Trivia: Cardinal directions in station names

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Cdd89

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Looking at station names with cardinal directions (North, East, South or West) in them, I notice some stations have the direction after the name while others have the direction before the name.

For example, Waterloo East or Bicester North.

This seems logical to me, and is consistent with other common terms (such as "Central" or "Parkway"), but many stations also have the direction preceding the name, e.g. North Sheen or South Greenford.

At first I assumed this was because stations with the direction first inherited their name from an area (which typically have those directions first); this is the case with e.g. North Sheen. But it doesn't apply to e.g. South Greenford.

Having compared stations (and noting that deciding what qualifies is quite fuzzy!), there are 57 NR stations with the direction first, and 58 with the direction second. London Underground stations seem similarly mixed.

Are there any standards or naming conventions dictating where a direction should appear in a station name?
 
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Clearly not given that you have Upper Tyndrum but Tyndrum Lower
That's a relatively modern alteration, to avoid confusion when RETB was introduced.

Generally, Often if the direction is first, it is part of the place name (North Sheen); if it is second, it has been added to distinguish it from another station in the same town.
There are exceptions: Clayton West is a community; Gilling station served Gilling East which is many miles from Gilling West... .Both in Yorkshire as it happens, is this regional?
And the 3 Croydon and 3 Dulwich stations don't fit either!
 

jfowkes

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Wigan North Western is named for it being an LNWR station and not for its location, which is to the south of the centre (and southeast of Wigan Wallgate).
 

adrock1976

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What's it called? It's called Cumbernauld
An extreme example I can think of is Wemyss Bay, Inverclyde (West Central Scotland) with there also being a settlement called East Wemyss, Fife (East Central Scotland).

I am unsure if the Fife place name ever had a railway line or not, but it has a Kirkcaldy postcode (KY1).

Also in Inverclyde, there is a Greenock West station, Greenock Central, but no Greenock East (although Cartsdyke could pass off as East).

The southside of Glasgow has two phonetically similar East and West - Pollokshields and Pollokshaws.

On my old line (Stourbridge) in the West Midlands, there was a Smethwick West situated on the ex GWR route after diverging at Galton Junction to the west of Smethwick Rolfe Street (on the ex LNWR route to Wolverhampton). Smethwick West was previously called Smethwick Junction, but around 1972 it had ceased to be a junction station in passenger terms (the then singled line on the Birmingham Snow Hill formation was I believe for access to and from the Coopers Metals scrapyard) with the suffix changed to West. When the Stourbridge services were reinstated to Snow Hill in 1995, Galton Bridge station was built 200 yards from West station so as to provide interchange between the Wolverhampton and Stourbridge lines. Eventually, Smethwick West station was formally closed a year later, as somebody forgot to insert a clause mentioning that Galton Bridge would be a replacement for West.
 
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geoffk

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Canterbury West is almost due north of Canterbury East!
 

Highlandspring

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An extreme example I can think of is Wemyss Bay, Inverclyde (West Central Scotland) with there also being a settlement called East Wemyss, Fife (East Central Scotland).

I am unsure if the Fife place name ever had a railway line or not, but it has a Kirkcaldy postcode (KY1).
The Wemyss and Buckhaven Railway (later absorbed into the North British Railway) was a passenger carrying part of a huge colliery system called the Wemyss Private Railway with stations at West Wemyss and Wemyss Castle.

I once heard a railwayman say, as a serious suggestion during disruption, that passengers for West Kilbride could just catch a train to East Kilbride and walk or get a taxi from there.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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East London (Eastern Cape, South Africa) is nowhere near London and there is no West London nearby as far as I know.
It gets out of the confusion by also calling itself "Buffalo City" (it's on the Buffalo River), which is the name of the larger urban area.
Its Xhosa name is eMonti, and in Afrikaans it is Oos-Londen, and all the names are in common use.
 

