Settling a Coffee Break Debate – Football Travel Distance


As I imagine happens at many work places the coffee break for the Geospatial group often brings up some lively debates. Whilst today’s debate itself wasn’t exactly lively it did pose an interesting question. Which football ground is the further away from a mainline railway station? The answer put out there Hillsborough. Not content with this guesswork I ran a simple piece of analysis. Luckily we have the football grounds from the work we carries out with the football tweets (previous blog & site) and the the railway stations from work carried out for ITRC (

Football League Stadia
Football League Stadia


GB Railway Stations

Therefore all i had to do was look at the nearest railway station to each ground and calculate the distance between them. I did this by loading both datasets into PostgreSQL + PostGIS and performing a few simple queries.  The results are below: Whilst Hillsborough wasn’t the furthest it wasn’t far off.

Ideally we’d look at the distance along the UK road network and not straight line distance. But this seems somewhat overkill for answering this question.



Football Club Stadium Name Railway Station Distance (m)
Fleetwood Town Highbury Stadium Poulton-le-Fylde 7908.11125559371
Bury Gigg Lane Clifton 6660.52530406908
Sheffield Wednesday Hillsborough Sheffield 4531.43899643992
Yeovil Town Huish Park Yeovil Pen Mill 4305.2978740895
Oxford United Kassam Stadium Radley 4089.74370918289
Coventry City Ricoh Arena Bedworth 3965.19467363248
Wycombe Wanderers Adams Park High Wycombe 3796.07635929164
Reading Madjeski Stadium Reading West 3669.95693983928
Cheltenham Town Whaddon Road Cheltenham Spa 2983.6953569951
Dagenham and Redbridge Victoria Road Dagenham Dock 2598.82359490238
Colchester United Weston Homes Community Stadium Colchester 2573.12612621598
Scunthorpe United Glanford Park Althorpe 2568.65402852626
Shrewsbury Town New Meadow Shrewsbury 2532.86554400019
Cambridge United Abbey Stadium Cambridge 2371.65580933094
Preston North End Deepdale Preston 2220.26792889295
Doncaster Rovers Keepmoat Stadium Doncaster 2207.80263428059
Stoke City Britannia Stadium Stoke-on-Trent 2201.7962708601
Rochdale Spotland Stadium Rochdale 2098.43404250318
Burton Albion Pirelli Stadium Burton-on-Trent 2091.47360872247
Queens Park Rangers Loftus Road Kensington Olympia 2050.97406409029
Bristol Rovers Memorial Stadium Montpelier 2015.77067665531
Swansea City Liberty Stadium Swansea 1980.92022136336
West Ham Boleyn Ground Woodgrange Park 1929.54896518672
Macclesfield Town Moss Rose Macclesfield 1901.57512833285
Chesterfield B2net Stadium Chesterfield 1856.0814157692
Port Vale Vale Park Longport 1840.42432657788
Northampton Town Sixfields Stadium Northampton 1821.98141599042
Oldham Athletic Boundary Park Oldham Werneth 1808.16787682106
Liverpool Anfield Kirkdale 1738.52974959448
Leicester City King Power Stadium Leicester 1725.57185592057
Manchester United Old Trafford Trafford Park 1671.87218748047
Torquay United Plainmoor Torre 1667.13531194068
Stevenage Borough The Lamex Stadium Stevenage 1595.47056887281
Fulham Craven Cottage Putney 1586.58592171703
MK Dons Stadiummk Fenny Stratford 1555.74401416301
Crawley Town Broadfield Stadium Crawley 1483.25999132287
Tranmere Rovers Prenton Park Rock Ferry 1461.01057568374
Leeds United Elland Road Cottingley 1460.72706001557
York City Bootham Crescent York 1424.83761465897
Carlisle United Brunton Park Carlisle 1400.33683628771
Accrington Stanley Crown Ground Accrington 1386.80058458418
Hull City KC Stadium Hull 1372.8238336756
Wigan Athletic DW Stadium Wigan Wallgate 1354.71103755325
Barnet Underhill Stadium New Barnet 1331.81735155781
Peterborough United London Road Peterborough 1291.81586333005
Manchester City Etihad Stadium Ashburys 1283.26185362597
Southampton St Mary’s Stadium Woolston 1242.27676803219
Plymouth Argyle Home Park Plymouth 1241.72387816119
Huddersfield Town The Galpharm Stadium Huddersfield 1223.89758310361
Luton Town Kenilworth Road Luton 1207.43855797424
Nottingham Forest The City Ground Nottingham 1190.56463654538
Bristol City Ashton Gate Parson Street 1118.57856017793
Blackburn Rovers Ewood Park Mill Hill (Lancashire) 1118.44597418967
Leyton Orient Brisbane Road Leyton Midland Road 1110.75176145117
Morecambe Globe Arena Bare Lane 1104.26121401745
Burnley Turf Moor Burnley Central 1099.33701322422
Sunderland Stadium of Light Sunderland 1055.4979571639
Sheffield United Bramall Lane Sheffield 1049.19338825299
Swindon Town The County Ground Swindon 1046.99266525118
Middlesbrough Riverside Middlesbrough 1039.53610939064
Derby County Pride Park Derby 1036.0030157922
Everton Goodison Park Kirkdale 1023.2951415739
Bournemouth Seward Stadium Pokesdown 948.719417631076
Bradford City Valley Parade Bradford Forster Square 887.461708978663
Newcastle United St James Park Newcastle 882.06576774756
Notts County Meadow Lane Nottingham 774.620214342908
Wolverhampton Wanderers Molineux Wolverhampton 765.334742248787
Birmingham City St Andrews Bordesley 739.514349756714
Gillingham Priestfield Stadium Gillingham (Kent) 739.141518305716
Portsmouth Fratton Park Fratton 723.641439892184
Watford Vicarage Road Watford High Street 723.345746538908
Newport County Rodney Parade Newport (South Wales) 698.880470762071
Blackpool Bloomfield Road Blackpool South 697.435988426917
Barnsley Oakwell Barnsley 682.917115524344
Crystal Palace Selhurst Park Selhurst 677.760455528003
AFC Wimbledon, Kingstonian Kingsmeadow Berrylands 674.163052791649
Chelsea Stamford Bridge West Brompton 669.65763374968
Southend United Roots Hall Prittlewell 648.744802036577
Hereford United Edgar Street Hereford 641.878247423655
Mansfield Town Field Mill Mansfield 519.745391130574
Brighton and Hove Albion Amex Stadium Falmer 508.088645989644
Norwich City Carrow Road Norwich 502.075507307756
Brentford Griffin Park Brentford 469.248811545038
Ipswich Town Portman Road Ipswich 449.735676979146
Cardiff City Cardiff City Stadium Ninian Park 446.968827575298
England Wembley Wembley Stadium 444.804879003609
Wales Millennium Stadium Cardiff Central 435.803806645578
Hartlepool United Victoria Park Hartlepool 427.446542975968
Aldershot Town Recreation Ground Aldershot 427.090743110385
Rotherham United New York Stadiumn Rotherham Central 423.627007354715
Charlton Athletic The Valley Charlton 417.116709260371
Tottenham Hotspur White Hart Lane White Hart Lane 409.064526485295
West Bromwich Albion The Hawthorns The Hawthorns 394.729198538797
Bolton Wanderers Macron Stadium Horwich Parkway 385.009392892004
Aston Villa Villa Park Witton 337.23715256677
Millwall The Den South Bermondsey 331.809250300019
Walsall Bescot Stadium Bescot Stadium 304.080986833392
Arsenal Emirates Stadium Drayton Park 301.141025758736
Crewe Alexandra Gresty Road Crewe 248.015731120882
Exeter City St James Park, Exeter St James’ Park 140.15324879625

