Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

A question, especially for tweeters

Posted in Other general stuff about railways by Chairman Pip on 28 January 2011

While I can’t speak for everybody, I personally am quite fond of editing Wikipedia. Say what you like, but (given the line of business I’m in) I often say that, provided what you’re reading is referenced, Wikipedia is a good resource if you want to look for background on a topic. Obviously, adding bits to the railways is something I’m especially fond of doing, but I’ve noticed that what you do can end up being a source of controversy. For example, before construction of even the first vehicle had started, I began a page for London Overground’s Class 378, getting the name from a leaflet that featured a computer generated impression of the new train with the unit number “378 000” displayed prominently. Well, the grief I had to go through convincing people of the legitimacy of the Class 378 name was nobody’s business. Indeed, you can read the full contents of the debate when my article was nominated for deletion here. Fortunately, I was able to find more evidence that convinced most people, although I think that a few were just spoiling for an argument. Similarly there was the debate over this template, which is a box allowing easy navigation between related articles (in this case the various TOCs). Given that it is called “Current UK TOCs”, it seems logical to have both NI Railways and Enterprise on it, with notes explaining that they both operate on the physically and geographically seperate Irish network. The the amount of tooing and froing that led to a final, acceptable to all version caused a lot of grief. Which leads me to a question that (I hope) I’ll get some responses to. In your opinion, what counts as a major railway station? To me, there are a number of factors that could be considered:

  1. The physical area of the facility – how many platforms does it have?
  2. Where it is located – is it in a major city?
  3. Its position on the network – is it a major terminus or a calling point for services to a large number of destinations?
  4. Number of passengers – how many people actually use the station?
  5. Transport interchange – is there a direct connection to a metro/light rail service?

I ask this because there is a navigation box on Wikipedia entitled “Major railway stations in Britain“, which again has been the subject of a large amount of debate. For example, it used to be called “Major railway stations of the United Kingdom”, so, logically (in my view) I added both Belfast Central and Belfast Great Victoria Street, as these could well fit into the second and third factors listed above – Belfast Central is the northern terminus for Enterprise’s services from Dublin, while the majority of local and regional services either terminate at, or at least stop at, Great Victoria Street. However, a view was taken that this particular box should only cover the British network, hence my creation of a new navigation box entitled “Major railway stations in Northern Ireland“. However, even with this source of discord removed, certain people seem to have cast iron views about what should be included on this particular template, and what should not be. For example, I’ve spoken before about the idea of the “second city”, and which of the United Kingdom’s other major centres have the right to claim this moniker. Birmingham, given that it has traditionally held the title, can certainly be considered. Birmingham New Street, as we know, is certainly one of the country’s major stations serving as it does as the crossroads for much of the cross-country network. But there are two other rail termini in Birmingham, both of which serve as the terminus for inter-city services from London, and which also have a large degree of local services. Birmingham Moor Street has recently had two of its terminal platforms re-opened and will become a terminus for both for services from both London and Leamington Spa, while Birmingham Snow Hill is the major terminus for Chiltern Railways, and also is the terminus for Midland Metro. Yet this apparently is not deemed sufficient for inclusion. On the flip side however, Cardiff Queen Street, which admittedly is the nexus of the Valley Lines network, is a station that is smaller than both Moor Street and Snow Hill, has fewer users than both and is not a metro interchange, does warrant inclusion. If this is to be taken as an example of a major station, then surely one like Lewisham is worthy of inclusion, as it serves as the hub of the majority of commuter services into north Kent? Similarly, Southampton Central is worthy of inclusion, but Leicester (similarly sized, and with a number of services through to many different destinations) is not. Do City Thameslink and Waterloo East count as “major stations”? Are there any that should be included and aren’t?

Are there stations that potentially should be included? Which of these should not be included?


One Response

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  1. john said, on 28 January 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I would suggest a major station is one that has

    services to a wide range of destinations – including “inter-city” services
    offers a range of facilities to users – refreshments/retail/ticket office open most of operating hours
    is heavily used throughout the day and not just in the morning/evening peak
    is used by at least 10,000 pass a day (say 3.5m a year) none season ticket holders

    which would give you the following list

    London Waterloo
    London Victoria
    London St.Pancras & King’s Cross Thameslink
    Clapham Junction
    London Liverpool Street
    London Bridge
    London Euston
    London King’s Cross
    Manchester Piccadilly
    London Paddington
    London Charing Cross
    East Croydon
    Gatwick Airport
    Birmingham New Street
    Glasgow Central
    Glasgow Queen Street
    Cardiff Central
    London Marylebone
    Bristol Temple Meads
    London Fenchurch Street
    Stansted Airport
    Southampton Central
    Liverpool Lime Street
    London Blackfriars
    Watford Junction
    Bath Spa

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