National Rail
General information
LocationBedford, Borough of Bedford
Coordinates52°08′11″N 00°28′46″W / 52.13639°N 0.47944°W / 52.13639; -0.47944
Grid referenceTL041497
Managed byThameslink
Other information
Station codeBDM
ClassificationDfT category C1
Original companyMidland Railway
Pre-groupingMidland Railway
Post-groupingLondon, Midland and Scottish Railway
Key dates
1 February 1859 (1859-02-01)Opened as Bedford
1890Avoiding lines built
2 June 1924Renamed Bedford Midland Road
8 May 1978Renamed Bedford Midland
5 May 1988Renamed Bedford
2017/18Increase 4.002 million
 Interchange Increase 53,491
2018/19Increase 4.058 million
 Interchange Decrease 49,544
2019/20Decrease 3.870 million
 Interchange Increase 54,944
2020/21Decrease 0.837 million
 Interchange Decrease 10,947
2021/22Increase 2.324 million
 Interchange Increase 29,922
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road
Stations around Bedford
Bedford station sidings
Bedford St Johns
Bedford St Johns

Bedford railway station (formerly Bedford Midland Road and historically referred to on some signage as Bedford Midland) is the larger of two railway stations in the town of Bedford in Bedfordshire, England. It is on the Midland Main Line from London St Pancras to the East Midlands and the terminus of the Marston Vale line from Bletchley through Bedford St Johns.


The original station was built by the Midland Railway in 1859 on its line to the Great Northern at Hitchin. It was on land known as "Freemen's Common" approximately 200 yards (180 m) south of the current station on Ashburnham Road.

The London and North Western Railway (LNWR) also had a station on its line between Bletchley and Cambridge. The Midland crossed it on the level and there was a serious collision when an LNWR train passed a red signal. (Curiously, both drivers were named John Perkins). Following this accident, the Midland built a flyover in 1885.[1]

The extension to St Pancras opened in 1868. The connection to Hitchin ceased public services during 1961, but the line north of Bedford to Wigston Junction is still officially referred to as the Leicester to Hitchin line.[2] At this time the station was substantially altered, with the replacement of a level crossing by the Queen's Park overbridge. In 1890 fast lines were added to the west to allow expresses to bypass the station.

Serious damage occurred during World War II when a bomb destroyed the booking hall's glass ceiling. The current station was built to replace it and was opened by Sir Peter Parker (chairman of BR) on 9 October 1978.[3][4] The £1 million station, which was re-sited about 110 yards (100 m) north of the original 1857 station, had a large square concourse housing a ticket office, travel centre and Travellers Fare buffet.[4] The station car park was enlarged to cater for 450 cars plus 52 short-wait spaces in the forecourt which had separate areas for cars and taxis to set down and pick up passengers.[4] A covered walkway linked the station with bus stops in Ashburnham Road.[4] As part of the modernisation work, the slow lines were realigned to the west next to the 1890 fast lines to pass between two new platforms.[4]

Although the intention was for what remained of the old awnings to be transferred to the Midland Railway at Butterley in Derbyshire it proved impossible to save them. Nothing remains of the original station buildings.

Services over the Marston Vale line to/from Bletchley were transferred here from the old LNWR St Johns station in May 1984. A new connection, which runs along the formation formerly used by the abandoned line to Hitchin (closed to passenger traffic from 1 January 1962 and completely three years later), was laid from the Marston Vale branch up to the main line to permit this. The original St Johns station closed on 14 May 1984 with a replacement halt on the new chord opening the same day.[5] Bletchley trains henceforth used a bay platform (numbered 1A) on the eastern side of the station.

Services at Luton Airport Parkway are operated by Luton Airport Express and Thameslink using Class 360 and 700 EMUs. The Luton Airport Express is run by East Midlands Railway, and became an official separate brand for their "Connect" service in 2023.[6]


The main entrance on 4 June 1962
The main entrance on 13 January 2007 from the car park.

