London station group

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Tickets from "London"

The London station group is a ring of 18 railway stations served by the National Rail network in central London. Most are terminal stations, although a few are through-stations (that includes those with a combination of terminal and through platforms). Each of these stations is part of a notional "common location" to which tickets from stations outside that group are issued. The station group is rendered on tickets as "London Terminals".[1]

All current stations in the group fall within London fare zone 1. The large number of terminal stations is explained by the refusal of Parliament to allow railway lines to enter the centre of London in the 19th century, causing them to form a ring, connected by underground railways.[2] The majority of the larger stations managed by Network Rail are in the group.[3]


When a ticket is issued showing "London" or "London Terminals" (instead of a specific station), it means that it can be used for any reasonable National Rail route to any station in the group. For example, a journey from Brighton can use such a ticket to take a train to several different London terminals, including London Bridge, Victoria, Blackfriars, City Thameslink or Waterloo via Clapham Junction.[4]

The ticket cannot be used to travel to any station using any non-National Rail modes of transport, including the London Underground or London Buses. Therefore a journey from Brighton cannot use a "London Terminals" ticket to travel to Euston or Paddington, as there is no reasonable direct route to them on National Rail services alone.[4]


The first London terminal station, London Bridge, in 1836

The first London terminal stations were built in the late 1830s (starting with London Bridge in 1836) and the early to mid 1840s. Those north of the Thames came up to the edge of richly-developed property that was too expensive to demolish, while property south of the river contained slums and cheap property, making it easier to have terminal stations close to the City and West End, both the main desired areas.[5] In 1846, the Commissioners of Railway Termini was established to see if it was appropriate to bring the terminal stations any further and possibly connect with each other. The report concluded this was unnecessary, a single terminus was undesirable as it would create too much congestion and it was too expensive to demolish remaining property in the way.[6] This created competition between the individual railway companies, who could promote new termini with individual financial backers.[7]

The effective path of the London Inner Ring Road (except running closer to the Thames between Borough High Street and Vauxhall Bridge) was chosen as a central area through which no trains north of the Thames were allowed to enter,[5] though exemptions were made for the Great Eastern Railway and North London Railway with Liverpool Street and Broad Street respectively.[8] The only main railway line built across Central London was the London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR) line connecting Blackfriars to Farringdon via Snow Hill Tunnel in 1866.[9]

Railway construction in London reached a peak between the mid-1850s and 1870s, where an estimated £40 million (£3,408 million as of 2016) was spent constructing routes around the capital. The competition between termini led to increased costs and financial overruns. Around £2 million (£170 million as of 2016) was spent constructing the final approach of the GER main line from the original terminus at Bishopsgate to Liverpool Street, while the extension from London Bridge to Cannon Street and Charing Cross cost £4 million (£341 million as of 2016). The construction of the LCDR's line via Blackfriars and Farringdon almost bankrupted the company and left it in financial ruin for the rest of its existence.[10] The 1864 Joint Committee on Railway Schemes (Metropolis) decided that, following the success of the underground Metropolitan Railway, that a circular railway should be built to connect the terminals, which eventually became the Circle line, though it was not completed until 1884.[11]

The distinctive Gothic architecture of St Pancras railway station survived demolition, unlike several neighbouring stations.

By 1870, the boom in building London terminals had finished.[12] The final one to open was the Great Central Railway's Marylebone, in 1899.[13] By this time, around 776 acres (314 ha) of land in Central London was owned by railway companies, more than the Corporation of London.[14]

All terminal stations had at least one underground connection by 1913, except Fenchurch Street, Ludgate Hill and Holborn Viaduct.[15] As an alternative to the tube, buses have connected the various terminals and inter-termini links became briefly popular in the 1920s and 1930s. All stations except Fenchurch Street have provided taxi services since opening. These originally had dedicated access roads to the station platforms when cabs were horse-drawn, while later purpose-built roads were built for road traffic.[16]

Following the initial building boom, stations needed to be expanded and widened, which happened throughout the century.[17] Five terminal stations (Victoria, Waterloo, Euston, Blackfriars and London Bridge) have been completely rebuilt, with London Bridge built several times.[18] While some of the stations had impressive facades and entrances, these were gradually neglected, not least the Euston Arch which was demolished in 1962 as part of modernisation works to the station, and the run-down area around King's Cross.[19] An important exception was the Victorian Gothic structure of St Pancras.[20]

Cultural impact

The various terminal stations had an immediate social impact on their surrounding area from the mid-1850s onwards. Those displaced by the railways crammed into whatever existing accommodation was available, creating slums, and the immediate area around the stations were filled with cheap souvenir shops and prostitutes. Conversely, the middle class moved out into suburbs which now had easy access to Central London via train, and railway traffic increased.[21]

Around 300 acres (120 ha) of land around Battersea and New Cross was taken up by railway lines and interchanges. The low-income property that was destroyed by building the stations was generally not replaced, and consequently the remaining accommodation became overcrowded.[12]

