Brighton railway station is the southern terminus of the Brighton Main Line in England, and the principal station serving the city of Brighton and Hove, East Sussex. It is 50 miles 49 chains (81.45 km) from London Victoria; and the preceding station is Preston Park.
It was built by the London & Brighton Railway in 1840, initially connecting Brighton to Shoreham-by-Sea, westwards along the coast, and shortly afterwards connecting it to London Bridge and the county town of Lewes to the east. In 1846, the railway became the London Brighton and South Coast Railway following mergers with other railways with lines between Portsmouth and Hastings.
With almost 16.1 million passenger entries and exits in 2011/12, Brighton was then the seventh-busiest station in the country outside London.
The London and Brighton Railway (L&BR) built a passenger station, goods station, locomotive depot and railway works on a difficult site on the northern edge of Brighton. This site was 0.5 miles (0.80 km) from, and 70 feet (21 m) above the sea shore, and had involved considerable excavation work to create a reasonable gradient from Patcham Tunnel.
The passenger station was a three-storey building in an Italianate style, designed by David Mocatta in 1839–40 which incorporated the head office of the railway company. (This building still stands but has been largely obscured by later additions.) The station is said to have many similarities to the Nine Elms railway station of the London and Southampton Railway (1838) designed by Sir William Tite. Baker & Son were paid £9766 15s for the station building between May and August 1841. The platform accommodation was built by John Urpeth Rastrick and consisted of four pitched roofs each 250 ft long (76 m). It opened for trains to Shoreham on 11 May 1840, and in September 1841 for trains to London.
The station site was extended for the opening of the Brighton Lewes and Hastings Railway in June 1846 (which had been purchased by the L&BR in 1845). In July 1846, the L&BR merged with other railways to form the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway.
Further extensions to the station occurred during the mid-19th century but only a limited number of additional platforms could be added because of the awkward sloping site. By the late 1870s the facilities were inadequate for the growing volume of traffic and so the existing platforms were lengthened to be able to accommodate two trains, and the three separate roofs were replaced by an overall roof during 1882/1883.
The station has an impressive large double-spanned curved glass and iron roof covering all of the platforms, which was substantially renovated in 1999 and 2000.
At the front of the station is a taxi rank and a bus station. A tunnel runs under the station which once provided an open-air cab run at a shallower gradient than Trafalgar Street outside, which had been the main approach to the station before the construction of Queen's Road (which was financially supported by the railway, and intended to improve access). The cab run was covered (forming a tunnel) when the station above was extended over it on cast iron columns. The cab run remains in situ but has been sealed at the station end.
A goods station and yard was also constructed on the eastern side of the passenger station but on a site 30 ft lower (9.1 m) due to the sloping site, which was initially accessed from the Shoreham line by a second tunnel under the passenger station. The tunnel entrance was filled in after new tracks were laid into the goods yard, but a portion of it was converted into offices during World War II, and these were in use until the early 21st century. (A portion of the tunnel is still used by a local rifle club.) The site of the goods yard has since been redeveloped, and much of it forms the New England Quarter.
To the north of the station, on the east side of the main line, the railway constructed its locomotive and carriage works, which operated from 1841 until 1911, when the carriage works was moved to Lancing and 1957 when the locomotive works closed. Thereafter Isetta cars were briefly built in a part of the works.
The London and Brighton Railway opened a small locomotive shed and servicing facility to the north west of the station for locomotives on the Shoreham line, in May 1840, and another, adjacent to the locomotive works for main line locomotives, the following year. During 1860–1861 John Chester Craven, the Locomotive Superintendent of the London Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) began the removal of a large chalk hill to the north of the station, which had been dumped during the excavation of the main line. The space created was used to accommodate a new much enlarged motive power depot in 1861, replacing the two existing facilities. During the early 1930s, following the electrification of the lines the steam motive power depot was rebuilt and reduced in size. It was closed 15 June 1961, but remained in use for stabling steam locomotives until 1964, and was demolished in 1966.
The site is currently the Network Rail's ECR and infrastructure maintenance depot, and Southern's Lovers Walk Depot, used for servicing most of Southern's single voltage Class 377 Electrostar fleet and their newly acquired Class 442s and Class 313s.