The station is predominantly served by three operators and managed by Thameslink.

Most East Midlands Railway services that call at Bedford are Luton Airport Express services. This service started in May 2021 as "EMR Connect" and is operated by Class 360 Electric Multiple Units running on the twice hourly stopping service from London St Pancras to Corby. This was renamed to Luton Airport Express in 2023, and became an official separate brand for their original "Connect" service in 2023.[7]

Occasional “EMR Intercity” services do call at Bedford during the peak hours and on Sunday mornings to Nottingham and Leicester without requiring a connection at Kettering.[8]

The station is the northern terminus of the Thameslink route with Thameslink services operating to Brighton through St Albans and London St Pancras. Services from the station also call at Luton Airport Parkway and Gatwick Airport. Additional services start or terminate at Gatwick Airport or Three Bridges. These services use Class 700 electric multiple units. Thameslink also runs a few services a day to Sutton on the Sutton Loop line, via both Wimbledon and Mitcham Junction.[9]

London Northwestern Railway operates local services to Bletchley via the Marston Vale Line using Class 230 units. There is no Sunday service on this line.[10]

The typical off-peak service in trains per hour (tph) is:

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Wellingborough   Luton Airport Express
Bedford St Johns   London Northwestern Railway
Disused railways
TerminusLondon, Midland and Scottish Railway
Line and station closed
Line and station closed
London, Midland and Scottish RailwayTerminus
  Historical railways  
Line open, station closed
Midland Railway
Line open, station closed
  Future Services  
Ridgmont   East West Rail

Community Rail Partnership

In common with other stations on the Bedford to Bletchley Marston Vale line, Bedford station is covered by the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership. The partnership aims to increase use of the Marston Vale line by getting local people involved with their local line.

A second CRP with Bedford Midland as its northern terminus - the Beds & Herts Community Rail Partnership (formerly the Bedford to St Albans City Community Rail Partnership) - has been set up, covering the eight stations on the Midland main line between Bedford Midland and St Albans City[11]


Class 230 003 LNWR at Bedford
Bedford Station from the station footbridge - looking north. An East Midlands Railway High Speed train is leaving platform 4 heading north.

The station has the following facilities:

The station is in the Bedford zone of the PlusBus scheme, where train and bus tickets can be bought together to save money.

Future developments

The station will be the eastern terminus for Phase 2 of East West Rail, a plan to reopen the railway from Oxford and Aylesbury. As of November 2020, extension to Cambridge and East Anglia via "a new station in the Tempsford area" is planned but not scheduled. Bedford station will be rebuilt for East West Rail in 2023.[12]

See also


  1. ^ "in the Tempsford area"


  1. ^ Radford, B., (1983) Midland Line Memories: a Pictorial History of the Midland Railway Main Line Between London (St Pancras) & Derby London: Bloomsbury Books.
  2. ^ Jacobs, G., (Ed) (2005 2Rev) Railway Track Diagrams: Midlands and North West: Book 4 Chart 2,3 Bradford on Avon:TRACKmaps.
  3. ^ Slater, J.N., ed. (June 1979). "Bedford Electrification On Schedule". Railway Magazine. Vol. 125, no. 938. London: IPC Transport Press. p. 267.
  4. ^ a b c d e Long, Charles, ed. (December 1978). "Bedford station opened". Modern Railways. 35 (363): 544.
  5. ^ Station Name - Bedford St Johns Disused Stations Site Record; Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  6. ^ "Luton Airport Express website". 31 March 2023.
  7. ^ "Luton Airport Express website". 31 March 2023.
  8. ^ "Trains from Bedford to London | EMR | East Midlands Railway". Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  9. ^ Table 52 National Rail timetable, May 2016.
  10. ^ Table 64 National Rail timetable, May 2016.
  11. ^ "Bedford to St Albans Community Rail Partnership". Thameslink Railway.
  12. ^ "Bletchley to Bedford". East West Rail. Retrieved 5 March 2021.