Transport strategy
Policy Instruments

New rail stations
SummaryTaxonomy and descriptionFirst principles assesmentEvidence on performancePolicy contributionComplementary instrumentsReferences

Taxonomy and description
Types of New Rail Station

Pictures of trains and stations

New rail stations provide new places for people to board and alight trains and, hence, increase the geographical accessibility of the rail network. They have a number of objectives, including to reduce road congestion through the diversion of car journeys to rail, to increase travel choices and to generate increased revenue through increased rail-use.

New rail stations refers to new stations on existing heavy, or conventional, railway lines. New stations built as part of a new heavy, or conventional, railway line or system, and the provision of light rail are covered in separate sections new rail infrastructure and lines and to light rail.

Types of New Rail Station
It is helpful to distinguish between four different types of new rail station:Small station with car park adjacent

  • New stations on existing local, suburban lines - it may be possible to identify sites for new stations on existing railway lines as they pass through the suburbs and hinterland of a particular urban area. Such stations will generally have one platform in each direction - for example, one platform for travel into the centre of the urban area and one platform for travel back out of, or away from, the centre of the urban area. If space allows, a car park may be built adjacent to new rail stations, providing travellers with the opportunity for park and ride; such car-parking provision will often be relatively limited other than at certain key stations which are situated close to major road connections.
  • New interchange stations on existing lines - in dense urban areas where there are several railway lines which cross each other in different places, or where there is a network of inter-connecting bus routes, there may be opportunities to site new rail stations at the junction of two or more railway lines or bus routes, providing travellers with the opportunity to interchange between the different services. Where they are situated on the junction of two railway lines, stations will have several platforms to provide for interchange between the different lines. These such stations are covered in greater detail in a separate section terminals and interchanges. Again, where space allows, provision may be made for park and ride.
  • New strategic park and ride, or parkway, stations on existing inter-city lines - there may be opportunities to site new rail stations at the edges of urban areas on existing inter-city railway lines, to serve as a large scale park and ride facility for access to the centre of the urban area. The station itself may be relatively small, with one platform in each direction, but would have a large car park with good road access serving a wide catchment area, for example adjacent to a motorway junction. These such stations are covered in greater detail in a separate section park and ride.
  • New stations on new lines - where a new railway line or system is built it will, naturally, be associated with the building of one or, more generally, a series of new rail stations. The nature of these stations will depend largely on the nature of the new line or system of which it is part. New rail lines and systems, and the new rail stations associated with them, are covered in a separate section new rail infrastructure and lines.

There are a wide range of design features which will need to be considered in connection with the building of a new rail station. Overall station designs range from the basic halt, with a platform for both directions, through stations with more developed waiting and ticketing facilities, up to the higher specification, staff stations. More detailed considerations include:

  • The need to comply with local topographical constraints - that is whether the lie of the land and the alignment of the railway line mean that the station needs to be below or above, as opposed to at, street level;
  • The need to comply with local space constraints - that is whether development density in the area means that the station needs to be below ground;
  • the method of crossing from one platform to another - the main three options being level crossing, overbridge or underbridge/tunnel.

Top of the page

Text edited at the Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT