Bletchley
National Rail
Bletchley Station 02 (25-08-2007).JPG
General information
LocationWest Bletchley, Milton Keynes
England
Grid referenceSP868337
Managed byLondon Northwestern Railway
Platforms6
Other information
Station codeBLY
ClassificationDfT category C2
History
Opened1838–1839[1]
Original companyLondon and Birmingham Railway
Pre-groupingLondon and North Western Railway
Post-groupingLondon, Midland and Scottish Railway
Passengers
2016/17Increase 1.082 million
 Interchange Increase 100,865
2017/18Decrease 1.066 million
 Interchange Increase 103,208
2018/19Increase 1.135 million
 Interchange Decrease 98,373
2019/20Increase 1.139 million
 Interchange Increase 98,890
2020/21Decrease 0.243 million
 Interchange Decrease 17,498
Location
Notes
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road

Bletchley is a railway station that serves the southern parts of Milton Keynes, England (especially Bletchley itself), and the north-eastern parts of Aylesbury Vale. It is 47 miles (75 km) northwest of Euston, about 32 miles (51 km) east of Oxford and 17 miles (27 km) west of Bedford, and is one of the seven railway stations serving the Milton Keynes urban area.[a]

It includes junctions of the West Coast Main Line with the Bletchley-Bedford Marston Vale Line and the disused Bletchley-Oxford Varsity line. It is the nearest main line station for Bletchley Park (the World War II codebreaking centre and modern heritage attraction) and Stadium MK (the home of Milton Keynes Dons F.C).[2]

History

Main articles: West Coast Main Line, Marston Vale Line, and Varsity Line

The London and Birmingham Railway, now part of the "West Coast Main Line", was officially opened from Euston as far as Denbigh Hall (approximately one mile north of Bletchley station) on 9 April 1838, where a temporary station was built. The line was fully opened in September 1838, and Bletchley station opened some time between 2 November 1838 and 20 June 1839.[1] The station was known as Bletchley & Fenny Stratford between 1841 and 1846 and after the opening of the Marston Vale line was referred to in timetables as Bletchley Junction from 1851 to 1870.[1] Originally a major intercity station, that role passed to Milton Keynes Central in 1982 when the latter was opened, long after the east–west route had been downgraded, taking Bletchley's importance as a junction with it.

The eastward route (to Bedford St Johns) opened in 1846.[3] The westward route (to Buckingham) opened in 1850. This east–west route subsequently became the OxfordCambridge "Varsity Line".

Accidents and incidents

Layout and facilities

There are six platforms in use, numbered 1 to 6 from west to east. Platforms 1 and 2 primarily serve the West Coast Main Line (WCML) fast lines used by Avanti West Coast expresses that do not stop at the station and consequently normally see little or no use unless other platforms are unavailable. Platforms 3 and 4 serve the WCML slow lines and are used by London Northwestern Railway services between Euston and Birmingham New Street, along with Southern's Milton Keynes Central–East Croydon trains. Platforms 5 and 6 are located on the eastern side and are the only ones that give access to the Marston Vale line to Bedford (though they can also be used exceptionally by main line trains). Bedford trains normally start and terminate at platform 6, but can use platform 5 if required. There is a lift and stairs from the ticket hall to the pedestrian bridge, with lifts and stairs down to each platform. Train arrivals and departures are announced as well as being displayed on VDUs. There are ticket barriers controlling access to the platforms.

There are carriage sidings to the north of the station (along with the Bletchley train maintenance depot). A little to the south, the Bletchley Flyover (as of January 2021, under reconstruction) crosses over the main lines to carry East West Rail from Bedford towards Oxford. The main buildings and station entrance are located on the west (Bletchley Park) side of the complex, off Sherwood Drive.[5] An eastern entrance from central Bletchley (see below) is planned and funded.[6]

East West route

As well as being on the national north–south West Coast Main Line, Bletchley is also on the east–west former Cambridge–Oxford Varsity line (closed 1967), though as of May 2021 only the section between Bletchley and Bedford (the "Marston Vale line") and the section between Oxford and Bicester Village are open for passenger services. As of May 2021, the route beyond Bletchley to the west through Winslow to Bicester is closed, but work has begun to rebuild and reopen this section. There is a project underway to build or rebuild the entire route between Oxford and Cambridge.

