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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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