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.

Covered here are the train operations at the largest and most important stations in Britain. Including track numbers and services typically departing from each track. Typical track assignments are sometimes very general, and are most typical during middays.

The pages covering the London area were part of an earlier project, which included many zoomable Google Maps covering stations and junctions in London and southeast England. Those pages were subsequently modified to more closely resemble the pages covering other stations in Great Britain and Europe. London has numerous terminal stations, most of which serve only one line.

Outside London, included are links to zoomable Google Maps for the stations. Maps include markings identifying the direction of the various lines, along with regional stations near the junctions with various lines. By zooming into the areas around the junction stations, one can see where the various lines diverge. Diesel operated lines are marked in red, AC electrified lines are marked in blue, DC electrified lines are marked in green. Significant tunnels are shown in yellow.

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.


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. The Underground, sometimes informally known as the "Tube", is their equivalent of what in North America is referred to as a "subway". Not all Underground lines literally operate "underground", some lines parallel main line railways. Some sections of trackage are shared by both systems.














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 with new lines.

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."

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. Many other major cities have similar four track lines.

In most cities outside London for through stations, lines are primarily organized according to the basic direction from the station. For each end of the station, or from stub stations, lines are sorted by direction radiating from the station, in theory from lowest to highest station track numbers. And in some but not all cases, platform assignments may typically be accordingly, in order to minimize route conflicts outside the station. In some cities, flyovers will alter the actual sequence in which lines radiate from the city.

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. Again in order to minimize route conflicts outside the station.

Typical platform assignments are sometimes very general, and are most typical during middays. Terminating or reversing trains often involve less typical platform assignments.

Great Britain is well known for driving on the left side. And the railways similarly use left hand operation.


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 this general link.


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.


Links to various web sites containing British rail photos.