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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.

Bletchley National Rail
Bletchley Station 02 (25-08-2007).JPG
Location
Place West Bletchley
Local authority Borough of Milton Keynes
Grid reference SP868337
Operations
Station code BLY
Managed by London Northwestern Railway
Number of platforms 6
DfT category C2
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2012/13 Increase 0.881 million
– Interchange  Increase 75,916
2013/14 Increase 0.928 million
– Interchange  Increase 80,126
2014/15 Increase 0.989 million
– Interchange  Increase 85,134
2015/16 Increase 1.063 million
– Interchange  Increase 96,701
2016/17 Increase 1.082 million
– Interchange  Increase 100,865
History
Key dates Opened 17 November 1846[1] (17 November 1846[1])
Original company London and Birmingham Railway
Pre-grouping London and North Western Railway
Post-grouping London, 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.
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK Railways portal
Southward view of platforms.
Station front in 1962

It includes a junction of the West Coast Main Line with the Bletchley-Bedford Marston Vale Line.

This is one of the six railway stations serving the Milton Keynes urban area.[a].

It is the nearest main line station for Bletchley Park, the World War II codebreaking centre, and also serves Stadium mk, the home of Milton Keynes Dons F.C., at present[b] a 30-minute walk. Fenny Stratford station, on the Marston Vale Line (a limited service branch line) is closer.[2]

There are ticket barriers controlling access to the platforms.

Contents

HistoryEdit

The London and Birmingham Railway, now part of the "West Coast Main Line", was officially opened from London 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 there seemed no apparent need for a station in the Bletchley area at all. It was not until 1846 that Bletchley station was built following the opening of the line from Bedford. 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. Today, no Virgin Trains stop at Bletchley.

The eastward route (to Bedford St Johns) opened in 1846,[3] and the first station at Bletchley was built. The westward route (to Buckingham) opened in 1850. This east–west route subsequently became the Oxford – Cambridge "Varsity Line".

 
Up freight on West Coast Main Line at Bletchley in 1964
 
A local train for Banbury leaves Bletchley Station in 1948

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 here, numbered 1 to 6 from west to east. Platforms 1 and 2 serve the fast lines used by Virgin West Coast Main Line expresses and as such they normally see little or no use (as none of these are scheduled to stop, as noted). They are utilised if the slow lines are out of service for engineering work or other unscheduled or out of course events. Platforms 3 and 4 serve the slow lines and are used by the London Midland services between London Euston and Northampton and Birmingham New Street that call, along with Southern's Milton Keynes to 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 by main line trains from Milton Keynes). Bedford trains normally start and terminate in platform 6, but can use platform 5 if required. There are carriage sidings to the north of the station (along with the now closed Bletchley EMU depot), whilst the high level flyover carrying the currently dormant Varsity Line (closed to passenger trains since 1968) towards Oxford passes to the east of the station before crossing the main lines to the south. The main buildings and station entrance are located on the west side of the complex.[5]

East West routeEdit

As well as being on the national north–south West Coast Main Line, Bletchley is also on the east–west former CambridgeOxford route known as the Varsity line, though as of May 2018 only the central section known as the Marston Vale line between Bletchley and Bedford and the section between Oxford and Bicester 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.

FutureEdit

The Marston Vale line is the passenger carrying remnant of the Varsity Line. As of 2018, the route beyond Bletchley to the west through Winslow to Bicester Town is closed to passenger traffic, with goods traffic continuing only as far as the waste disposal site at Newton Longville sidings.

The high level crossing over the WCML, officially named the "Bletchley Flyover" and comprising seven 56 ft (17 m) spans, was built in 1959 as part of the Modernisation Plan and by-passes Bletchley station. At the time it was expected to carry as many as 80 trains a day[6] and though it remains in place it sees only occasional use. There is a funded plan to re-open the western section of the route to passenger traffic via Bicester to Oxford by 2025 and an unfunded desire 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.[7]

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.[7] In the longer term it is planned to construct an underground concourse to link the eastern and western station entrances.[7]

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.[8][9][10][11] 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.[12]

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.[13] However, as of May 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.[14] The documents provide detailed drawings for the high-level platforms but do not include any details about the station itself.[c] 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.[15][16]

Ticket office opening hoursEdit

In mid September 2012, the Transport Minister Norman Baker announced in a 'written answer' that the Government has approved London Midland's request to reduce the opening hours of the ticket office, so that the station will close at 21:00 on Mondays and 20:00 on Tuesdays to Fridays.[17] Defending the Government's decision to reduce the opening hours here and at Wolverton, local MPs Iain Stewart and Mark Lancaster said that most passengers use ticket machines to buy or retrieve their tickets.[17] Speaking for the opposition Cooperative and Labour Party, prospective parliamentary candidate Andrew Pakes called it the "thin end of the wedge", that it would put into question the opening hours of the station toilets and waiting room.[17]

ServicesEdit

Southwards, London Northwestern Railway operate services to Watford Junction and London Euston (3 per hour off-peak). As of July 2016, Southern runs a restricted service on the West London Route to East Croydon via the West London Line. Northwards, both operators run services to Milton Keynes Central, with London Northwestern Railway continuing on to Northampton, Rugby and Birmingham New Street.[18]

There is also one train to and from Crewe on weekdays. Additional London Northwestern Railway services to/from Euston start and terminate here during the rush hour.

Services also operate hourly between Bletchley and Bedford on the Marston Vale Line on Monday to Saturday only.[19]

Preceding station     National Rail   Following station
London Northwestern Railway
West Coast Main Line
Terminus London Northwestern Railway
Marston Vale Line
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

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Bletchley to Bedford Rail Link – A Brief History Living Archive, Milton Keynes
  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. ^ Railway Magazine November 1958 p. 737
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ "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. 
  9. ^ "Western Section Map" (PDF). East West Rail. November 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2012. [permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Broadbent, Steve (14–28 December 2011). "Sudden 'yes' for East-West link surprises campaigners". RAIL (685): 10. 
  11. ^ Bucks Herald (31 March 2014). "Disappointment as East West Rail delayed by two years". Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  12. ^ Network Rail gears up to deliver East-West rail Archived 6 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ SEMLEP awarded £64.6 million Local Growth Deal Press release, SEMLEP, 7/7/2014
  14. ^ Residents invited to give views on East West Rail link plans – Rail Technology Magazine, 11 July 2017
  15. ^ "Chancellor accepts East West Rail targets and strengthens plans with extra cash". www.railtechnologymagazine.com. 
  16. ^ Transport Secretary officially launches East West Railway Company at Bletchley Park East West Rail, 22 November 2017
  17. ^ a b c MPs defend reduction in train ticket office opening hoursMilton Keynes Citizen, 18 September 2012
  18. ^ GB eNRT May 2016 Edition, Tables 66 & 176
  19. ^ GB eNRT May 2016, Table 64

NotesEdit

  1. ^ The others are Milton Keynes Central, Wolverton, Fenny Stratford, Bow Brickhill, and Woburn Sands
  2. ^ (2017). When the proposed entrance from Saxon Street opens, this will be roughly halved
  3. ^ There is, however, an artist's impression of the upgraded station on the East West Rail Ltd web site.

External linksEdit