Train / Bus Stations, London
Green Line Coach Station is London's second major long-distance bus station, located in Bulleid Way, just the other side of Buckingham Palace Road, from Victoria Coach Station...
In many ways it is the 'plain Jane' sister of the much promoted VCS - only ever receiving a fraction of the publicity of the giant coach terminal, now almost entirely taken over by the monopoly that is; NATIONAL EXPRESS
(In April 2012 - London Green Line at last made the news, when sensation-seeking reporters intercepted the first arrival of the Balkan Horn coach from Varna, expecting to find it full of hopeful migrant worker Bulgarians, coming to UK to live on welfare payments as a result of Bulgaria becoming a full EU member state - they were to be disappointed - all those on board were on holiday, or had already settled in UK...)
The Green Line terminal also receives overspill services by NATIONAL EXPRESS (& EUROLINES - their business partner) but is otherwise a much more varied centre of choice for travel...
As well as Green Line Coaches, from which the terminal takes its name, there are stops for MEGABUS, & GREYHOUND, who provide a regular service to 0xford...
Green Line Coach Station is probably better known to foreign tourists than English travellers, because of the international coaches which arrive & depart from here, many of whose services are unavailable to UK citizens, because the companies involved do not have a ebsite, or ticket agents here...
Those that are represented online &/or in a combined ticket agency on Colonnade Walk, & who I have travelled abroad with, include;
SINBAD (Poland - daily)
STUDENT BUS AGENCY (Czech Republic - daily)
SOPHIA AGENCY (Bulgaria - weekly)
BALKAN HORN (Bulgaria - weekly)
EASTERN EUROPEAN TRAVEL (Ukraine - fortnightly)
With these services it is possible to travelas far as; London > Kiev (EET) or London > Varna (BH) without changing coaches, (surely a better option than spending several hours stranded at a mid-European airport, waiting for the connection for the supposedly 'fast' flight ?!)
(...London > Varna was in fact the original route of the first running of the long-distance train - 0rient Express - the remainder of the journey being by ferry to Turkey...)
Long-distance coach touring might not be the most comfortable, or fastest way to travel, but it is a way to see the scenic changes between here & mainland Europe, & in itself might be regarded as THE experience that is at the heart of true travel...
Both STUDENT BUS AGENCY & BALKAN HORN offer totally professional services which I personally recommend to anybody who wishes to discover continental scenery from a comfortable seat...
It still excites me to take the NATIONAL EXPRESS to VCS, in order to carry my luggage through Colonnade Walk, to London Green Line, in order to be on my way to eastern Europe...
To reduce queuing & enable travellers to buy travel tokens when the ticket office is closed, London Victoria Coach Station has installed self-service machines near the main entrance at Buckingham Palace Road...
When I was last there (December 2012) I attempted to buy a ticket using these machines with my debit card, but in all 3 automated dispensers , my card was rejected with the on-screen message; 'problem with card'...
But, there was no problem with my card & it worked successfully first time in an ordinary ATM!
The problem then, is with the coach stations machines - they cannot read ordinary debit cards properly...
You can use cash, but unless you have freshly minted notes, these will also be rejected...
So, if you need to buy a ticket to ride on the day with NATIONAL EXPRESS - don't waste time with dysfunctional technology - better to take your place in the queue for the ticket booths, at the opposite end of the building...
This large station in The Strand and close to Trafalgar Square is Londons terminus for trains to and from England's south east and main destinations are Hastings, Tunbridge Wells, the Thanet towns and Canterbury.
The sole train operator using the station is South Eastern trains - their website has details of services etc.
Good bus and tube connections. When Cannon Street is closed use services from Charing Cross.
If you are over 55 then Club 55 can offer reduced travel on First trains. This is a great offer where you must register on line and costs are a fixed price.
The offer is not available at all times and the website gives the dates available. Prices are £15 to buy a return ticket in the zone London falls in to and for each additional zone you pay an additional £10. So for example you take a London to Cambridge train and the return fare will be £15. If you want to travel further up to say Kings Lynn the return fare will be £25 (£15 for the first zone with an add on of £10 for the second zone).
Not available on all lines out of London as First trains only operate First Great Western, First Capital Connect and First Hull Trains.
Excellent reductions especially if you travel some distance from London.
The Euston Train station is the southern terminus of the West Coast Main Line managed by Netwerk Rail. Its most important long-distance destinations are Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow.
Euston was the first inter-city railway station to be built in London. On July 20, 1837 the original station was opened as the terminus of the London and Birmingham Railway constructed by William Cubitt.
In the 1840s the station was greatly expanded.
In the 1960s the old buildings were demolished and the new Euston station opened in 1968.
