The North London Railway opened a station named Hackney on 26 September 1850, to the east of Mare Street. It closed on 1 December 1870 and was replaced the same day by a station to the west of Mare Street, also named Hackney. This station passed in due course to the London and North Western Railway and later on to the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, which closed the entire North London Line east of Dalston Junction to passenger traffic in 1944. On 12 May 1980 the station was reopened, this time named Hackney Central, a little to the west of the 1870 station. The name Hackney derives from a 5th or 6th century Saxon settlement known as Haca's ey – or raised ground in marshland. The settlement was near Hackney Brook, and was probably on the higher ground around the later St Augustine's Tower. Hackney is not mentioned by name in the Norman Domesday Book; at that time it formed a part of the manor of Stepney. Little remains of early Hackney, except the Tudor St Augustine's Tower, which survives as Hackney's oldest building; and the positively medieval road network.
In 1727 Daniel Defoe said of the villages of Hackney "This town is so remarkable for the retreat of wealthy citizens, that there is at this time near a hundred coaches kept in it; tho' I will not join with a certain satyrical author, who said of Hackney, that there were more coaches than Christians in it". The 1870 station building is no longer in use by the railway, but is one of only two examples of North London Railway architecture still in situ, the other being Camden Road station, which is still open. Access to the modern Hackney Central station is from an alleyway adjacent to the 1870 building on Mare Street, as well as a more direct access from Amhurst Road. Hackney Central is a proposed stop on Crossrail 2. It would be between Angel and Tottenham Hale or Seven Sisters. The platforms would be underground, with a connection to the existing surface station. It would connect the station and the borough to the Crossrail network, although the East London Line was supposed to bring the London Underground firstly to Hackney but now it is part of the London Overground network. The station is in Travelcard Zone 2 and has wi-fi, lifts, boarding ramps, and a waiting room but no toilets.
Connections: London Bus routes 30, 38, 48, 55, 106, 236, 242, 253, 254, 276, 277, 394 and W15 and night routes N38, N55 and N253 serve the station.