List of railway lines in Great Britain

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This is a list of railway lines in Great Britain that are currently in operation, split by country and region.

There are a limited number of main inter-regional lines, with all but one entering Greater London.[1] The line from London to the Channel Tunnel is the only line designated 'high speed', although the other main routes also operate limited-stop express services.

The bulk of the secondary network is concentrated in London and the surrounding East and South East regions; an area marketed by National Rail as London and the South East. The majority of these lines are radial to London.[2] There is a further concentration of routes around Birmingham in the West Midlands[3] and in the urbanised part of northern England that stretches from Liverpool in the west, via Greater Manchester to Leeds in the east.[4]

Some areas, such as Wales and Scotland, have relatively sparse railway provision.[1] There are local lines throughout all areas of Great Britain with some services designated as community railways.

Main inter-regional lines[edit]

Name End and major calling points Countries and regions Category
Cross Country Route Bristol, Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds, York England: East Midlands, South West, Yorkshire and the Humber, West Midlands Main Line (110mph)
East Coast Main Line London, Leeds, York, Darlington, Newcastle, Edinburgh England: East, East Midlands, London, North East, Yorkshire and the Humber; Scotland High Speed Main Line (125mph)
Great Eastern Main Line London, Ipswich, Norwich England: East, London Main Line (100mph)
Great Western Main Line London, Bristol, Cardiff England: London, South East, South West; South Wales High Speed Main Line (125mph)
High Speed 1 London, Channel Tunnel England: East, London, South East.

Continental Europe: France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany

High Speed Line (186mph)
Midland Main Line London, Leicester, Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds England: East, East Midlands, London, Yorkshire and the Humber High Speed Main Line (125mph)
West Coast Main Line London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow England: London, North West, South East, West Midlands; Scotland; North Wales High Speed Main Line (125mph)

England[edit]

London[edit]

Most main UK routes terminate in London and there is an extensive suburban network[2][5]

This is a list of routes entirely contained within London.[5]

Name Opened Regions Electrified
Bromley North Line 1878 London 750V DC Third rail
Catford Loop Line 1892 London 750V DC Third rail
Chessington Branch Line 1938-1939 London 750V DC Third rail
Chingford Branch Line 1873 London 25KV AC OHLE
Crystal Palace Line 1856-1858 London 750V DC Third rail
Dudding Hill Line 1875 London N/A
East London Line 1869-2010 London 750V DC Third rail
Gospel Oak to Barking Line 1894-1868 London 25KV AC OHLE (partial)
Greenford Branch Line 1903 London N/A
Greenwich Line 1836 London 750V DC Third rail
Hayes Line
(formally Mid-Kent Line)
1857-1882 London 750V DC Third rail
Hounslow Loop Line 1850 London 750V DC Third rail
Inner South London Line 1886 London 750V DC Third rail
Kingston Loop Line 1863-1869 London 750V DC Third rail
New North Main Line 1903 London N/A
North London Line 1846-1869 London 25KV AC OHLE & 750V DC Third rail
Northern City Line 1904 London 25KV AC OHLE & 750V DC Third rail
Nunhead to Lewisham Link 1929 London 750V DC Third rail
Romford to Upminster Line 1893 London 25KV AC OHLE
Sydenham Line[6] 1839 London 750V DC Third rail
West London Line 1844 London 25KV AC OHLE & 750V DC Third rail

East of England[edit]

A number of local lines branch from the main radial routes and closer to London are the outer terminals of the suburban network[2][5]

This is a list of all routes that enter the East of England region.

