Southampton Central railway station

  (Redirected from Southampton Central station)

Coordinates: 50°54′27″N 1°24′51″W / 50.9075°N 1.4141°W / 50.9075; -1.4141

Southampton Central railway station is a main line station serving the city of Southampton in Hampshire, southern England. It is on the South West Main Line and also serves the Wessex Main Line and the West Coastway Line. The station is approached from the London direction by passing through Southampton Tunnel and is 79 miles 19 chains (127.5 km) measured from London Waterloo.[note 1]

Southampton Central
National Rail
Bombardier class 221 diesel-electric at Southampton Central station, UK.jpg
LocationSouthampton City Centre, City of Southampton
Grid referenceSU412121
Managed bySouth Western Railway
Other information
Station codeSOU
ClassificationDfT category B
Original companyLondon and South Western Railway
Pre-groupingLondon and South Western Railway
Post-groupingSouthern Railway
Key dates
1 November 1895Opened (Southampton West)
7 July 1935Renamed (Southampton Central)
10 July 1967Renamed (Southampton)
29 May 1994[1]Renamed (Southampton Central)
2016/17Increase 6.361 million
2017/18Increase 6.538 million
2018/19Increase 6.665 million
 Interchange  1.619 million
2019/20Decrease 6.352 million
 Interchange Decrease 1.481 million
2020/21Decrease 1.448 million
 Interchange Decrease 0.273 million
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road

The station is managed by South Western Railway who operate the majority of services, including frequent trains to London Waterloo, Bournemouth and Portsmouth Harbour. Other operators are CrossCountry (providing services to Oxford, Birmingham New Street, Manchester Piccadilly and Newcastle), Great Western Railway (to Bristol Temple Meads and Cardiff Central) and Southern, which links Southampton to London Victoria, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport and Brighton.


The disused signal box

Southampton Central station was opened as Southampton West in 1895, to replace the smaller nearby West End station (originally named Blechynden when it opened in 1847).[2] The station was on the seafront, specifically the stretch of water known as West Bay, with the water reaching right up to the southern edge of the platforms at high tide. A series of land reclamation projects to expand the docks, largely funded by the London and South Western Railway, culminated in the building of the vast "New Docks" (now Western Docks) between 1927 and 1934, which led to all of West Bay being reclaimed and the station becoming landlocked. The new land and the demand for new lines allowed the station to be enlarged and redeveloped in 1934–1935 (from two platforms to four), and it became Southampton Central.[3] The new station buildings were largely constructed from concrete.[4]

An air raid on 23 November 1940 damaged the buildings alongside platform one.[4] The station was hit by two German parachute mines on 22 July 1941 which destroyed the ticket hall on platform four and damaged the island platform.[4]

In preparation for the closure of Southern Terminus station near the docks in 1966, alterations were made to the station's parcel handling facilities to allow it to handle increased volume.[5] In 1967, soon after the closure of Southampton Terminus, the station was rebuilt, losing its clocktower which was replaced with an office block.[5] At this point it was renamed Southampton,[5] although in 1994 was once again renamed to Southampton Central.[6]

A partnership between Network Rail, South West Trains and Southampton City Council saw a £3million investment in the refurbishment of the station and improved passenger facilities which was completed at the end of 2011.[7]

It was announced in late 2011 that Southampton City Council has plans to rebuild the whole station under the Western Gateway project. The project costing £200 million will see a new station with 10 platforms, and over 25,000sq metres of retail and office space. This project is part of the Future Southampton programme, set to be complete by 2025.[8]


All the platforms are split into two sections, A at the east and B at the west, allowing two services to occupy a platform at the same time, or to allow for trains dividing into two portions or attaching to make one train. This dual use occurs throughout the day on platforms 2 and 3, and in peak hours on platforms 1 and 4.

Platforms 1 and 4 are side platforms facing the fast lines. These platforms accommodate CrossCountry's Manchester to Bournemouth services (as well as an extension of the Reading to Newcastle service); Great Western Railway's Cardiff to Portsmouth route; and fast services to London Waterloo operated by South Western Railway.

Platforms 2 and 3 are on an island, facing the slow lines. On these platforms call services on South Western Railway's Romsey to Salisbury local service, its service to Portsmouth & Southsea, and its stopping services to London Waterloo. Southern services to London Victoria and Brighton also start from these platforms.

There is also an ex-Red Star Parcels bay on the Bournemouth end of platform 4. Previously numbered as platform 5, stopping services to Brockenhurst used this platform, but the platform can no longer be used for passenger services due to the lack of a proper starting signal. It is now used for the stabling of spare units. An up goods loop to the North of the main lines and a down loop to the South are located a short distance to the West. These allow terminating trains to clear the platforms for through services if required, and also to allow passenger services to pass freight or empty coaching stock trains.[9]

Southampton Central houses both the South Western Railway head office and a British Transport Police station in Overline House on the up side, with street access from Blechynden Terrace.



