Marylebone station

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Template:Use dmy dates Template:Use British English Template:Infobox London station Marylebone station (Template:IPAc-en Template:Respell), also known as London Marylebone, is a central London railway terminus and London Underground complex. It stands midway between the mainline stations at Euston and Paddington, about 1 mile (1.6 km) from each. Originally the London terminus of the former Great Central Main Line to Sheffield and Manchester, which was closed north of Aylesbury in 1966, it now serves as the terminus of the Chiltern Main Line route to Birmingham.

Opened in 1899, it is the youngest of London's mainline terminal stations, and also one of the smallest, having opened with half the number of platforms originally planned. It is also the only London terminal station to host only diesel trains, having no electrified lines. From 1967 for many years it was served only by diesel multiple-unit trains (DMUs). It now once again also sees locomotive-hauled trains daily.

Two new platforms were added in 2006 to accommodate increases in services and passengers. Marylebone is in Travelcard Zone 1.


The station stands just off Marylebone Road, a major thoroughfare in the Marylebone area of central London. Nearby attractions include Regents Park, Lord's Cricket Ground, Baker Street and Madame Tussauds.

National Rail

The mainline station has six platforms; two originally built in 1899, two inserted into the former carriage road, and two built in September 2006. It is the only non-electrified terminal in London. Marylebone is operated by Chiltern Railways (part of Deutsche Bahn AG), making it the only London terminal station not to be managed by Network Rail.

Chiltern Railways operates all services at the station, using the Chiltern Main Line and London to Aylesbury Line routes; these serve Template:Stnlnk, Template:Stnlnk, Bicester, Template:Stnlnk, Template:Stnlnk, Template:Stnlnk, Template:Rws, Birmingham Moor Street, Birmingham Snow Hill, and (at peak hours) Template:Rws and Template:Stnlnk. There are also services to Template:Stnlnk via the Leamington to Stratford branch line.


Pre 1958 – GCR and LNER

File:Marylebone station 01.jpg
Its domestic scale fits H.W. Braddock's English Renaissance Marylebone Station (1899) unobtrusively into its urban context.

The station was opened on 15 March 1899 and was the terminus of the Great Central Railway's new London extension main line — the last major railway line to be built into London until High Speed 1. The designer was Henry William Braddock, a civil engineer for the Great Central Railway. The design is in a modest, uninflated domestic version of the "Wrenaissance" revival style that owed some of its popularity to work by Norman Shaw; it harmonises with the residential surroundings with Dutch gables, employing warm brick and cream-coloured stone.

Original plans for Marylebone show an eight-platform station, but with half of the platforms designated as a 'possible future extension'. The cost of building the GCR was far higher than expected, nearly bankrupting the company. Thus there was never enough money for the extra platforms, and only four platforms were built, three within the train shed and one west of the train shed (platform 4). As a result the concourse is unusually long and, for some 50 years, had only three walls, the northern wall being missing, since the GCR anticipated that the other four platforms, under an extended train shed, would be built later on. The cost of the London Extension also meant that the adjoining Great Central Hotel was built by a different company.

File:A down Manchester express waiting to leave Marylebone Station -2276174.jpg
Manchester bound express waiting at Maryebone in 1956, headed by an A3 Pacific

The Great Central Railway linked London to Template:Rws, Template:Rws, Rugby, Leicester, Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester. Local services from northwest Middlesex, High Wycombe and Aylesbury also terminated at Marylebone.

Passenger traffic on the GCR was never heavy, perhaps because it was the last main line to be built, which meant it had difficulty competing against longer-established rivals (especially the Midland Railway and its terminal St Pancras) for the lucrative intercity passenger business. Furthermore, for Template:Convert between Aylesbury and Rugby the line traversed thinly-populated countryside, thus attracting little passenger business at intermediate stations. The GCR also struggled to compete with the Metropolitan Railway for 2nd- and 3rd-class traffic from nearby towns such as Harrow, Chesham and Aylesbury. However, the GCR had the upper hand on 1st-class travel between these towns, being quick, reliable and luxurious compared to the Met. Due to low passenger traffic, Marylebone was considered the quietest and most pleasant of London's termini. In 1903 there were only 14 daily passenger arrivals.<ref name=1899-1999>Template:Cite book</ref>

While passenger traffic was sparse, the line was heavily used for freight, especially coal, and goods trains ran from the north and East Midlands to the former Marylebone freight depot which used to adjoin the station. The heyday of the line was between 1923, when the GCR was absorbed into the LNER<ref name="">Template:Cite web</ref> and 1948, when the LNER was nationalised to form the British Rail Eastern Region.<ref name=""/> As a result many prestigious locomotives, such as Flying Scotsman, Sir Nigel Gresley, and Mallard which ran on the East Coast Main Line, were also frequent visitors to the line. Special trains also ran on the line to destinations such as Scotland.

