National Rail
Overall roof in 2016
General information
LocationYork, City of York
Coordinates53°57′30″N 1°05′35″W / 53.9583°N 1.0930°W / 53.9583; -1.0930
Grid referenceSE596517
Owned byNetwork Rail
Managed byLondon North Eastern Railway
Other information
Station codeYRK
ClassificationDfT category A
Key dates
25 June 1877Opened
2018/19Increase 9.991 million
 Interchange Decrease 1.034 million
2019/20Increase 10.089 million
 Interchange Decrease 0.775 million
2020/21Decrease 1.836 million
 Interchange Decrease 0.116 million
2021/22Increase 8.092 million
 Interchange Increase 0.495 million
2022/23Increase 8.863 million
 Interchange Increase 0.930 million
Listed Building – Grade II*
FeatureStation buildings
Designated1 July 1968
Reference no.1256554[1]
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road

York railway station is on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) serving the cathedral city of York, North Yorkshire, England. It is 188 miles 40 chains (303.4 km) north of London King's Cross and on the main line it is situated between Doncaster to the south and Thirsk to the north. As of June 2018, the station is operated by London North Eastern Railway.[2] It is the busiest station in North Yorkshire, the second busiest in Yorkshire & the Humber, and the fifth busiest in Northern England.[3] In Britain's 100 Best Railway Stations by Simon Jenkins, the station was one of only ten to be awarded five stars.[4]

The present York Station was built during the 1870s after it had become clear that the old station, which could not facilitate through traffic due to its positioning, was a hinderance to long distance express services along what is now referred to as the ECML. Designed by the North Eastern Railway architects Thomas Prosser and William Peachey and built by Lucas Brothers, the station was built to be expansive and well-furnished from the onset, complete with a distinctive curved train shed. Upon its opening on 25 June 1877, it was the largest railway station in the world, possessing it had 13 platforms along with various amenities, including a dedicated hotel (now The Principal York). Various additional facilities, from lengthened platforms to additional passenger facilities such as tea sheds, would be subsequently built.

The station took extensive damage from German bombers during the Second World War, resulting in both deaths and injuries amongst the staff. Repairs to the station were completed in 1947. Journey times between York and other destinations along the ECML were slashed following the introduction of the British Rail Class 55 locomotives and the Intercity 125 high speed trains. During the late 1980s, extensive changes were made to the signalling and track layout through and around the station as a part of the wider electrification of the ECML. These works facilitated the use of electric traction, such as the Intercity 225, at York Station for the first time. Further improvements to the station have continued following the privatisation of British Rail, including new control facilities, additional retail units, redesigned approaches, and track layout changes.

York Station is a key junction approximately halfway between London and Edinburgh. It is approximately five miles (eight kilometres) north of the point where the Cross Country and TransPennine Express routes via Leeds join the main line, connecting Scotland and the North East, North West, Midlands and southern England. The junction was historically a major site for rolling stock manufacture, maintenance and repair.


Background and construction

The first York railway station was a temporary wooden building on Queen Street outside the walls of the city, opened in 1839 by the York and North Midland Railway (Y&NMR_. It was succeeded in 1841, inside the walls, by what is now York old railway station.[5] On 31 July 1854, the Y&NMR merged with the Leeds Northern Railway and the York, Newcastle & Berwick Railway to form the North Eastern Railway (NER); shortly thereafter, it became clear that the company's desire to run through trains between London and Newcastle without needing to reverse out of the old York station to continue their journey would necessitate change, specifically the construction of a new through station outside the city walls.[6] Furthermore, as the NER's dominance of rail traffic in the region expanded through further mergers, several directors desired an expansive and elaborate facility to serve York, where the company was headquartered. During 1866, Parliament authorised the construction of this new railway station.[7][8]

This new station was designed by the North Eastern Railway architects Thomas Prosser and William Peachey and built by Lucas Brothers.[9] A prominent feature was the large curved train shed, which had been viewed as one of the more impressive monuments of the railway age.[8] This train shed was supported by a combination of wrought-iron trusses and cast-iron columns. The majority of the station was built of yellow Scarborough brick with moulded ashlar plinths and dressings.[1] The site selected for the station had been formerly used as agricultural land, although a Roman-era cemetery was located there as well.[10]

