Great Britain is of course the European country with the greatest impact in United States history, which resulted in English being the dominant language in the United States. The railways of Great Britain have a more extensive history of private ownership, than any country in Europe. And the railways have now adopted an innovative model, where multiple Train Operating Companies (TOC) are granted franchises to operate various routes, and coexist operating via trackage controlled by a single infrastructure company. Although the new private companies have encountered some challenges in providing service of a respectable quality.

Most railways in Great Britain operated on hourly memory patterns. Covered here are the train operations at the major railway terminal stations in London. Including track numbers and services typically departing from each track. Typical track assignments are sometimes very general, and are most typical during middays. London has numerous terminal stations, most of which serve only one main line. Included are many zoomable Google Maps covering stations and junctions in London and southeast England.

Typical track numbering and usage is described for each station. Information is based on timetables effective for the year 2018, and is subject to change.

Also included are Wikipedia links for each station, containing further information and history.

National Rail
This one web site is available, containing information for the entire railway system in Britain.

Transport For London
Local transportation in London consists of the iconic red double decker buses, and the "Underground" (what Americans would call a subway), also informally known as the "Tube". But there is significant coordination between the Underground and main line commuter rail, including some sharing of trackage.


This list is somewhat arbitrary.

Great Eastern Main Line - London Liverpool Street-Colchester-Ipswich-Norwich
East Coast Main Line - London Kings Cross-Peterborough-York-Newcastle-Edinburgh
Midland Main Line - London St. Pancras-Leicester-Derby-Sheffield
West Coast Main Line - London Euston-Rugby-Stafford-Crewe-Carlisle-Glasgow
Great Western Main Line - London Paddington-Reading-Bristol-Plymouth-Penzance
South Western Main Line - London Waterloo-Southampton-Bournemouth-Weymouth
Brighton Main Line - London Victoria-Brighton
Chatham Main Line - London Victoria-Margate-Dover
South Eastern Main Line - London Charing Cross-Ashford-Folkestone-Dover


Railway routes and their main London stations. Listed in order counterclockwise from east. Most main stations are north of the Thames River, closer to the central business areas.

Fenchurch Street Station

Liverpool Street Station

Kings Cross Station

St. Pancras Station

Euston Station

Marylebone Station

Paddington Station

Waterloo Station

Victoria Station (Brighton Side)

London Bridge

Victoria Station (Chatham Side)


Charing Cross Station

Cannon Street

London Overground
Lines not serving a major station.

On the Google Maps, regular railway stations are identified by the old British Railways logo, consisting of two superimposed arrows. London Underground stations are identified by their logo consisting of a circle with a horizontal bar. Not all Underground lines literally operate "underground", some lines parallel main line railways. Some sections of trackage are shared by both systems.

One of the coolest features of Google Maps, is the "Street View" feature. Which enables one to drop down to a street and take an imaginary walk or drive along the street, with 360 degree views. This feature is now being expanded to include certain indoor areas, including London's main railway stations. Unfortunately the Street View feature can no longer be accessed from a custom made Google Map, only through the general Google Maps web site.

Brief history of rail services in Britain.

Electrification of the railways of Great Britain is not as extensive, as the electrification of railways in Continental Europe. But nearly all passenger routes in the London area are now electrified. During the 1920's and 1930's, nearly all lines south of the Thames River were electrified using a 750 volts DC third rail system. In other parts of Great Britain, various small electrification projects were undertaken, using overhead wires of varying voltages. In 1956, British Railways adopted 25,000 volts 50 cycles AC as a standard for overhead electrification, for conversion of existing lines and construction of new electrification.

For the railways serving each station, lines are generally described in a historical context, including milepost measurement. Some lines have references to "Up", meaning towards London, and "Down", meaning away from London. In Britain, junction is abbreviated with "Jn."

Great Britain is well known for driving on the left side. And the railways similarly use left hand operation. Most of the main stations within London each serve one main line. Most of these main lines have four tracks, with pairs of tracks sorted by class, (typically one pair fast, one pair slow). With left hand operation within each pair. For the main stations in London, platform assignments in many cases are according to whether the trains use the slow or the fast tracks outside the station. In order to minimize route conflicts outside the station. Typical platform assignments are sometimes very general, and are most typical during middays.


Differences between American and British railway operations and terminology.


Despite privatisation and the formation of many different Train Operating Companies, a common classification system for locomotives and multiple unit trains remains in use throughout Britain.


Real time tracker and maps of trains in Britain.


Links to various web sites containing British rail photos.

Beyond the main line railway system, almost the entire country is accessible by public transportation, thanks to local and regional buses.