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Railfanning London‘s Railways

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Visitors to London who are also transport enthusiasts (‘railfans’) sometimes ask for advice as to the ‘best’ things to see on London’s railway network. This page is part of a guide which aims to answer that question.

If this is the first time you have reached these pages then it is best to go to the Opening Page which sets the scene, explains the difference between the small and the large profile trains, offers advice on the best type of ticket to buy and photography tips.

Alternatively, it is possible to view everything on one page

Busier Suburban Stations Of Interest

In addition to terminal stations in Central London, there are some busier suburban stations where a variety of trains can often be seen. This list only looks at those in zones in zones 1-4. These include: Clapham Junction, Richmond, Ealing Broadway, Wimbledon, and Stratford.

  • Clapham Junction: (south London). With 18 platforms (numbered 1-17 plus 0, which is not used) this is one of the busiest stations in all of Great Britain. You will see many trains from Waterloo [South Western Railway] and Victoria [Southern] passing through, including the Gatwick Express and the Southern trains which use the West London Line to link destinations to the north of London with destinations to the south of London. Although not served by Underground trains, this station is on the London Overground network, being served by trains which use the South and West London Lines.

    This page in the National Rail website includes much information about Clapham Junction station and a map showing the platforms:
    http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/CLJ/details.html .
Clapham Junction station. Clapham Junction station.
The London Overground platforms 1 and 2 as seen from the footbridge, with two Class 378 trains. The train in front of me is a West London Line service, the train below me is a South London Line service. To make interchange easy these trains are timed to meet here, every 15 minutes, every day. A South Western Railway Class 450 is at platform 3 and in the distance what is probably a Class 455 train can be seen just outside the station.

This photograph is looking east, towards Central London and Waterloo / Victoria railway stations.
The view from the far end of the platform used by the Overground's West London Line trains. On the left can be seen part of a railing which stops passengers from walking along the rest of the platform.
Looking across the station we see two SWR Class 455 trains and a Southern train, either a Class 375 or Class 377.

This photograph is looking south.
  • Richmond: (south-west London). This is a South Western Railway station that is also used by Overground and Underground trains. The platform circulating area includes a food outlet with tables where you can watch trains come and go. The glass skylight affords weather protection in inclement weather.

    Platforms 1 and 2 are through platforms for South Western Railway services - typically nowadays just electric multiple units of various types.

    Platforms 3 to 7 are terminating platforms, London Overground (North London Line) services normally use platforms 3 and 4 but sometimes also use platforms 5, 6 or 7 whilst Underground District Line trains normally use platforms 5, 6 and 7 but can also use platform 4. District Line trains can not use platform 3, as there is no fourth rail (electric power supply).

    This page in the National Rail website includes much information about Richmond station and a map showing the platforms:
    http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/RMD/details.html .
Richmond station London frontage.
Richmond station London booking hall.
Richmond station was built by the Southern Railway in 1937. Richmond station ticket hall. The station entrance is on the left; to the right can be seen the steps down to platforms 2 - 7 and separate walking route to platform 1 which is located on the other side of the through tracks. This picture was stitched together from two images.
Richmond station London . Richmond station London
The fully weather protected circulating area for platforms 2 -7 which is reached after passing through the ticket hall.

In the distance can be seen some tables and chairs where people can eat foods purchased here.
Train departure information display at Richmond station,
seen moments after the first train (London Overground
to Stratford) had departed.
The next District Line departure is the 14:03 from platform 7.

The barriers and electric ticket gates at Richmond station are a fairly new innovation. They split the circulating area in front of the trains into two and mean that passengers changing trains need to effectively leave the fares paid area (ie; break their journey) to access most of the food outlets or use the toilets. For passengers using Oyster PAYG this can result in extra costs (a new fare being charged for the next part of their journey).

  • Ealing Broadway: (west London) is served by Great Western Railway (GWR), TFL Rail, Central and District Line trains.

    Platforms 1 and 2 are normally used by non-stop trains which typically includes High Speed and Intercity Express Trains travelling towards Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea and Penzance, outer suburban diesel and electric multiple-unit trains travelling to various regional destinations and Heathrow Express trains travelling to Heathrow Airport.