Name Opened Regions Electrification
Abbey Line 1858 East 25KV AC OHLE
Birmingham to Peterborough Line 1840-1860 East, East Midlands, West Midlands N/A
Bittern Line 1874-1877 East N/A
Braintree Branch Line 1848 East 25KV AC OHLE
Breckland Line 1845 East N/A
Cambridge Line 1851 East 25KV AC OHLE
Crouch Valley Line 1889 East 25KV AC OHLE
East Suffolk Line 1854 East N/A
Ely to Peterborough Line 1847 East N/A
Felixstowe Branch Line 1877 East N/A
Fen Line 1846 East 25KV AC OHLE
Gainsborough Line 1865 East N/A
Hertford East Branch Line 1843 East 25KV AC OHLE
Hertford Loop Line 1871—1924 London, East 25KV AC OHLE
Ipswich to Ely Line 1846-1851 East N/A
Lea Valley Lines 1840-1891 London, East 25KV AC OHLE
London, Tilbury and Southend Line 1854-1888 London, East 25KV AC OHLE
Marston Vale Line 1845 East, South East N/A
Mayflower Line 1854 East 25KV AC OHLE
Peterborough to Lincoln Line 1848-1882 East N/A
Shenfield to Southend Line 1892 East 25KV AC OHLE
Sunshine Coast Line 1847-1882 East 25KV AC OHLE
Thameslink 1866-1988 London, East, South East 25KV AC OHLE & 750v DC Third rail
Watford DC Line 1862-1922 London, East 750v DC Third rail
West Anglia Main Line 1840-1990 London, East 25KV AC OHLE
Wherry Lines 1844-1882 East N/A

South East[edit]

The commuter network stretches from London to the coast and there is a connection to France through the Channel Tunnel[2][5]

This is a list of all routes that enter the South East England region.

Name Opened Regions Electrification
Alton Line 1852 South East 750V DC Third rail
Arun Valley Line 1848-1863 South East 750V DC Third rail
Ascot to Guildford Line  ? South East 750V DC Third rail
Ashford to Ramsgate (via Canterbury West) Line 1846 South East 750V DC Third rail
Bexleyheath Line 1895 London, South East 750V DC Third rail
Brighton Main Line 1839-1941 London, South East 750V DC Third rail
Caterham Line 1856 London, South East 750V DC Third rail
Chatham Main Line 1858-1926 London, South East 750V DC Third rail
Cherwell Valley Line 1844-1873 South East N/A
Chiltern Main Line 1852-1910 South East N/A
Cotswold Line 1851-1860 South East, South West, West Midlands N/A
Dartford Loop Line 1866 London, South East 750V DC Third rail
East Coastway Line 1846-1871 South East 750V DC Third rail
Eastleigh to Fareham line 1841 South East 750V DC Third rail
Eastleigh to Romsey Line 1847 South East N/A
Epsom Downs Branch 1865 London, South East 750V DC Third rail
Hampton Court Branch Line 1849 South East 750V DC Third rail
Hastings Line 1845–1852 South East 750V DC Third rail
Henley Branch Line 1857 South East N/A
High Speed 1 2003-2007 London, South East 25KV AC OHLE
Island Line, Isle of Wight 1864 South East 750V DC Third rail
Kent Coast Line 1847 South East 750V DC Third rail
London to Aylesbury Line 1868 and 1899 London, East 630V DC Fourth rail (partial)
Lymington Branch Line 1858 South East 750V DC Third rail
Maidstone Line 1874-1884 South East 750V DC Third rail
Marlow Branch Line 1854 South East N/A
Marshlink Line 1851 South East N/A
Marston Vale Line 1845 East, South East N/A
Medway Valley Line 1844-1856 South East 750V DC Third rail
New Guildford Line 1885 South East 750V DC Third rail
North Downs Line 1849 South East 750V DC Third rail (partial)
North Kent Line 1846-1849 London, South East 750V DC Third rail
Oxford to Bicester Line 1850 South East N/A
Oxted Line 1858-1888 London, South East 750V DC Third rail
(Croydon - East Grinstead)
Portsmouth Direct Line 1845-1858 South East 750V DC Third rail
Princes Risborough to Aylesbury Line 1863 South East N/A
Reading to Basingstoke Line 1848 South East N/A
Reading to Taunton Line 1847-1906 South East, South West N/A
Redhill to Tonbridge Line 1884 South East 750V DC Third rail
Seaford Branch Line 1864 South East 750V DC Third rail
Sheerness Line 1860 South East 750V DC Third rail
Shepperton Branch Line 1864-1894 London, South East 750V DC Third rail
Slough to Windsor & Eton Line 1849 South East N/A
South Eastern Main Line 1842-1871 London, South East 750V DC Third rail
South Western Main Line 1838-1857 London, South East, South West 750V DC Third rail
Staines to Weybridge Line 1849 South East 750V DC Third rail
Staines to Windsor Line 1848-1849 South East 750V DC Third rail
Sutton & Mole Valley Lines 1847-1868 London, South East 750V DC Third rail
Tattenham Corner Line 1897-1901 London, South East 750V DC Third rail
Thameslink 1866-1988 London, East, South East 25KV AC OHLE & 750v DC Third rail
Waterloo to Reading Line 1846-1856 London, South East 750V DC Third rail
Wessex Main Line 1847-1856 South East, South West N/A
West Coastway Line 1840-1889 South East 750V DC Third rail
West of England Main Line 1854-1860 South East, South West N/A

