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Hitchin railway station

stevenage railway station, hitchin railway station
Hitchin railway station serves the town of Hitchin in Hertfordshire It is located approximately 1 mile 16 km north east of the town centre and 31 miles 74 chains 514 km north of London Kings Cross on the East Coast Main Line1

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


  • 1 History
  • 2 Accidents and incidents
  • 3 Facilities
  • 4 Services
    • 41 Future Thameslink services
  • 5 Junction development
  • 6 Route
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links


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 1850234

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 18515 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 London6

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 Machines7 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 project8

Accidents and incidentsedit

  • On 14 April 1949, the solicitor and historian Reginald Hine committed suicide here by jumping in front of the slow train from Cambridge910
  • 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 wreckage11


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

There are 12 car platforms on the Up and Down Slow lines only 17 chains 340 m to the north of the station is Cambridge Junction, where northbound trains for Cambridge need to cross the two Up southbound lines1

Following a refurbishment of the station by First Capital Connect in 2007, the station's subway was refurbished at a cost of £300k12 The refurbishment also involved general cosmetic work throughout the station, as well as a new high quality waiting room in the existing station buildings on Platform 2 This waiting room is fully accessible at all times via the automatic doors

There is a small shop located by the stairs on Platform two, and various vending machines throughout the station

The station has a large booking office and a variety of modern Touch Screen ticket machines located in the booking office, and the station's cycle facilities were completely upgraded in 2007 and now include sheltered spaces for 68 bicycles provided next to the station buildings The station also has help points throughout

Hitchin station now has automatic ticket gates at the station entrance, which were installed by First Capital Connect during 2007

In 2013, Network Rail proposed plans for two 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 scheme13 In September 2014 the new lifts opened, after a two-month delay, giving step-free access to the southbound number 1 platform14


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

In the current 2016 off-peak timetable there are two trains per hour to both Peterborough and Cambridge northbound, plus one that terminates at Letchworth One of the Cambridge services calls at principal stations only whilst the other serves all intermediate stations; Peterborough trains call at all stations north of here Southbound there are four trains per hour to Kings Cross - two are limited stop whilst the other two serve principal stations then Potters Bar, Finsbury Park and Kings Cross There is also an hourly service to Moorgate via Hertford North on weekdays only There are a number of peak hour service variations and extra calls, including some trains that start & finish at Royston, trains to Kings Lynn and limited stop expresses to Peterborough and London15

On Sundays, there are three trains per hour to London two semi-fast, one stopper, two to Cambridge semi-fast and stopping, and an hourly service to Peterborough

Future Thameslink servicesedit

After the Thameslink Programme is complete scheduled for 2018, Great Northern services will be extended to destinations south of central London16 In September 2016, a proposed timetable was released; the planned services are:

  • Southbound:
    • 2 trains per hour to Brighton fast via London St Pancras, London Bridge, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport and Burgess Hill This service would originate from either Cambridge or Cambridge North
    • 2 trains per hour to Maidstone East stopping/semi-fast via Welwyn Garden City, London St Pancras, London Bridge and Otford This service would originate from Cambridge
    • 2 trains per hour to Horsham fast north of London, stopping south of London via London St Pancras, London Bridge, East Croydon, Redhill, Gatwick Airport and Crawley This service would originate from Peterborough
  • Northbound:
    • 4 trains per hour to Cambridge 2 semi-fast, 2 stopping via Letchworth Garden City and Royston The semi-fast service would originate from Brighton, while the stopping service would originate from Maidstone East Thameslink is also examining the possibility of extending the semi-fast services to/from the new Cambridge North station16
    • 2 trains an hour to Peterborough stopping via St Neots This service would originate from Horsham

As a result of this, all of the above services will be re-branded as Thameslink There will also be some additional limited-stop services between London King's Cross not extended through central London and Cambridge during rush hour and in the evenings; these services will remain under the Great Northern brand

Prior to 2016, it was proposed to run the stopping Cambridge services to/from Tattenham Corner instead,17 however this proposal has since been cancelled, in favour of Maidstone East

Junction developmentedit

Main article: Hitchin flyover

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 directionsTogether with the Digswell Viaduct some 10 miles 16 km to the south, the flat junction just north of Hitchin was a major bottleneck18

In June 2013 Network Rail completed a flyover to carry Down trains to Cambridge over the top of the main line,19 built at a final cost of £47million 20


Preceding station National Rail Following station
London Kings Cross Great Northern Great Northern Peterborough Line fast Biggleswade
St Neots
Stevenage Great Northern Great Northern Peterborough Line semi-fast Arlesey
Stevenage Great Northern Great Northern Cambridge Line semi-fast Letchworth Garden City
Stevenage Great Northern Great Northern London-Hitchin/
Letchworth via Hertford suburban services
Letchworth Garden City
Disused railways
Henlow Camp Line and station closed London, Midland and Scottish Railway Bedford to Hitchin Line Terminus
Historical railways
Stevenage Line open, station relocated Great Northern Railway East Coast Main Line Three Counties Line open, station closed


  1. ^ a b 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, WJ 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, RVJ 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 0-9554662-0-2 
  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. ^ http://wwwfirstcapitalconnectcouk/MainphpsEvent=News&sFileName=Newsphp&iId=158
  13. ^ https://wwwgovuk/government/collections/access-for-all-programme
  14. ^ http://wwwthecometnet/news/new_lifts_open_at_hitchin_railway_station_1_3759516
  15. ^ GB National Rail Timetable 2016, Tables 24 & 25
  16. ^ a b Timetable consultation : Southern
  17. ^ Proposed Thameslink service pattern
  18. ^ "APPENDIX 2: Issues in defining and measuring railway capacity" PDF Office of Rail Regulation 13 February 2006 p 2 Retrieved 28 February 2014 
  19. ^ "Hitchin flyover" Network Rail Retrieved 16 June 2011 
  20. ^ http://wwwrailwaygazettecom/news/infrastructure/single-view/view/hitchin-flyover-openshtml

External linksedit

  • Train times and station information for Hitchin railway station from National Rail
  • Hitchin: Here we explain our plans to improve the rail links between London, Hitchin and Cambridge on Network Rail website

Coordinates: 51°57′11″N 0°15′47″W / 51953°N 0263°W / 51953; -0263

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