    Platforms 3 and 4 are used by local stopping and freight trains, including TFL Rail trains to Heathrow Airport and some GWR outer suburban trains which call here.

    Platforms 5 and 6 are used by Central Line trains. These platforms were built by the Great Western Railway for the Central London Railway in 1920, so therefore always have been part of the GWR (mainline) station.

    Platforms 7, 8, 9 are used by District Line trains. Platforms 8 and 9 are partially inside a trainshed which features historic signage. This is the original District Railway station although nowadays the street frontage is used by various retail shops and all passengers use the GWR station entrance and ticket hall.

    Although all passengers use the same ticket office the District Line's platforms are still looked after by different staff, and as a result when using my camera at this station I have sometimes found that even though the GWR staff have said 'OK' the Underground staff (on the District Line platforms) have not been happy and complained that I did not also speak with them about my using my camera.

    This page in the National Rail website includes much information about Ealing Broadway station and a map showing some of the platforms:
    http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/EAL/details.html .
District Line trainshed at Ealing Broadway station . Underground trains at Ealing Broadway station
Inside the District Line trainshed.

District Line platforms 9 and 7 are empty
whilst there is an S stock train at platform 8.

On the far side of the trainshed wall is
one of the heritage station name signs.

In the far distance a Central Line 1992 Tube Stock
train can be seen at platform 6.
District Line S Stock trains are at platforms 8 and 7.

A Central Line train is at platform 6.
Central Line platforms Ealing Broadway station . Ealing Broadway station
A District Line train at platform 8, platforms 7 and 6 are empty and a Central Line train is at platform 5. A Central Line train is at platform 5, platform 4 is empty and a westbound TFL Rail Class 345 train is departing from platform 3, blocking the view of platforms 2 and 1.
  • Wimbledon: (south-west London). This is a South Western Railway station which is also served by trains - and trams - from several other railway operators.

    Platforms 1 - 4 are terminating platforms and used by London Underground District Line trains.

    Platforms 5 and 8 are used by South Western Railway inner suburban (local) services.

    Platforms 6 and 7 are for express and outer suburban trains. Normally most trains on the fast tracks travel through without stopping and platform gates prevent access to these platforms. .

    Platform 9 is bi-directional and used by Thameslink trains which travel through to Elephant & Castle, Farringdon and the north of London.

    Platform 10 is used by London / Croydon Tramlink. Because of a need to operate more trams than is possible with one platform this platform has been split into two sections, so that there are two tram platforms - Nos. 10a and 10b.

    Special Information For Using Smart Card Ticketing (Oyster / Contactless / Other Device) In PAYG Mode At Wimbledon Station
    * To reduce the risk of complications these rules should also be followed if you have an Oystercard with a Day Anytime, Day Off-peak or 7 Day Anytime Travelcard
    * If you arrive here by any of the train services and are planning to depart on the tram you must 'touch-in' using a TRAM card reader on tram platform No.10, as otherwise you will end up being financially penalised for not 'touching-out' at the end of your train journey AND be travelling on the tram without having paid your fare.
    * If you arrive here by tram and are continuing your journey by either the Underground or any National Rail (mainline) service then you must 'touch-in' on one of the railway card readers - ideally on Thameslink platform 9 which is next to the trams but you can also use a yellow card reader on District Line platforms 1 - 4. Important: Only yellow card readers should be used at platforms 1-4, NOT pink card readers. Otherwise you will be travelling on the train without a valid ticket and when you 'touch-out' at your ultimate destination station you will be financially penalised.
    * Passengers who enter Wimbledon station from the street and are intending to travel on the tram must also 'touch-in' again on one of the tram card readers located on tram platform No.10. Otherwise the system will treat you as if you are travelling by one of the other railways and you will be financially penalised.
    * Whilst it is usually possible to reclaim the excess charges from the Oyster helpline the process is a hassle.
    * If you are using paper One Day Travelcards then you can ignore all these ticketing complications and just travel in the normal way!
    * If you are using a One Day Bus and Tram pass then you must not travel on the trains.

