Bury St Edmunds railway station

Bury St Edmunds railway station serves the town of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, England. The station is on the Ipswich–Ely line and all trains calling there are operated by Greater Anglia.

Bury St Edmunds National Rail
2018 at Bury St Edmunds station - forecourt.JPG
PlaceBury St Edmunds
Local authorityWest Suffolk
Grid referenceTL852651
Station codeBSE
Managed byGreater Anglia
Number of platforms2
DfT categoryC2
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2014/15Increase 0.596 million
– Interchange Increase 514
2015/16Increase 0.604 million
– Interchange Decrease 380
2016/17Increase 0.633 million
– Interchange Decrease 348
2017/18Increase 0.652 million
– Interchange Increase 401
2018/19Increase 0.665 million
– Interchange Increase 518
Key datesOpened 1847 (1847)
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Bury St Edmunds from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.


Early History (1845-1862)Edit

The Ipswich and Bury Railway Company (I&BR), was formed to build a line from Ipswich to Bury St Edmunds. Its Act of 21 July 1845 authorised capital of £400,000 and it shared many shareholders and directors with the Eastern Union Railway (EUR) who were in the process of building their line from Colchester to Ipswich. The companies also shared the same head office location in Brook Street, Ipswich.

The proposed line was 26.5 miles (42.6 km) long, with intermediate stations at Bramford, Claydon, Needham, Stowmarket, Haughley Road, Elmswell and Thurston.[1]

The ground breaking ceremony took place in Ipswich on 1 August 1845 where twelve local worthies (including the mayor of Ipswich, engineer Peter Bruff and John Chevallier Cobbold) each filled a wheelbarrow with soil.[2] Building the line was challenging with problems at Ipswich with tunnel construction and at Stowmarket where the local marsh swallowed up a lot of material with test probes finding the bog was 80 feet deep![3]

On 26 November 1846 the first test train ran to a temporary station at Bury St Edmunds with stops at most stations on the route with the inevitable lavish celebrations. The official opening followed on 7 December 1846 when a special train ran from Shoreditch (later Bishopsgate railway station) to Bury. The Board of Trade inspection took place on 15 December 1846 and the line opened for traffic on 24 December. The existing station at Bury opened in November 1847.[4]

The EUR and I&BR were worked as one from 1 January 1847, and formal amalgamation was obtained by Act of 9 July 1847. The Eastern Union Railway was taken over by the Eastern Counties Railway in 1854. By the 1860s the railways in East Anglia were in financial trouble, and most were leased to the ECR; they wished to amalgamate formally, but could not obtain government agreement for this until 1862, when the Great Eastern Railway was formed by amalgamation. Thus Bury St Edmunds became a GER station in 1862.[5]

Great Eastern Railway (1862-1922)Edit

The line from Long Melford opened in 1865 and the line to Thetford opened in 1876. A direct link to Ely was provided in 1880 at Kennett.

The Bury Yard signal box was opened in 1888. It was a GER Type 7 design with a Mackenzie and Holland frame.[6]

London & North Eastern Railway (1923-1947)Edit

Following the 1923 grouping, Bury St Edmunds became a LNER station. During World War 2 Bury was an important freight location for the many airbases in East Anglia.

British Railways (1948-1994)Edit

The station in 1966

In 1948 Bury St Edmunds became part of British Railways Eastern Region.

According to the Official Handbook of Stations the following classes of traffic were being handled at this station in 1956: G (Goods), P (Passenger, Parcels & Miscellaneous), F (Furniture Vans, Carriages, Motor Cars, Portable Engines and Machines on Wheels), L (Livestock), H (Horse Boxes and Prize Cattle Vans) and C (Carriages and Motor Cars by Passenger or Parcels Train); there was a 9-ton crane. Private sidings were operated by British Sugar, Burlingham & Son, J Gough & Son, Ridley Coal & Iron and H A& D Taylor.[7]

The Bury St Edmunds to Thetford line closed to passengers on 8 June 1953 and goods traffic on 27 June 1960. The line to Long Melford closed to passengers on 10 April 1961 and freight on 19 April 1965. The engine shed closed in 1959.

The railway bridge to the east of the station was Grade II listed in 1988.[8]

The privatisation era (1994 - present)Edit

Grade II listed Bury St Edmunds Yard signal box

In April 1994 Railtrack became responsible for the maintenance of the infrastructure. Railtrack was succeeded by Network Rail in 2002.

Passenger services have been operated by the following franchises:

Due to the freight train derailment on a bridge near Ely in June 2007, trains to Peterborough from London (via Ipswich) terminated at Bury St Edmunds while the bridge was rebuilt. Train services resumed on 21 December 2007.

The yard signal box was Grade II listed in 2013.[6]A £1 million restoration scheme was completed during 2016 on the Grade II listed station.[13]

Train servicesEdit

The following services currently call at Bury St Edmunds:[14]

Operator Route Rolling Stock Frequency
Greater Anglia Peterborough - Whittlesea - March - Manea - Ely - Bury St Edmunds - Stowmarket - Ipswich Class 755 Every 2 hours
Greater Anglia Cambridge - Dullingham - Newmarket - Kennett - Bury St Edmunds - Thurston - Elmswell - Stowmarket - Needham Market - Ipswich Class 755 1 per hour

Through trains to and from London Liverpool Street via the Great Eastern Mainline were withdrawn at the December 2010 timetable change.

