Cheltenham Spa railway station

Cheltenham Spa railway station is a railway station serving Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, England. Situated on the Bristol-Birmingham main line, it is managed by Great Western Railway (despite most services being operated by CrossCountry, which does not manage any stations) and is about one mile from the town centre. The official name of the town is simply Cheltenham, but, when the station was renamed in 1925, the London, Midland and Scottish Railway chose to add Spa to the station name. [1] The station is a key regional interchange and is the fifth busiest rail station in South West England.

Cheltenham Spa
National Rail
Cheltenham Spa Railway Station 1 (geograph 5795707).jpg
Platforms at Cheltenham Spa station (2018)
LocationCheltenham, Cheltenham
Coordinates51°53′49″N 2°06′00″W / 51.897°N 2.100°W / 51.897; -2.100Coordinates: 51°53′49″N 2°06′00″W / 51.897°N 2.100°W / 51.897; -2.100
Grid referenceSO931220
Managed byGreat Western Railway
Other information
Station codeCNM
ClassificationDfT category C1
Original companyBirmingham and Gloucester Railway
Pre-groupingMidland Railway
Key dates
24 June 1840Opened as Cheltenham
1 February 1925Renamed Cheltenham Spa (Lansdown)
1 January 1948Renamed Cheltenham Spa
2016/17Increase 2.353 million
 Interchange Increase 0.191 million
2017/18Increase 2.400 million
 Interchange Steady 0.191 million
2018/19Increase 2.468 million
 Interchange Increase 0.202 million
2019/20Increase 2.591 million
 Interchange Increase 0.241 million
2020/21Decrease 0.462 million
 Interchange Decrease 41,713
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road


A 1910 Railway Clearing House map of railways in the vicinity of Cheltenham Spa (shown here as Queen's Road, Lansdown)
Former MR Johnson 1P 2-4-0 20216 at Cheltenham Lansdown Station in 1949

The first railway to Cheltenham was the broad-gauge Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway (C&GWUR), authorised by Act of Parliament in 1836, and opened between Cheltenham and Gloucester in 1840. In the same year, the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway (B&GR) opened its line between Cheltenham and Bromsgrove, whence trains ran on mixed-gauge tracks to Gloucester. Both railways had their own stations, but the B&GR station, which was then on the edge of the town and was named Lansdown after a housing development in that area,[2] is the only one remaining. The buildings were designed by the architect Samuel Daukes and the station was opened by the B&GR on 24 June 1840 as Lansdown.[1]

The C&GWUR was taken over by the Great Western Railway in 1844, and the B&GR by the Midland Railway in 1846. Within the town, there were three other passenger railway stations: Malvern Road, St James's and Cheltenham South and Leckhampton; there was also High Street Halt and the Racecourse Platform, open only on race days.

From 1892 there was a route from Cheltenham to the docks at Southampton, via Andoversford and the Midland and South Western Junction Railway.

The station was renamed Cheltenham Spa (Lansdown) on 1 February 1925 by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, and renamed again as Cheltenham Spa by British Railways at some point after 1 January 1948.[3]


  • William Turnbull 1844–1872[4] (discharged for failing to report his ticket collector for fraud)[5]
  • Joseph Vizard Bendall 1872[4]–1900[6] (formerly station master at Harpenden)
  • Henry Ward 1900–1907[6] (afterwards station master at Bedford)
  • Horace E. Horne 1907[6]–1909 (formerly station master at Harpenden)
  • Charles Williams 1910–1913 (formerly station master at Hay)
  • G.Preston Heggs 1913–1914 (afterwards station master at Sheffield)
  • Henry Pitt 1914[7]-1918 (formerly station master at Rushden)
  • Arthur Ernest Chandler 1918–1928[8] (afterwards station master at Burton upon Trent)
  • John Richard Needham from 1956[9] (formerly station master at Lancaster Green Ayre)


Cheltenham Spa Railway Station

Cheltenham Spa station is served by approx 8 to 12 trains every hour during the daytime on Mondays to Saturdays (less frequent on Sundays).

Great Western Railway operate approx hourly Cheltenham Spa – Swindon via Gloucester services. Some (operated by Class 800s) extend through to Didcot Parkway, Reading and London Paddington.[10]

Great Western Railway also operates local services on the Bristol (Temple Meads/Parkway) to Gloucester, Cheltenham Spa and Worcester Shrub Hill route.[11] These serve Cheltenham every two hours each way, with some southbound services continuing onwards to Westbury, Weymouth or Brighton.

