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Transport in London – Rail network

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London is a center point of the UK rail network with 14 stations distributed in the city offering commuter services, outline, international connections and connections to major airports. Most areas not served by the subway or the DLR agglomeration areas are accessible by rail from a central station.

These 14 railway stations: Blackfriars, Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Euston, Fenchurch Street, King’s Cross, Liverpool Street, London Bridge, Moorgate, Marylebone, Paddington, St. Pancras, Victoria and Waterloo.

London Overground

New_Cross_Gate_station_signage_(London_Overground)(London Overground train in New Cross Gatestation)

In addition to the radial lines to London, there are lines connecting the suburbs together. The West London Linethrough West London provides access to Croydon, Brighton and Gatwick Airport from the northwest suburbs. The North London Line crosses North London from Richmond west to Stratford in the east. Gospel Oak to Barking Line connects it to the North London northeast suburb. Works are also underway to extend the East London line, into the railway line linking the north-east London to the south, to eventually make a circular line and serving the surrounding suburbs. Since November 2007, the Department for Transport has given to Transport for London (TfL) control of all these lines and the Watford DC Line (from Euston Station) from renowned London Overground. The idea is to have some sort of orbital RER.

Commuter trains

South_Eastern_Trains_465238_at_Greenwich_2005-12-10_02(Southeastern train in Greenwichstation)

London is the heart of an extensive network of commuter trains déservant both the city center and all the surrounding urban area. Each central station is the terminus of a system that serves a particular sector of the vast Greater London. The majority of people joining the city center (about 80% from 1,100,000) uses either the metro (400,000 people per day) or the train (860 000 people per day).

Although most commuter services stop at the terminus, a few lines are exceptions and continue to drive away in the center of the city. London Bridge station is a terminus but a few lines allow to continue and reach more central stations, such as Cannon Street or Charing Cross, for example. These lines continue to Waterloo Station Is connected to the Waterloo station by a footbridge. The Thameslink service through the First Capital Connect train to London Bridge and the city center through the stations Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon and King’s Cross Thameslink. These services connect the northern and southern suburbs of the city but also more distant as Brighton on the south coast cities, and Bedford in the north.


Rush_Hour_at_Kings_Cross(King’s Cross Station)

Outline trains do not go from all the stations located in London but, as commuter trains, each station serves a particular region of the country.

  • Paddington Station primarily serves the South West England, the West Midlands and South Wales.
  • Euston station serves the West Midlands, England, North West, North Wales and Scotland by day trains (Glasgow) as well as by night trains Caledonian Sleeper (Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness, Fort William).
  • The St Pancras serves East Midlands as well as France and Belgium via the Channel Tunnel Eurostar.
  • Station King’s Cross serves the East of England, Yorkshire and the Humber North East and Scotland (Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness).
  • The Liverpool Street Station serves the East of England.
  • Victoria Station dessert England South East.
  • Charing Cross also serves South East England.
  • Waterloo Station dessert England South West.

International connections

Eurostar_at_St_Pancras_Jan_2008(Two Eurostar at St Pancrasstation)

Eurostar is an international rail service linking the station St Pancras to Gare du Nord in Paris (France) and the Gare du Midi (Belgium), via Gare Lille Europe (France). TGV Eurostar borrow the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, widespeed line open in full in November 2007 and renamed High Speed 1, with two additional stops at Ebbsfleet and Stratford, the latter opened since 2009. Additional commuter high speed trains (225 km/h) connecting the British capital to Kent use part of these channels since 2009.

Airports connections

Heathrow airport is best served by public transport and private railway from London city. The traveler has the choice between the Heathrow Express from Paddington Station, the Heathrow Connect or the London Underground on the Piccadilly line (longer travel time but the less expensive route) with 3 stations from within the airport : terminals 1, 2 and 3 with the Heathrow station terminals 1, 2, 3, the terminal 4 with Heathrow station terminal 4, and finally terminal 5 with Heathrow stationterminal 5.

Gatwick is served by two railway of the Southern concession services from Victoria Station: The Gatwick Express (journey time about 30 minutes) but also by a normal service Brighton-London route (journey time approximately 40 minutes path but cheaper than the Gatwick Express). For travelers to reach the North Terminal, the monorail from the airport London Gatwick is available free of charge.

Stansted is served by the Stansted Express from Liverpool Street Station (journey time approximately 45 minutes)

Luton is served by a train service with First Capital Connect train station of King’s Cross to Luton Airport Parkway station. Then a bus service takes passengers to the airport.

City is served by the Docklands Light Railway with the London City Airport station.

Southend is served by train from Liverpool Street Station (journey time approximately 60 minutes)

Translated and adapted from Wikipedia.

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