Construction of the present station took place between 1871 and 1877.[8] Opened on 25 June 1877, it had 13 platforms and, at that time, was the largest railway station in the world.[11][12] As part of the new station project, the Royal Station Hotel (now The Principal York), designed by Peachey, opened in 1878.[13] The original ticket hall and concourse were both located on the eastern side of the station.[1]


Interior, 1915

Between 1900 and 1909, several of the original platforms were extended both northwards and southwards while an additional western platform was added; a new signal box, tea room and book shop were also opened.[1] Between 1938 and 1939, the western platform was refurbished, the current footbridge was built, and the station was resignalled.[14]

The station was heavily bombed during the Second World War.[8][15] On one occasion, on 29 April 1942,[16] 800 passengers had to be evacuated from a King's Cross-Edinburgh train which arrived during a bombing raid.[15] On the same night, two railway workers were killed, one being station foreman William Milner, who died after returning to his burning office to collect his first aid kit; he was posthumously awarded the King's Commendation for Brave Conduct.[17] A plaque in his memory has been erected at the station.[15][16] The station was extensively repaired in 1947.[1]

During 1951, a new signal box was opened.[1] The station was designated as a Grade II* listed building in 1968. An extensive refurbishment was undertaken in 1977.[1] Journey times between York and other destinations along the ECML were slashed following the introduction of the British Rail Class 55 locomotive in 1961 and the Intercity 125 high speed train during 1976.[8][18]

The track layout through and around the station was remodelled again in 1988 as part of the resignalling scheme that was carried out prior to the electrification of the ECML shortly afterwards by British Rail.[19] This resulted in several bay platforms (mainly on the eastern side) being taken out of service and the track to them removed. Consequently, the number of platforms was reduced from 15 to 11.[20] In May 1989, a new signalling centre (York IECC) was commissioned on the western side of the station to control the new layout and also take over the function of several other signal boxes on the main line.[21] The IECC supervised the main line from Temple Hirst (near Doncaster) through to Northallerton, along with sections of the various routes branching from it. It had also taken over responsibility for the control area of the former power box at Leeds and thus, the signalling for trains as far away as Gargrave and Morley.[22][23]

Between 2006 and 2007, the approaches to the station were reorganised to improve facilities for bus, taxi and car users as well as pedestrians and cyclists. The former motive power depot and goods station now house the National Railway Museum. The station was renovated during 2009; these works included the reconstruction of Platform 9 and the implementation of extensive lighting alterations. New automated ticket gates (similar to those in Leeds) were planned, but the City of York Council wished to avoid spoiling the historic nature of the station. The then operator National Express East Coast planned to appeal this decision, but the plans were scrapped altogether upon the franchise's handover to East Coast.[24] During the late 2000s and early 2010s, the track and signalling systems on the southern side of the station were renewed. In early 2011, an additional line and a new junction were completed, which eliminated one of the biggest bottlenecks on the ECML.[25][26]

Further improvements to the station have been made under London North Eastern Railway (LNER)'s stewardship, including a new lounge for first class passengers, additional retail units, and new public toilets.[27][28]

Accidents and incidents


All the platforms except 9, 10 and 11 are under the large, curved, glass and iron roof. They are accessed via a long footbridge (which also connects to the National Railway Museum) or via lifts and either of two pedestrian tunnels.[31] Between April 1984 and 2011 the old tea rooms housed the Rail Riders World/York Model Railway exhibition.[32]


The platforms at York have been renumbered several times, the most recent being in the late 1980s to coincide with a reduction in the number of platforms from 15 to 11. The current use is:[33]

Platforms 10 and 11 are outside of the main body of the station. Another siding, the former fruit dock, exists opposite platform 11.

Recent developments

The York Rail Operating Centre

Just to the west of the station is one of Network Rail's modern Rail Operation Centres (ROC), which was opened in September 2014.[34][35] This ROC took over the functions of the former IECC in December 2018 and will eventually control the majority of the ECML from London to the Scottish border and various subsidiary routes across the North East, Lincolnshire and South, North and West Yorkshire.

