Thetford railway station
|Managed by||Greater Anglia|
|Classification||DfT category E|
|Opened||30 July 1845|
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road
Thetford is situated between Brandon and Harling Road, 93 miles 50 chains (150.7 km) from London Liverpool Street via Ely. The station is managed by Greater Anglia, which operates most of the services, typically one to two trains per hour in either direction. East Midlands Railway operates a regular service between Norwich and Liverpool Lime Street via Nottingham and Manchester Piccadilly.
The Bill for the Norwich & Brandon Railway (N&BR) received Royal Assent on 10 May 1844. The line was to link with an Eastern Counties Railway (ECR) project of a line from Newport in Essex to Brandon in Suffolk. Once complete the line would enable trains to travel from Norwich to London. Work started on the line in 1844.
One month before the N&BR opened a Bill authorising the amalgamation of the Yarmouth & Norwich Railway with the N&BR came into effect and so Thetford station became a Norfolk Railway asset.
The line opened on 30 July 1845 including the Eastern Counties Railway Brandon to Newport line. However, the line only went as far as Trowse, in the suburbs of Norwich, as the contractors were having to build a swing bridge to cross the navigable River Wensum. Thetford station was, when opened, between Brandon (Ely direction) and Roudham (Norwich direction).
The ECR and its rival the Eastern Union Railway (EUR) were both sizing up the NR to acquire and expand their railway empire. The ECR trumped the EUR by taking over the NR, including Thetford Station on 8 May 1848.
By the 1860s the railways in East Anglia were in financial trouble, and most were leased to the Eastern Counties Railway, which wished to amalgamate formally but could not obtain government agreement for this until an Act of Parliament on 7 August 1862, when the Great Eastern Railway(GER) was formed by the amalgamation. Actually, Thetford became a GER station on 1 July 1862 when the GER took over the ECR and the EUR before the Bill received the Royal Assent. Also in the 1860s the GER opened a line from Roudham towards Swaffham. Roudham was renamed Roudham Junction.
A decade later the a Bill received the Royal Assent promoting a line linking Bury St Edmunds (on the Ipswich to Cambridge line) and Thetford. The Act was passed on 5 July 1873 and work was started by the Thetford & Watton Railway (T&WR) in 1874. The T&WR opened the first part of the line on 15 November 1875. The line went south and terminated at Thetford Bridge, the first station after Thetford going towards Bury St. Edmund's. The opening made Thetford a joint GER and T&WR station. Four months later the rest of the line opened to Bury St. Edmund's. Two years later the GER took over the T&WR and joint working at Thetford ended.
The system settled down for the next four decades, apart from the disruption of First World War. The difficult economic circumstances that existed after World War 1 led the Government to pass the Railways Act 1921 which led to the creation of the Big Four. The GER amalgamated with several other companies to form the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER). Thetford became a LNER station on 1 January 1923.
Five years after nationalisation BR decided to close the Thetford to Bury St Edmunds line. Thetford lost its junction status on 8 June 1953.
As part of the Beeching rationalisation plan, BR closed the Roudham Junction and Swaffham line including Roudham Junction station on 15 June 1964. With Roudham Junction gone Harling Road became the next station after Thetford going towards Norwich. The 1960s also saw steam withdrawn and replaced by diesel multiple units.
Upon sectorisation in the 1980s the station and its services came under the Regional Railways brand.
On 1 April 2004 the station and its operations were transferred to National Express East Anglia (NXEA). NXEA trains were initially branded as One. Three years later, on 11 November 2007, the Central Trains franchise was broken up and the Liverpool-Norwich services were taken over by East Midlands Trains.
In February 2012, the station and its other services were transferred to Abellio Greater Anglia. In August 2019, all East Midlands Trains services were transferred to East Midlands Railway, upon the expiry of EMT's franchise.
The original station building of knapped flint was constructed by the Norwich & Brandon Railway in 1845. The brickwork extension dates from 1889 and the year is engraved on its facade. The well-preserved station complex is a Grade II listed building.
The typical off-peak service frequency (Monday to Saturday) is:
- 2tph (trains per hour) to Norwich, of which 1tph is non-stop and 1tph calls at Attleborough and Wymondham (other intermediate stations have a very limited service frequency).
- 2tph to Ely, of which:
- 1tph continues to Cambridge, with nine trains per day now extended to Stansted Airport. This service also calls at Brandon and Cambridge North.
- 1tph reverses at Ely and continues to Liverpool Lime Street, via Peterborough, Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester Piccadilly. Early evening trains on this route terminate at Nottingham and there are no westbound departures after 19:30.
- Allen, Cecil J. (1956) . The Great Eastern Railway (2nd ed.). Hampton Court: Ian Allan. p. 46.
- "Direct Norwich to Stansted trains to start this December". RAIL magazine. 2 October 2019.
- for Thetford railway station
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
|East Midlands Railway|
Line and station open
|Great Eastern Railway||
Line open, station closed
|Terminus||Great Eastern Railway||
Line and station closed