Seven new stations MAY open in MAY

Tuesday 17th January 2023

2023 will see another impressive number of new railway stations added to the network. This follows a busy 2022 when five new Crossrail stations opened (Canary Wharf, Custom House, Tottenham Court Road, Woolwich, and Bond Street) as well as two others (Reston and Barking Riverside). This follows only two openings in 2021 (Bow Street and Soham) and three in 2020 (Worcestershire Parkway, Horden and Kintore).

If plans work out as currently projected, 2023 will likely see nine more new stations coming on track by the end of the year, with six or even seven of them possibly opening in May.

Opening imminently is Inverness Airport which had been planned for the 11 December 2022 timetable change but is awaiting final sign off once snagging items reportedly to do with the lifts are sorted. Regular readers will know I’ve already visited and written about the oddity of this station being quite a walk from the airport so I won’t comment further this time.

Inverness Airport

Next up will be two stations from a quintet of projects which were given funding in the DfT’s New Stations Fund Round 2 way back in Autumn 2016. Three of these opened some time ago being Warrington West in December 2019, Horden in County Durham in June 2020 and Bow Street near Aberystwyth in February 2021. I’m not sure why the remaining two – Reading Green Park and Portway Parkway – have been delayed, both originally being earmarked for a 2020 opening, but they will surely be joining the network very soon, almost certainly at the May timetable change, if not before.

Both stations will be served by GWR trains with Reading Green Park on the line from Reading to Basingstoke and Portway Parkway on the Severn Beach line from Bristol Temple Meads.

Reading Green Park

Another slippage from an originally targeted December 2022 opening is the new station at Brent Cross West which will also hopefully make its debut in May with Thameslink trains on the stoppers on the Midland Main Line adding it to their schedule.

I went past the new station at speed yesterday and it looked like there was quite a bit of work still to be done including the roof.

Two more stations for 2023, hopefully also for May making for a logistical nightmare for those who like to be first footers on any new platform include the new station at Marsh Barton on the southern edge of Exeter. Work is said to be scheduled for completion by the end of this winter which could mean a spring opening with the same situation at Headbolt Lane on the Merseyrail network in Kirkby.

Artists impression of Headbolt Lane

This will involve Merseyrail trains extending beyond the existing Kirkby terminus to a new dual terminating station which will also see Northern services from the opposite direction from Wigan and Manchester terminating with buffer stops separating the two networks.

Artists impression of the dual buffer stops

Over in Kent work is coming on well with the new Thanet Parkway station which is also currently listed with an expected opening date of May. Located between Minster and Ramsgate there’ll be parking for 293 vehicles with access from the A299 Hengist Way.

The eighth station for 2023 that could well open as early as May is at White Rose between Leeds and Dewsbury just south of Cottingley station which will receive a much reduced service from Northern. Located close to the White Rose shopping centre and office park, funding for the new station has come from the £173.5 million Leeds City Council was given a few years ago by the Government when the trolleybus scheme for the city was turned down. A new station closer to a shopping centre is an odd runner up prize but that’s public funding for you.

Ninth in the new station pipeline is East Linton on the East Coast Main Line located a bit further north than the recent Reston opening. Work was well underway constructing this last time I travelled through but it may be a stretch to see it open by the end of the year; the official line is it will definitely open “by March 2024”.

Thirteen other new openings on the horizon probably for opening next year can be found in all parts of the country. In Scotland there’s the exciting project to bring railway tracks back into use on the Levenmouth branch which includes two new stations, one at Cameron Bridge and the other at the new terminus in the town of Leven. There’s a fascinating ‘fly through’ video available online on Transport Scotland’s Levenmouth Reconnected YouTube channel which shows the progress to date of replacing the tracks, strengthening bridges and adding protection from rivers.

Another line restoration for passenger train use that’s well underway is in the north east of England on the branch to Ashington, known as the Northumberland line. This will see a bumper bundle of six new (or reopened) stations at Ashington, Bedlington, Blyth Bebside, Newsham, Seaton Delaval and Northumberland Park – not to be confused with the station of the same name in Tottenham.

While on restoring passenger trains to rail lines there are also developments in the West Midlands with five new stations set to open. Willenhall and Darlaston are on the Walsall to Wolverhampton line which will see passenger trains once again and three stations on the Camp Hill line to be called Moseley Village, Kings Heath and Pineapple Road (names chosen following a public consultation).