Author: Neil

Software Engineer/ Research Assistant Urban Observatory

20 thoughts on “Settling a Coffee Break Debate – Football Travel Distance”

  1. If Kensington Olympia is a mainline station, then surely Shepherds Bush must be as well. Making QPR’s nearest station 1127 metres away and not the 2050 metres you’ve stated.

    1. Yes you are correct. For one reason or another Shepherds Bush was not in our dataset and probably should have been. well spotted

  2. You’ve referenced Bedworth as being the nearest mainline station to theRicoh Arena. In fact if that line (Coventry – Nuneaton) is a main line, then the nearest station is actually at the Arena itself, less than 200 metres away.

    The station was specifically built to cater for the Arena and the nearby shopping centre. The only problem football and rugby fans have is that the trains stopping there consist of one carriage every hour!

      1. Yes the dataset we had didn’t have this station in because of it not being open that long.

        Given that a few people have spotted little errors like this we’re probably going to run the analysis again.

  3. Woodgrange Park (WHUFC) no longer “mainline” – absorbed into the London Overground network in April 2015. Nearest station now I guess either Forest Gate or Barking?

    1. London Overground network is part of the National Rail network and so is still ” mainline “.

    1. Yes. Well spotted, you are correct to flag this distance up. Unfortunately the location of the Amex stadium in our db is not quite correct which we were not aware of.

      Is we get the time to run this quick piece of analysis again we’ll try and rectify the errors the eagle-eyed fans have spotted

    1. For this quick piece of analysis we didn’t consider tram stops only the pre-existing dataset we had. But should we get more time and run this again we probably should include tram stops.

  4. A fascinating bit of data analysis but also a few more annoying bits of pedantry for you.

    Aldershot, barnet, hereford, Torquay and tranmere and Cheltenham are currently not league clubs so should probably only be on the list if you include the other conference national clubs.

    Oldham Werneth station closed in 2009

    Manchester United Football Ground station may only have a limited matchday service but it is still officially a mainline station

    To be really anal the location used for Exeter City appears to be the reception area which , ironically is the furthest part of the ground from the station; the closest entrance is more like 20 metres away

    1. bits of pedantry are both noted and appreciated.

      Yes I’ve now noticed that a few non-league teams slipped into this test. These are possibly newly relegated clubs we had from analysis done in the past of football tweets.

      Yep think again the age of the station dataset resulted in errors like this.

      Not sure why MUFC’s station was missing but we have it now.

      All distances are measured from the centre of the station to the centre of the ground this.

      I’ve run the analysis again here

  5. Barnet’s ground moved from Underhill to the hive, possibly making Kenton the nearest station?

  6. Nice initial analysis. Definitely need to try to include the likes of the Manchester Metrolink though, e.g. Bury Bolton Street station is not that far from Gigg Lane, and hence the light railways / tram services skew the stats somewhat now. Not sure about displaying the distances to the nearest 10 picometres though!

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