Nowadays four train operating companies use the Euston station:
-Virgin Trains from platforms 1-7, 12-14 and 16-18.
-London Midland from platforms 8 to 11, 12-15 and 17.
-London Overground from platforms 9 and 10
-First ScotRail from platforms 1, 2 or 16.
The Euston Bus station is in front of the Euston Train station.
The following buses have a stop here:
- 10 - Hammersmith Bus Station - King's Cross Station / York Way
- 18 - Sudbury And Harrow Road Station
- 91 - Tottenham Lane Ymca - Whitehall / Trafalgar Square
- 168 - Royal Free Hospital - Dunton Road
- 253 - Hackney Central Station
- 390 - Archway Station - Palace Garden Terr / Notting Hill Gate
and the following Night buses:
- N5 - Paddington Station / Eastbourne Terrac - Bow Bus Garage
- N20 - Edgware Station - Whitehall / Trafalgar Square
- N91 - Cockfosters Station - Whitehall / Trafalgar Square
- N253 - Aldgate Bus Station - Tottenham Court Road Station
St Pancras is in full train operation again from November 14, 2007. From that date the Eurostar trains have their own tracks in the UK leading to St Pancras.
The hisory of the building goes back to 1868 when it became the London station for the Midland Railway, that wanted her own station in stead of leasing a part of next door's King Cross, owned by the Great Northern Railway.
The station with the widest roof at that time was designed by William Barlow and the building got the popular name Barlow Shed. The front building and the Midland Grand Hotel (1873 - 1935) were designed by Gilbert Scott.
The Railways Act of 1921 forced the merger of the Midland with the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) into the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS). The new Railway Company Euston as its main station, so St Pancras business went down.
The glass roof was damaged by bombing in World War II and after Britsh Rail started in 1948 the tracks were under construction once more.
In the 1960 there were plans to redevelop the whole area, but due to Sir John Betjeman, the station building survived.
From 2000 the station was renovated and opened again late 2007.
International train service:
Eurostar (High Speed One), with trains through the Channel tunnel
Domestic train service:
East Midlands Trains (Midland Main Line)
First Capital Connect (Thameslink route)
Southeastern (High Speed 1 and Kent Coast)
You will find stations are equipped with a machine that can be used for asking for information or asking for help should there be an emergency such as an act of violence. You will find several machines on the platforms and there is a choice of two buttons to press, one for emergency and the other is equipped with a voice system where you can ask information regarding the trains at the station. I used one the other day to inquire which platform i had to go to for my connection to my destination and found the service quite useful.
As you would expect in a city the size of London, there are quite a few rail terminii and you will have probably heard of some of them like Kings Cross, Waterloo, Paddington and St. Pancras International. This tip, however, concerns one of the smaller mainline stations and one which is probably my favourite perhaps for that very reason. With it's compact design and associations to the late and much loved poet Sir John Betjeman, it has a certain charm that seems missing from it's larger siblings. It never seems to get hideously crowded at the gates, nor do the refreshment outlets ever seem to be over-subscribed.
Marlyebone has a fairly interesting history. It is the most recent mainline statioon, opened in 1899 and a look at a London map would make you wonder perhaps why it was built where it is. It sits about midway between Paddington and Euston which were already well established when Marylebone was built. The answer lies in the way railways were run at a time before nationalisation when the system was run by various competing private companies. This station was built by the Great Central mainline and almost bankrupt them in the process. Originally, it was meant to have 10 tracks in but the event they settled for the four that are still extant today.
Nowadays, the station is the hub for Chiltern Railways serving, unsurprisingly, the Chiltern region of England and going as far as Birmingham. Be aware that it serves the smaller Birmingham stations of Moor Street and Snow Hill rather than the main station.
So let me talk you through the nuts and bolts of it. Getting to and from the station is easy. The station is served by the Bakerloo Line on the Underground with internal access so you don't have to go outside. There are various bus routes which stop right outside the main entrance and a taxi rank there as well. Unfortunately, the sheltered cycle storage is only available to season ticket holders.
For wheelchair users the station is step free, there are accessible toilets and ramps for train access are available. There is no induction loop for hearing impaired travellers and there is no left luggage facility on the Station either.
The usual suspects in relation to retail outlets are there and somewhat unusually an excellent cheese shop. Don't ask me why. There are two bars, the Victoria and Albert and the Sports Bar and Grill. My personal preference is the V&A, a pleasant old fashioned place with decent service and a good food menu which is not overpriced for a station buffet, although I have never sampled the fare there.
If you happen to be heading through this station, take a moment to have a look round what is a very pleasant place.
