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Facts About UK Train Stations

Friday 16 June 2023

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Train stations are where so many journeys begin and end – whether it’s the daily commute or your latest holiday adventure. They’re such an integral part of our daily lives, and maybe that is why most of us don’t stop to consider the history behind train stations. How old is it? How busy is it? How far can it take me?

To inject a little intrigue into your journey, here are some facts about UK train stations that you may not know.

The longest train journey in the UK

The UK isn’t the biggest nation, so finding the longest single train journey is no mean feat, but this is a title that CrossCountry is truly proud of. A route operated by CrossCountry, the longest single train journey in the UK runs from Aberdeen to Penzance. At nearly fourteen hours long, and covering 722 miles, this is the furthest you can travel by rail without changing services.

A stone sign at Penzance train station reading ‘Penzance welcomes you’ in English and Cornish.

The longest train station name in the UK

At a whopping 58 letters long, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is officially the longest train station name in the UK. In fact, it’s the longest place name in all of Europe, and only second in the world – thanks to an 85-letter town name in New Zealand. This crazy name didn’t come about by chance – the town name was contrived in 1869 as a publicity stunt to give the station the longest name in Britain. Suffice to say, the record remains.

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch train station in Wales with the name printed on a sign.

The longest train platform in the UK

With a platform extending across 620m, the longest train platform in the UK is at Colchester station. One caveat to this record is that it is broken into two distinct sections, so if you’re eager to see the longest unbroken train platform you can find a 602m platform at Gloucester station.

The first ever train station in the UK

First opened in 1830 and reachable only via a tunnel, Liverpool’s Crown Street railway station was the UK’s first train station in operation. Not only was it the first of many in the UK, but it was also the world’s first intercity passenger station, laying the groundwork for the rail networks we see across the globe today.

The oldest working train station in the UK

Crown Street may have been the first passenger station in the world, with Edge Hill – also in Liverpool - a close second. However, in 1836, Crown Street was demolished and Edge Hill was decommissioned. Fortunately, the third station along the line was Broad Green, which is still in use today – making it the oldest working station in the UK.

The busiest train station in the UK

For many years, Waterloo held the title of busiest train station in the UK, until Stratford overtook it in 2021. However, with more than forty-million annual passengers, Waterloo has once more come out on top in terms of passengers using the station each year. Though eight of the busiest ten stations in the UK are in London, you will also find around twenty-million passengers using Birmingham New Street and Manchester Piccadilly each year.

The biggest train station in the UK

Not only is Waterloo the busiest train station in the UK, but it also holds the accolade of being the biggest train station in the UK. With twenty-four platforms in operation, it is the UK’s biggest rail station, with Edinburgh Waverley being the biggest station outside of London with twenty platforms.

Alt: View of Waterloo station at rush hour, with lots of people travelling to work and for leisure, featuring trains in the background and a sign.

The smallest train station in the UK

From the biggest to the smallest. At just 15m long, Beauly station is the smallest train station in the UK – that’s smaller than a single carriage of any train passing through! As a result, only one train door opens when it arrives. There is an announcement to passengers to ensure that anybody hoping to alight at Beauly is standing in the right place.

The highest train station in the UK

Situated on the Corrour Estate along the West Highland Line is Corrour railway station, the highest mainline train station in the UK. It has been immortalised in cinema with an appearance in the Trainspotting, but make sure you take the train rather than walk – it is a marathon hike to reach this station on foot.

If you’re planning to visit record-holding train stations, don’t forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or the CrossCountry app. If you need more information, you can contact us here.

Written by Julia

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