Bletchley railway station

Bletchley is a railway station that serves the southern parts of Milton Keynes, England (especially Bletchley itself), and the north-eastern parts of the Buckinghamshire district of Aylesbury Vale. It is 47 miles (75 km) northwest of Euston, about 32 miles (51 km) east of Oxford and 17 miles (27 km) west of Bedford, and is one of the six railway stations serving the Milton Keynes urban area.[a]

Bletchley National Rail
Bletchley Station 02 (25-08-2007).JPG
Location
PlaceWest Bletchley
Local authorityBorough of Milton Keynes
Grid referenceSP868337
Operations
Station codeBLY
Managed byLondon Northwestern Railway
Number of platforms6
DfT categoryC2
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2014/15Increase 0.989 million
– Interchange Increase 85,134
2015/16Increase 1.063 million
– Interchange Increase 96,701
2016/17Increase 1.082 million
– Interchange Increase 100,865
2017/18Decrease 1.066 million
– Interchange Increase 103,208
2018/19Increase 1.135 million
– Interchange Decrease 97,373
History
Key datesOpened 1838–1839[1] (1838–1839[1])
Original companyLondon and Birmingham Railway
Pre-groupingLondon and North Western Railway
Post-groupingLondon, Midland and Scottish Railway
National RailUK railway stations
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Bletchley from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
Southward view of platforms.

It includes junctions of the West Coast Main Line with the Bletchley-Bedford Marston Vale Line and the disused Bletchley-Oxford Varsity line. It is the nearest main line station for Bletchley Park (the World War II codebreaking centre) and Stadium MK (the home of Milton Keynes Dons F.C).[2]

HistoryEdit

The London and Birmingham Railway, now part of the "West Coast Main Line", was officially opened from Euston as far as Denbigh Hall (approximately one mile north of Bletchley station) on 9 April 1838, where a temporary station was built. The line was fully opened in September 1838, and Bletchley station opened some time between 2 November 1838 and 20 June 1839.[1] The station was known as Bletchley & Fenny Stratford between 1841 and 1846 and after the opening of the Marston Vale line was referred to in timetables as Bletchley Junction from 1851 to 1870.[1] Originally a major intercity station, that role passed to Milton Keynes Central in 1982 when the latter was built, long after the east–west route had been downgraded, taking Bletchley's importance as a junction with it.

The eastward route (to Bedford St Johns) opened in 1846.[3] The westward route (to Buckingham) opened in 1850. This east–west route subsequently became the Oxford – Cambridge "Varsity Line".

Accidents and incidentsEdit

  • On 14 October 1939, an express passenger train was in a collision with another train. Five people were killed and more than 30 were injured.[4]

Layout and facilitiesEdit

There are six platforms in use, numbered 1 to 6 from west to east. Platforms 1 and 2 primarily serve the WCML fast lines used by Avanti West Coast expresses that do not stop at the station and consequently normally see little or no use unless other platforms are unavailable. Platforms 3 and 4 serve the WCML slow lines and are used by London Northwestern Railway services between Euston and Birmingham New Street, along with Southern's Milton Keynes Central–East Croydon trains. Platforms 5 and 6 are located on the eastern side and are the only ones that give access to the Marston Vale line to Bedford (though they can also be used exceptionally by main line trains). Bedford trains normally start and terminate at platform 6, but can use platform 5 if required. There are carriage sidings to the north of the station (along with the now closed train maintenance depot), whilst the high level flyover carrying the former Varsity Line towards Oxford crosses the main lines to the south. The main buildings and station entrance are located on the west (Bletchley Park) side of the complex, off Sherwood Drive.[5]

There are ticket barriers controlling access to the platforms.

East West routeEdit

As well as being on the national north–south West Coast Main Line, Bletchley is also on the east–west former Cambridge–Oxford Varsity line, though as of November 2018 only the central section, the Marston Vale line, between Bletchley and Bedford and the section between Oxford and Bicester Village are open for passenger services.