There are also a whole host of other proposed stations at various stages of development some where construction has commenced but others are more of a pipe dream. These include Auchenback, Beam Park, Beaulieu Park, Bebside, Bedlington, Birmingham Curzon Street, Birmingham Interchange, Cambridge South, Cardiff Parkway, Carno, Cottam Parkway, Cullompton, Deeside Industrial Park, Edginswell, Elland, Ely Mill/Victoria Park Cardiff, Lydeway/Devizes Parkway, Meir, New Bermondsey, Old Oak Common, Pill, Portishead, Liverpool Baltic, Seghill, Thorpe Park (Leeds), Wellington, Winslow (EastWest), That’s not an exhaustive list, as there are many other aspirations for new stations including Leeds Bradford Airport Parkway and many more in south Wales – Ely Mill, St Clears, Gabalfa, Crwys Road, The Flourish, Loudon Square (Cardiff Bay), but that’s probably enough for now.

Roger French

Blogging timetable: 06:00 TThS

40 thoughts on “Seven new stations MAY open in MAY

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  1. A good resumé of the up and coming new station situation. A couple of typo’s have crept in though, Portway Parkway and Reading Green Park will both be served by GWR. Headbolt Lane is referred to as Headstone Lane in the illustration caption.

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  2. St. James/Baltic Triangle was renamed Liverpool Baltic after a public consultation. Hazelwell/Stirchley, which you mention in the last paragraph became Pineapple Road after another consultation. The plans for a TfW Metro stop at Loudon Square in Cardiff have been replaced by one at Butetown

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  3. Thanet Parkway (which would have been as good for Manston Airport as Inverness Airport station is for its airport) will mean that Kent will now have two stations adjacent to closed or proposed airfields – Lullingstone (near Eynsford) being the other.

    Thanks for this news about a crop of new railway stations. Any news about new bus stops – or at least improvements to existing ones? I was fishing through the Go-Ahead / Arup proposals for ‘Future Mobility Hubs’, but ended up a bit disappointed: it rather comes over as an Arup bid for public money for an ‘exciting, innovative’ scheme. I’m not quite sure what Go-Ahead’s input was. But a tiny fraction of the money on these new stations would pay for free wifi at a lot of bus stops, enabling people to see when their bus would arrive. But, as you keep pointing out, the biggest improvement at bus stops would be having regular visits from someone who knew what they were doing, keeping them clean and up-to-date with passenger information.

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    1. A device for allowing people to have some idea when their bus is coming without the need for providing expensive wifi at bus stops is I believe called a “paper timetable” .. some of the big groups should try it!

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      1. There is an intermediate solution of e-paper style bus stops with solar panels that can be updated electronically, saving money for bus companies regularly having to go up and down bus stops to replace timetables, they’re much less expensive then some of the traditional electronic solutions and would help with the spate of recent cancellations occuring.

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    2. The proponents of using the internet for up to date information should at least check that their stops are not in connection dead spots. This is something that the maintenance staff could be given time to check. The much improved TransCambria bus network in Wales relies in most places on people accessing online information, but vast swathes of mid-Wales have poor internet connectivity.

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  4. A good news story indeed. In spite of the constant criticism by a few Die-Hards on this site, this government can hardly be accused of neglecting investment in the railways, even if the mess of operating them needs sorting out.

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  5. You put Headstone Lane in the caption when it’s Headbolt Bolt Lane.There’s already a Headstone Lane which is somewhere in north London and if I recall on the London Watford line.I like the artists impression of Headbolt surrounded by green fields and no sign of the huge tarmac environmentally unfriendly parkway around it!Or the thousands of cars.

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  6. If Real Time Trains are to be believed, trains are already making unadvertised stops at Portway Parkway and Reading Green Park “for staffing reasons”. Can anyone confirm if this is actually happening?

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    1. I can’t confirm whether trains are stopping at Reading Green Park or Portway Parkway, but I very much doubt it. As Roger has written, these stations were planned for opening more than two years ago. Planning of the timetables will have included stops at these stations. It’s standard practice to put the stops into the timetable, but mark them as “unadvertised”. When the station is ready and approved for opening, the “unadvertised” marker can be removed; that can happen at any time, not just at a Timetable Change Date in December or May.
      The same thing happened for East Midlands Parkway, nearly 20 years ago now. The departure time of the stopping train from Nottingham to London was moved forwards by 4 minutes to allow for the additional stop – even before construction work started (because there was a late delay to the commencement of work).

