Portal:UK railways

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Introduction

NI Railways (Northern Ireland)

The United Kingdom consists of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and previously consisted of Great Britain and the whole of Ireland. Rail transport systems developed independently on the two island masses of Great Britain and Ireland, and most of the railway construction in the Republic of Ireland was undertaken before the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922. Thus, the logical division to discuss the history and present-day state of railways in these areas is by geographical division, rather than the nationalist division of nation states.

The United Kingdom is a member of the International Union of Railways (UIC). The UIC Country Code for United Kingdom is 70.

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A picture of a City & South London Railway train from the Illustrated London News, 1890
The City and South London Railway (C&SLR) was the first deep-level underground "tube" railway in the world,[1] and the first major railway in the world to use electric traction. Originally intended for cable-hauled trains, the collapse of the cable contractor while the railway was under construction forced a change to electric traction before the line opened – an experimental technology at the time.

When opened in 1890, it served six stations and ran for a distance of 5.1 kilometres (3.2 mi) in a pair of tunnels between the City of London and Stockwell, passing under the River Thames. The diameter of the tunnels restricted the size of the trains and the small carriages with their high-backed seating were nicknamed padded cells. The railway was extended several times north and south; eventually serving 22 stations over a distance of 21.7 km (13.5 mi) from Camden Town in north London to Morden in Surrey.


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Manchester Piccadilly railway station from the footbridge.jpg
Credit: Richard Kelly

Manchester Piccadilly station, known locally as just Piccadilly, is the principal railway station of Manchester in England, and lies on the Manchester loop of the West Coast Main Line. It serves intercity routes to London Euston, Birmingham New Street, Cardiff Central and the south, Glasgow Central, and routes throughout the north of England. Operated by Network Rail, it is the largest and busiest of the five city centre railway stations in Central Manchester/Salford, the others being Manchester Victoria, Salford Central, Deansgate and Manchester Oxford Road. It is the fourth busiest major station in the United Kingdom outside London for footfall (visitor numbers) and the busiest in England outside London for passenger usage. (more...)

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Did you know...


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  • ...that most of the Thomas The Tank Engine characters are based on genuine British Rail locomotives, and that Thomas is based on the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway's E2 0-6-0 locomotive?
  • ...that there are ten stations where the train operator responsible for the management of the station has no services calling at that station?
  • ...that there is a total of 262 million journey and fare combinations on the British railway network?

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  1. ^ Wolmar 2004, p. 4.
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