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There are a number of means of getting around the city of London by rail. See below for information on:
There are a number of train companies operating within London, linking the capital to the suburbs and cities to the north, south, east and west of the capital.
Like much of the city, the public rail network is often described by the destination's direction: north, south, east or west. Understanding this grid makes using the public transport network easier.
The train lines/routes are known by the name of the company providing the service. For example, First Great Western serves the communities west of the capital from London Paddington station heading west through Reading, Oxford and Bristol all the way to south Wales.
Rail lines in London each serve a different area of the capital and the country. It's useful to establish the line and the main stations it goes through for a specific commute. Generally a rail line has a specific destination/departure station in the capital.
In some areas of London it is easier, and sometimes cheaper, to get around by "over-ground trains", rather than the Tube, for example from north and southeast London.
The main lines include:
London Overground is a suburban rail network (managed by TfL) which serves many of the city's stations, with the main routes being Dalston Junction to West Croydon, Watford Junction to Euston, Richmond/Clapham Junction to Stratford and Gospel Oak to Barking.
Eurostar runs between St Pancras International station and Brussels, and French cities Lille, Paris and Calais. The route crosses the Channel in approximately one hour.
The main stations include Paddington, Charing Cross, Euston, Victoria, St Pancras, King's Cross, Liverpool Street, London Bridge and Waterloo. Part of getting to, around and out of London by train requires getting from one of these main stations to another by underground Tube or overland bus.
TrainTracker is a paid-for service which provides real-time information by telephone on trains running. Travel planning questions can also be answered. Call the number and, using the voice prompts, request time or journey information over the phone.
Tickets are sold at ticket offices and self-service ticket machines at stations. Staff in the station ticket booth can provide advice on the best route to take and - in large stations - where to find the platform. Ticket prices vary depending on the time of day the journey being made.
Passengers must have a valid ticket when boarding a train; ticket conductors pass through trains checking this. A passenger without a ticket will have to pay the full fare - Open Single or Return. Penalties may also apply. Exceptions apply if there are no ticket vending facilities at the station of departure, in these cases, tickets may be bought on board the train.
Oyster card is a smartcard that can be used for travelling on the London public transport network. Oyster can be used on the Tube, trams, busses, the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and on some boat services. They are valid on trains in Greater London.
Details of travelcards, railcards and passes can all be stored on an Oyster card. Travel credit can also be stored on the card and topped up when necessary (pay-as-you-go). There are thousands of outlets where the Oyster card can be bought or topped up. These include stations, bus and tram stops, newsagents, Post Offices and ticket machines.
There is a small fee when buying the card; this is refunded as credit for journeys on public transport.
BritRail passes are available for visitors to the UK, valid on all National Rail services.
Up to two children under the age of five travel free with each fare paying adult.
Children aged five to fifteen get a 50 percent discount on a fare (older children are requested to carry proof of age).
Friends & Family railcards provide further discounts for small groups of children and adults making regular trips together
Assistance can be made available to passengers with reduced mobility. It is recommended that passengers contact the train company at least 24 hours prior to travel.
Passengers with disabilities may be eligible for a Disabled Person's Railcard. The card entitles the holder, as well as an adult accompanying them, to one third discount on train fares.
The DLR has 40 stations running in London Transport Zones 1-4. They run from central London to east London, and all stations are north of the river Thames, apart from Woolwich Arsenal.
There are four lines. They are:
To contact DLR:
Fares are the same as on the London Underground, and an Oyster card can be used on the DLR.
The first trains are at 05:30 and the last at 00:30 from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays trains go from 07:00 to 23:30.
All stations have lift or ramp access to platforms and easy access to trains. The distance between the platform and train is 7.5cm and the step up or down from the platform to the train is 5cm.
It is recommended that people in wheelchairs get on and off with the biggest wheel first.
Children under the age of ten travel for free on the DLR as long as they are accompanied by an adult in possession of a valid ticket, Oyster Card or Pass. If travelling without an adult they need an Oyster card to benefit from free travel. Child rates apply for children aged 11 to 15, an Oyster card is required to benefit from child rates. Children aged 16 to 19 get half adult-rate fares if they have an Oyster card.
Tramlink runs through areas of south London, including Croydon and Wimbledon.
Trams generally run from 05:00 to 01:00.
All access is step-free so ramps are not needed in order to get on, and there are two wheelchair spaces on each tram. Wheelchair spaces are located next to an intercom, enabling people to speak to the driver if there is an emergency.
Tram travel is free for wheelchair users. No pass is required.
All tram stops have a line stopping the sight impaired from falling over the platform edge. The name of the next stop is announced.
All access is step-free so people can easily take prams and pushchairs on Tramlink.
Under-19s who are in full-time education can travel for free, although they must have an Oyster card as do 11 to 18 year olds. Children up to the age of ten do not need a ticket or card as long as they travelling with an adult in possession of a valid ticket or card.
Domestic animals are allowed on trains (maximum two per passenger) if they are not dangerous and are kept under control on a lead or in a suitable container. Animals may not use the seats on public transport.