London by Train
Note: This section refers to travel by regular "above ground trains" which link London to its suburbs and the rest of England. For information on travel on the Underground, click here. Note also that fares mentioned were correct at time of publication but may have changed since!
Docklands Light Railway (DLR) - The DLR runs an independent driverless service to the newly developed Isle of Dogs. A recent extension to the DLR runs under the Thames to Greenwich and beyond to Lewisham.
The DLR links to the London Underground at Tower Bridge, Tower Gateway, Canary Wharf, and Bank stations, and zone fares are the same as on the tube. However, there are a series of passes good only on the DLR.
Suburban Trains - Some areas of London are better served by trains than the tube, notably the northern suburbs. The North London Link stretches from Richmond across northern London to North Woolwich. Another useful rail service travels from Hampstead Heath to Kew. Often these suburban trains are cheaper than similar tube trains and leave the traveller closer to popular tourist destinations.
The Thameslink must be mentioned here. This overcrowded line runs from London Bridge in the south, through the City, as far north as Luton.
Travelling to London from the south-eastern suburbs may be cheaper by train than by tube. Consider a 1-year Network Railcard, which allows discounts off most train travel in south-east England and all one-day Travelcards. The Network Railcard is valid only after 10:00 AM weekdays and anytime on weekends, and can be purchased from any staffed rail station.
British Rail Trains - The former British Rail was broken up by government mandate several years ago to create 25 smaller, regional companies, each serving a different area of the country. In theory, this was done to encourage competition, but in practice, it makes it difficult to predict fares and calculate timetables.
Note that companies serving the same stations may have radically different fare structures, so it pays to compare. One of the best tools for planning a trip is the online service at www.rail.co.uk/ukrail. Here you can enter your arrival and departure stations into a form and the best timetable and departure times are calculated for you.
There are 10 mainline rail stations in London, and each serves a different area of the country. Here's the breakdown:
|Charing Cross||South-east England|
|Euston||North, north-west England, Scotland|
|King's Cross||North London, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, north and north-east England, Scotland|
|Liverpool Street||East London, north-east London, Stanstead Airport, East Anglia|
|London Bridge||South-east England|
|Marylebone||North-west London, Chilterns|
|Paddington||South Wales, west England, south-west England, south Midlands, Heathrow Airport|
|St. Pancras||East Midlands, South Yorkshire|
|Victoria||south England, south-east England, Gatwick Airport, Channel ferries|
|Waterloo||South-west London, south England, south-west England|