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Although there are plenty of miles of overground railway in London, it seems somewhat neglected compared to the Tube. This is almost certainly due to the reluctance of the Victorian authorities to allow stations to be built centrally, so the major line terminals never connected; indeed, even now, there's only one overground line that crosses London (that carrying Thameslink trains from London Bridge Station to King's Cross St. Pancras Station).

However, the railways did allow the city to expand, with suburban commuter lines spreading out in all directions over the course of the years from about 1840 to 1880. Although some lines were closed in the 1940s and 1960s, generally most of those running through London were too useful to close.

Broadly, services from London stations can be split into two categories, still used on Tube announcements:

  • "Intercity" services are express trains to other major British cities and towns. Usually a service leaving London won't call at any other London stations.
  • "Suburban" services are commuter and short-haul trains. They stop at more stations (some trains stop at all stations) and often have much smaller carriages, but run more frequently.

However, since rail privatisation, both of these services are run by different operators - see list Train Operating Companies (TOCs) on National Rail Enquiries

Major London rail terminals (over 10 million entry/exit a year) are as follows, with the busiest first (AIRPORT SERVICE):

Lesser used (under 10 million entry/exit a year):

Some important junctions or intermediate stations include:

If you are making a journey at weekends it is worth checking for engineering works - see :

Last edited 2005-10-23 14:40:03 (version 17; diff). List all versions.