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United Kingdom (UK) - Rail Travel

Travel throughout the United Kingdom is possible by rail, which is run by the British Railway Network. London has 13 mainline terminus stations to ensure easy travel via the underground and main line trains.

Mainline trains servicing the United Kingdom offer two types of seating: First Class and Standard. Standard class is like the economy class and First class is equivalent to business class. There are also sleepers on the trains for an extra fee if travelling overnight. Some local trains may offer first class compartments. Most local trains will have food and toilet facilities, but it is wise to check this before boarding.

Station Details

Some of the trains may offer facilities onboard and the same can be said of the stations. There are a few stations that have facilities. They vary greatly from line to line and include ticket offices, bars, shops, cafés, taxi ranks, toilets, and disabled access. You will also need to check with the rail line you have chosen if you wish to travel with a bicycle, as some train companies do not allow this and others have restrictions on the time of day in which a bicycle can be taken on the train.

Buying Tickets

Buying tickets is best done in advance or during off-peak times for better rates. Tickets after 9:30am and before 5pm tend to be less costly than those used during rush hour. Tickets can be purchased online and received by post or picked up at the rail office. You can also purchase tickets at the station from ticket machines or attendants.

Ticket discounts are available. For example there is a disabled person’s rail card that you can use. It is also possible to get discounts for disabilities via Anytime Tickets.

Ticket purchases can be conducted online or in stations. For the London underground there are Travelcard and Oyster electronic ticket systems depending on the length of your stay.

Travel Assistance

Travel assistance is in place to help those who may need it; this includes ramps for wheelchairs and other assistance needs. You will want to check with the rail line that you can be accommodated and let them know 24 hours in advance when you will need this travel assistance. This helps to keep a good level of service in place for all passengers.

Under the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), stations must be accessible with step free platforms, entrances, and access. If you have a mobility scooter you will need to contact the specific train company to determine whether you are able to bring it on board, or if you will need a regular wheelchair instead. UK companies have a variety of different policies regarding scooters.

London Underground

The London Underground is the main metro system of London, and has both underground and above ground train stops. The Tube serves urban area stations throughout London. The London Underground connects to train stations within the capital that serve the counties of Buckinghamshire, Essex and Hertfordshire. There are 270 stations with 402 kilometres of track. About 55 per cent of the track is above ground. The Underground began as the Metropolitan Railway in 1863, so many of the stations maintain some of their original features, while others have been updated or turned into terminuses. The London Underground services London Heathrow Airport for travellers. This means expats arriving in London can take the Tube to their hotel, flat, or home without the need of a car hire or bus ride.

+44(0) 343 222 1234

Main Rail Operators

The following are the main rail operators in the United Kingdom offering trains throughout the country. Timetables and ticket information can be found on their websites.

British Railways

National Rail


Arriva Trains Wales

+44(0) 845 606 1660

Cross Country Trains

+44(0) 844 736 9123

Chiltern Railways

+44(0) 845 600 5165

Main International Railway Stations

These are the main stations serving international locations.

St. Pancras International Railway Station London

+44(0) 207 843 7688

Waverly and Haymarket in Edinburgh

+44(0) 844 448 8833

Cardiff Central Railway Station


+44(0) 289 448 4848

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