Horizon22

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I would suggest there aren't naming conventions but offer the following suggestion for at least some of them:

Where there is a larger settlement and the stations are relatively close and limited/no pre-existing identity, the cardinal point is at the end (Bromley North / Bromley South)
Where there is a settlement that has more of an identity when the station was built or a wisher to differentiate from a central point/hub with no cardinal point, it comes at the beginning (South Greenford)

This being the UK though, its likely to have been completely arbitary!
 

Ken H

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Am I allowed to mention Central? usually not central, but on the Great Central Railway. Loughborough Central deffo wasn't Central.
 

Merle Haggard

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I found the three Shirebrook stations confusing.
The one on the former G.N. was west and slightly south of the one on the Midland (the latter is the present one) and was Shirebrook South. To the north of this, where the GN joined the LDEC, was Langwith Junction later renamed Shirebrook North. This was north west of the station on the Midland.
Logical so far...
But the ex-Midland station, east of the other two, was named Shirebrook West.
 

Mcr Warrior

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Am I allowed to mention Central? usually not central, but on the Great Central Railway. Loughborough Central deffo wasn't Central.
Is 'Central' a "cardinal" direction? Thought that they could only be North, East, South or West.
 

Harpers Tate

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I suspect the pattern is generally

If a station is (or more properly was) the only one named after a given place, then it will typically be given the name of that place exactly as it is. Huddersfield; East Grinstead; Clayton West; York are all place names.

If a station is (was) one of several name after the same place then typically it will be suffixed (and not usually prefixed) by a further identifier which may be a "cardinal direction" (Thorne North; Thorne South) or something else such as an indication of which company built it or their "pet term" (Loughborough Central; Nottingham Victoria) or a locale within the place (Pontefract Monkhill; Pontefract Baghill).
 

ComUtoR

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What about stations that have a direction in their names but aren't separated. Such as 'Northfleet' or 'Southwark' 'Westbury' 'Eastbourne' etc. ?
 

rower40

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While South Kirkby is a junction, not a station, please don’t confuse it with either Kirkby or West Kirby.
 

Merle Haggard

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Maybe worth pointing out that the use of cardinal suffices (and others, such as 'Central') were only applied after Grouping or Nationalisation.
If, say, the LNWR and MR each had a station in town 'A', then each station would just be called 'A'. But with Grouping, each would receive a suffix to distinguish, but that was only done if both stations were now in the same group. A town would still have two stations with identical names if in different 'big 4' companies. This was then changed by nationalisation; the suffices Loughborough (Midland) and Loughborough (Central)*, for example, were only added after Nationalisation.

* An example, I know they're not cardinal names...
 

D6130

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While South Kirkby is a junction, not a station, please don’t confuse it with either Kirkby or West Kirby.
....or Kirkby Stephen West (which should really have been called "Kirkby Stephen Midland")....or even Kirkby Stephen East (which maybe should have been "Kirkby Stephen Town"?) :smile:
 

tomsy47

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Whatever the reason, it creates some funny anomalies. A good one being East Dulwich, which is north of North Dulwich.
 

Calthrop

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East London (Eastern Cape, South Africa) is nowhere near London and there is no West London nearby as far as I know.
It gets out of the confusion by also calling itself "Buffalo City" (it's on the Buffalo River), which is the name of the larger urban area.
Its Xhosa name is eMonti, and in Afrikaans it is Oos-Londen, and all the names are in common use.

East London in South Africa is a good deal further east on the globe, than is England's capital city :s -- concerning such names for places in our Empire, I had long felt mildly curious about Palmerston North in New Zealand: why the "North"? Googling has just revealed that it is to distinguish this Palmerston, in NZ's North Island; from a smallish town in the South Island, not far north of Dunedin: also called Palmerston (seemingly just that, not Palmerston South -- "go figure").


Maybe worth pointing out that the use of cardinal suffices (and others, such as 'Central') were only applied after Grouping or NationalisatioIf, say, the LNWR and MR each had a station in town 'A', then each station would just be called 'A'. But with Grouping, each would receive a suffix to distinguish, but that was only done if both stations were now in the same group. A town would still have two stations with identical names if in different 'big 4' companies. This was then changed by nationalisation; the suffices Loughborough (Midland) and Loughborough (Central)*, for example, were only added after Nationalisation.