1958 to 1966 – the cuts

The Great Central Main Line was regarded as a duplicate of the Midland Main Line, and long-distance trains from Marylebone began to be scaled back from 1958, leading to the eventual closure of the Great Central Main Line north of Aylesbury, as part of the Beeching Axe in 1966. The rundown of services began after the line was transferred from BR's Eastern Region to the London Midland Region (although Marylebone itself, and the first few miles of its route, had belonged to the Western Region since 1950), In 1958, the Master Cutler, the line's daily crack London-Sheffield express, was diverted to Template:Stnlnk and thenceforth ran via the East Coast Main Line. In 1960 all Express services were discontinued. From then until closure in 1966 only a few daily long-distance "semi-fast" services to Nottingham remained, mainly steam-hauled by LMR 'Black 5s'.<ref name=""/> In 1965 freight services were curtailed.<ref name=""/> Marylebone's large goods yard was closed and sold to the Greater London Council for housing.<ref name=1899-1999/>

Following the removal of long-distance services, Marylebone was reduced to serving as the terminus for local services to Aylesbury and High Wycombe only, with some services extended to Template:Stnlink, which were switched to diesel multiple unit (DMU) operation following the phasing out of steam.<ref name=1899-1999/>

1983 closure proposals

After the 1960s, lack of investment meant that the local services and the station itself became increasingly run down. Marylebone became the best place in London to see heritage trains. By the early 1980s Marylebone was under serious threat of closure. In 1983 British Rail chairman Peter Parker commissioned a report into the possibility of converting Marylebone into a 'high-speed bus way', whereby Marylebone would be converted into a coach station, The tracks between Marylebone and Harrow-on-the-Hill and South Ruislip would have been closed, and partly converted into a road for the exclusive use of buses and coaches. As part of this proposal, British Rail services via High Wycombe would have been diverted into nearby Paddington, and the Aylesbury services would have been taken over by London Underground as part of an extended Metropolitan Line, and then routed to Baker Street. These proposals were seriously considered, and closure notices were posted at Marylebone in 1984. The closure proposals proved controversial, and faced strong opposition from local authorities. However they ultimately proved to be impractical and were quietly dropped.<ref name=1899-1999/>

1986 onwards – success

File:Marylebone station (8074619312).jpg
The main trainshed at Marylebone in 2012, with platforms 1-3.

A major turnaround in the station's fortunes occurred in the late 1980s, when the station came under the control of the Network SouthEast sector of British Rail. A sharp rise in the number of commuters into London absorbed the spare capacity at Paddington and Baker Street stations, eliminating the possibility of Marylebone's services being diverted to these stations. Marylebone was given a formal reprieve from the threat of closure in 1986, and a large modernisation programme of the station and its services ensued. The station was given an £85 million-pound facelift, and the run-down lines running into Marylebone were extensively modernised. The fleet of elderly Class 115 trains on the local services was replaced by a modern fleet of Class 165 Turbo trains, and service frequencies were increased. In 1993 services to Banbury were extended to the reopened Template:Stnlnk, creating the first long-distance service into Marylebone since 1966.<ref name=1899-1999/>

Upon rail privatisation in 1996, Chiltern Railways took over the rail services. Chiltern trains took over and developed the interurban service to Birmingham Snow Hill. To cope with Chiltern Railways' success over the last ten years and with increased passenger numbers, a new platform (platform 6) was inaugurated in May 2006. This was part of Chiltern's £70-million project Evergreen 2. Platform 5 and the shortened platform 4 opened in September 2006. The canopies on platforms 5 & 6 were built in a similar style to the canopy on the original platform 4, demolished in the 1980s. A new depot has been opened near Wembley Stadium railway station to compensate for the closure of Marylebone's station sidings and to make space for the new platforms. Some services from Marylebone have been extended beyond Birmingham to Kidderminster.