Group members

As of 2017, the group comprises:[1][22]

Former members

Station statistics

Station Image Location Coordinates Original owner Managed
National services Annual entry/exit (millions) (as of 2015/16)[27] Open
Platforms[c] Category
Terminal Through
Blackfriars Blackfriars station main entrance.JPG City of London 51°30′40″N 0°06′11″W / 51.511°N 0.103°W / 51.511; -0.103 (Blackfriars) London, Chatham and Dover Railway[28] Thameslink NW, N, S, SE Thameslink, Gatwick Airport, Luton Airport 10.467 Decrease 10 May 1886[28] 2 2 A
Cannon Street Cannon Street station.jpg City of London 51°30′36″N 0°05′24″W / 51.510°N 0.090°W / 51.510; -0.090 (Cannon Street) South Eastern Railway[28] Network Rail[3] SE Kent, East Sussex 21.242 Decrease 1 September 1866[28] 7 0 A
Charing Cross Charing Cross stn building from platforms.JPG Westminster 51°30′25″N 0°07′23″W / 51.507°N 0.123°W / 51.507; -0.123 (Charing Cross) South Eastern Railway[28] Network Rail[3] SE Kent, East Sussex 28.998 Decrease 11 January 1864[28] 6 0 A
City Thameslink City Thameslink stn Ludgate Hill entrance.JPG City of London 51°30′58″N 0°06′11″W / 51.516°N 0.103°W / 51.516; -0.103 (City Thameslink) British Rail (Network SouthEast) Thameslink NW, N, S, SE Thameslink, Gatwick Airport, Luton Airport 6.340 Decrease 30 May 1990[29] 0 2 C
Euston Euston station facade.jpg Camden 51°31′41″N 0°07′59″W / 51.528°N 0.133°W / 51.528; -0.133 (Euston) London and Birmingham Railway[28] Network Rail[3] NW West Coast Main Line 41.677 Decrease 20 July 1837[28] 18 0 A
Fenchurch Street Fenchurch street station.jpg City of London 51°30′40″N 0°04′41″W / 51.511°N 0.078°W / 51.511; -0.078 (Fenchurch Street) London and Blackwall Railway[28] Network Rail[3] E Southend-on-Sea 18.044 Increase 2 August 1841[28] 4 0 A
Kings Cross King's Cross stn building.JPG Camden 51°31′55″N 0°07′23″W / 51.532°N 0.123°W / 51.532; -0.123 (Kings Cross) Great Northern Railway[28] Network Rail[3] N East Coast Main Line 33.361 Increase 14 October 1852[28] 12 0 A
Liverpool Street Liverpool Street station entrance Bishopsgate.JPG City of London 51°31′05″N 0°04′52″W / 51.518°N 0.081°W / 51.518; -0.081 (Liverpool Street) Great Eastern Railway[28] Network Rail[3] E, NE East of England, Stansted Airport 66.556 Increase 2 February 1874[28] 18 0 A
London Bridge London Bridge mainline stn Tooley Street entrance.JPG Southwark 51°30′18″N 0°05′10″W / 51.505°N 0.086°W / 51.505; -0.086 (London Bridge) London and Greenwich Railway[28] Network Rail[3] S, SE, NW Kent, East Sussex, Gatwick Airport 53.850 Increase 14 December 1836[28] 9 6 A
Marylebone Marylebone station entrance.JPG Westminster 51°31′19″N 0°09′47″W / 51.522°N 0.163°W / 51.522; -0.163 (Marylebone) Great Central Railway[28] Chiltern Railways NW Birmingham 15.932 Increase 15 March 1899[28] 6 0 A
Moorgate Moorgate entrance Mfields.JPG City of London 51°31′05″N 0°05′17″W / 51.518°N 0.088°W / 51.518; -0.088 (Moorgate) Metropolitan Railway[30] London Underground N Hertfordshire 6.737 Decrease 23 December 1865[30] 2 0 E
Old Street Old Street stn northwest entrance.JPG Islington 51°31′30″N 0°05′13″W / 51.525°N 0.087°W / 51.525; -0.087 (Old Street) City and South London Railway[31] London Underground N Hertfordshire 3.611 Increase 17 November 1901[31] 0 2 E
Paddington Paddington Station 01.jpg Westminster 51°31′01″N 0°10′37″W / 51.517°N 0.177°W / 51.517; -0.177 (Paddington) Great Western Railway[28] Network Rail[3] W Great Western main line, Heathrow Airport 36.536 Increase 16 January 1854[28] 14 0 A
St Pancras St Pancras International stn east entrance.JPG Camden 51°31′48″N 0°07′30″W / 51.530°N 0.125°W / 51.530; -0.125 (St Pancras) Midland Railway[28] Network Rail,[3] HS1 Ltd., Eurostar International Limited[32] N, NW, S, SE Midland Main Line, Gatwick Airport, Luton Airport, High Speed 1 (Kent), Eurostar (Belgium and France) 31.723 Increase 1 October 1868[28] 13 2 A/C[d]
Vauxhall Vauxhall mainline stn north building.JPG Lambeth 51°29′06″N 0°07′19″W / 51.485°N 0.122°W / 51.485; -0.122 (Vauxhall) London and South Western Railway[34] South Western Railway SW South West England 20.931 Decrease 11 July 1848[35] 0 10 B
Victoria London Victoria Station frontage.jpg Westminster 51°29′46″N 0°08′38″W / 51.496°N 0.144°W / 51.496; -0.144 (Victoria) Victoria Station and Pilmlico Railway[28] Network Rail[3] S, SE, SW Kent, Sussex, Gatwick Airport 81.151 Decrease 10 October 1860[28] 19 0 A
Waterloo Waterloo station.JPG Lambeth 51°30′11″N 0°06′47″W / 51.503°N 0.113°W / 51.503; -0.113 (Waterloo) London and South Western Railway[28] Network Rail[3] SW, W South West England 99.148 Decrease 11 July 1848[28] 22 0 A
Waterloo East Waterloo East stn entrance Waterloo concourse.JPG Lambeth 51°30′14″N 0°06′36″W / 51.504°N 0.110°W / 51.504; -0.110 (Waterloo East) South Eastern Railway[36] Southeastern S, SE Kent, East Sussex 9.920 Increase 1 January 1869[36] 0 4 B

