London Railway

Traveling by rail in London is commonly associated with two words “Underground” and “Tube”. But there is more to railway transport in London than the Tube. London has other methods of rail transport, including since 1987 its popular light railway system, the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) as well as the overground railway system and a system of trams. All of the above come under the umbrella title of “London Rail”. Since 1999, when London Rail was created, it has had partnerships with the UK Department for Transport (strategic), Network Rail (who take care of the infrastructure) and the privately run train operating companies.

London RailwayThe train companies who operate services throughout London operate from a number of the world’s most famous train stations, including St Pancras, Charing Cross and King’s Cross. The London overground railway system is run by a network of several railway companies including First Capital, Southwest Trains and National Express. Since the late 80s, the British railway system has seen a lot of changes, which have been due in no small part to the privatization of the railways. A recent redevelopment at St Pancras has seen it become one of the most modern, up-to-date railway stations in all of Europe.

Another development that has taken part in railway transport from London in recent years is the Channel Tunnel. Running from London, the Channel Tunnel goes under the English Channel to Calais in France. It is a popular choice for people deciding to holiday from Britain to Europe. Boarding in London, you can travel to France and further afield by rail. This has given a new string to the bow of overseas travel, and means that if you are on a week- or fortnight-long holiday to London it is a viable option to take a day-trip to the likes of Paris or other places further afield.

It is the Docklands Light Railway, however, which has revolutionized and popularized the concept of overground railway transport in London, and this has come in the midst of the popularization of light rail travel worldwide, with systems popping up in Dublin, Madrid, San Diego and other cities. DLR trains are computer controlled and have no driver. Each train has a Passenger Service Agent (PSA), who patrols the chain to keep your journey incident-free, checks your tickets, and makes any announcements that are necessary for the duration of your trip. Even the stations are unmanned, allowing the system to be a great deal more streamlined. Underground DLR stations, however, are manned in case evacuation is needed for any reason.

Ticketing is based on the same system that is in operation for all other rail transport within London, and can also be paid for using an Oyster card (the London transport system’s system of pre-payment which can be bought at the outset of any journey and topped up with as much money as you wish), to save time when boarding buses or trains.