Colchester Station

Colchester Station (formerly St Botolph’s and later Colchester Town) is a large railway station in Colchester, Essex. It is on the Sunshine Coast Line and serves the city of Colchester.

The station has six platforms, accessed via a subway from both sides. Platforms 3 and 4 are London-bound; platform 1 is mainly used for trains to Clacton-on-Sea and Norwich.

Getting There

Whether you’re looking for cheap train tickets to Colchester or want to avoid paying more at peak times, the best way to get to and from the station is by booking ahead.

Originally opened on 29 March 1843 by the Eastern Counties Railway, Colchester Station (known locally as ‘Colchester North’ to distinguish it from the town centre station known as Colchester Town) is a major hub of the Great Eastern main line between London and Norwich. The station is also the junction for the Sunshine Coast Line to Clacton-on-Sea and Walton-on-Naze.

It’s easy to explore the town centre and its many historical sites from here, including the medieval castle, a Victorian jumbo water tower, and the Roman-era Balkerne Gate. There’s a big zoo, excellent shopping and plenty of places to enjoy a bite to eat too.

Buses are another popular option for getting to and from Colchester. The number 75 connects the station with Maldon and Tiptree, while the number 9 travels to Colchester Zoo and the town’s waterfront. There are also regular buses to the nearby Essex countryside of Dedham Vale, such as the number 20 and 22. The area’s coastal scenery and sandy beaches are also within reach on bus 86, which runs to Brightlingsea for its flowering gardens, 1930s lido and oyster beds.

Getting Around

If you’re not travelling by car, the simplest way to get around Colchester is by public transport. You can catch trains from London Liverpool Street to Norwich in under an hour, and there are branch lines serving places such as Colchester Town, Harwich International Port, and Clacton-on-Sea.

There are bus stops right outside the station, with routes to the city centre and nearby attractions. The bus station, one junction down on Osborne Street, serves many national operators and is the hub for local buses, including the Colchester to Brightlingsea service 62, while a taxi rank is located just by platform 1.

A bus journey to Hillhouse Wood, near West Bergholt, makes for a lovely afternoon out in any season. The rambling woodland is small but perfectly formed, with flowering valleys and clear steams, and songbirds and woodpeckers.

Another great bus trip is the visit to the glistening new Minories Art Gallery. You can find walking and cycling maps, exhibitions and craft sessions inside this stylish glass cliff of a building. Or try visiting the ruins of a Norman Priory off the High Street, or spotting penguins, red pandas and lorikeets at Colchester Zoo. Buy PlusBus tickets with your train ticket and you can use the bus across the whole of Essex all day. If you’re an employee, check whether your employer is in the Travel Plan Club for further savings.


Originally opened in 1843 by the Eastern Counties Railway, the station is currently managed by Greater Anglia which also operates all trains serving it. The main ticket office is a modern glass-fronted design on the north side of the platform and access to the platforms is via a subway.

Platforms 3 and 4 on the up (London-bound) main line share an unusual layout: both have a London end bay platform which merges with the up mainline platforms end to end. This is one of only two stations in the UK with this arrangement.

Colchester Station is located on the historic Great Eastern Main Line and forms part of the picturesque ‘Sunshine Coast’ line that runs to Clacton-on-Sea, Frinton and Walton-on-the-Naze. Services leave the station on a regular basis for destinations across England and Wales, and many services run every day of the week.

As part of Greater Anglia’s £1.4billion fleet replacement programme, the depot at Colchester was upgraded to allow it to service ten trains per day. This included a number of new facilities such as two huge 40,000-litre fuel tanks, a 10,000-litre AdBlue storage tank, a 14-tonne sand storage tower and sand dispenser and new toilet water system pumps, along with improved walkways. As a result, more trains will be able to stop at the depot overnight after passenger service and have their toilets emptied, screen wash topped up, fuel and oil replenished and sanding equipment topped up – sand is used to provide extra grip on the rails if there’s icy weather.


Greater Anglia offers a variety of parking options for passengers using Colchester Station. The main station car park is open every day that trains are running and is free to use for anyone travelling to the station, regardless of whether they’re a frequent commuter or just visiting. For those who visit regularly, there are also a range of season ticket options to suit your schedule.

There are also several cycle stands and spaces available at the front of the station, as well as a secure cycle parking compound with 101 spaces. Further cycle parking can be found outside the main station entrance near to the taxi rank, and a further 96 spaces further down the access road and opposite to platform 5. The Colchester Arts Centre is an approximate 25 minute walk away from the station (follow the elephant trail marked as ‘Fixing the Link’ on lamp posts) and local bus services stop in nearby Head Street or the High Street, both just a five minute bus ride from the station.

Essex County Council also offer a park and ride option at St Marys on Balkerne Hill, just a 10 minute walk from the station. You can buy tickets to hop on and off all day, meaning you’re not committed to staying at the same car park for the whole day – perfect if you want to explore some of the town’s other sights!

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