See also



  1. ^ for Thameslink from the north only[1]
  2. ^ does not include London Underground
  3. ^ international and domestic category A; Thameslink category C[33]


  1. ^ a b c d NFM 98. National Fares Manuals. London: Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC Ltd). January 2008. Section A. 
  2. ^ Wolmar, Christian (2004). The Subterranean Railway: How the London Underground Was Built and How it Changed the City Forever. Atlantic Books. ISBN 1-84354-023-1. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Stations Run by Network Rail". Network Rail. 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "'London Terminal' stations". Network Rail. Retrieved 12 September 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Jackson 1984, p. 17.
  6. ^ Jackson 1984, pp. 16–17.
  7. ^ Ball & Sunderland 2002, p. 213.
  8. ^ Jackson 1984, p. 19.
  9. ^ Jackson 1984, p. 23.
  10. ^ Ball & Sunderland 2002, pp. 213–214.
  11. ^ Jackson 1984, pp. 19,21.
  12. ^ a b Ball & Sunderland 2002, p. 215.
  13. ^ Davies & Grant 1983, p. 36.
  14. ^ Ball & Sunderland 2002, p. 214.
  15. ^ Jackson 1984, p. 21.
  16. ^ Jackson 1984, p. 22.
  17. ^ Jackson 1984, p. 26.
  18. ^ Jackson 1984, p. 27.
  19. ^ Jackson 1984, p. 25.
  20. ^ Jackson 1984, p. 29.
  21. ^ Jackson 1984, p. 24.
  22. ^ "Travelling to, from and via London". National Rail Enquiries website. Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC Ltd). 2011. 
  23. ^ Holland 2013, p. 61.
  24. ^ Mogridge 1990, p. 239.
  25. ^ NFM 57. National Fares Manuals. London: British Railways Board. May 1994. Section A. 
  26. ^ NFM 97. National Fares Manuals. London: Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC Ltd). May 2007. Section A. 
  27. ^ "Station usage". Office of Rail Regulation. Retrieved 11 September 2017. 
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Davies & Grant 1983, p. 51.
  29. ^ "City rail link inaugurated". The Times. London, England. 31 May 1990. p. 25. Retrieved 14 August 2017. (Subscription required (help)). 
  30. ^ a b Day 1979, p. 14.
  31. ^ a b Day 1979, p. 47.
  32. ^ "St Pancras Eurostar Terminal". 26 October 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2015. 
  33. ^ "Part D: Annexes" (PDF). Better Rail Stations. Department for Transport. 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2010. 
  34. ^ Jackson 1984, p. 213.
  35. ^ Jackson 1984, pp. 213,215.
  36. ^ a b Jackson 1984, p. 217.


  • Ball, Michael; Sunderland, Sunderland (2002). An Economic History London 1800–1914. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-54030-3. 
  • Davies, R.; Grant, M.D. (1983). London and its Railways. David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-8107-5. 
  • Day, John R (1979) [1963]. The story of London's Underground. London Transport. ISBN 0-85329-094-6. 
  • Holland, Julian (2013). Dr Beeching's Axe: 50 Years on : Illustrated Memories of Britain's Lost Railways. David & Charles. ISBN 978-1-446-30267-5. 
  • Jackson, Alan (1984) [1969]. London's Termini (New Revised ed.). London: David & Charles. ISBN 0-330-02747-6. 
  • Mogridge, Martin J.H. (1990). Travel in Towns: Jam yesterday, jam today and jam tomorrow?. Springer. ISBN 978-1-349-11798-7. 

External links

  • How London's Terminal Stations Got Their Names – Londonist
  • How many railway terminals does London have? - City Metric
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