During Christmas 2020, major track replacement occurred, with Network Rail releasing time lapse footage of the works.[36]

In 2022, work began to redevelop the area outside the station. Queen Street Bridge, built to cross the lines into the old York station within the city walls, will be demolished in April 2024.[37][38]

In 2023, a further £10.5 million has been confirmed for the massive revamp of the area at the front of York railway station.[39]

York Central

Located adjacent to the station, York Central is one of the largest city centre brownfield regeneration sites in the UK. The 45-hectare (110-acre) site has been designated as a UK Government ‘Housing Zone’ and has also been awarded ‘Enterprise Zone’ status, which offers commercial occupiers significant incentives. Outline planning approval was given for the site in March 2019. It is anticipated that development of the full site could take between 15 and 20 years to complete.[40]


The station is operated by London North Eastern Railway and is used by the following train operating companies:

London North Eastern Railway

London North Eastern Railway operates regular services that stop at York between London, Newcastle and Edinburgh. In addition, there are infrequent services to Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness. One train per day serves Middlesbrough. The fastest southbound services run non-stop to London, completing the 188 mile journey in one hour and 52 minutes.[41]

Rolling stock used: Inter-City 225 (Class 91 electric locomotive & DVT), Class 800 bi-mode trains and Class 801 electric trains


CrossCountry provides a number of services that run across the country, primarily between Plymouth and Edinburgh Waverley via Bristol Temple Meads, Birmingham New Street and Leeds, however, certain services extend to reach Penzance southbound, and others extend to reach Glasgow Central and Aberdeen northbound. Additionally there are a limited number of services between Reading and Newcastle Central via Banbury, Birmingham New Street and Doncaster.[42]

Rolling stock used: Class 220 and Class 221 Voyager diesel multiple units.

TransPennine Express

TransPennine Express provides various express services across the north of England (to Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Airport Liverpool Lime Street, Newcastle, Scarborough and Saltburn via Middlesbrough).[43]

Rolling stock used: Class 185 Desiro diesel multiple units and Class 802 bi-mode trains. Class 68 diesel locomotives and pull-pull Mark 5A coaches were used on some services (mainly to /from Scarborough) until the winter 2023 timetable change, but these have now been phased out.

Grand Central

Grand Central runs an open access service between Sunderland and London.[44]

Rolling stock used: Class 180 Adelante trains.

Northern Trains

Northern Trains operates a mostly hourly service towards Hull via Selby and Blackpool North, with a half-hourly service towards Leeds on both routes (via Garforth and via Harrogate) serving most stations en-route (plus three per day to Sheffield via Pontefract Baghill).[45]

Rolling stock used: Sprinter (Class 150/155/158), Class 170 Turbostar and Civity Class 195 units. Pacer (Class 142/144) diesel multiple units were in regular use on the Harrogate and Sheffield lines until December 2019, but have now been phased out.

Former services

Until May 2021 East Midlands Railway provided one weekend return journey between York and London St Pancras via the Midland Main Line.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
TransPennine Express
North TransPennine
or London King's Cross
  Grand Central
Doncaster or
  London North Eastern Railway
Doncaster or
Retford or
  London North Eastern Railway
London King's Cross or
Doncaster or
  London North Eastern Railway
London-Newcastle/Edinburgh/Scotland express services
Leeds   London North Eastern Railway
Northern TrainsTerminus
Northern Trains
Northern Trains
Northern Trains
Micklefield Line
  Future services  
Leeds   TBA
Northern Powerhouse Rail
Sheffield   TBA
Northern Powerhouse Rail
East Midlands Hub   TBA
Northern Powerhouse Rail
  Historical railways  
Terminus   Y&NMR
York to Scarborough Line
Station closed; Line open
Disused railways
Terminus   NER
York to Beverley Line
Naburn   NER
East Coast Main Line



