Travelling on British Railways

Your essential need-to-know facts and information about travelling on the railway network in Britain.

Information about Travelling on British Railways

From planning your journey to connecting in London, our travel guide has the essential information on train travel across the British railways network.

Planning your Journey

To ensure you get your trip off to a smooth start, begin by planning your journey in advance with a British railways network routemap or online journey planner.

Buying tickets

There are several ways to buy tickets for travel on the UK railways. It’s usually cheaper if you buy your tickets in advance and travel off-peak (after 9.30am and before 5pm). At most staffed stations, you can buy tickets in advance or for travel on the same day, either from ticket machines or the ticket office. You can also buy tickets in advance from a number of online ticket retailers. They’ll either send the tickets to you by post, or enable you to collect them from ticket machines at many mainline stations.

Mainline trains

Mainline trains in the UK usually offer two classes of service: First Class and Standard Class. You’ll usually find a range of services on board, from a buffet car and toilets to bicycle racks, at-seat power and wi-fi Internet. Select services offer at-seat service in First Class, a travelling chef or a dedicated dining car. Because trains can get busy at peak times, it’s usually worth making sure you’ve got a seat reservation.

Local Trains

Local and commuter trains offer fewer services, but many still offer First Class compartments as well as Standard Class. You’ll find toilets on most of these trains. Please check before you travel if you want to take a bicycle with you. It’s not usually possible to make reservations on local trains.

Connecting via London

Many mainline and local services in the South of England connect via London. London is home to 13 different mainline terminus stations, with easy connections between them via the London Underground network, also known as the ‘tube’.

At the Station

Facilities vary widely from station to station and line to line across the British railway network. Mainline stations in cities will normally have a full range of services including ticket offices, shops, bars, cafes, disabled access, taxi ranks and toilets. Rural and suburban stations tend to have far fewer services.

 
 
Liverpool street station in the UK at rush hour

Help and advice with train travel in the UK

Train travel in the UK should be a pleasure, not a headache. So if you’re taking a train on the UK railway, start your journey here. We’ve lots of hints, tips and advice to help you find your way around, travel smoothly and arrive in style by train.

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#railchat

Welcome to our #railchat page. Our #railchat discussions take place over on Twitter, with our resident expert Phil Marsh. If you would like to get involved, please do join us, and use the dedicated hashtag #railchat. See our previous discussions below:

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Our rail network would be nothing without them. From Stephenson's Rocket to British Rail Class 92 and beyond, explore the facts, information and anecdotes behind the steam, diesel and electric locomotives that built the age of the train.

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