Preceding station   National Rail Following station
Greater Anglia
Peterborough – Ipswich
Greater Anglia
  Future Services  
Cambridge   East West Rail
Historical railways
Line open, station closed
Great Eastern Railway
Line and station open
Disused railways
Line and station closed
Great Eastern RailwayTerminus
Line and station closed
Great Eastern Railway

Architecture and layoutEdit

Sancton Wood's main entrance and towers

Designed by Sancton Wood (the architect also of Ipswich and Cambridge railway stations as well as many stations in Ireland, the principal of which is Heuston Station, Dublin), the station was formally inaugurated in November 1847, eleven months after the opening of the Eastern Union Railway's line from Ipswich.

The most noteworthy feature of the station, which is constructed of red brick with stone dressings, is a pair of towers (originally linked by an overall roof, removed in 1893) on either side of the tracks at the eastern end of the layout. As first built – as a terminus – the station had four tracks, although in practice only one platform was used before the line was extended to Newmarket in 1854. Today a wide space separates the two surviving through tracks, which serve Platform 1 (for trains towards Cambridge or Peterborough) and Platform 2 (for trains towards Ipswich and Harwich International).[15][16]

The semi-elliptical brick arch bridge over Northgate Road to the east of the station, which like the station building is a Grade II listed building, has been credited to Frederick Barnes (who was a partner of Sancton Wood) and Charles Russell.

The two platforms are connected by a subway.

Goods facilitiesEdit

A goods yard was situated on the down side west of the station.

Engine ShedEdit

The first engine shed was located immediately west of the railway station when Bury St Edmunds was a terminus station for the Ipswich and Bury Railway. The opening of the line to Cambridge in 1854 saw the end of this first shed as it was in the way of the new line. A new engine shed of wooden construction was established on the north side of the line again west of the station. This shed deteriorated over the years and inclement weather in 1901 finished the structure off. The Great Eastern Railway, often parsimonious in matters relating to the locomotive department, left it until 1904 before a new three-road brick built shed with a north-light roof was built.[17]

As part of the Ipswich district in 1914 the shed had 30 men under a fitter-in-charge. The allocation on 1 January 1922 consisted of:[18]

Class (LNER classification) Wheel Arrangement Number allocated
E4 2-4-0 10
J67 0-6-0T 1

In 1931 during London & North Eastern Railway operation (1923-1947) 17 locomotives were allocated to Bury St Edmunds and Bury was re-allocated to the Cambridge district. At this time it acquired two sub-sheds at Sudbury and Haverhill. By 1950 under British Railways this had fallen to 14 but increased to 16 in 1954.

Although the shed was re-roofed in 1953, the shed was closed to traffic on 5 January 1959 and demolished later that year.[19]


  1. ^ Moffat, Hugh (1987). East Anglia's first railways. Lavenham: Terence Dalton Limited. pp. 49–53. ISBN 0 86138 038 X.
  2. ^ Moffat, Hugh (1987). East Anglia's first railways. Lavenham: Terence Dalton Limited. pp. 54–59. ISBN 0 86138 038 X.
  3. ^ Moffat, Hugh (1987). East Anglia's first railways. Lavenham: Terence Dalton Limited. pp. 62–65. ISBN 0 86138 038 X.
  4. ^ Moffat, Hugh (1987). East Anglia's first railways. Lavenham: Terence Dalton Limited. pp. 66–69. ISBN 0 86138 038 X.
  5. ^ Vaughan, Adrian (1997). Railwaymen, Politics and Money. London: John Murray. pp. 134, 135. ISBN 0 7195 5150 1.
  6. ^ a b Historic England. "Bury St Edmunds Yard Signal Box (1414231)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  7. ^ Official Handbook of Stations, British Transport Commission, 1956.
  8. ^ Historic England. "Railway bridge (1183115)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  9. ^ "GB Railways wins Anglia" The Railway Magazine issue 1149 January 1997 page 11
  10. ^ National Express wins rail franchise The Daily Telegraph 22 December 2003
  11. ^ National Express Group Announced as Preferred Bidder for new Greater Anglia Franchise Strategic Rail Authority 22 December 2003
  12. ^ National Express wins rail franchise The Telegraph 22 December 2003
  13. ^ "£1m scheme revives Bury St Edmunds". Railnews: 7. December 2016.
  14. ^ Table 14 National Rail timetable, May 2016
  15. ^ Biddle, Gordon (2003). Britain's Historic Railway Buildings. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-866247-5.
  16. ^ "Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk". Great Eastern Journal (106): 23–9. April 2001.
  17. ^ Hawkins, Chris; Reeve, George (1987). Great Eastern Engine Sheds Part 2. Wild Swan. pp. 267–274. ISBN 0 906867 487.
  18. ^ Hawkins, Chris; Reeve, George (1987). Great Eastern Engine Sheds Part 2. Wild Swan. p. 377. ISBN 0 906867 487.
  19. ^ Hawkins, Chris; Reeve, George (1987). Great Eastern Engine Sheds Part 2. Wild Swan. pp. 267–274. ISBN 0 906867 487.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 52°15′14″N 0°42′47″E / 52.254°N 0.713°E / 52.254; 0.713