    More detailed Oyster ticketing information for passengers using Wimbledon station can be found here:- .

    Passengers going to the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (eg: for the annual Wimbledon Tennis Championships Tournament) should travel to Southfields station, as it is nearer than Wimbledon station.

    This page in the National Rail website includes much information about Wimbledon station and a map showing the platforms:
    http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/WIM/details.html .
railway Oyster card reader Wimbledon . Tram Oyster card reader Wimbledon stn.
If paying fares using electronic smart card devices (Oyster / contactless / smartphone / keyfob, etc.,) it is very likely that you will need to use a card reader when interchanging between the trams and trains. Be careful, as forgetting to 'touch-in/out' or using the wrong card reader could prove expensive!!
Located on platforms 9/10 the card readers seen here are for any type of train (left) and trams (right).

For the benefit of interchanging passengers there are also pink (route validator) and yellow card readers the platforms (Nos. 1-4) which are used by the District Line trains - these too are for interchanging passengers - the pink card readers are for passengers making journeys where the fares are lower if the passenger avoids travelling in Zone 1 whilst the yellow card readers are for passengers who are either starting a train (underground or mainline) journey after arriving here by tram or have split their fares over several tickets with paper tickets being used to travel on mainline railway journeys operated by SWR or Thameslink and electronic smart card devices being used to pay their fares on the District Line underground trains.
Wimbledon station frontage. The main station entrance which was rebuilt by the Southern Railway in the late 1920‘s using Portland stone. The one-time vehicle access directly in front of the station (eg: for ‘kiss and ride’ passengers and the taxi rank) has now become a pedestrian piazza which features floor lighting that cycles through a rainbow of colours. On the right of this late evening photograph the setting sun illuminates the area around a flower seller's shop unit. Also visible are three South Western Railway and a Tramlink self-service ticket machines.
Wimbledon station S stock Class 455. Tram And Underground Train At Wimbledon station.
A London Underground District Line S Stock train at platform 4 and a South Western Railway Class 455 train at platform 5. In theory it is possible to see a tram and underground train at the same time but with the underground trains and the trams at opposite ends of the station you have to look very closely.
Note that this photograph dates from before the tram platform was rebuilt. Nowadays the trams pass by this location and stop further along the platform.
Wimbledon station frontage. Trams Wimbledon station.
Standing next to the former platform 10 tram stopping point,
in the distance can be seen a Bombardier tram at platform 10a.
On the far left is one of the Class 455 trains (in SWR livery) which includes a Class 508 carriage that was retained in London when
the Class 508 trains were sent to Merseyrail (Liverpool area).
Two Bombardier trams at Wimbledon station -
2547 at platform 10b (left) and
2550 in a special yellow advertising livery at platform 10a (right).

  • Stratford: (east London). This is probably London's most confusing station as although the highest numbered platform is No. 17 there are actually 21 platforms, including 2 which are not used. To add to the confusion platforms 1 & 2 are next to platform 12 whilst platform 3 is at the opposite end of the station and there are two sets of platforms for Docklands Light Railway trains‼ The reasons for this are mostly historical, as is explained below.

    Apparently changing the platform numbers to something more logical would require many changes to the mainline railway's signalling systems which tell the train drivers which platforms they will be passing through, and since this change will be solely cosmetic (ie: will not improve safety and is not needed because of changes to any tracks) so in an era of financial woes this is something that will have to wait until another day.

    Note that to avoid confusion with other British stations this station is also sometimes known as Stratford (London) and Stratford Regional.
    The other stations are Stratford International and Stratford-upon-Avon.
    Stratford Station London.
    The footbridge over the station which links the traditional town centre shopping area with the Westfield shopping centre. This was filmed from the Westfield centre; a London Overground Class 378 train can be seen at platform 2.
    The footbridge is for the general public and outside of the station's fares paid area.
    Stratford Station London.
    This view from the footbridge shows a London Overground Class 378 train at platform 2
    and a Greater Anglia Class 317 train on the Cambridge service at platform 12.
    For many years there were buildings on the triangular shaped platform between what
    is now platforms 11 and 10a. However they became derelict and were removed.
    Further right can be seen platforms 10, 9 and the eastern end of platforms 8 and 6.
    This picture was stitched together from two images.
    Stratford Station London. Stratford Station London. Stratford Station London.
    Cross platform interchange between
    a Central Line 1992 Tube Stock train
    and a Greater Anglia Class 315 train
    at platforms 3 and 5.
    This view from the footbridge shows
    a Greater Anglia Class 315 train at platform 5
    and a Central Line 1992 Tube Stock train
    with its doors open on one side at platform 6.
    Near the station entrance for the
    Westfield shopping centre. Also seen
    is part of the footbridge over the station.

