Hitchin railway station

Hitchin railway station serves the town of Hitchin in Hertfordshire. It is located approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) north east of the town centre and 31 miles 74 chains (51.4 km) north of London King's Cross on the East Coast Main Line.[1]

National Rail
The tracks and platform 2
LocationHitchin, District of North Hertfordshire
Grid referenceTL194297
Managed byGreat Northern
Other information
Station codeHIT
ClassificationDfT category C2
Original companyGreat Northern Railway
Post-groupingLondon and North Eastern Railway
Key dates
7 August 1850Station opened
2016/17Increase 3.213 million
2017/18Increase 3.238 million
2018/19Increase 3.265 million
 Interchange  0.174 million
2019/20Decrease 3.234 million
 Interchange Decrease 0.164 million
2020/21Decrease 0.750 million
 Interchange Decrease 45,488
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road
The front entrance to the station in 2017
Auto-train to Bedford in 1955
Double-headed train of bricks off Bedford line in 1957
A 1902 Railway Clearing House map of railways in the vicinity of Hitchin (right)

Until the current Stevenage station opened in 1973, many Intercity services stopped at Hitchin.

In August 2007 Hitchin was awarded Secure Station status after improvements to station security were made by First Capital Connect, including new lighting, extra CCTV and the installation of automatic ticket gates.


The first section of the Great Northern Railway (GNR) - that from Louth to a junction with the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway at Grimsby - opened on 1 March 1848, but the southern section of the main line, between Maiden Lane and Peterborough, was not opened until August 1850. Hitchin was one of the original stations, opening with the line on 7 August 1850.[2][3][4]

On 21 October 1850 Hitchin became a junction station with the opening of the first section of the Royston and Hitchin Railway, between Hitchin and Royston (it was extended to Shepreth on 3 August 1851).[5] The Midland Railway (MR) opened a route from Leicester via Bedford to Hitchin on 1 February 1858, by which MR trains used the GNR to reach London.[6]

After the opening of the Midland Railway's own line from Bedford via Luton to London, and the line's terminus at St. Pancras in 1868, their line between Bedford and Hitchin was reduced to branch status. It lost its passenger service in 1961 and was closed completely in 1964, with the exception of a stub from Bedford to Cardington which itself was closed in 1969. In May 1964 part of the line was used for the railway scene in the film Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines.[7] The embankment for the line could, until early 2012, still be walked from just north of the station, through the fields to Ickleford, but this section is now closed off. Opened in June 2013 a new embankment now carries a single-track line onto a viaduct for Letchworth-bound trains over the East Coast Main Line as part of the Hitchin Flyover project.[8]

Accidents and incidentsEdit

  • On 14 April 1949, the solicitor and historian Reginald Hine died by suicide here by jumping in front of the slow train from Cambridge.[9][10]
  • On 19 November 1958, a freight train overran signals and was in a rear-end collision with another. A third freight train ran into the wreckage.[11]


Great Northern Route
King's Lynn
Downham Market
Cambridge North
St. Neots
Ashwell and Morden
St Neots South/Tempsford
Letchworth Garden City
Welwyn North
Hertford North
Welwyn Garden City
Welham Green
Brookmans Park
Crews Hill
Potters Bar
Gordon Hill
Enfield Chase
Hadley Wood
Grange Park
New Barnet
Winchmore Hill
Oakleigh Park
Palmers Green
New Southgate
Bowes Park
Alexandra Palace
  Finsbury Park
  London King's Cross
Drayton Park
  London St Pancras
Highbury & Islington    
Essex Road
Old Street  

There are platforms on only the two 'Slow' lines; they are long enough for 12-car trains.

Following a refurbishment of the station by First Capital Connect in 2007, the station's subway was refurbished at a cost of £300k.[12] The refurbishment also involved general cosmetic work throughout the station and a new high quality waiting room in the existing station buildings on Platform 2. This waiting room is fully accessible at all times through automatic doors.

The station has a large booking office with touch-screen ticket machines. The station has help points throughout.

A small shop is located by the stairs on Platform 2 and there are vending machines throughout the station.

Automatic ticket gates at the station entrance were installed by First Capital Connect during 2007.

The station's bicycle facilities were completely upgraded in 2007 and now include sheltered spaces for 68 bicycles next to the station buildings.