South West[edit]

There is a concentration of routes around Bristol and direct connections to Wales, London and other regions[7]

This is a list of all routes that enter the South West England region.

Name Opened Regions Electrification
Atlantic Coast Line
(Par to Newquay)
1874 South West NA
Avocet Line
(Exeter to Exmouth)
1862 South West NA
Bristol to Exeter Line 1841-1842 South West NA
Cornish Main Line 1867 South West NA
Cotswold Line 1851-1860 South East, South West, West Midlands N/A
Exeter to Plymouth Line 1846-1849 South West NA
Gloucester to Newport Line 1850 South West NA
Golden Valley Line
(Swindon to Cheltenham)
1845 South West NA
Heart of Wessex Line
(Bristol to Weymouth)
1857 South West NA
Looe Valley Line
(Liskeard to Looe)
1860–1901 South West NA
Maritime Line
(Truro to Falmouth)
1863 South West NA
Reading to Taunton Line 1847-1906 South East, South West N/A
Riviera Line
(Exeter to Paignton)
1846–1859 South West NA
Severn Beach Line
(Bristol to Severn Beach)
1840-1900 South West NA
South Wales Main Line
(GWML to Swansea)
1950-1903 South West, South Wales NA
South Western Main Line
(London to Weymouth)
1838-1857 London, South East, South West 750V DC Third rail
St Ives Bay Line
(St Erth to St Ives)
1877 South West NA
Tamar Valley Line
(Plymouth to Gunnislake)
1890-1908 South West NA
Tarka Line
(Exeter to Barnstaple)
1851-1854 South West NA
Wessex Main Line 1847-1856 South East, South West N/A
West of England Main Line
(SWML to Exeter)
1854-1860 South East, South West N/A

East Midlands[edit]

There are rail links to adjacent regions and direct services to London

This is a list of all routes that enter the East Midlands region.

Name Opened Regions Electrification
Birmingham to Peterborough Line 1840-1860 East, East Midlands, West Midlands N/A
Buxton Line 1863 East Midlands, North West 25KV AC OHLE
Chiltern Main Line 1852-1910 London, South East, West Midlands N/A
Crewe to Derby Line 1848 East Midlands, North West, West Midlands N/A
Derwent Valley Line 1839-1849 East Midlands N/A
Doncaster to Lincoln Line 1849 East Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber N/A
Glossop Line 1844 East Midlands, North West 25KV AC OHLE
Ivanhoe Line
(part of the Midland Main Line)
1840/1993 East Midlands N/A
Leicester to Burton upon Trent Line 1832-1849 East Midlands N/A
Northampton Loop Line 1881 East Midlands, West Midlands 25KV AC OHLE
Nottingham-Grantham Line 1850 East Midlands N/A
Nottingham-Lincoln Line 1846 East Midlands N/A
Oakham to Kettering Line 1879 East Midlands N/A
Poacher Line 1848-1873 East Midlands N/A
Robin Hood Line 1848 (reopened 1993-1998) East Midlands N/A
Sheffield to Lincoln Line 1849 East Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber N/A

West Midlands[edit]

There is a concentration of routes around Birmingham and direct connections to London and other regions[3]

This is a list of all routes that enter the West Midlands region.

Name Opened Regions Electrification
Birmingham to Peterborough Line 1840-1860 East, East Midlands, West Midlands N/A
Birmingham to Stratford Line 1908 West Midlands N/A
Birmingham to Worcester via Bromsgrove Line 1940-1879 West Midlands N/A
Birmingham to Worcester via Kidderminster Line 1852-1867 West Midlands N/A
Chase Line 1837-1859
(partly closed 1965,
reopened 1989-1997)
West Midlands 25KV AC OHLE (partial)
Chiltern Main Line 1852-1910 London, South East, West Midlands N/A
Cotswold Line 1851-1860 South East, South West, West Midlands N/A
Coventry to Leamington line 1851 West Midlands N/A
Coventry to Nuneaton Line 1850 West Midlands N/A
Crewe to Derby Line 1848 East Midlands, North West, West Midlands N/A
Cross-City Line 1837-1876
(1978 single route)
West Midlands 25KV AC OHLE
Leamington to Stratford Line 1860 West Midlands N/A
Leicester to Burton upon Trent Line 1832-1849 East Midlands, West Midlands N/A
Northampton Loop Line 1881 East Midlands, West Midlands 25KV AC OHLE
Rugby–Birmingham–Stafford Line 1837 West Midlands 25KV AC OHLE
Shrewsbury to Chester Line 1848 North West, West Midlands N/A
Stafford-Manchester Line 1848-1887 North West, West Midlands 25KV AC OHLE
Stone to Colwich Line 1849 West Midlands 25KV AC OHLE
Stourbridge Town Branch Line 1879 West Midlands N/A
Trent Valley Line
(part of the West Coast Main Line)
1847 West Midlands 25KV AC OHLE
Walsall-Wolverhampton Line 1837 West Midlands 25KV AC OHLE
Welsh Marches Line 1852-1858 North West, West Midlands,
Mid Wales, South Wales
N/A
Wolverhampton to Shrewsbury Line 1848-1849 West Midlands N/A

North East[edit]

Suburban routes are concentrated around Newcastle with direct connections to Scotland, London and adjacent regions[8]

This is a list of all routes that enter the North East England region.

Name Opened Regions Electrification
Durham Coast Line 1841-1879 North East N/A
Esk Valley Line 1835 North East, Yorkshire and the Humber N/A
Tyne Valley Line 1834-1837 North East, North West N/A
Northallerton–Eaglescliffe Line 1852 North East, Yorkshire and the Humber N/A
Tees Valley Line 1843-1861 North East N/A

North West[edit]

There is a significant concentration of routes around urbanised Liverpool and Manchester with the northern part of the region less well served[1][4]

This is a list of all routes that enter the North West England region.

Name Opened Regions Electrification Electrification status
Blackpool Branch Lines 1846-1865 North West N/A Planned
Borderlands Line 1887-1896 North West N/A N/A
Buxton Line 1863 East Midlands, North West 25KV AC OHLE Live
Caldervale Line North West, Yorkshire and the Humber N/A N/A
Chester to Manchester Line 1830-1863 North West N/A N/A
Crewe-Manchester Line 1841 North West 25KV AC OHLE Live
Cumbrian Coast Line 1844-1845 North West N/A N/A
East Lancashire Line 1846-1848 North West N/A N/A
Ellesmere Port to Warrington Line 1863 North West N/A N/A
Furness Line 1846-1858 North West N/A N/A
Glossop Line
(Originally part of Woodhead Line)
1842-1845 East Midlands, North West 25KV AC OHLE Live
Hope Valley Line 1894 North West, Yorkshire and the Humber N/A N/A
Huddersfield Line 1894 North West, Yorkshire and the Humber N/A Planned
Kirkby Branch Line 1848 North West N/A N/A
Leeds to Morecambe Line 1846-1864 North West, Yorkshire and the Humber 25KV AC OHLE (partial) Live
Liverpool to Manchester Lines 1830-onwards North West 25KV AC OHLE (partial) Undergoing
Liverpool to Wigan Line 1869-1871 North West N/A Undergoing
Manchester to Preston Line 1838-1841 North West N/A Planned
Manchester to Southport Line North West N/A N/A
Mid-Cheshire Line 1855-1888 North West N/A N/A
Morecambe Branch Line 1864 North West N/A N/A
Northern Line (Merseyrail) 1848-1864 North West 750V DC Third Rail Live
Ormskirk Branch Line 1848 North West 750V DC Third Rail Live
Ribble Valley Line 1845-1872 North West N/A N/A
Settle-Carlisle Line 1875 North West, Yorkshire and the Humber N/A N/A
Stafford-Manchester Line 1848 North West, West Midlands 25KV AC OHLE Live
Stockport to Stalybridge Line North West N/A N/A
Styal Line 1909 North West 25KV AC OHLE Live
Tyne Valley Line 1834-1837 North East, North West N/A N/A
Windermere Branch Line 1847 North West N/A Proposed
Wirral Line 1840-1907 North West 750V DC Third Rail Live

Yorkshire and the Humber[edit]

There is a concentration of commuter services around Sheffield and Leeds with a number of direct routes to London and other regions[4]

This is a list of all routes that enter the Yorkshire and the Humber region.

Name Regions
Airedale Line Yorkshire and the Humber
Askern Branch Line Yorkshire and the Humber
Caldervale Line North West, Yorkshire and the Humber
Dearne Valley Line Yorkshire and the Humber
Doncaster to Lincoln Line East Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber
Esk Valley Line North East, Yorkshire and the Humber
Hallam Line Yorkshire and the Humber
Harrogate Line Yorkshire and the Humber
Hope Valley Line North West, Yorkshire and the Humber
Huddersfield Line North West, Yorkshire and the Humber
Hull to York Line Yorkshire and the Humber
Leeds to Morecambe Line North West, Yorkshire and the Humber
Leeds-Bradford Lines Yorkshire and the Humber
Leeds-Northallerton Railway Yorkshire and the Humber
Northallerton–Eaglescliffe Line North East, Yorkshire and the Humber
Penistone Line Yorkshire and the Humber
Pontefract Line Yorkshire and the Humber
Settle-Carlisle Line North West, Yorkshire and the Humber
Sheffield to Hull Line Yorkshire and the Humber
Sheffield to Lincoln Line East Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber
South Humberside Main Line Yorkshire and the Humber
Wakefield Line Yorkshire and the Humber
Wharfedale Line Yorkshire and the Humber
York & Selby Lines Yorkshire and the Humber
Yorkshire Coast Line Yorkshire and the Humber
York to Scarborough Line Yorkshire and the Humber

Scotland[edit]

Main lines[edit]

Glasgow commuter lines[edit]

Edinburgh commuter lines[edit]

Rural lines[edit]

Wales[edit]

Main lines[edit]

Cardiff commuter lines[edit]

Rural lines[edit]


Lines under construction[edit]

Name Between Opening Regions Electrification Type
Crossrail Abbey Wood and Stratford to Paddington 2018 London 25KV AC OHLE New Line
Varsity Line Bicester Town and Aylesbury Vale Parkway to Bletchley 2019 South East England 25KV AC OHLE Reopening
Waverley Line Newcraighall to Tweedbank 2015 Scottish Borders N/A Reopening

References[edit]

See also[edit]