The station's main entrance portico, located on Neville Street.
|Place||Newcastle city centre|
|Local authority||Newcastle upon Tyne|
|Managed by||London North Eastern Railway|
|Number of platforms||12|
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections|
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|- Interchange||0.376 million|
|Passenger Transport Executive|
|Zone||Network One: 1|
Tyne & Wear Metro: A
|Original company||Newcastle & Carlisle Railway|
York, Newcastle & Berwick Railway
|Pre-grouping||North Eastern Railway|
|Post-grouping||London & North Eastern Railway|
|29 August 1850||Opened as Newcastle-on-Tyne Central|
|Listed feature||Passenger buildings and train shed with platforms|
|Listing grade||Grade I listed|
|Added to list||14 June 1954|
|National Rail - UK railway stations|
|* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Newcastle from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.|
Newcastle railway station (also known as Newcastle Central) is a major station in Newcastle upon Tyne. It is located on the East Coast Main Line, located around 268 miles (432 km) north of London King's Cross.
The station opened in August 1850, as part of the then Newcastle & Carlisle Railway and York, Newcastle & Berwick Railway. Now a Grade I listed building, it is located in the city's Grainger Town area, to the west of the Castle Keep. In Simon Jenkins' Britain's 100 Best Railway Stations, the station was one of only ten to be awarded five stars.
The main line serving the station is the East Coast Main Line from London to Edinburgh via Yorkshire and Newcastle. It also serves the Durham Coast Line to Sunderland, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough, and the Tyne Valley Line to Hexham and Carlisle. Long-distance services are operated by LNER, TransPennine Express and CrossCountry, while Northern Trains operate local services. A Tyne and Wear Metro station, Central Station, is situated beneath the rail station.
The Newcastle and Carlisle Railway had agreed to relinquish their insistence on exclusively using their Redheugh terminus on the south bank of the River Tyne. They agreed with George Hudson on a general station north of the Tyne, near the Spital. Instead of crossing the Tyne by a low level bridge and climbing to the Spital by a rope-worked incline, they would build an extension crossing at Scotswood and approaching on the north bank. They opened this line and a temporary station at Forth, and passenger trains started using that on 1 March 1847.
Hudson, known as the "Railway King" was concentrating on connecting his portfolio of railways so as to join Edinburgh with the English network. His Newcastle and Berwick Railway obtained its authorising Act of Parliament in 1845, but for the time being it was to use the Newcastle and North Shields Railway's station at Carliol Square. Building a crossing of the Tyne was obviously going to be a lengthy process, so that he gave the construction of the general station a low priority. The Tyne crossing became the High Level Bridge.
In February 1846 the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway exerted pressure for the general station to be built, and the architect John Dobson was appointed by Hudson to design it, in association with the engineer T E Harrison, and Robert Stephenson. By now the general alignment of Hudson's railways was becoming clear: a main line from the south via Gateshead would approach over the High Level Bridge and enter the general station from the east; the Newcastle and Berwick line would be extended from Carliol Square and also enter from the east; through trains from London to Scotland would reverse in the new station. Newcastle and Carlisle Railway trains would of course enter from the west.
Dobson produced general plans for the station, now being referred to as the Central station, on a broad curve to front Neville Street so as to accommodate the alignment of the approaching railways at east and west. It was to a "Romano-Italien design with ornamental work of the Doric order". Two through platform lines were shown, with three west end bays and two at the east end. There were to be three trainshed roofs with spans of 60 feet. Extensive offices as well as refreshment facilities were shown, and there was to be a covered carriage drive on the Neville Street side extending from the porte-cochère at each end.
On 7 August 1847 a contract was let for the main part of the work to Mackay and Blackstock, for £92,000 (equivalent to £8,470,000 in 2019). A considerable amount of groundworks was necessary on the large site prior to the actual building work.
The work did not progress speedily, and in 1849 Hudson's collection of railway companies suffered a financial shock. At a time of more difficult trading and a tighter money market, Hudson's personal dealings were exposed as shady. The York, Newcastle and Berwick Railway had been formed by merger of the previous smaller companies, and the YN&BR wished to reduce the financial commitment to the Central Station substantially; hotel accommodation and the covered carriage drive were eliminated. One of the through platforms was also removed from the plan.
As built the site covered three acres and the length of the platform faces was 830 yards.