There are several ways to get to Southampton for a cruise, depends on how fast you need to get there, how much you want to spend and if you want to go directly from the ship
a) most people seem to recommend the train although it is not cheap, it offers more frequent service from London's Waterloo Station to Southampton. There are currently trains every 1/2 hour with a travel time of 1:20, £34.10 one way per person. You have to take a taxi from the train station to the cruise docks
b) another option is the National Express bus, the journey time averages about 2 hours and the buses leave less frequently than the train. It was £7.50 per person one way if reserved in advance
c) Greyhound is another bus option
d) cruise ships all offer transfers, ours was $49 per person
e) Megatrain, if you are willing to stay in Southampton until 12:55pm on your day of return, Megatrain has £6 fares. Going to Southampton, there were quite a few trains that would get you there by the time the ship sails for only £6-8. I understand they are regularly scheduled trains that the Mega company reserves a car in, quite a bargain if you can work with their schedule
We opted to take a transfer to the ship from Heathrow, you don't want to risk missing the ship because you didn't want to spend a few more £. It ended up being a good decision, our minivan only had three of us and when I mentioned I'd never been to Winchester, our bus driver stopped and let us wander about for 20 minutes.
Going back we decided to take the train, mainly because of it's flexibility. We opted for the self help disembarkation, we kept all of our luggage and took it off the ship at around 7:30am, got a taxi which cost under £6, bought our tickets and got on the 8am train to Waterloo which got us there at 9:20. If I had gone for the bus, I would have picked the 9:30 bus and would have arrived in London around 11:30.
Travelling about England by coach is generally cheaper than the trains: it also tends to take a lot longer, partly because of the time involved in getting out of London and possible into your destination town.
Once you get behind the rather good Art Deco exterior (love those hockey-stick windows) Victoria coach station is fairly ghastly, but given that it's a bus station fairly ghastly is not that bad. The layout is certainly very user-friendly: enter through the main entrance and the first thing you'll see is a bank of TV screens showing which bay all the departures are going from. So that's easy.
If you are just rolling up and buying a ticket you ought to allow a generous amount of time for queing for a ticket. The lines tend to be long and also to move painfully slowly. Half an hour would not be overdoing it: possibly more at peak times...Friday nights or bank holidays
I'd advise anybody who can to book online (www.nationalexpress.com). It's usually cheaper, and since they email the ticket to you it doesnt matter if you lose your first printout, it'll be in your inbox still. For 50p more they'll send it as a text to your mobile.
Watch out for the check box offering travel insurance for an extra £1...you have to uncheck it if you don't want it, & it is only valid for UK residents.
St Pancras is London's most impressive station and is situated in the north of London in Euston Road. This is London's international terminus and Eurostar trains depart from here for Paris and Brussels. Englands second high speed line, HS2, also leaves from here to stations in Kent. Finally local trains depart here for stations to north to Bedford, south to Gatwick and Brighton.Long distance trains depart to Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield.
This is a large station and local trains and regional trains depart from high level tracks towards the middle of the station and Eurostar trains are towards the front.
A good range of shops and eating places make this a place to visit even if you do not need to catch a train.
There is also a wonderful statue here of poet Sir John Betjeman - a man who loved trains.
Located next to the Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford. The one comment i would make is that there is one bus stop for picking up passengers and three stops for dropping off passengers.
Located close to the shopping centre and the Olympic Park. A short walk from Stratford Underground and Railway Station.
The trains to and from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry can be found at Platform 9 ¾ inside King Cross Station. Please note: it is actually invisible to Muggles. You may glimpse Harry Potter here during breaks in the Hogwarts school calendar. A magic wand is required for inspection before boarding.
The location of this platform does change! I have seen it in 7 locations in the last 2 years alone. Please find photos of 3 of the locations.
The centre of London is encircled by number of mainline stations, each of which serves a large number of towns and cities all in the same general direction – e.g. Paddington for the south west of England and south Wales, Kings Cross for the north east of England and eastern Scotland etc. All of these mainline stations are in turn well served by tube lines, usually bearing the same name (but if you’re going to St Pancras mainline station, for instance, you’ll need Kings Cross tube station).
Train services are provided by a number of operators, who have contracts to provide services on certain lines. Prices are high by European standards, though there are bargains to be had. The general rule is that the earlier in advance that you can book your ticket, and the more flexible you can be, the lower the price. Try The Trainline for online booking – I find it easiest to identify the best value here and you can have your ticket sent to you in advance or collect it from the station on the day of travel.
If you‘re staying in Britain for any length of time there may be useful discount cards and passes, depending on your circumstances. For information on these check out National Rail Enquiries.