Brighton station was listed at Grade II* on 30 April 1973. As of February 2001, it was one of 70 Grade II*-listed buildings and structures, and 1,218 listed buildings of all grades, in the city of Brighton and Hove.
The station has 8 platforms, numbered 1 to 8 from left to right when looking from the main entrance. All platforms are long enough to accommodate 12-car trains.
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
Brighton Main Line
(Preston Park or
Hassocks at peak times)
|Preston Park or
Burgess Hill or
Brighton Main Line
East Coastway Line
West Coastway Line
|Great Western Railway
West Coastway Line
The typical off-peak service from Brighton on the Brighton Main Line is:
The typical off-peak service from Brighton on the West Coastway Line is:
The typical off-peak service from Brighton on the East Coastway Line is:
All services on this line are operated by Southern.
By 2018, new services from Brighton will be introduced to destinations north of central London (alongside the current services to Bedford). In May 2014, a proposed timetable has been released; it is planned that:
In September 2016, a new proposed timetable has been released. The planned service pattern from Brighton has remained largely unchanged, although Thameslink is also considering extending the Cambridge services to the new Cambridge North station.
The following companies have served Brighton in the past:
Until 1967 a service operated between Brighton and Birkenhead Woodside via Redhill, Reading, Oxford, Birmingham Snow Hill, Wolverhampton Low Level, Shrewsbury and Chester. The stock was provided on alternate days by British Railways successors to the Southern Railway and the Great Western Railway being the Southern Region and Western Region.
South West Trains used to operate regular services from this station, to Reading and Paignton, via Worthing and Chichester. These services were withdrawn on 10 December 2007 because of new franchise obligations, and South West Trains no longer operate any services from Brighton.
CrossCountry also served Brighton, with services to Birmingham New Street and beyond. These services were withdrawn from the December 2008 timetable change, as they were no longer required by the new franchise.
Football matches at the Falmer Stadium are served by train services from Brighton to Falmer. A queuing system is in operation from 2 hours before kick off for trains departing from platforms 7 and 8. The stadium's 30,750 capacity means these queues are large close to kick off, and trains depart full and standing. After the game, fans leave the station via the emergency gates, and a queuing system is in operation for West Coastway Line services departing from platforms 1 and 2. Due to the high numbers of passengers and inadequate capacity these trains are normally also full with people standing.
The Lewes Bonfire night, usually on 5 November, attracts large numbers of people, many travelling through Brighton station. As a result, Southern operate a queuing system from the afternoon onwards.
The London to Brighton Bike Ride in June each year attracts large numbers of cyclists. As a result, Southern ban bicycles from many trains on the day, and on the following day they operate a queuing system at Brighton station. The train operators had in the past allowed bicycles on trains for the many cyclists returning to London.
Passenger facilities include a ticket office, a travel information office, and several retail outlets. There are bus stops, a taxi rank, a car park and bicycle storage. Facilities for cyclists were extended in 2014 when a "cycle hub" was built at the rear entrance to the station. The three-storey building combines storage space for 500 bicycles with shops to buy or hire a bicycle, a repair facility, toilets, showers, changing facilities and a café. It is open 24 hours a day and storage is free of charge; most funding came from the Department for Transport (£500,000), Network Rail (£200,000), local rail operator Southern and the city council (£100,000 each).
This section needs to be updated.(April 2012)
In 2012 £4.5 million was secured from the Department for Transport’s Station Commercial Project Facility for renovation of the concourse. Changes include more automated ticket gates, a new travel and ticket centre, a new information booth, a new passenger lounge with cafe, relocation of the ticket machines and ATM's and changed layout of the station.
The concourse includes a Marks & Spencer, WH Smiths, doodle, The Cyclist café bar, The Waiting room café and other food and retail outlets. The front of the station often sees stalls and street food vans.
LB&SCR "Terrier" steam engine British Railways No. 32635 Brighton Works in June 1961
The Brighton Belle electric train nears Brighton Station in June 1961
Earlswood hit the platform buffers
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