Southampton Central railway station

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Southampton Central railway station
Southampton Central railway station is a main line railway station serving the city of Southampton in Hampshire, southern England. It is on the Wessex Main Line, the South Western Main Line and the West Coastway Line. Despite its name, Southampton Central is in fact situated some distance from the centre of the city (a central area served by Southampton terminus station until 1967) though it is now the closest station to the centre. The station is managed by South West Trains who operate the majority of services, including frequent trains to London Waterloo. Other operators are CrossCountry (providing services to Birmingham and beyond), First Great Western (to Bristol Temple Meads and Cardiff Central) and Southern, which links Southampton to London Victoria via the south coast and Gatwick Airport, and to London Bridge following a similar route excluding Gatwick Airport.

] Southampton Central station was opened as Southampton West in 1895, to replace the original Blechynden/West End station (note nearby road namings). As built the station was on the seafront (specifically the stretch of water known as West Bay) with the water reaching right up to the southern edge of the platforms at high tide. A series of land reclamation projects to expand the docks, largely funded by the London and South Western Railway culminated in the building of the vast Western Docks between 1927 and 1934, which led to all of West Bay being reclaimed and the station becoming landlocked. The new land allowed the station to be enlarged and redeveloped in 1934-1935 (from two platforms to four), and became Southampton Central. Soon after the closure of Southampton Terminus station near the docks in 1966, the station was rebuilt in 1967, losing its clocktower, which was replaced with an office block. At this point it was renamed Southampton, although many years later it was once again renamed to Southampton Central. Southampton Central is to under go a major redevelopment and revamp in the coming years. A £800,000 grant towards a £2.4 million of improvements has been provided by Southampton City Countil in late November 2009. Network Rail will pace £1.5 million with £475,000 from South West Trains who manages the station. The revamp will focus on an enlargement of the ticket hall, bus timetable displays, gate barriers (set to be upgraded to allow more people pass though the station), and overall facilities. The plan also hopes to improve disabled access to all areas of the station. Southampton Central was flooded by torrential rainfall on 26 May 2008

All the platforms are split into two sections, a and b, allowing two services to occupy a platform at the same time or to account for trains dividing into two portions. Platform 1 is, however, rarely used in this manner.
  • Platform 1 is used for services to London Waterloo from Weymouth and CrossCountry services to the north of England, predominantly Manchester from Bournemouth.
  • Platform 2 is used for First Great Western services to Portsmouth and the stopping service to Romsey via Eastleigh. It is the usual platform for the stopping service to London Waterloo, originating from Poole, the South West Trains stopping service to Portsmouth and the Southern service to Brighton.
  • Platform 3 is used for local services to Salisbury via Redbridge (Hampshire). The Southern service to London Victoria usually departs from platform 3a. Platform 3 is also used for the stopping service to Poole where it is overtaken by a faster service.
  • Platform 4 is used for services to Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth as well as First Great Western services to Cardiff Central.
There is also an ex-Red Star Parcels bay on the Bournemouth end of Platform 4. Previously branded as Platform 5, stopping services to Brockenhurst used this platform, but the platform can no longer be used for passenger services due to the lack of a proper starting signal. It is now used for the stabling of spare units. A number of goods loops are located a short distance away allowing terminating trains to clear the platforms for through services if required, and also to allow passenger services to pass freight trains. Southampton Central houses a British Transport Police station in Overline House on the upside, with street access from Blechyden Terrace. A partnership between Network Rail, South West Trains and Southampton City Council will see a £3 million pound investment in refurbishing the station and improving passenger facilities and is due to be completed by the end of 2011.


Southampton Central has three trains an hour to London Waterloo of which two take approximately 1 h 20 min and the Poole stopping service taking approximately 1 h and 40 min (this service is overtaken by the express service at Eastleigh). Romsey can be reached from Southampton Central using trains departing in both directions, by South West Trains via Chandler's Ford in the up direction and by South West Trains and First Great Western via Redbridge in the down. The services at Southampton Central offer the following:
  • 3tph SWT to London Waterloo
  • 2tph SWT to Weymouth
  • 1tph SWT to Poole
  • 1tph SWT to Portsmouth and Southsea
  • 1tph SWT to Salisbury via Romsey
  • 1tph SWT to Romsey via Chandler's Ford
  • 1tph Southern to London Victoria via Horsham
  • 1tph Southern to Brighton
  • 1tph FGW to Cardiff Central
  • 1tph FGW to Portsmouth Harbour
  • 1tph CrossCountry to Manchester Piccadilly
  • 1tph CrossCountry to Bournemouth

On 9 December 2007, a number of changes were made to South West Trains, First Great Western and Southern services. The old London Waterloo to Southampton Central stopping service has been extended to Poole, replacing in part the former Brockenhurst to Wareham stopping service. The former Poole train has been extended to Weymouth. The Totton to Romsey shuttle and the Salisbury to Southampton Central portion of the First Great Western Westbury to Southampton Central service have been replaced by a South West Trains Salisbury to Romsey via Southampton Central and Chandlers Ford service, this calls at Romsey twice on its journey . Southern have introduced a new service from Southampton Central to Brighton, the service to London Victoria now runs via Horsham rather than via Hove. In December 2008, CrossCountry launched its new timetable with most trains operating between Bournemouth and Manchester Piccadilly, with one service originating at Nottingham and one service on Saturdays terminating at Newcastle. During a short period in the summer, there is also a single service on Saturdays to Leeds. As of December 2010 an hourly CrossCountry train goes runs from Bournemouth to Manchester Piccadilly, via Coventry, calling at Southampton Central. There are also around 6 trains per day in each direction on the Reading to Newcastle route, via Doncaster, which was extended to Southampton Central. There are also select CrossCountry services to Scotland, many are only for a certain part of the year. They are services to: Edinburgh Waverley (one train per day up journey/down journey Sundays only) and Glasgow Central (Sundays only). One train from Aberdeen also terminates at Southampton Central on Sundays.

The station has a free shuttle service that links the station to the city centre and on to Town Quay, for the Isle of Wight Red Funnel and Hythe ferries. This service is operated by Bluestar and departs from the Weymouth side of the station along with Uni-link's other routes which serve the station. The now defunct City Clipper service also served this side, linking a number of places in Southampton City Centre to the station. This side of the station has the advantage of a turning space, so buses can come in and out, rather than just pass in either direction as on the London side. Bus services operated by Bluestar, First, Stagecoach and Wilts & Dorset use stops on the London side. Taxi ranks are also located on both sides of the station.

Preceding station National Rail Following station Fareham First Great Western Portsmouth Harbour - Cardiff Central Romsey First Great Western Brighton-Great Malvern Southampton Airport (Parkway) or Basingstoke CrossCountry Bournemouth-Manchester Brockenhurst CrossCountry Southampton-Newcastle/Edinburgh (via Doncaster) Terminus CrossCountry Bournemouth-Edinburgh/Glasgow (via Newcastle) Sundays Only Brockenhurst Southampton Airport (Parkway) South West Trains London - Weymouth express services Brockenhurst South West Trains London - Weymouth semi-fast services Brockenhurst South West Trains London - Poole stopping service Totton St Denys South West Trains Romsey to Salisbury Millbrook South West Trains Portsmouth - Southampton Terminus Swanwick Southern London Victoria - Southampton (via Horsham) Terminus Swanwick or Eastleigh Southern Brighton - Southampton Terminus