The trainshed proved faster to construct and on 29 August 1850 Queen Victoria visited the station by train and formally opened it. The day was declared a public holiday in Newcastle. The following day YN&BR trains were diverted into it.[note 1]
The trainshed was, jointly with the Lime Street station in Liverpool, the first to be designed and built in Britain using curved wrought iron ribs to support an arched roof. The large section of the ribs was fabricated using curved web plates specially rolled using bevelled rolls; the novel technique was created by Thomas Charlton of Hawks Crawshay, and was estimated to have saved 14% on the cost of the roof ironwork, compared with cutting rectilinear plates to the curve.
The station was lit by gas; a demonstration of electric arc-lighting was made, but was not at that date a practical possibility for the large station space. The platforms were positioned 15 inches above rail level.
The station was shared from the beginning by the Newcastle and North Shields Railway, which abandoned its earlier terminus at Carliol Square to the east which had operated since 1839. The Newcastle and Carlisle Railway started using Central station from 1 January 1851, and also abandoned its earlier terminus at Forth.
In 1861 the York, Newcastle and Berwick Railway had already merged with others to form the North Eastern Railway, and now it was desired to amalgamate with the Newcastle and Berwick Railway too. The Corporation of Newcastle used the opportunity of the necessary Parliamentary Bill for the amalgamation to insist on construction of the abandoned porte-cochère, and this was designed by Thomas Prosser and completed in 1863.
In the 1860s the passenger train service was increasing considerably, especially as branch lines opened, six platforms were increased to nine in 1871 and to twelve in 1877, and then to fifteen in 1894: an additional through island platform was provided in 1871, occupying space formerly in use for stabling carriages. Increase in traffic continued, as also increasing train lengths and it was clear that a major extension of the station was essential. Newcastle had been given city status in 1882 and was supportive of the work, seeing it as a civic improvement. Forth Street was displaced southwards and two new trainshed roofs covered a southward extension of the station; in addition a large expansion to the east took place, with additional bay platforms there on the north side of the former bays. The original through track was blocked to form east and west bays, so that there were still only three through platform lines. This work was completed in 1894.
The new group of bay platforms at the east end had their own concourse quadrangle, known at the time as the "Tynemouth Square". There was a separate booking hall for those local services. At this stage the roof covered seven and a half acres in area; there were fifteen platforms with a length of 3,000 yards.
In 1901 an early steam locomotive was on display at the station; :
[The station] is further graced by a pedestal on which stands a curious old locomotive rejoicing in the name of "Billy". The true early history of "Billy" is well-nigh veiled in the mists of antiquity, and it was only by diligent enquiry that Mr Holliday, the Station Master, was able to learn a little of her antecedents. That "she" was constructed as far back as 1824 - 1826 is however certain, and on that score alone she is entitled to an introduction to such of the readers of the Railway Magazine as have until now been unaware of her existence. For about fifty-five years (until 1879) she performed good service, first at the Springwell, and latterly at the Killingworth colliery, from which place she actually steamed into Newcastle in 1881 to celebrate George Stephenson's Centenary.
An image of the locomotive in Bywell's article is captioned "Puffing billy" but it is not Puffing Billy of 1814, which is currently on display at the Science Museum in London.
The locomotive in Bywell's article is known simply as Billy (Built in 1826). It was presented to Newcastle upon Tyne Corporation for preservation in 1881. Initially it was displayed on a plinth at the north end of the High Level Bridge, but was moved to the interior of Newcastle Central Station in 1896; it remained there until 1945, when it was moved to the city's Museum of Science and Industry; it was moved again in 1981 to the Stephenson Railway Museum in nearby North Shields, where it is still on display.
The early history of the locomotive is uncertain; it is probably a George Stephenson locomotive, and was probably built at Killingworth Colliery workshops around 1815-1820.
|Railways between Newcastle and Gateshead|
In 1900 the North Eastern Railway started replacing the gas lighting in the station with electric arc equipment. Further use of electricity came from 1904 when several suburban lines were electrified using the third rail system, to form the Tyneside Electrics system, electric trains were introduced, using Central Station from 1 July 1904. The tracks on platforms 1 to 6 were equipped with electrified third rails, and platform 7 was later electrified to handle electric trains to South Shields.
