Only surviving example of an early station practice of operating trains from a single platform
Period of construction:
1800 - 1849
Transport Trust plaque:
Station Road, Cambridge CB1 2JW
Francis Thompson is believed to have been the architect of this distinctive station building, but Sancton Wood and Henry Hunt may also have played a part. It was opened in 1845 by Eastern Counties Railway with a single platform as was common practice at that time. In 1848 a second platform appeared, made of wood, but it lasted only a year. It reappeared in 1850, but access over a bridge with extremely steep steps was so unpopular that the platform was removed in 1863.
Subsequently the long single platform has continued, though it has been supplemented by bay platforms at either end. These were originally used by Great Northern and London & North Western trains at the southern end and Midland and Great Eastern branch line trains at the northern end.
At 514 yards, Cambridge has the third longest railway platform in the country (after Colchester and Gloucester). The scissors crossover in the middle divides it in two, permitting trains from both directions to pass trains already stopped there. The section south of the crossover is platform 1 (alongside bay platforms 2 and 3), and the section north is platform 4 (alongside bays 5 and 6).
The station's distance from the centre of the city, about 1.5 km, owe as much from opposition by university authorities in the 19th century as to engineering factors. The G.E.R. maintained a special locomotive for the Royal Train here. Signal boxes in the station area were converted to electric operation in the 1920s by LNER. During the 1980s British Rail made some major refurbishments, including putting plane glass in the 15 arches of the colonnade, which restored the station to something approximating its appearance when first built.
Barman, Christian, An Introduction to Railway Architecture, Art & Technics, (1950)
Biddle, Gordon, Britain's Historic Railway Buildings, Oxford University Press, ISBN-10: 0198662475 (2003)
Michael Joseph and Fellows, Reginald B. London to Cambridge by Train 1845-1938. Oleander Press. ISBN 0-902675-65-6 (1976)
Bonavia, Michael R., The Cambridge Line. Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-2333-6 (1996)
Fellows, Reginald B.,Â Railways to Cambridge, actual and proposed. Oleander Press. ISBN 0-902675-62-1 (1976)
Gordon, D. I., A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain. Vol. V, The Eastern Counties. David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-7431-1 (1977)
Gray, Adrian, "Cambridge's quest for a central station". Journal of the Railway and Canal Historical Society 22: 22-4 (1976)
Lloyd, David and Insall, Donald, Railway Station Architecture, David & Charles, ISBN 0 7153 7575 X (1978)
Skelsey, Geoffrey, "Of great public advantage": aspects of Cambridge and its railways 1845-2005". Backtrack 19: 400-6,501-6,573-4. (1977)
Spendlove, Richard, Cambridge and its Branch Lines, (1978)
Warren, Alan and Phillips, Ralph,Â Cambridge Station: a tribute. British Rail, (1987)
Daily, see railway timetables or telephone 0845 600 7245.
How To Find:
By road: At the far end of Station Road, off Regent Street. There is an onsite Pay & Display Car Park.
By rail: from London Liverpool Street,Â London Kings Cross and Kings Lynn.
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