The railway age
The railway arrived in Peterborough in 1845 with what later
became known as the East Station, to link Peterborough with the
London and Birmingham Railway. Other lines followed over the next
five years and in 1850 the North Station opened, on the site of the
present main line station, when the Great Northern Railway line
reached the city of London.
From the 1850s to the 1960s Peterborough was a
nationally important railway centre with a locomotive depot and
engineering works plus some 80 miles of sidings, creating many new
jobs and bringing huge growth and prosperity to an already thriving
city. By 1901 the railway industry employed 25% of the city's adult
Over 260 new houses were built just north of the
city between 1854 and 1866 for the railway workers, in an area that
came to be called 'New England'. It is still known by this name
The railway encouraged many people to travel further afield - in
1851 day trippers could leave Peterborough at 7.00am on the Great
Northern Railway to visit the Great Exhibition in London, paying 5s
(25p) for a second class ticket, while in 1875 a cheap excursion
ticket from Huntingdon to Peterborough Agricultural Society's Show'
cost Is 6d (7p).