Marston Vale Community Rail PartnershipEdit

Bletchley, in common with other stations on this line, is covered by the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership, which aims to promote the line by encouraging local users to take an active interest in it.[6]

FutureEdit

East West Rail
 
 
Cherwell Valley line
to Didcot and Reading
Oxford
 
Western section
 
Oxford Parkway
 
Islip
 
 
 
Bicester Village
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Winslow
 
 
 
West Coast Main Line
to London Euston
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bletchley
 
 
 
Woburn Sands
 
 
Milton Keynes Central
Ridgmont
 
 
 
 
West Coast Main Line
to Glasgow
 
 
 
 
Bedford
 
Central section
 
 
East Coast Main Line
to Sandy
 
 
 
 
East Coast Main Line
to Peterborough
 
Cambridge
 
Eastern section
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Newmarket
 
 
Ely
Kennet
 
 
Shippea Hill
Bury St Edmunds
 
 
Brandon
Thurston
 
 
Harling Road
Elmswell
 
 
Eccles Road
 
 
 
Attleborough
Stowmarket
 
 
 
Spooner Row
Needham Market
 
 
 
Wymondham
Ipswich
 
 
 
Diss
 
 
 
Felixstowe
 
 
Norwich
 

As of 2020, the route beyond Bletchley to the west through Winslow to Bicester is closed.

The high level crossing over the WCML, officially named the "Bletchley Flyover" and comprising seven 56 ft (17 m) spans and built in 1959 as part of the British Rail Modernisation Plan, by-passes Bletchley station. At the time it was expected to carry as many as 80 trains a day[7] and though it remains in place it is not in use. There is a funded, scheduled, plan to re-open this route to passenger traffic via Bicester to Oxford by 2025 and an unfunded plan to re-open the entire route between Oxford and Cambridge. In the view of Milton Keynes Council, a key element of the plan is to build high level platforms at Bletchley so that passengers may transfer between the lines.[8]

Proposed entrance from Saxon StreetEdit

As part of a project to regenerate Bletchley as a whole, Milton Keynes Council has proposed the creation of a new eastern pedestrian access to the station by extending the existing platform overbridge across the tracks to reach Saxon Street. The proposed eastern entrance is to open out into a new station square and a transport interchange where an at-grade pedestrian crossing across Saxon Street would give access to the town centre and bus station.[8] In the longer term it is planned to construct an underground concourse to link the eastern and western station entrances.[8]

Development to 2025Edit

Following approval on 29 November 2011 of the western section of East West Rail between Oxford and Bedford via Bletchley, the route was expected to open in 2019.[9][10][11][12] The plan provides for new high level platforms to be built on the flyover as the line has no direct route through the existing station without reversing.[13]

On 7 July 2014, the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership announced that the Government had allocated £64.6 million funding for various projects that includes a £1.5 million contribution towards the cost of this work.[14] However, as of October 2018, work on the high-level platforms or the Saxon Street entrance had yet to begin.

In July 2017, Network Rail began a public consultation on the details of its proposals for the Bicester–Bedford section of East West Rail.[15] The consultation documents provide detailed drawings for the high-level platforms but do not include any details about the station itself.[16][b] In December 2017, the Transport Minister Chris Grayling announced to a press conference at Bletchley Park that a new private sector company, the East West Railway Company, was being established to build and operate the line.[18][19]

Ticket office opening hoursEdit

In mid September 2012, the Transport Minister Norman Baker announced in a 'written answer' that the Government had approved London Midland's request to reduce the opening hours of the ticket office, so that the station would close at 21:00 on Mondays and 20:00 on Tuesdays to Fridays.[20] Defending the Government's decision to reduce the opening hours at Bletchley and at Wolverton, local MPs Iain Stewart and Mark Lancaster said that most passengers use ticket machines to buy or retrieve their tickets.[20] Speaking for the opposition Cooperative and Labour Party, prospective parliamentary candidate Andrew Pakes called it the "thin end of the wedge", that would put into question the opening hours of the station toilets and waiting room.[20]

ServicesEdit

Services at Bletchley are operated by London Northwestern Railway and Southern. As of December 2019, off-peak services (with units in TPH or 'trains per hour') are:

London Northwestern Railway
Southern
Preceding station     National Rail   Following station
London Northwestern Railway
TerminusLondon Northwestern Railway
Southern
  Future services  
Winslow
towards Oxford
  East West Rail
Oxford or Reading  – Milton Keynes Central
  Milton Keynes Central
Winslow
towards Oxford
  East West Rail
Oxford - Cambridge
  Woburn Sands
towards Bedford or Norwich or Ipswich
Winslow
towards Aylesbury
  East West Rail
London Marylebone-Milton Keynes Central
  Milton Keynes Central
Historical railways
Line and station closed
London Midland Region of British Railways
Oxford  – Cambridge
Line and station open