File:Marylebone Station Platforms - - 547698.jpg
The platforms at Marylebone, with the new platforms 5 & 6 at the right.

In late January 2006, a new company was formed called Wrexham & Shropshire. In September 2007, the Office of Rail Regulation granted it permission to operate services from Wrexham (in North Wales) via Template:Stnlnk, Telford and the West Midlands to Marylebone; these started in early 2008, restoring direct London services to Shropshire (Wrexham already being served by a Virgin Trains service to Euston), with five return trips per day on weekdays. This was reduced to four trains a day in March 2009. These services ceased on 28 January 2011.

The main line leads out of the station northwards, immediately passing under Rossmore Road (from which the carriage road used to descend); over the Regent's Canal; and into a long series of cut-and-cover tunnels, crossing the LNWR main line from Euston at right angles and eventually turning sharply north-west to emerge at the south side of the West Hampstead rail complex.

In 2011, when Chiltern Railways took over the Template:Stnlnk to Template:Stnlnk route from First Great Western, it decided to create a link from the Chiltern Main Line to the Varsity Line (the railway where Bicester Town station is located) to start a twice-per-hour service from London Marylebone to Oxford. The construction was to start in 2011, but a problem with bats roosting in one of the tunnels on the Varsity line delayed the approval. Later in 2012, when the problem was resolved, construction started. Chiltern Railways estimates that it will start services in 2015.Template:Citation needed


File:Exit of Marylebone station.JPG
Main exit out of Marylebone station

Chiltern Railways has suggested that it has a long-term aspiration to reopen the Great Central Main Line between Aylesbury and Rugby and, if successful, Leicester. The possibility of reopening the line between Princes Risborough and Oxford has also been examined but rejected. Chiltern Railways has confirmed that instead its connection to Oxford will be by building a short connection at Bicester to link the Chiltern Main Line with the Varsity Line. In February 2009 consultation and planning stages started with a firm commitment made to progress the scheme despite the recent economic downturn. In January 2010 it was announced that the project would certainly go ahead. The public enquiry is expected to reach a recommendation on the transport and works order and a decision made in 2011. At the same time (2010–2013), line speeds have been and will be increased from Marylebone to Birmingham: £250 million is being invested.

Marylebone station concourse at night photographed in December 2008

In December 2008, a proposal was made for the return of direct services between Aberystwyth in mid-Wales and London, which last ran in 1991, with Marylebone proposed as the London terminus. Arriva Trains Wales announced a consultation for two services a day, following the route of the WSMR connecting with the Cambrian line at Shrewsbury. This idea has now been abandoned following objections by Wrexham & Shropshire.

It is possible that in the future a new station may be constructed on the main line out of Marylebone. There is currently a large gap north of Marylebone until trains reach either Wembley Stadium or Harrow-on-the-Hill. The new station is most likely to be at West Hampstead. It could be made an interchange with the Metropolitan line, which also has a large gap between stations.


Monday-Friday (off-peak)

  • 2 trains per hour (tph) to/from Birmingham (one fast, first stop Bicester North, and one semi-fast, first stop High Wycombe).
  • 1tph to/from Banbury (semi-fast, first stop High Wycombe). Some extend to Stratford-upon-Avon.
  • 1tph to/from Bicester North (semi-fast, first stop Gerrards Cross)
  • 1tph to/from Princes Risborough (semi-fast, first stop Gerrards Cross)
  • 1tph to/from High Wycombe (stopping service)
  • 1tph to/from Gerrards Cross (stopping service)
  • 2tph to/from Aylesbury (via Amersham). One of these services in each hour continues on to serve Aylesbury Vale Parkway

Additional services run in the peak hours, and some Birmingham trains extend to Kidderminster or Stourbridge Junction. In the evenings there are direct services to Aylesbury via High Wycombe. Template:Rail start Template:Rail line three to one Template:Rail line Template:Future Rail Insert Template:Rail line Template:S-end

Locomotive servicing facilities

The GCR constructed a small engine shed at the site in 1897, which did not survive for long. However, a locomotive servicing area nearby, consisting of turntable and coaling stage remained in use until the end of steam traction at the station in 1966. The area was allocated the shed code 14F until 1963, then 1D. The turntable remained in situ until the mid-1980s.

