At the time of writing, there are 17 railway stations on the British railway network containing the word "Parkway" in their name. Other stations have been temporarily dubbed Parkways in their history. In order of opening, they are:
|Year opened or named||Name||Notes|
|1973||Alfreton and Mansfield Parkway||reverted to Alfreton 1995|
|1983||Bodmin Parkway||renamed from Bodmin Road|
|1985||Didcot Parkway||renamed from Didcot|
|1986||Southampton Airport Parkway||renamed from Southampton Airport to Southampton Parkway, Airport added 1994|
|1986||Port Talbot Parkway||renamed from Port Talbot|
|1990||Tame Bridge Parkway|
|1999||Luton Airport Parkway|
|2006||Liverpool South Parkway||on site of Allerton|
|2007||Whittlesford Parkway||renamed from Whittlesford|
|2008||Ebbw Vale Parkway|
|2008||Aylesbury Vale Parkway|
|2009||East Midlands Parkway|
The use of the term "Parkway" is comparatively new to the railway, although the idea isn't quite as new. When the railways were being built, stations some distance away from the towns they might serve were often named "such-and-such Road". Whether this hint was a blessing to the passengers of the time or a curse I do not know.
Stations dubbed parkways after Bristol Parkway were named in imitation of it, but how did Bristol Parkway get its name? At the planning stages in 1971 the station was known as Bristol North or sometimes as Stoke Gifford, the name of the former goods yard whose place the new station was to take.
It is recommended that British Railways Board authority be sought for an expenditure of £197,300 to construct a new station at Stoke Gifford to be known as Bristol North.
But by 1972 when the station opened it was definitely Bristol Parkway even if one document's author felt the need to put scare-quotes around the dreaded P-word. My research did not find evidence of the change from during the planning process, but a document written after the station's completion read:
The new passenger station opened to the public on 1st May under the name "Bristol Parkway" selected from some 200 suggestions received under a naming competition conducted in the Bristol area.
So Parkway was suggested by a member of the public, and that decision has stuck with us ever since.
My investigation into all of this was triggered by the 2007 renaming of Whittlesford to Whittlesford Parkway. Who instigated this? Who gets to decide what a station is called on the privatised railway?
According to the Department for Transport:
The independent Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) advises that changing a station name would require a proposal for change under section 22 of the Railways Act 1993 under the Station Change processes and as set out in the ORR's Station Access Conditions. Network Rail, the Station Facility Owner or any other beneficiary of a Station Access Agreement can make a change proposal to the ORR.
This change proposal was formally approved by the ORR on 31 January 2011, as a Station Facility Owner (leaseholder, i.e. NXEA) sponsored change under Part C of the ORR's Station Access Conditions. (You read that date correctly.) DB Schenker (UK) and Network Rail were asked for their agreement and both agreed to the change in September 2010.