LocationEdit

 
 
Bletchley railway station zoom in
Mapping © OpenStreetMap contributors

The station is on Sherwood Drive in Old Bletchley, near the B4034. The nearest post-code is MK3 6DZ.[21] In the chainage notation traditionally used on the railway, its location on the West Coast Main Line is 46 miles 54 chains (46.68 mi; 75.12 km) from Euston;[22] to Oxford on the former Varsity line the distance is 31 miles 48 chains (31.60 mi; 50.86 km);[23][22][c] and to Bedford it is 16 miles 51 chains (16.64 mi; 26.78 km).[24]

See alsoEdit

Stations in and around Milton Keynes
 
 
 
Roade
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Salcey Forest
 
 
 
Castlethorpe
 
 
Olney
 
 
 
towards Bedford
Deanshanger
 
 
Old Stratford
 
 
 
Stony Stratford
 
 
 
Newport Pagnell
Wolverton Works
 
 
 
 
 
 
Great Linford
Wolverton
 
 
 
 
 
Bradwell
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Woburn Sands
 
 
Bow Brickhill
Milton Keynes Central
 
 
Fenny Stratford
Denbigh Hall
 
 
Bletchley TMD
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bletchley
 
 
 
former Varsity Line /
planned East West Rail
to
Oxford
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Leighton Buzzard
 

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Quick, Michael (2009) [2001]. Railway passenger stations in Great Britain: a chronology (4th ed.). Oxford: Railway and Canal Historical Society. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-901461-57-5. OCLC 612226077.
  2. ^ "The Football Ground Guide (Archived copy)". Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 2012-11-21.
  3. ^ "Milton Keynes Heritage" (map), Milton Keynes Development Corporation, 1983.
  4. ^ Trevena, Arthur (1980). Trains in Trouble. Vol. 1. Redruth: Atlantic Books. p. 42. ISBN 0-906899-01-X.
  5. ^ "Bletchley station map"NRES; Retrieved 8 September 2016
  6. ^ Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership
  7. ^ Railway Magazine November 1958 p. 737
  8. ^ a b c "Central Bletchley Regeneration Framework; Chapter 9: Bletchley Crossways" (PDF). Milton Keynes Council. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  9. ^ "East West Rail – Western Section – Prospectus" (PDF). East West Rail. November 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  10. ^ "Western Section Map" (PDF). East West Rail. November 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2012.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Broadbent, Steve (14–28 December 2011). "Sudden 'yes' for East-West link surprises campaigners". RAIL (685): 10.
  12. ^ Bucks Herald (31 March 2014). "Disappointment as East West Rail delayed by two years". Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  13. ^ Network Rail gears up to deliver East-West rail Archived 6 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ SEMLEP awarded £64.6 million Local Growth Deal Press release, SEMLEP, 7/7/2014
  15. ^ Residents invited to give views on East West Rail link plans – Rail Technology Magazine, 11 July 2017
  16. ^ "consultation documents". Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  17. ^ an artist's impression of the upgraded station, East West Rail Ltd.
  18. ^ "Chancellor accepts East West Rail targets and strengthens plans with extra cash". www.railtechnologymagazine.com.
  19. ^ Transport Secretary officially launches East West Railway Company at Bletchley Park East West Rail, 22 November 2017
  20. ^ a b c MPs defend reduction in train ticket office opening hoursMilton Keynes Citizen, 18 September 2012
  21. ^ Streetmap.co.uk
  22. ^ a b c Engineer's Line References: Euston to Crewe RailwayCodes.org
  23. ^ a b Engineer's Line References: Bletchley south junction to Oxford Rewley Road RailwayCodes.org
  24. ^ Engineer's Line References: Bletchley south junction to Bedford RailwayCodes.org

NotesEdit

  1. ^ The others are Milton Keynes Central, Wolverton, Fenny Stratford, Bow Brickhill, and Woburn Sands
  2. ^ There is, however, an artist's impression of the upgraded station on the East West Rail Ltd web site.[17]
  3. ^ 31 miles 22 chains from Bletchley south junction to Oxford Rewley Road [23] plus 16 chains from Bletchley south junction to Bletchley station.[22]

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 51°59′42″N 0°44′10″W / 51.995°N 0.736°W / 51.995; -0.736