When was Huntingdon Station "downgraded"?

Discussion in 'Railway History & Nostalgia' started by tom73, 15 Nov 2019.

  1. tom73

    tom73 Member

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    As far as I know, up until the 1970's or so, some "Inter City" trains out of King's Cross called at Huntingdon. On occasions this allowed a faster limited stop service to overtake. When did this come to an end with Huntingdon becoming a "local outer suburban" station?
     
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  3. Sad Sprinter

    Sad Sprinter Member

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    Electrification I think. 125s stopped there in 1988 I’m sure.
     
  4. Aictos

    Aictos Established Member

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    I believe that’s right as you had the Huntingdon to Hitchin DMUs so they stopped the IC services at Huntingdon to provide connections from Peterborough to Huntingdon - I await to be corrected though.
     
  5. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Yes, electrification. IIRC the wires reached Huntingdon in late 1987, and that’s when the first ‘commuter’ services started running with EMUs. I think it became permanent in the summer ‘88 timetable.
     
  6. Mag_seven

    Mag_seven Established Member

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    The first Kings Cross-Edinburgh service of the day used to stop at Huntingdon in GNER days I'm sure.
     
  7. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

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    Consulting timetables (weekdays)

    October 1988
    0605 King's Cross-Aberdeen (called at 0646)
    0650 King's Cross-Leeds (0731)
    2100 & 2315 King's Cross-Leeds (2137 & 2352)
    0619 Grimsby Town(!) - King's Cross (at 0831) - "The Humber-Lincs" via Lincoln
    2103 Leeds-King's Cross (at 2300)


    May 1993
    0600 Kings Cross-Edinburgh (called at 0643)
    2015 Leeds-Kings Cross (called at 2203)

    Nothing in September 1997 or May 1998.

    Though I could swear I recall a late ICEC/early GNER timetable c.1996 with a call...


    (Off topic, but the May 1998 TT reveals GNER ran, Fridays only, a 2000 Glasgow Central-King's Cross...arriving 0310 Saturday morning!)
     
    Last edited: 15 Nov 2019
  8. Southern Dvr

    Southern Dvr Member

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    Wasn’t a rather influential Conservative MP resident there which I think had something to do with its Intercity status for a time.
     
  9. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

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    It also temporarily got a service again in the post-May 2018 timetable disruption when (IIRC), the first morning Up VTEC/LNER train called - can't recall if it was for staff or schoolkids.
     
  10. RLBH

    RLBH Member

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    John Major was the MP for Huntingdon, and still lives in the area. I would certainly be inclined to count him as influential in the late 1980s.
     
  11. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Unless the 0831 fast to London was his work, not very effective!
    Before the full HST timetable was introduced, the Deltic plus 8 York stoppers served Huntingdon, and there were one or l/h Peterborough commuter trains nonstop or nearly so to Hunts.
    But electrification removed those!
     
  12. Arglwydd Golau

    Arglwydd Golau Established Member

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    I recall catching the Deltic-hauled stoppers in the late 1970's travelling from West Yorkshire to St. Neot's, memory plays tricks, but if they originated from York I must have changed at Doncaster. Presumably these were the Deltic's last hurrah. Early morning and evening loco-hauled Peterborough trains called also at St. Neot's, Sandy, Biggleswade and Hitchin
     
  13. tom73

    tom73 Member

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    Are you certain it was Grimsby Town and not Cleethorpes? Nowhere to reverse a full length train (locomotive + carriages) at Grimsby Town at that time, and all the 50's/60/early 70's direct trains to/from London went on to or started from Cleethorpes.
     
  14. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

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    Was looking at Table 26, which didn't show a line for Cleethorpes...will double check in one of the local timetables.
     
  15. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

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    Just checked, and it did indeed start from Cleethorpes at 0612. Shown as an HST.
     
