Europe, United Kingdom, Essex

Colchester or Colchester North is the main railway station for Colchester in Essex, England. It is on the former Great Eastern Railway main line from London Liverpool Street to Norwich and is a junction for the line to Walton-on-the-Naze and Clacton-on-Sea, which diverges southwards from the main line to the east of the station. The junction is grade-separated so trains passing to and from the Clacton line do not cross the main line. Train services are provided by National Express East Anglia. Colchester is a junction station for the important Sunshine Coast Line to Clacton-on-Sea and Walton-on-the-Naze. Locally, the station is known as Colchester North, to distinguish it from Colchester Town. Buses use this unofficial name. The station is not conveniently sited for the town, but buses connect to the town centre. Colchester Town is closer to the town centre. The station has two main platforms. The up (London bound) comprises two platforms, numbers 3 and 4, which have an unusual layout: 3 is on the up main line and is served by Norwich expresses, while 4 is on the up Sunshine Coast line, which merges with the up main where the two platforms join end-to-end. The junction is protected by a trap leading to friction buffer stops. This combined platform is the longest in the UK at 620 m (2034 ft). There are also bay platforms at both ends of the up main platform. The London-end bay (Platform 6) is used for a small number of trains to London, or those that terminate at Colchester from London: these are normally morning or evening peak services. Previously this platform was used for services to/from Sudbury. However, these were shortened to terminate at Marks Tey in the mid-90s. The other bay platform (Platform 5) is used for services to Colchester Town and the all-station service to Walton-on-the-Naze. The down side platform is an island with two faces, one on the down main, and one on the down Sunshine Coast line. Platform 1 is mainly used for trains to Clacton-on-Sea but occasionally used for trains to Norwich. The main ticket office is a modern glass fronted design, sited on the north side of the station, and access to the platforms is by a subway. The original station building is on the south side, and provides access to the up platform for those with tickets or wanting to buy tickets from a machine. Both entrances to the station are protected by automatic ticket gates. Former train operating company Anglia Railways ran services known as London Crosslink from Norwich to Basingstoke via Stratford. This service started in 2000 and ended in 2002.