward travel using services provided by CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway or Great Northern, Great Northern services also serve King's Lynn.

The station todayEdit

The station has three platforms. Platform 1 is for services towards Stansted Airport and Cambridge. Platform 2 is used for services to London Liverpool Street and Stratford. Platform 3 is used for some trains that terminate at Bishops Stortford. It is also used by a few services to/from Cambridge via Stansted Airport which only start/terminate here. In the days before 1985 when Bishop's Stortford was the northern limit of electrification it was used for slow trains to London Liverpool Street and to Cambridge; therefore platform 2 was used for fast trains (Stansted Express). The station has two entrances. One from Station Road where there is ticket hall, waiting room and real time information. The other entrance is for direct access to Platforms 2 and 3. Ticket barriers have been installed at the station to prevent fare evasion. In 2014 the station underwent extensive modernization resulting in the construction of a new ticket office, barrier line, retail outlets and a new platform canopy.[4]


  1. ^ Red for Danger by L. T. C. Rolt publ. 1955 page 28-29
  2. ^ ;Body, Geoffrey, Railways of the Eastern Region Volume 1: Southern Operating area, page 27, Guild Publishing, 1986
  3. ^ Table 22 National Rail timetable, May 2016
  4. ^ "Bishops Stortford Station Modernisation Project", Retrieved on 19 October 2014.

Further readingEdit

  • Peter Paye (2010). Bishop's Stortford, Dunmow and Braintree Branch. Oakwood Press. ISBN 978-0-85361-708-2.

External linksEdit