Rapid transit in the United Kingdom

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Rapid transit in the United Kingdom consists of four systems in three cities: the London Underground and Docklands Light Railway, Tyne and Wear Metro and the Glasgow Subway.

The Merseyrail in Liverpool possesses some aspects of a rapid transit system, although is usually referred to as a commuter line.

Overview[edit]

The United Kingdom is the birthplace of rapid transit, with London and Glasgow hosting the world's first and third urban rail transit. From 1893 to 1956 the Liverpool Overhead Railway was the only elevated rapid transit in the country, but fell into disuse. In the 20th and 21st century the United Kingdom has chosen to not prioritise investment in rapid transit schemes; instead cities like Manchester, Sheffield, and Edinburgh have opted for light rail systems.

City System Start of operations System Length Lines[a] Stations[b] Voltage Notes
London London Underground 10 January 1863 402 km 11 270 630 V DC fourth rail The oldest rapid transit system, incorporating the world's first underground railway.
London Docklands Light Railway 31 August 1987 34 km 7 (routes) 45 750 V DC third rail An automated light metro system opened in 1987 to serve the redeveloped Docklands area of London.
Tyne and Wear Tyne and Wear Metro 11 August 1980 74.5 km 2 60 1500 V DC OLE A rapid transit and light rail system in North East England, serving Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, South Tyneside, North Tyneside and Sunderland in the Tyne and Wear region.
Glasgow Glasgow Subway 14 December 1896 10.5 km 1 15 600 V DC third rail An underground metro line in Glasgow. It is the third-oldest underground metro system in the world after the London Underground and the Budapest Metro, and the only heavy rail underground metro system in the British Isles outside London.

The following are usually referred to as commuter rail systems, but possess aspects of rapid transit:

City System Start of operations System Length Lines[c] Stations[d] Voltage Notes
London London Overground 11 November 2007 123.6 km (official lines) 8 112 third-rail 750 V DC and 25 kV 50 Hz AC (overhead line) A suburban rail network in the United Kingdom, serving a large part of Greater London and parts of Hertfordshire.
Liverpool Merseyrail 1886 (Mersey Railway) 121 km (official lines) 2 official (and one unofficial line) 67 third-rail 750 V DC A commuter rail network, in Merseyside, England. It has 67 stations and 75 miles of route, of which 6.5 miles are underground, its forms one of the most heavily used railway networks in the UK outside London
London Crossrail (first phase) 2017-2019 136 km 1 40 25 kV 50 Hz AC (Overhead line) A railway line under construction in London and its environs, providing a new east-west route across Greater London. The aim is to provide a high-frequency commuter/suburban passenger service that will link parts of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, via central London, to Essex and South East London, relieving the pressure on other railway services.
London Crossrail (second phase) To be confirmed To be confirmed 1 To be confirmed 25 kV 50 Hz AC (Overhead line) A proposed rail route in South East England, running from nine stations in Surrey to three in Hertfordshire providing a new rail link across London on the Crossrail network.

History[edit]

Ticketing[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Indicates lines that are in operation for operational systems, lines that are under construction for under construction systems and proposed lines for proposed systems.
  2. ^ Indicates stations that are in operation for operational systems, stations that are under construction for under construction systems and proposed stations for proposed systems.
  3. ^ Indicates lines that are in operation for operational systems, lines that are under construction for under construction systems and proposed lines for proposed systems.
  4. ^ Indicates stations that are in operation for operational systems, stations that are under construction for under construction systems and proposed stations for proposed systems.