CrossCountry trains serve Cheltenham Spa on three routes, the Cardiff Central to Birmingham New Street/Nottingham service, the longer-distance Penzance/Plymouth – Cheltenham Spa – Glasgow Central, with extensions to Aberdeen, and the Bristol Temple Meads – Manchester Piccadilly routes.[12] All three of these services run hourly each way, giving a net half-hourly service to Bristol Temple Meads and three departures per hour to/from Birmingham New Street. CrossCountry also operate a morning service to Stansted Airport as well as summer Saturday trains to Newquay.

Transport for Wales operate approximately hourly with a Maesteg via Bridgend, Cardiff Central, Newport and Chepstow to Gloucester and Cheltenham Spa service.[13]

Preceding station   National Rail Following station
Gloucester   Transport for Wales
Maesteg – Cheltenham
Gloucester   CrossCountry
Cardiff – Nottingham
  Worcestershire Parkway
or Ashchurch for
Bristol Parkway   CrossCountry
South West – North East and Scotland
  Birmingham New
Bristol – Manchester
Gloucester   Great Western Railway
Cheltenham – London/Swindon
Gloucester   Great Western Railway
Great Malvern – Westbury
  Ashchurch for
  Historical railways  
Line open, station closed
  Midland Railway
Birmingham and Gloucester Railway
  Cheltenham High Street
Line open, station closed
Disused railways
Terminus   Great Western Railway
Midland and South Western Junction Railway
Line and station closed
   Proposed Heritage railways
Cheltenham Malvern Road
Line and station closed
  Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway   Terminus

Redevelopment proposalsEdit

In early 2012 Cheltenham Council released a Railway Station concept statement, promoting various enhancements at the station.[14] In March 2013 the Gloucestershire Local Transport Body (LTB) asked for bids from the local area for transport projects which could be funded in the period 2015 to 2019. A proposal to significantly enhance the station, with new passenger facilities and install a new south-facing bay platform enabling trains to reverse was put forward.

During the development and optioneering phase of the submission, it was that two new bay platforms were required. This configuration formed the basis of a station regeneration proposal that was submitted to the Gloucestershire Local Transport Body for consideration in early March 2013. Following short listing to stage 2, a second funding proposal was submitted on 10 May 2013. Cheltenham Spa Station and the other various transport scheme proposals were all published for public consultation on the LTB website on 13 May 2013.[15]

In February 2014 the scheme was shelved after both Network Rail and train operator First Great Western refused to back the portion of the proposals relating to the additional platforms, though they were supportive of the need to upgrade other passenger facilities (station building & taxi/bus interchange improvements and better car parking).[16]


  1. ^ a b "Cheltonia: The curiosities of Cheltenham Spa, past and present". Archived from the original on 13 October 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Cheltonia: The curiosities of Cheltenham Spa, past and present". Archived from the original on 13 October 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  3. ^ Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 59. ISBN 1-85260-508-1. R508.
  4. ^ a b "1871–1879 Coaching". Midland Railway Operating, Traffic and Coaching Depts: 338. 1871. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  5. ^ "Mr. Turnbull and the Midland Railway". Cheltenham Chronicle. England. 27 February 1872. Retrieved 31 May 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  6. ^ a b c "1899-1908 Coaching; Piece 1027". Midland Railway Operating, Traffic and Coaching Depts: 135. 1899. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  7. ^ "Country Notes". Northampton Mercury. England. 7 August 1914. Retrieved 26 December 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  8. ^ "Stationmaster leaving Cheltenham". Cheltenham Chronicle. England. 1 September 1928. Retrieved 31 May 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  9. ^ "Presentation to Green Ayre Stationmaster". Lancaster Guardian. England. 8 June 1956. Retrieved 24 December 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  10. ^ GB National Rail Timetable 2014–15, Table 125
  11. ^ GB National Rail Timetable 2014–15, Tables 57, 123 & 134
  12. ^ GB National Rail Timetable 2014–15, Tables 51 & 57
  13. ^ GB Rail Timetable 2014–15, Tables 128 & 134
  14. ^ Cheltenham Spa railway station concept statement Archived 3 September 2012 at the Wayback MachineCheltenham Borough Council website; Retrieved 21 March 2015
  15. ^ Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine "Cheltenham Spa Station – A Transformational Ambition" Gloucestershire LTB; Retrieved 21 March 2015
  16. ^ Plans for two new platforms at Cheltenham Spa railway station controversially shelved Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine Maidment, J.R ; Gloucestershire Echo 4 February 2014; Retrieved 21 March 2015,

Further readingEdit