Newcastle Central station

Newcastle railway station (also known as Newcastle Central Station, or simply Central Station within Tyne & Wear), is the mainline station of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, England and is a principal stop on the East Coast Main Line. It opened in 1850 and is a Grade I listed building. The railway station is connected to the adjacent underground Central Station Metro station on the Tyne and Wear Metro.

East Coast is the primary operator at the station providing Inter-city rail services southbound to York, Doncaster and London and northbound to Edinburgh and Glasgow. Other mainline services are operated by CrossCountry southbound to Leeds, Sheffield, Derby, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Plymouth and Reading and also northbound to Scotland while First TransPennine Express provides services to Liverpool and Manchester via Leeds. Northern Rail operates local and regional services across the North East and Cumbria, notably along the Tyne Valley Line to Carlisle via MetroCentre and Hexham, northbound to Morpeth and southbound to Middlesbrough and Sunderland while East Coast provides services to Durham and Darlington.

Construction and opening

The station was designed by John Dobson for two companies: the York, Newcastle and Berwick Railway (YN&BR) and the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway (N&CR). The YN&BR merged with other companies in 1854 to form the North Eastern Railway (NER), which later absorbed the N&CR in 1862. The station was constructed in collaboration with Robert Stephenson (also responsible for the High Level Bridge) between 1845 and 1850. The opening ceremony, attended by Queen Victoria, took place on 29 August 1850. Originally named Newcastle-on-Tyne Central, the station name was simplified to Newcastle at some point between 1948 and 1953.

The building has a neoclassical styled frontage, and its trainshed has a distinctive roof with three curved, arched spans — the first example of its kind, which set the 'house style' for the NER's subsequent main stations, culminating in the very last major British example half a century later, the rebuilt and enlarged Hull Paragon in 1904. A portico, designed by Thomas Prosser, was added to the station entrance in 1863, and the trainshed was extended southwards in the 1890s with a new span designed by William Bell.

An underground station for Tyne and Wear Metro trains was constructed during the late 1970s, and opened in 1981. Part of the portico was temporarily dismantled while excavation work for this station took place. The metro station sees 5 million passengers a year and is the third busiest station on the system.


The National Rail station has 12 platforms. The arrangement is:

  • Platform 1 is an east facing bay platform which handles terminating local services and also some terminating long distance CrossCountry services from the south over the High Level Bridge.
  • Platforms 2, 3 and 4 are the main through platforms for East Coast Main Line long distance services.
  • Platforms 5/6 share the northbound side, and Platforms 7/8 the southbound side, of the newer island platform, and are used mainly by Northern Rail services.
  • Platforms 9 to 12 are west facing bay platforms for various services, including Transpennine Express and some terminating services from the Carlisle direction, and on rare occasions, CrossCountry services. First ScotRail services from Glasgow Central normally use platform 12.

Train services

Newcastle is a principal stop on the East Coast Main Line. Passenger services are operated by several companies:

  • East Coast trains run south to London King's Cross via York, Doncaster and Peterborough; and north to Edinburgh Waverley, Glasgow Central, Aberdeen and Inverness.
  • CrossCountry services run south to their Birmingham New Street hub via York, Leeds/Doncaster, Sheffield and Derby and onwards to Reading via Oxford; Plymouth or Penzance via Cheltenham Spa and Bristol Temple Meads; and north to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.
  • First TransPennine Express trains run to Manchester Airport and Liverpool Lime Street via York, Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester Piccadilly.
  • First ScotRail operates daily services to Glasgow Central along the Tyne Valley and Glasgow South Western Lines via Carlisle and Dumfries.
  • Northern Rail operates local and regional services; north along the East Coast Main Line to Morpeth and Chathill; south along the Durham Coast Line to Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Nunthorpe (plus a limited service via the East Coast Main Line to Darlington and onwards along the Tees Valley Line to Middlesbrough and Saltburn); and west along the Tyne Valley Line to MetroCentre, Hexham, Carlisle and Whitehaven.

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Railway infrastructure

Trains may cross the River Tyne on one of two bridges. The High Level Bridge, to the south-east of the station, was designed by Robert Stephenson and opened on 27 September 1849, and is the older of the two. Its location meant that north-south trains had to reverse in the station to continue their journey. The King Edward VII Bridge, to the south-west of the station, was opened on 10 July 1906, allowing north-south trains to continue without reversing. With these two bridges, the trackwork north and south of the river forms a complete circle, allowing trains to be turned around if necessary. The former Gateshead depot, situated next to the connecting tracks on the south side of the Tyne, mirrored Newcastle station.

The station was famed for its highly complex diamond crossing to the east of the station. This 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 has been greatly simplified in recent years, however, as the opening of the Metro brought about the withdrawal of many heavy-rail suburban services and the closure of the platforms they operated from, and removed the need for such a complex crossing. Heaton depot is to the north of the station, on the East Coast Main Line.

Tyne & Wear Metro

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.


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Building Activity

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