  1. ^ a b c d e f g Historic England. "Railway Station (1256554)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  2. ^ "Station facilities for York". National Rail. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  3. ^ "Estimates of station usage". ORR Data Portal. Retrieved 26 February 2024.
  4. ^ Morrison, Richard (9 December 2017). "Review: Britain's 100 Best Railway Stations by Simon Jenkins" – via www.thetimes.co.uk.
  5. ^ Historic England. "Old station and former station hotel (1256403)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  6. ^ Hoole, Kenneth (1985). Railway stations of the North East. Newton Abbot: David and Charles. p. 44. ISBN 0715385275.
  7. ^ "The First Railway Station". historyofyork.org.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2024.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Railways in York". yorkcivictrust.co.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2024.
  9. ^ "Obituary: Charles Thomas Lucas 1820–1895". Minutes of the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers. 124 (1896). Institution of Civil Engineers: 440. 1896. doi:10.1680/imotp.1896.19616.
  10. ^ White, Andrew (5 May 2025). "York railway station work reveals Victorian pavement and more". thenorthernecho.co.uk.
  11. ^ "Opening of the York Railway Station. The largest station in the world". Sheffield Daily Telegraph. England. 26 June 1877. Retrieved 2 September 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  12. ^ "York Railway Station". collections.vam.ac.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2024.
  13. ^ Historic England. "Royal York Hotel and area railings attached at side and rear (Grade II) (1256559)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 11 December 2023.
  14. ^ Hoole, Kenneth (1985). Railway stations of the North East. Newton Abbot: David and Charles. p. 43. ISBN 0715385275.
  15. ^ a b c "Yorkshire". How We Won the War. Series 1. Episode 4. 27 September 2012. BBC. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  16. ^ a b Plaque #10489 on Open Plaques
  17. ^ "No. 35774". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 November 1942. p. 4823.
  18. ^ Semmens, Peter (1990). Speed On The East Coast Main Line: A Century and a Half of Accelerated Services. Patrick Stephens Ltd. pp. 129–225. ISBN 0-85059-930-X.
  19. ^ Appleby, Ken (1993). British Rail Super Centres: York. Shepperton: Ian Allan. p. 95. ISBN 0-7110-2072-8.
  20. ^ Appleby, Ken (1993). British Rail Super Centres: York. Shepperton: Ian Allan. p. 22. ISBN 0-7110-2072-8.
  21. ^ Rhodes, Michael (2015). "Resignalling Britain". Resignalling Britain. Horncastle: Mortons Media. p. 70. ISBN 978-1-909128-64-4.
  22. ^ Jacobs, Gerald, ed. (2006). Railway track diagrams 2: Eastern (3 ed.). Bradford on Avon: TRACKmaps. 20B, 41B, 44A. ISBN 0-9549866-2-8.
  23. ^ Rhodes, Michael (2015). Resignalling Britain. Horncastle: Mortons Media Publishing. p. 71. ISBN 978-1-909128-64-4.
  24. ^ "East Coast Main Line Company Pledges to improve Services and Invest for the Future" (Press release). East Coast. 13 November 2009. Archived from the original on 17 November 2009. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  25. ^ "Faster trains and more services at York" (Press release). Network Rail. 3 January 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  26. ^ "Christmas delivery for rail passengers at York" (Press release). Network Rail. Archived from the original on 29 May 2014.
  27. ^ "York Station Concourse". theconsortiagroup.com. Retrieved 26 May 2024.
  28. ^ "York Station Front improvement work begins". Network Rail. 16 February 2022.
  29. ^ a b Hoole, Ken (1982). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 3. Redruth: Atlantic Books. pp. 24, 42. ISBN 0-906899-05-2.
  30. ^ "Freight Wagon Derailment – Accident Report" (PDF). Rail Accident Investigation Branch. November 2006 – via assets.publishing.service.gov.uk.
  31. ^ "York Station Plan". National Rail. Archived from the original on 12 June 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  32. ^ "Model Railway heading to Lincolnshire after 27 years at York Station". Scunthorpe Telegraph. 10 January 2011. Archived from the original on 16 February 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2015. York Model Railway is making tracks to Lincolnshire after 27 years in its current home. The tea rooms at York Station have been host to the exhibition since its inception
  33. ^ NRE – York Station PlanNational Rail Enquiries; Retrieved 13 June 2016
  34. ^ "Network Rail's biggest ROC opens in York". Rail Technology Magazine. 16 September 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  35. ^ "UK railway news round-up". 3 January 2018. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  36. ^ "Network Rail: York Station – Time Lapse Video and Security". WCCTV.
  37. ^ "York Victorian bridge removed for station project". BBC News. 20 April 2024. Retrieved 25 April 2024.
  38. ^ Wilcock, William (15 February 2022). "York Station Front improvement works begin". City of York Council. Archived from the original on 20 February 2022. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  39. ^ "£10.5 million boost for York railway station entrance project". York Press. 7 March 2023. Retrieved 7 March 2023.
  40. ^ "York Central". York Central Partnership. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  41. ^ Table 26 National Rail timetable, May 2016
  42. ^ "CrossCountry Timetable December 2023-June 2024" (PDF). crosscountrytrains.co.uk. Retrieved 23 April 2024.
  43. ^ Table 39 National Rail timetable, December 2023
  44. ^ "Sunderland timetable". Grand Central. Archived from the original on 29 July 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  45. ^ Table 22, 23, 30 & 33 National Rail timetable, December 2023

Further reading