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Brighton station


Brighton station

This article is about the railway station in England. For the New York City Subway station, see Brighton Beach (BMT Brighton Line).
Brighton Template:R-I Template:R-I
Station concourse
Place Brighton
Local authority Brighton and Hove, East Sussex

50°49′44″N 0°08′28″W / 50.8288°N 0.1411°W / 50.8288; -0.1411Coordinates: 50°49′44″N 0°08′28″W / 50.8288°N 0.1411°W / 50.8288; -0.1411

Grid reference TQ310049
Station code BTN
Managed by Southern
Owned by Network Rail
Number of platforms 8
station information
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2004/05  11.295 million
2005/06 Increase 11.855 million
2006/07 Increase 12.853 million
2007/08 Increase 13.475 million
2008/09 Increase 13.807 million
2009/10 Decrease 13.742 million
2010/11 Increase 14.493 million
2011/12 Increase 16.051 million
Opened 11 May 1840 (11 May 1840)
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Brighton from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
UK Railways portal

Brighton railway station is the principal railway station in the city of Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, on the south coast of the United Kingdom. The station 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 51 miles (82 km) to the north, and to 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 between April 2011 and March 2012, Brighton is the seventh-busiest station in the UK outside London.[1] It is managed by Southern.

History and development

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 a half-mile from, and seventy feet above the sea shore, and had involved considerable excavation work to create a reasonable gradient from Patcham Tunnel.[2]

Passenger station

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 platform accommodation was built by John Urpeth Rastrick and consisted of four pitched roofs each 250 ft long (76 m).[3] It opened for trains to Shoreham on 11 May 1840, and in September 1841 for trains to London.[4]

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 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 currently has a large double-spanned curved glass and iron roof covering the platforms, which was substantially renovated in 1999 and 2000.[5]

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.

Goods station and yard

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.

Locomotive and carriage works

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.

Locomotive depot

The London and Brighton Railway opened a small locomotive shed and servicing facility at 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.[6] 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.[7][8] During the early 1930s, following the electrification of the lines the steam motive power depot was rebuilt and reduced in size.[7] 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.

Listed status

Brighton station was listed at Grade II* on 30 April 1973.[9] 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.[10]

Operating companies

Trains are operated by franchises trading under the names:

Former operators

Until 1967 a service operated between Brighton and Birkenhead Woodside via Redhill, Reading, Oxford, Birmingham Snow Hill, Shrewsbury and Wrexham General. The stock was provided on alternate days by successors to the Southern Railway and the Great Western.


The station provides fast and frequent connections to Gatwick Airport railway station and London Victoria, as well via the Thameslink route[11] through Central London via London Bridge, Blackfriars and London St Pancras International to Bedford. During normal service, most trains to (and through) London use the Brighton main line to get there. Some trains also run via Salisbury and Bristol on the Wessex Main Line, avoiding the need to change trains in central London. Trains to Lewes and beyond leave Brighton station over the London Road viaduct.

CrossCountry no longer operate from Brighton as of 14 December 2008 timetable change. Any passengers for Birmingham and the North must now go through Central London or change at East Croydon and Watford Junction. Alternatively passengers could travel to Southampton Central and take the CrossCountry services to either Manchester Piccadilly, Newcastle or Bournemouth.

South West Trains also used to operate regular services from this station, to Reading and Paignton, via Worthing and Chichester. These services were withdrawn on 10 December 2007, due to new franchise obligations and South West Trains no longer operate any services from Brighton. This has caused some disruption to commuters as there are now no direct services from Brighton to Basingstoke and Winchester.

Typical hourly off-peak service pattern

Weekdays and Weekends

    • 2tph to London Victoria (express) – Southern
    • 1tph to London Victoria (stopping) – Southern


  • PEAK TIMES ONLY trains to London Victoria (Stopping or Express) via Haywards Heath Gatwick Express
  • PEAK TIMES ONLY trains to Gatwick Airport (Stopping or Express) via Haywards Heath Gatwick Express
  • West Coastway Line
    • 2tph to West Worthing (stopping) – Southern
    • 2tph to Hove (to connect with semi-fast services from London Victoria to Littlehampton) Southern
    • 1tph to Southampton Central (semi-fast to Chichester) – Southern
  • 1tph to Portsmouth Harbour (semi-fast) – Southern

(tph = trains per hour)

Preceding station National Rail Following station
Terminus   Southern
West Coastway
Preston Park
or Hassocks or
East Croydon
East Coastway Stopping
London Road
East Coastway Fast
Terminus style="background:#Template:FCC colour; border-top:solid 1px gray; " |   First Capital Connect
style="background:#Template:FCC colour;border-top:solid 1px gray; " |   Preston Park
or Hassocks or
Haywards Heath
Terminus   First Great Western
Great Malvern / Worcester Shrub Hill – Brighton
Terminus style="background:#Template:GatExp colour; border-top:solid 1px gray; " |   Southern
Gatwick Express
Peak Times Only
style="background:#Template:GatExp colour;border-top:solid 1px gray; " |   Preston Park
Disused railways
Shoreham   British Rail
Southern Region

Steyning Line

Disruptions to services from the station

Due to football matches at the American Express Community Stadium being 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 also in operation for West Coastway Line services departing from platforms 1 and 2. Again due to the high volume of people these trains are normally full and 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.[12]

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.[13] The train operators had in the past allowed bicycles on trains for the many cyclists returning to London.[14]


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


On 4 August 1909, a motor-train hauled by Terrier No.83 Earlswood collided with the buffers at Brighton, due to the driver's error. Nineteen people were injured.[15]


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