Another major development came on 1 October 1906 when the King Edward VII Bridge was opened, crossing the Tyne to the south-west of the station: Since 1850 East Coast Main Line trains had entered Newcastle from the south via the High Level Bridge to the south-east, this meant however that they had to reverse in order to continue their journey, which lengthened journey times and led to congestion at the busy junction east of the station. The four-track King Edward Bridge remedied this by allowing north-south trains to leave or enter from either side of the station. The triangular junction at the Gateshead side also allowed for greater flexibility, allowing trains from Sunderland to use the new bridge if necessary.
In 1909, Central station became Newcastle's only major city-centre station when the former Blyth and Tyne Railway's terminus at Newcastle New Bridge Street was closed, and its trains diverted to Central station via a new connection to Manors station.
The Tyne and Wear Metro system opened in 1980, taking over and improving many of the Tyneside suburban routes that had declined under British Railways management. The underground Central Station for Metro trains was constructed during the late 1970s underneath the main line station, and opened in 1981. Part of the porte-cochère was temporarily dismantled while excavation work took place. The Metro system was a considerable success; Many conventional rail services were transferred there, and several of the east end bays were closed and converted to car parking and other usage. The Carlisle line was diverted to enter Newcastle over the King Edward Bridge of 1906, and a large out-of-town shopping development, the "Metro Centre", was opened with a station on that line. The changing pattern of railway services meant that terminating trains were significantly fewer and through trains had increased. The emphasis on bay platforms at the station was no longer appropriate.
The opportunity was taken in conjunction with the East Coast Main Line electrification scheme, inaugurated in 1991 by British Rail, to extend the station southwards to provide more through platforms. This encroached on to land occupied by through tracks previously used by goods trains, which had seen little use since the withdrawal of many good services in the 1960s. A new island platform was provided, built around the southern wall of the station. The two platform faces are divided so as to provide four numbered platforms, 5 to 8, generally used for local trains.
London North Eastern Railway provides high-speed inter-city services southbound every half hour to London (one fast, one semi-fast) as well as 3 trains per 2 hours continue northbound into Scotland. One service is also provided each evening Monday - Friday from Newcastle to Sunderland.
Rolling stock used: Class 800s
CrossCountry operate services north into Scotland, supplementing London North Eastern Railway services, and southbound there are two trains per hour to the CrossCountry hub at Birmingham New Street from where they extend towards the South West and South Coast.
With the electrification of the Manchester to Liverpool Line, from May 2014 a new timetable was introduced which is made up an hourly express service between Newcastle and Liverpool via Leeds and Manchester reducing journey times to Liverpool to three hours as part of the Northern Hub scheme. Services to Leeds/York are also supplemented by London North Eastern Railway and CrossCountry.
Rolling stock used: Class 802 bi-mode multiple units
Northern Trains Route 1:
East Coast Main Line
Northern Trains Route 2:
Durham Coast Line
Northern Trains Route 4:
Tyne Valley Line
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
One way operation
|London North Eastern Railway
|London King's Cross|
One way operation
|London North Eastern Railway
East Coast Main Line
East Coast Main Line
East Coast Main Line
Tyne Valley Line
|Stevenage||East Coast Trains
East Coast Main Line
London - Edinburgh
In May 2016 ORR gave the green light to a new operator called East Coast Trains which would operate services to Edinburgh Waverley via Stevenage, Newcastle & Morpeth. The operation would begin operation in 2021.
Since the 1990s local councils have considered the feasibility of restoring passenger services linking Ashington and Blyth with Newcastle. These early, informal, proposals suggested serving Blyth, not by reopening the branch to Blyth station, but by reopening the nearby Newsham station.
Denis Murphy, the then Labour MP for Wansbeck, expressed support in the House of Commons in an adjournment debate in April 1999 and again in a debate in January 2007. The Railway Development Society (renamed Railfuture in 2000) also endorsed the proposal in 1998.
In the early 2010s, Northumberland County Council (NCC) became interested in the reintroduction of passenger services along the remaining freight-only section of the former Blyth and Tyne Railway main line between Benton Junction and a reopened Ashington station. In June 2013 NCC commissioned Network Rail to complete a GRIP 1 study to examine the best options for the scheme. The GRIP 1 study was received by NCC in March 2014 and in June 2015 they initiated a more detailed GRIP 2 Feasibility Study at a cost of £850,000.
