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Our top 5 tips for crossing London by train

Don't get your wires crossed when you're crossing the Capital!

The railway is pretty London-centric. The fastest trains usually go there, so the fastest journeys will involve going across it. For some people, that’s their worst nightmare. Which station do you need? How do you use the Underground? Is your ticket valid? Don’t panic. Here are our top five tips for crossing London by train.

What do I need to know about crossing London by train?

London is a huge city and it’s got a plethora of different railway stations. A number of different Underground lines link all of the stations together, and a couple of railway lines actually cross London, so you don’t need to change. We have a couple of tips that you’ll find handy when it comes to crossing London by train.

Have the right ticket

If you’re crossing London by train, and you have one ticket for your entire trip, then it’ll need to be a paper ticket in order for you to use the London Underground. It’ll also need to have a Maltese Cross symbol. Here’s an example:

cross london train ticket

If your ticket says ‘London Terminals‘, then it isn’t valid to cross London by train. You can find out more about what ‘London Terminals’ are, here.

No ticket? No need to queue

If you don’t have a ticket for the London Underground, then don’t queue up for one! All you need to do is tap any contactless bank card or device on the ticket gate, then tap out again when you leave. It’s much cheaper than queueing up for a paper ticket.

A typical single fare to get across London is £2.70. You can check how much you’ll be charged with the TfL Single Fare Finder.

Pick the right tube station

There are a couple of stations where it’s worth checking which Underground station is the best for you. This is usually the case where multiple Underground stations serve the same ‘mainline’ station, or there isn’t a dedicated one. Here are the main examples:

  • The main Underground station at Paddington for King’s Cross and Euston is next to the high-numbered platforms. If you’ve come off a train, it’s probably faster to use the footbridge (at the far end) rather than the main footbridge
  • Travelling from Euston to Paddington or Liverpool Street? The direct trains leave from Euston Square. Leave the station and turn right down Euston Road. It’s just a few minutes away
  • Fenchurch Street doesn’t have a dedicated tube station. The nearest ones are Aldgate or Tower Hill
  • Arriving at Marylebone, and looking to travel to King’s Cross, Euston or Liverpool Street? It’s faster to walk to Baker Street first.

Avoid the tube

Looking to avoid the tube? Crossing London by train can be even simpler if you just stick to the train for the entire trip. The Elizabeth Line is London’s newest addition, and it connects Paddington and Liverpool Street, amongst other places. Meanwhile, Thameslink connects the Home Counties together. If you’re travelling from St Pancras to London Bridge, for example, you might find it easier to use Thameslink.

Alternatively, why not walk? King’s Cross and Euston are just a 10-minute walk apart. Meanwhile, it’s a 20-minute walk along the Thames between Waterloo and Blackfriars.

Avoid Central London

It’s sometimes possible to avoid crossing London by train entirely. We’d recommend taking a look at the different London Overground routes if you’d like to do this.

The Watford Junction to Clapham Junction route, operated by Southern, is also a useful train to catch. It allows you to connect between the North of England and the South Coast without the need to go through Central London. This is also a great way to get to Gatwick Airport

Is there anything else I should know?

Looking for more information about London? Take a look at our page about travelling around London. You’ll find everything you need to know, including how to navigate the brand-new Elizabeth Line, and your best options for reaching London airports, including Heathrow. We’ll even tell you which London station to use!

Ready to take a trip? You can book it all with Railsmartr. We don’t charge any refund or change fees, either. After all, why should you pay more if you’ve changed your mind?

All information on this page was correct at 29 August 2023 and is issued without liability. Railsmartr are not responsible for any loss or inconvenience incurred as a result of the information provided.

Author Richard

Hi, I'm Richard and I've been working for Railsmartr since 2022. I make sure that everything we communicate with customers is top-notch and write exciting and informative content for the website. When I'm not at work, you'll still find me on the rails - though often in the far corners of Europe!