  16. lordbusiness

    lordbusiness Member

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    I grew up in Huntingdon and went to school at Hinchinbrooke which started my interest in trains as the Lower School was the opposite side of what is now the northbound car park.
    IIRC around 77/78 we had Cleethorpes and Leeds stoppers northbound, mainly 47/4's, (usually FP and GD with the occasional HO). I haven't a clue where the southbound ones came from but assume the same. I don't ever recall direct trains to York but there may have been a few- every time I went to York we always changed at PBO. Deltics stopped less frequently until the HST came along. There was also a smattering of 31 hauled stoppers with Mk1's, presumably only going from/to PBO in the morning and evening peaks. 40's and 46's were also quite common but I never remember seeing one stop at Huntingdon. There was a northbound stopper around 0850 - just before the bell rang for school that often produced a more exotic foreign 47- CD and even an LE allocated on more than one occasion (?)

    Freight was mainly 31's with a handful of 47/0's, 40's and 25's.

    The favourite train for London spotting trips was a PBO- KX which left Huntindon at about 0750 and got to KX about 0900 with one stop at St.Neots unless my memory is failing.
    I remember the DMU services to Hitchin all too well- to be avoided at all costs if on a spotting trip to the smoke although I vaguely remember taking one all the way to Welwyn GC to see the 313's when they first came in.

    As mentioned before, the end came when electrification arrived and the 312's took over.
     
  17. Arglwydd Golau

    Arglwydd Golau Established Member

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    Yes, I remember the original school next to the railway line. persuaded the Maths master to let us out early one day in 1968 to allow us to watch 'Flying Scotsman' go through on the non-stop run to Edinburgh. (Also remember being 'done' by the Latin master for having a half-pint in the Station Buffet)
    The 07h50 was a convenient service to London from St. Neot's (about 08h10) where I lived, in my day it also stopped at Sandy, Biggleswade and Hitchin. The DMU's seemed slow after a good run to Hitchin on the Cambridge train.
     
  18. lordbusiness

    lordbusiness Member

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    I haven't used Huntingdon for many years but that buffet was a good one- proper one with a bit of Character. Did it not burn down a couple of years ago?
     
  19. superjohn

    superjohn Member

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    Not quite. Around 2005 a rival coffee outlet opened on the platform. This was subject to an arson attack which spread to the main station building and caused considerable damage. The original buffet survived and remained open until 2017 when the owners retired. Being independent it was certainly different to the usual station offerings. The coffee was certainly an ‘acquired taste’ but their bacon sandwiches were very welcome on cold mornings.

    Back to the original subject. I recall the last Intercity calls being the 0600 ex Kings Cross and the previously mentioned Cleethorpes up train which called around 0834. I think these lasted up until privatisation.
     
  20. Arglwydd Golau

    Arglwydd Golau Established Member

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    Thanks for that comment, superjohn! I can only recall the old station before it was rebuilt. I think the last train that I caught from Huntingdon was an overnight train to Newcastle in 1981...incidentally, I presume it was rebuilt when the wires reached Huntingdon?
     
  21. malc-c

    malc-c Member

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    Not sure if it has any bearing on this thread, but I found this information on the net regarding Sandy station, which was rebuild so that only the slow lines were served by the platforms

    My thinking is that if you are remodelling one station in that area, then its quite possible that Huntingdon and possibly Biggleswade (needs researching) may have been re-organised around the same time ?
     
  22. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    ISTR Arlesey was the other bottleneck, the situation here being helped by the station’s closure at the time. Unthinkable today that Arlesey closed, being both a railhead and a reasonable sized town in its own right.
     
  23. 30907

    30907 Established Member

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    Biggleswade was quadrupled in 1901 according to Wikipedia (I would have guessed in LNER days, ditto St Neots, but anyway well before electrification).
     
  24. A0wen

    A0wen Established Member

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    Arlesey's not really a town - a big village perhaps, with a population of 5000. I can get why it closed, that area north of Hitchin used to be quite rural though by the 80s you were seeing a growth in commuter traffic and for places like Shefford or Stotfold it meant heading to Baldock, Biggleswade, Hitchin or Stevenage to connect with the train - Arlesey addressed that quite nicely being situated just off the A 507.
     
  25. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

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    I also know some people from Letchworth/Baldock railhead to Arlesey to head north too.
     

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