In 2013, Network Rail proposed plans for new lifts, one on each platform, to improve access via the existing subway for those with pushchairs or disabilities, funded through the Department for Transport's Access for All scheme.[13] The new lifts opened in September 2014 after a two-month delay, giving step-free access to the southbound number 1 platform.[14]

Platforms and ServicesEdit


Hitchin railway station is managed by Great Northern and has two platforms situated on the slow lines. Platform 1 is used for trains towards London and a few starting/terminating services to/from London. Platform 2 is used for trains towards Peterborough and Cambridge. Platform 1 also provides access to the sidings, used for removing stone and scrap metal.

Current ServicesEdit

Off-peak, all services are operated by Thameslink using Class 700 EMUs.

The typical off-peak service in trains per hour is:[15]

During the peak hours, there are additional Great Northern services between London King's Cross and Baldock which call at the station. These services are operated using Class 387 EMUs.

Future servicesEdit

It is proposed that a 2 tph service from Cambridge to Maidstone East via Welwyn Garden City and Swanley will begin operating once the Thameslink Programme is fully complete.[16] This would see the existing Cambridge to London service extended through the Thameslink Core and down to Maidstone.

It was initially proposed that this service would run to Tattenham Corner.[17] However this proposal was cancelled and replaced with the Maidstone East service.

This service was due to commence in December 2019 but has now been postponed to an unknown date.[18]

Preceding station   National Rail Following station
Great Northern
London to Baldock
Peak Hours Only
Disused railways
Line and station closed
London, Midland and Scottish RailwayTerminus
Historical railways
Line open, station relocated
Great Northern Railway
Line open, station closed

Junction developmentEdit

Down trains from London to Cambridge used to use a ladder crossing over the up lines in order to reach the Cambridge Line, which often caused significant delays to trains in both directions. Together with the Digswell Viaduct some 10 miles (16 km) to the south, the flat junction just north of Hitchin was a major bottleneck.[19]

In June 2013 Network Rail completed a flyover to carry Down trains to Cambridge over the top of the main line,[20] built at a final cost of £47million [21]


  1. ^ Yonge, John (September 2006) [1994]. Jacobs, Gerald (ed.). 2: Eastern. Railway Track Diagrams (3rd ed.). Bradford on Avon: Trackmaps. p. 15 section B. ISBN 0-9549866-2-8.
  2. ^ Gordon, W.J. (1989) [1910]. Our Home Railways. London: Bracken Books. volume II, p. 44. ISBN 1-85170-314-4.
  3. ^ Awdry, Christopher (1990). Encyclopaedia of British Railway Companies. London: Guild Publishing. p. 135. CN 8983.
  4. ^ Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Yeovil: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 121. ISBN 1-85260-508-1. R508.
  5. ^ Awdry 1990, p. 158
  6. ^ Gordon 1989, volume I, pp. 77–8
  7. ^ Howard, Philip (2006). Take the Train from Hitchin. Hitchin: Hitchin Historical Society. pp. 20–22. ISBN 0-9552411-0-3.
  8. ^ Network Rail. "Hitchin Flyover". Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  9. ^ Whitmore, Richard (2007). The Ghosts of Reginald Hine. Hitchin: Mattingley Press. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-9554662-0-5.
  10. ^ Fleck, Alan L. (2004). "Hine, Reginald Leslie (1883–1949)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  11. ^ Trevena, Arthur (1981). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 2. Redruth: Atlantic Books. pp. 40–14. ISBN 0-906899 03 6.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 March 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Access for All: funding to improve accessibility at rail stations
  14. ^ http://www.thecomet.net/news/new_lifts_open_at_hitchin_railway_station_1_3759516
  15. ^ "Timetable 14: Hitchin and Stevenage to London" (PDF). Govia Thameslink Railway, December 2019.
  16. ^ Timetable consultation : Southern
  17. ^ Proposed Thameslink service pattern
  18. ^ "Thameslink at Maidstone East will not launch in December 2019". Kent Online, September 2019.
  19. ^ "APPENDIX 2: Issues in defining and measuring railway capacity" (PDF). Office of Rail Regulation. 13 February 2006. p. 2. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
  20. ^ "Hitchin flyover". Network Rail. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
  21. ^ http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/infrastructure/single-view/view/hitchin-flyover-opens.html

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 51°57′11″N 0°15′47″W / 51.953°N 0.263°W / 51.953; -0.263