East West Rail

Main articles: East West Rail and Bletchley Flyover

East West Rail is a major project to establish a strategic railway connecting East Anglia with Central, Southern and Western England.[7] In particular, it plans to build (or rebuild) a line linking Oxford and Cambridge via Bicester, Milton Keynes (at Bletchley) and Bedford. The Oxford–Bedford aspect of the plan reuses the route of the former Varsity Line, extensively re-engineered.[8] There is a funded, scheduled, plan to re-open the Bletchley–Oxford route to passenger and freight traffic via Bicester by 2025 and a partially funded plan to re-open the entire route between Oxford and Cambridge. A key element of the plan is to extend Bletchley station up to the flyover and build high level platforms (see below) so that passengers may transfer between the lines.[9] The new platforms are to be specified as suitable for trains no longer than four cars.[9]: 27 

The Bletchley Flyover from Oxford crosses over the WCML and by-passes the original Bletchley station, leading east towards Bedford or north to join the WCML at a junction north of the current (low-level) station. It was built in 1959 as part of the 1955 British Rail Modernisation Plan. From April 2020 to January 2021, the sections of the original flyover crossing the WCML were removed.[10][11] The replacement structures were put in place in May 2021.[12] As of October 2020, the programme of works at Bletchley is planned for completion in 2022.[8][13]

Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership

Bletchley, in common with other stations on this line, is covered by the Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership, which aims to promote the line by encouraging local users to take an active interest in it.[14]

Planned developments of the station

Proposed entrance from Saxon Street

As part of a project to regenerate Bletchley as a whole, Milton Keynes Council has proposed the creation of a new eastern pedestrian access to the station by extending the existing platform overbridge across the tracks to reach Saxon Street. The proposed eastern entrance is to open out into a new station square and a transport interchange where an at-grade pedestrian crossing across Saxon Street would give access to the town centre and bus station.[15] In the longer term it is planned to construct an underground concourse to link the eastern and western station entrances.[15] [needs update]

In March 2021, Milton Keynes Council announced that it had secured funding for a new eastern entrance to the station that will enable direct access from Bletchley bus station and Central Bletchley.[6]

Bletchley High-level

The plan for East West Rail provides for new high level platforms to be built on the eastern approach to the Bletchley Flyover, as the line has no direct route through the existing station without reversing.[16]

On 7 July 2014, the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership announced that the Government had allocated £64.6 million funding for various projects that includes a £1.5 million contribution towards the cost of this work.[17]

In July 2017, Network Rail began a public consultation on the details of its proposals for the Bicester–Bedford section of East West Rail.[18] The consultation documents provide detailed drawings for the high-level platforms but do not include any details about the station itself.[19][b]

Work finally began in the station area in mid-2020, when demolition of the original flyover began. Work further around the curve is scheduled to build two new high-level platforms, to be connected to the main station by extending the existing pedestrian overbridge that gives access to the mainline platforms. In January 2021, piling works began for this extension, with (engineering) completion projected "through spring 2022".[21] At the end of April 2021, the piling and foundation works were complete.[22]

In July 2019, VolkerFitzpatrick announced that it had been awarded a contract to build the new platforms and the link to the mainline station. The work will begin in Spring 2022 and will be ready for use when the line opens "in 2024".[23]

Ticket office opening hours

In mid September 2012, the Transport Minister Norman Baker announced in a 'written answer' that the Government had approved London Midland's request to reduce the opening hours of the ticket office to close at 21:00 on Mondays and 20:00 on Tuesdays to Fridays.[24] Defending the Government's decision to reduce the opening hours at Bletchley and at Wolverton, local MPs Iain Stewart and Mark Lancaster said that most passengers use ticket machines to buy or retrieve their tickets.[24] Speaking for the opposition Cooperative and Labour Party, prospective parliamentary candidate Andrew Pakes called it the "thin end of the wedge", that would put into question the opening hours of the station toilets and waiting room.[24]

Services

Services at Bletchley are operated by London Northwestern Railway and Southern. As of December 2019, off-peak services (with units in TPH or 'trains per hour') are:

London Northwestern Railway
Southern
Preceding station  
National Rail
National Rail
  Following station
London Northwestern Railway
TerminusLondon Northwestern Railway
Southern
  Future services  
Winslow
towards Oxford
  East West Rail
Oxford or Reading  – Milton Keynes Central
  Milton Keynes Central
Winslow
towards Oxford
  East West Rail
Oxford - Cambridge
  Woburn Sands
towards Bedford or Cambridge
Historical railways
Line and station closed
London Midland Region of British Railways
Oxford  – Cambridge
Line and station open

Location

Stations in and around Milton Keynes
Roade
Salcey Forest
Castlethorpe
Olney
towards Bedford
Deanshanger
Old Stratford
Stony Stratford
Newport Pagnell
Wolverton Works
Great Linford
Wolverton
Bradwell
Woburn Sands
Bow Brickhill
Milton Keynes Central
Fenny Stratford
Denbigh Hall
Bletchley TMD
Bletchley
former Varsity Line /
planned East West Rail
to
Oxford
Bletchley Flyover
Leighton Buzzard

