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Southern is a brand of Govia Thameslink Railway. Trains under this brand operate from London to destinations across Surrey, Sussex and down to the South Coast.

Southern actually isn’t a rail company in itself. These days, it’s a brand of Govia Thameslink Railway. Southern trains call at 213 stations, and the Southern brand operates 156 of them. They have 235 trains.

Travelling a long way? If you’re travelling to/from Portsmouth or Southampton, then Southern offers a cheaper, slower alternative to South Western Railway. Here’s how much the cheapest day return fares are:

    • Portsmouth & Southsea to London – £22.50 for a Super Off-Peak Day Return
    • Southampton to London – £22.50 for a Super Off-Peak Day Return.

They’re valid at any time on weekends and Bank Holidays. On weekdays, you can arrive in London after 10:44 and leave before 16:15 and after 19:14.

On board services


Free WiFi is available on all Southern services.

Travel with children

You’ll find power sockets at window seats on most trains to keep devices charged. The end carriages of each four-coach train (eg. coaches 1, 4, 5 and 8 on an eight-coach one) are usually in an all-table layout.


There’s no need to make a reservation if you want to bring a non-folding bike on board. However, they aren’t permitted on services scheduled to arrive in London, Brighton or Kensington Olympia between 07:00 and 10:00, and departing these stations between 16:00 and 19:00 on weekdays. There’s more information in our dedicated guide to travelling with bikes.


Up to two dogs, cats or other small domestic animals can travel free in both Standard and 1st Class.

Special Assistance

You can find out more about Passenger Assist on our dedicated page.

Standard Class

The vast majority of the Southern fleet is made up of Electrostar trains. They have three, four or five carriages and run in different formations up to 12 carriages.

The trains have seats in either a 2+2 or 3+2 formation. On three and five-coach trains, all seats are in a 2+2 formation. On most trains, all window seats have access to a power socket, and Southern is in the process of gradually installing them into the rest.

Can I upgrade to First Class?

You can! But, First Class is very similar. The seats are the same and there’s no on-board catering. We wouldn’t recommend it.

Information about routes

  • Ore & Eastbourne to London Victoria
  • Littlehampton to London Victoria
  • Bognor Regis to London Victoria
  • East Grinstead to London Victoria
  • Uckfield to London Bridge
  • Portsmouth & Southsea to London Victoria
  • Southampton Central to London Victoria
  • Reigate to London Victoria.

They also run a dense network of suburban services around London, including to Epsom Downs, Sutton, Horsham (via Dorking), Caterham and Tattenham Corner.

Their trains also run on routes such as Ashford International to Eastbourne, Brighton to Portsmouth & Southsea, and Littlehampton to Bognor Regis.