Local Railway

Stevenage Station

The original Stevenage station was opened by the Great Northern Railway (GNR) in 1850 and comprised two island platforms linked by a footbridge. This was sited 28 miles 45 chains from the London Kings Cross terminus, and was closed after 22 July 1973.

The present Stevenage station was opened by British Rail on 23 July 1973, although the ‘official opening’ of the new station by Mrs Shirley Williams MP did not take place until 29 September 1973. This event is denoted by a commemorative plaque affixed to the wall facing passengers as they pass through the ticket barrier on the footbridge. The BR station comprises a pair of island platforms linked by a footbridge. This is situated a mile south of the former GN station at 27 miles 45 chains from Kings Cross.

Before the new station opened Hitchin was served by a limited number of Express services, however it was decided that these should instead serve the growing New Town of Stevenage and it’s emerging business market and therefore the new station was provided with platforms of sufficient length to accommodate full length BR Inter City Services.

Stevenage is still served by a number of Inter City East Coast services, operated by Virgin Trains East Coast. These are formed of either “push-pull” Class 91 electric locomotives (normally at the country end) + Mark 4 coaches + Class 82 Driving Van Trailers (DVT), or diesel High Speed Train (HST) sets.

A very limited number of Hull Trains “5-car class 180 “Adelante” sets also call at Stevenage on Sundays.

Grand Central’s HST sets can be seen at Stevenage, but are not scheduled to stop.

The bulk of Stevenage passenger services are either commuter or local services operated by Great Northern which either run south direct via Welwyn and Potters Bar or round the Hertford Loop and Gordon Hill to either Kings Cross or Moorgate, or run north to Huntingdon & Peterboro or via the Cambridge branch from Hitchin to Letchworth Garden City, Royston, Cambridge, Ely & Kings Lynn. Services to / from Moorgate are formed of Class 313 electric units (1 or 2 units) whilst services to / from Kings Cross are formed of Class 317, 321 or 365 formed of 1, 2 or 3 units combined within the same class. These latter EMUs will be replaced by the new Siemens Class 700 units in the next few years in readiness for the opening of the Thameslink route through Canal Tunnel at Belle Isle in 2018.

Great Northern and Thameslink services have combined in a new franchise embracing both routes, in readiness for new cross-London services from Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire running via Farringdon and Blackfriars.

Stevenage is also served by a number of charter trains whose organisers recognise the importance of providing an outer London pick up point. A significant number of these Charters are steam-hauled.

Freight traffic through Stevenage has increased over the last few years and a colourful selection of Class 66 diesel locomotives can be seen on most weekdays, supplemented by Class 92 electric locomotives and Network Rail Test Trains hauled or propelled by Class 31 or 37 “heritage” diesel locomotives. Class 20 diesels may occasional, normally nocturnal, appearances on moves between Peterborough GBRf Depot and LUL Depots at Neasden or West Ruislip or vice versa.