The station is on Sherwood Drive in Old Bletchley, near the B4034. The nearest post-code is MK3 6DZ.[25] In the chainage notation traditionally used on the railway, its location on the West Coast Main Line is 46 miles 54 chains (46.68 mi; 75.12 km) from Euston;[26] to Oxford on the former Varsity line the distance is 31 miles 48 chains (31.60 mi; 50.86 km);[27][26][c] and to Bedford it is 16 miles 51 chains (16.64 mi; 26.78 km).[28]

Historic views

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The others are Milton Keynes Central, Wolverton, Fenny Stratford, Bow Brickhill, Aspley Guise and Woburn Sands
  2. ^ There is, however, an artist's impression of the upgraded station on the East West Rail Ltd web site.[20]
  3. ^ 31 miles 22 chains from Bletchley south junction to Oxford Rewley Road [27] plus 16 chains from Bletchley south junction to Bletchley station.[26]

References

  1. ^ a b c Quick, Michael (2009) [2001]. Railway passenger stations in Great Britain: a chronology (4th ed.). Oxford: Railway & Canal Historical Society. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-901461-57-5. OCLC 612226077.
  2. ^ "The Football Ground Guide (Archived copy)". Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 2012-11-21.
  3. ^ "Milton Keynes Heritage" (map), Milton Keynes Development Corporation, 1983.
  4. ^ Trevena, Arthur (1980). Trains in Trouble. Vol. 1. Redruth: Atlantic Books. p. 42. ISBN 0-906899-01-X.
  5. ^ "Bletchley station map"NRES; Retrieved 8 September 2016
  6. ^ a b "Milton Keynes Council welcomes multi-million pound investment for Bletchley and Fenny Stratford". MKFM. 3 March 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  7. ^ "Front Page". East West Rail Consortium. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  8. ^ a b EWR Alliance (Atkins Lang O'Rourke, NetworkRail, VolkerRail) (April 2020). "EWR2 Project Newsletter". Retrieved 3 September 2020.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ a b Martin Whitehead (1 October 2019). NETWORK RAIL (EAST WEST RAIL BICESTER TO BEDFORD IMPROVEMENTS) ORDER 201[ ]; APPLICATION FOR DEEMED PLANNING PERMISSION; APPLICATIONS FOR LISTED BUILDING CONSENT (PDF) (Report). Department for Transport (published 3 February 2020). Retrieved 19 February 2020. (Inspector's report)
  10. ^ Kevin Nicholls (4 May 2020). "Biggest cranes in Europe spotted in Milton Keynes ready for 295-tonne upgrade [as] 60-year-old Bletchley Flyover gets a makeover ahead of Milton Keynes's new East-West rail link". Milton Keynes Citizen. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  11. ^ Mark Cuzner (July 2020). "EWR2 Project Newsletter - July 2020". East West Rail Alliance. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  12. ^ "Bank holiday rail upgrades complete between London and Scotland" (Press release). Network Rail. 4 May 2021.
  13. ^ Mark Cuzner (October 2020). "EWR2 Project Newsletter - Autumn 2020". East West Rail Alliance. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  14. ^ Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership
  15. ^ a b "Central Bletchley Regeneration Framework; Chapter 9: Bletchley Crossways" (PDF). Milton Keynes Council. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  16. ^ "Network Rail gears up to deliver East-West rail". 31 March 2014. Archived from the original on 6 May 2014.
  17. ^ South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (7 July 2014). "SEMLEP awarded £64.6 million Local Growth Deal" (Press release).
  18. ^ "Residents invited to give views on East West Rail link plans". Rail Technology Magazine. 11 July 2017.
  19. ^ "consultation documents". Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  20. ^ an artist's impression of the upgraded station, East West Rail Ltd.
  21. ^ Cuzner, Mark, ed. (January 2021). "EWR2 Project Newsletter – Winter 2020/2021". East West Rail Alliance.
  22. ^ Cuzner, Mark, ed. (April 2021). "EWR2 Project Newsletter – Spring 2021". East West Rail Alliance.
  23. ^ VolkerRail (19 July 2021). "VolkerFitzpatrick to construct Bletchley High Level station". Rail Technology Magazine (Press release).
  24. ^ a b c MPs defend reduction in train ticket office opening hoursMilton Keynes Citizen, 18 September 2012
  25. ^ Streetmap.co.uk
  26. ^ a b c Engineer's Line References: Euston to Crewe RailwayCodes.org
  27. ^ a b Engineer's Line References: Bletchley south junction to Oxford Rewley Road RailwayCodes.org
  28. ^ Engineer's Line References: Bletchley south junction to Bedford RailwayCodes.org

Coordinates: 51°59′42″N 0°44′10″W / 51.995°N 0.736°W / 51.995; -0.736