Southern and Great Western Railway services at Southampton Central

Southampton Central has 2 trains an hour to London Waterloo, which take approximately 1 h 20 min .

Romsey can be reached from Southampton Central using trains departing in both directions, by South Western Railway via Chandler's Ford in the up direction and by South Western Railway and Great Western Railway via Redbridge in the down.

At the station, South Western Railway offer the following in their normal Monday to Friday off-peak service pattern:

Southern offer the following in their normal Monday to Friday off-peak service pattern:[10]

  • 1 train per hour between Southampton Central and Brighton
  • 1 train per hour between Southampton Central and London Victoria

Great Western Railway offer the following in their normal Monday to Friday off-peak service pattern:

CrossCountry offer the following in their normal Monday to Friday off-peak service pattern:

Preceding station   National Rail Following station
Fareham   Great Western Railway
Portsmouth Harbour – Cardiff Central
Southampton Airport Parkway   CrossCountry
Southampton Airport Parkway   South Western Railway
London – Weymouth
St Denys   South Western Railway
Romsey – St Denys – Southampton – Redbridge – Romsey – Salisbury
  South Western Railway
Portsmouth – Southampton
or St Denys
or Woolston
London Victoria – Southampton (via Horsham)
or Eastleigh
Brighton – Southampton

On 9 December 2007, a number of changes were made to South West Trains, First Great Western and Southern services. The Waterloo to Southampton Central stopping service was extended to Poole, replacing in part the former Brockenhurst to Wareham stopping service. The former Poole train was extended to Weymouth.

The Totton to Romsey shuttle and the Salisbury to Southampton Central portion of the First Great Western Westbury to Southampton Central service were replaced by a South West Trains Salisbury to Romsey via Southampton Central and Chandlers Ford service, which calls at Romsey twice on its journey.[11][12] Southern introduced a new service from Southampton Central to Brighton, and the service to London Victoria now runs via Horsham rather than via Hove.

In December 2008, CrossCountry launched its new timetable with most trains operating between Bournemouth and Manchester Piccadilly, with one service originating at Nottingham and one service on Saturdays terminating at Newcastle.[13] During a short period in the summer, there is also a single service on Saturdays to Leeds. As of December 2010 an hourly CrossCountry train runs from Bournemouth to Manchester Piccadilly, via Coventry, calling at Southampton Central. There are also around 6 trains per day in each direction on the Reading to Newcastle route, via Doncaster, which was extended to Southampton Central.

There are also select CrossCountry services to Scotland, mostly to Edinburgh Waverley.


The station has a QuayConnect shuttle service that links the station to the city centre and on to Town Quay, for the Isle of Wight Red Funnel and Hythe ferries. This service is operated by Bluestar and departs from the Weymouth (south) side of the station along with Unilink's U1 service, which runs between the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton and Southampton Airport via the University of Southampton's Highfield Campus. The now defunct City Clipper service also served this side, linking a number of places in Southampton City Centre to the station. This side of the station benefits from a turning circle allowing buses to come in and out.

Bus services operated by Bluestar, First Hampshire & Dorset, Stagecoach in Hampshire and Salisbury Reds use stops on the London (north) side of the station, linking the station to several areas of the city as well as locations including Salisbury, Totton and Romsey.


  1. ^ Railways in the United Kingdom historically are measured in miles and chains. There are 80 chains to one mile.


  1. ^ Butt, R.V.J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations, Patrick Stephens Ltd, Sparkford, ISBN 1-85260-508-1, p. 214.
  2. ^ Moody, Bert (1997). Southampton's Railways. Atlantic Publishers. p. 63. ISBN 0906899788.
  3. ^ Moody, Bert (1997). Southampton's Railways. Atlantic Publishers. p. 67. ISBN 0906899788.
  4. ^ a b c Moody, Bert (1997). Southampton's Railways. Atlantic Publishers. pp. 69–71. ISBN 0906899788.
  5. ^ a b c Moody, Bert (1997). Southampton's Railways. Atlantic Publishers. p. 74. ISBN 0906899788.
  6. ^ Moody, Bert (1997). Southampton's Railways. Atlantic Publishers. p. 144. ISBN 0906899788.
  7. ^ "Rail passengers to benefit from improvements to Southampton Central station". Stagecoach Group plc. August 2010. Archived from the original on 31 August 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2010.
  8. ^ Southampton City Council – Station Quarter and Western Gateway Archived 29 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Network Rail Sectional Appendix Wessex, Network Rail 2018
  10. ^ GB eNRT 2015-16 Edition, Table 165 (Network Rail)
  11. ^ "Timetable changes for December – South West Trains". Archived from the original on 13 October 2007.
  12. ^ ""First Great Western – Draft December 07 to May 08 Timetable"" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 May 2011.
  13. ^ "CrossCountry December 2008 timetable" (PDF). Archived from the original on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 22 December 2008.

External linksEdit