Station facilities

The station concourse contains a small selection of shops, notable examples being Marks and Spencer, Burger King and WH Smiths. There are also four cashpoints, a barber, a flower shop, a public house called the Victoria & Albert, and office space and meeting rooms.

Toilet facilities have recently been refurbished and, as of July 2009, these cost 30p to use.

London Underground

Template:Infobox London station The underground station is served by the Bakerloo Line. It is between Baker Street and Edgware Road stations and is in Travelcard Zone 1. Access is via a set of escalators from the mainline station concourse, which also houses the underground station's ticket office.

Compared to some of the other London termini, the mainline station's Underground links are poor. This is because the mainline station was opened thirty-six years after the Metropolitan Railway constructed the first part of what is now the northern section of the Circle Line which bypasses the station to the south.

For mainline passengers wishing to use services on the Circle, Jubilee, Hammersmith and City or Metropolitan Lines, it may often be quicker to walk the short distance to nearby Baker Street station, than to make the journey on the Bakerloo Line and change trains there.

The underground station is accessed through a separate set of ticket barriers to the main line platforms. Until 2004 a wooden escalator led downwards into the station, one of the last left on the London Underground that had yet to be replaced with a newer metal equivalent.


The underground station was opened on 27 March 1907 by the Baker Street and Waterloo Railway under the name Great Central (following a change from the originally-intended name Lisson Grove), and was renamed Marylebone on 15 April 1917.<ref name=Rose1>Template:Cite book</ref> The original name still appears in places on the platform wall tiling, although the tiling scheme is a replacement designed to reflect the original scheme.<ref name=Rose2>Template:Cite web</ref>


The present entrance opened in 1943 following the introduction of the escalators and wartime damage to the original station building that stood to the west, at the junction of Harewood Avenue and Harewood Row. This building, designed by the Underground Electric Railways Company of London's architect, Leslie Green, had used lifts to access the platforms. It was demolished in 1971 and the site is now occupied by a budget hotel.

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Transport links

London bus routes 2, 13, 18, 27, 30, 74, 82, 113, 139, 189, 205, 274, 453 and night routes N13, N18, N74 and N113.


Use as a filming location

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  • In 1964 several scenes in The Beatles film A Hard Day's Night were filmed at Marylebone station.<ref name=1899-1999/>
  • The station appeared in an episode of Magnum, P.I. when the series was filmed around London.<ref name=filmlondon>Template:Cite web</ref>
  • The station appeared in the opening scene of the 1965 film of The IPCRESS File.<ref name=1899-1999/>
  • Marylebone station doubled for Charing Cross in the 1974 episode of Upstairs Downstairs - Women Shall Not Weep.<ref name=factfile>Template:Cite web</ref>
  • The station appeared in the BBC's spy drama Spooks, season 4, episode 1. The script pretended that it was Paddington.<ref name=filmlondon/>
  • Similarly Marylebone masqueraded as Paddington in the 1987 television adaptation of Agatha Christie's 4.50 from Paddington
  • The station appeared in the hit BBC Comedy Gavin & Stacey, branded as London Paddington.
  • The station appeared in the Dempsey and Makepeace episode 'Judgement'.
  • The station appeared in the final episode of series 2 of Green Wing.
  • The station was used as a location for an episode of Peep Show Series 4
  • The station appeared in the Doctor Who serial, Doctor Who and the Silurians.
  • The station appeared in an ITV advert for the UEFA Euro 2008 football championships.
  • The station appeared in the BBC's updated Reggie Perrin TV series, as London Paddington station. Departure screens showing trains to Birmingham - a destination still served by Marylebone, but no longer Paddington - were visible in the scenes.
  • The station is a property on the British version of the Monopoly board game.
  • In 1988 a film documentary was made about Marylebone, named Steaming Back to Marylebone which told about steam returning to the station since 1985.
  • The station appeared in the final episode of "Miranda (TV series)" series 3 - 'A Brief Encounter'.



See also

  • The Landmark London – the present name of the former Great Central Hotel


External links

Template:Commons category Template:Transport in London Template:Bakerloo line navbox Template:Railway Stations served by Chiltern Railways Template:Major railway stations in Britain