The GRIP 2 study, which NCC received in October 2016, confirmed that the reintroduction of a frequent seven-day a week passenger service between Newcastle and Ashington was feasible and could provide economic benefits of £70 million with more than 380,000 people using the line each year by 2034. This GRIP 2 study suggested construction of up to 7 new or reopened stations, potentially including a new terminus at Woodhorn (for the Woodhorn Museum and Northumberland Archives) east of Ashington, with a potential end to end journey time of 37 minutes. At the time it was suggested that, subject to funding being raised for the £191 million scheme, detailed design work could begin in October 2018 with construction commencing four months later and the first passenger services introduced in 2021 though by October 2018 such works were yet to begin.
After receiving the GRIP 2 study, NCC initially announced that they were preceding with a GRIP 3 Study from Network Rail but such a report was not commissioned at the time. Despite a change in the political leadership of Northumberland County Council following the 2017 local elections the authority continued to work towards the reintroduction of a passenger service onto the line, encouraged by the Department for Transport's November 2017 report, A Strategic Vision for Rail, which named the line as a possible candidate for a future reintroduction of passenger services. Consequentially, NCC commissioned a further interim study in November 2017 (dubbed GRIP 2B) to determine whether high costs and long timescales identified in the GRIP 2 Study could be reduced by reducing the initial scope of the project but the report failed to deliver on this.
The Northumberland County Council has, however, continued to develop the project, announcing an additional £3.46 million in funding for a further business case and detailed design study (equivalent to GRIP 3) to be completed by the end of 2019, with the first passenger services potentially being introduced on the line in 2022. However, the revised proposals, released in July 2019, are reduced in scope from the plan considered in the 2016 GRIP 2 study and propose 4-phase project to reduce the initial cost of the scheme. As such, the initial phase, at an estimated £90 million, would see the creation of new or reopened National Rail stations at only Northumberland Park, Newsham, Bedlington and Ashington as well as a number of other infrastructure upgrades. Two further stations, at Seaton Delaval and Blyth Bebside and further infrastructure upgrades would then follow in later phases. The previously proposed station at Woodhorn appears to have been dropped from the scheme entirely.
The North East Joint Transport Committee's bid for the UK Government's Transfroming Cities Fund, submitted on 20 June 2019, includes £99 million to fund the first phase of the Newcastle to Ashington Northumberland Line project, while further work is ongoing to secure additional public and private investment.
Plans were revealed on 30 April 2013 for a major redevelopment, including an £8.6 million project to regenerate the inside of the station, and a further £11.4 million to develop the area surrounding the station. The portico redevelopment was completed in April 2014.
The redevelopment plans contain a number of improvements, including:
The redevelopment plan also includes a number of improvements to the area surrounding the station, including:
The work began in May 2013 and was completed during April 2014 by Miller Construction. The station operated as normal throughout the works. The £8.6 million funding for the internal station work was provided by the Department for Transport's Station Commercial Project Facility Fund. The external works were jointly funded by NE1, Regional Growth Fund and Newcastle City Council.
Simplified rail network around Newcastle
Trains cross the River Tyne on one of two bridges. The older High Level Bridge south-east of the station, designed by Robert Stephenson opened on 27 September 1849. Its location meant north-south trains had to reverse in the station to continue their journey. The King Edward VII Bridge south-west of the station opened on 10 July 1906 allowing north-south trains to continue without reversing. The two bridges enable the trackwork north and south of the river to form a complete circle, allowing trains to be turned if necessary. The former Gateshead depot, next to the connecting tracks on the south side of the Tyne, mirrored Newcastle station.
The station was noted for its complex set of diamond crossings to the east of the station which facilitated access to the High Level Bridge and northbound East Coast Main Line and was said to be the greatest such crossing in the world. The crossing was the subject of many early-1900s post cards, titled The Largest Railway Crossing in the World - photographed from the castle (towards the station), or from the station towards the castle.
The crossing has been simplified in recent years as the opening of the Metro brought about the withdrawal of many heavy-rail suburban services and the closure of the bay platforms they operated from on the north side of the station removing the need for such a complex crossing. Much of this work was carried out in 1988-9 as part of remodelling and resignalling work associated with ECML electrification. A new island platform on the former goods lines was commissioned as part of this work, with signalling control relocated to the Tyneside IECC on the opposite side of the river. Heaton depot is to the north of the station, on the East Coast Main Line.
Newcastle station is located above Central metro station on the Tyne and Wear Metro, one of five underground stations serving the city centre. Central is an interchange between the Yellow and Green lines, and is the last stop prior to crossing the River Tyne towards Gateshead.
|Preceding station||Tyne and Wear Metro||Following station|
towards St James via the Coast
towards South Shields
towards South Hylton