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  7. You say ‘Hazlewell/Stirchley’ is still under development or a ‘pipe dream’. No, it’s not. These were alternative names for the station named Pineapple Road in a public vote, and definitely going ahead, as referred to in your earlier paragraph about the West Midlands.

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  8. I really hope Inverness Airport opens before 27 March because that’s when I’m going up there to tick off all the stations in the north of Scotland!

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  9. It’s funny you mention Carno station, as I had a bit of a ‘Mandela Effect’ moment with this one a while back. A few years ago (2019), I went on holiday to Borth near Aberystwyth, and took the train from Birmingham New Street via Shrewsbury. I know there’s only a few stations on that line, but I could have sworn there was another stop between Caersws and Machynlleth, because I went back there late last year and I had a feeling that there was a station call missing. When I got back home, I started looking to see if a station had been perhaps closed, then I found out about Carno station. I assumed that was the one, but then discovered it was closed many years ago! A very peculiar experience! I did read that there were plans in the pipeline to try and open that station again, but it sounded like it might still be a few years off.

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    1. Driving through Carno last year I noticed “Station – now!” banners by the road. It would be useful to have one and the line runs right through the village. But who would pay for it? – Network Rail, Westminster or Cardiff Bay?

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      1. Is there a passing loop there? You may have stopped waiting for the train coming the other way to clear the single track section.

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      2. Given the very low population and the typical number of people who use rail the passengers numbers would be no more than about 10 a day. Hardly economic and no doubt it would have to be fitted with lifts etc so would cost millions to build

        As I understand it the cost would fall on the Welsh Government

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  10. I suspect that the Artists impression of Headbolt Lane is probably Marsh Barton, given that the former is illustrated immediately below and conforms to your description rather more closely!

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    1. It would be a very idealistic impression of Marsh Barton as that station is being built in the middle of an industrial estate.

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  11. When two networks meet, why do we need buffer stops to separate them? Surely, it would be useful to let trains run between them to preserve a through route, at least for diversions. It can’t do any harm.

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  12. In this particular instance one might say, “Because there’s been a division there for over 40 years”. And I think that there may once have been a little-used by-pass loop that engineering trains etc could use.

    However there may be two issues. One is simply to ensure that an electric train doesn’t go too far – although that possibility is well-controlled in other locations. More significantly, the two lines may have different signalling, telecoms or gauging: trains specific to one might not be able to run safely on the other.

    But it does seem to be a bit of an “own goal”, doesn’t it!

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  13. There are plans to extend the Sudbury to Marks Tey branch line to Colchester Town which would probably increase the usage of the line considerable and provide better connections to other stations

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    1. That would seem to be an excellent idea providing the train paths can be found. There is already a flying junction east of Colchester North station so trains wouldn’t have to cross the main line on the level.

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      1. The paths are there. The old trains would have had trouble keeping up with the mainline rolling stock but that not a problem with the new hybrids

        The service would only be hourly as any more would need a passing loop and signalling on the branch

        One issue was there is a pedestrian crossing from a car park to Marks Tey station. Mind you the first and last train already go across it.

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  14. In Cardiff, I suspect The Flourish and Loudon Square are something to do with on street running for the South Wales Metro. Not sure how these will be treated as per National Rail stations or more as tram stops.

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    1. Let’s hope that the £50m promised today will enable the street-running section to happen. At present the line is about 500m too short – it needs to end at the Millennium Centre.

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  15. Caledonian Sleeper

    The subsidy for this service has hit £95 per passenger and has cost £173M since 2014
    The Scottish ministers announced plans to cancel Serco’s contract and nationalize the service. Serco’s proposals to renegotiate the contract were not value for money the SNP claim. It appears though this would break UK law

    It seems that the sleeper service offers very poor value to the Scottish tax payers. It seems unlikely. that the subsidy can be reduced to sensible levels with the service as it stands

    It would be more sensible to convert it to say just reclining seats . Much lower cost but of course the train is not that old

    With Scotland I doubt t the SNP are that interested in value for money

    Anyone any ideas how to cut costs

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    1. How about pod seats, like buisness class on a long haul plane,?The Australia Tilt Trains running north of Brisbane use these.Of course with the British nationalist government in London dropping fuel duty on air flights and local authorities constantly bailing out airports the sleeper train is always going to be at a disadvantage .Sir Jacob Rees Smog wouldn’t like but let OBB come across from Austria to have a go at running it as they seem to have saved sleeper travel on the Continent virtually singlehandedly.

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