Recently, we posted an article about how to travel by train in Great Britain. It’s a relaxing, affordable way to see the United Kingdom. And the scenery is great. The British rail network is extensive, serving virtually every corner of the British Isles. So you can go virtually everywhere by train.
London Train Stations Part One — Victoria Station
London has nine major train stations, including Victoria, King’s Cross, Waterloo, Paddington, and St. Pancras. And before you travel by rail, it’s helpful to know what to expect at the train station. See the map and legend to get the lay of the land.
Victoria Station is the second busiest rail station in London with 115 million passengers a year. That’s near twice the traffic at Heathrow. Trains to Kent, Surrey, and Sussex leave from here. And the Gatwick Airport Express terminates here. There’s also an Underground or Tube station in the basement.
One of the world’s most glamorous trains, the Venice Simplon Orient Express, departs from Platform 2.
The station first opened in 1860. At that time, it was actually two separate stations – the western side, owned by the Brighton Line had six platforms and ten tracks, and the Chatham side had nine tracks.
When the stations were remodeled in 1908, the Brighton side was completed in red brick and the Chatham side was done in the Edwardian style in white stone. In 1924, the wall was removed and the two terminals were merged.
The Victoria Place shopping center was added in the 1980s, and today, there are two dozen retail outlets, including W.H. Smith, Boots, Carrington Brown, Swatch, and the Tie Rack. If you’re hungry, you can choose from more than forty food outlets – everything from Krispy Kreme doughnuts to sushi.
It’s helpful to know which platform your train leaves from before you arrive at the station.