* An example, I know they're not cardinal names...

Concerning such sub-naming with "Central", of stations on the Great Central's system: a fair few of such, were indeed far from literally "central" vis-a-vis their respective towns. One such was Rugby (Central); which a friend of mine once suggested would be more suitably named Rugby (Peripheral).
 
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Taunton

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Westbury has South Junction, North Junction and East Junction. South Junction really ought to be West Junction, but that was probably felt to be too silly.
 

Sprinter107

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An extreme example I can think of is Wemyss Bay, Inverclyde (West Central Scotland) with there also being a settlement called East Wemyss, Fife (East Central Scotland).

I am unsure if the Fife place name ever had a railway line or not, but it has a Kirkcaldy postcode (KY1).

Also in Inverclyde, there is a Greenock West station, Greenock Central, but no Greenock East (although Cartsdyke could pass off as East).

The southside of Glasgow has two phonetically similar East and West - Pollokshields and Pollokshaws.

On my old line (Stourbridge) in the West Midlands, there was a Smethwick West situated on the ex GWR route after diverging at Galton Junction to the west of Smethwick Rolfe Street (on the ex LNWR route to Wolverhampton). Smethwick West was previously called Smethwick Junction, but around 1972 it had ceased to be a junction station in passenger terms (the then singled line on the Birmingham Snow Hill formation was I believe for access to and from the Coopers Metals scrapyard) with the suffix changed to West. When the Stourbridge services were reinstated to Snow Hill in 1995, Galton Bridge station was built 200 yards from West station so as to provide interchange between the Wolverhampton and Stourbridge lines. Eventually, Smethwick West station was formally closed a year later, as somebody forgot to insert a clause mentioning that Galton Bridge would be a replacement for West.
Smethwick West was renamed from Smethwick Junction in 1956. It was when the line from Smethwick Junction to Galton Junction became disused, so was no longer a junction. That line was re inststed in 1966, so once again became a junction, but the station remained as Smethwick West.
 

Calthrop

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Westbury has South Junction, North Junction and East Junction. South Junction really ought to be West Junction, but that was probably felt to be too silly.

As in "Westbury West"? I'm not so sure: the station of Louth, Lincolnshire -- on the broadly north-to-south Peterborough to Grimsby route -- had a signal box at each end: Louth North, and Louth South; which latter strikes me as rather pleasantly euphonious.
 

zwk500

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As in "Westbury West"? I'm not so sure: the station of Louth, Lincolnshire -- on the broadly north-to-south Peterborough to Grimsby route -- had a signal box at each end: Louth North, and Louth South; which latter strikes me as rather pleasantly euphonious.
If travelling from Lincoln to Peterborough via Sleaford Station you are signalled by Sleaford North, Sleaford West, Sleaford East and Sleaford South 'boxes in turn.
 

The exile

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Westbury has South Junction, North Junction and East Junction. South Junction really ought to be West Junction, but that was probably felt to be too silly.
That didn’t stop the GWR having “Box signal box” or the Midland having Junction Road Junction!
 

WesternBiker

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Concerning such sub-naming with "Central", of stations on the Great Central's system: a fair few of such, were indeed far from literally "central" vis-a-vis their respective towns. One such was Rugby (Central); which a friend of mine once suggested would be more suitably named Rugby (Peripheral).
I know it's going a bit off-topic, but I'm fascinated that BR dropped (I think in 1973?) the use of 'General' for stations. Cardiff General became Cardiff Central. Yet Reading General reverted to simply 'Reading', despite there being a 'Reading West'.

Are there any survivors apart from Wrexham General? (I presume that survived because there's also a Wrexham Central which is, much more, er central.)
 

etr221

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Looking here (OS map from the 1960s) there is community "Livingston Station" by a station - so "Livingston Station Station"?
 
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