    Since these photographs were taken the Greater Anglia Class 315 trains seen at platform 5 are now operated by TFL Rail.

    Platforms 1 and 2 are used by London Overground trains travelling to Richmond or Clapham Junction via Willesden Junction. These are new platforms which opened in 2009. Originally they were going to be called platforms 12a and 12b (as they are next to platform 12), but instead when the trains were relocated to here from the low-level tracks they kept their old platform numbers.

    Platforms 3, 4, 5 are an island platform used by westbound Central Line trains (platform 3) and mainline trains - mostly TFL Rail (platform 5) travelling towards Liverpool Street station / Central London. Note that westbound Central Line trains open their doors in both sides, with the other platform being No.3a. Platform 4 is no longer used, it was built for local services to Fenchurch Street station but despite all the works having been completed the new service was cancelled. It was later used by the Docklands Light Railway trains which now use platforms 4a and 4b. There are three platforms here because the Central Line trains are much shorter than the mainline trains, making space for platform 4 at the western (London) end of the station.

    Platforms 4a and 4b are used by the Docklands Light Railway for services to Canary Wharf, Greenwich and Lewisham. Most signage in the station still refers to these trains as using platform 4.

    Platforms 6, 7, 8 are an island platform used by eastbound Central Line trains (platform 6) and mainline trains (platform 8). The Central Line trains will be travelling towards Epping, Hainault etc. Normally the mainline trains from platform 8 are TFL Rail local trains which call at all stations to Shenfield, but sometimes it is also used by trains to other longer distance destinations, such as Southend-On-Sea, Chelmsford, Colchester, Braintree, Ipswich, Norwich, etc., Platform 7 has never been used - it was (also) built for local services to Fenchurch Street station but despite all the works having been completed the new service was cancelled. There are three platforms here because the Central Line trains are much shorter than the mainline trains, making space for platform 7 at the western (London) end of the station.

    Platforms 9, 10, 10a are mostly used by longer distance trains from Liverpool Street station travelling to the part of England known as East Anglia. Some trains stop here, some do not. Many freight trains also pass through these platforms and this helps explain why three platforms are needed. Normally westbound (London) trains call at platform 9 and eastbound trains at platform 10, but all three tracks are bi-directional... for instance; I have been on eastbound trains which use platform 9 one day and platform 10a another day.

    Platforms 11 and 12 are usually used by trains to Stansted Airport and Cambridge - mostly platform 12, as platform 11 can only be used by through trains and the trains to / from Cambridge terminate here.

    Platforms 13, 14, 15 are used by Jubilee Line trains. These are at the opposite end of the station and at a lower level (downstairs). These platforms date from the 1990's and the numbers continued on from the already existing platform number scheme, even though (when first opened) they were next to what at that time were platforms 1 and 2!

    Platforms 16 and 17 are used by Docklands Light Railway trains travelling from Stratford International station (which is at the other end of the large shopping centre) and Canning Town / Beckton / City Airport / Woolwich Arsenal. Until 2009 these were platforms 1 and 2, this explains why the westbound Central Line became platform 3.

    Especially on Sundays, when there are trackworks, the local trains which normally use platforms 6 & 8 are diverted to platforms 9 / 10 / 10a instead OR the longer-distance trains which use platforms 9 / 10 / 10a are diverted to platform 6 (westbound) and platform 8 (eastbound).

    This page in the National Rail website includes much information about Stratford station and a map showing the platforms:
    http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations/SRA/details.html .
Stratford Station London. . Stratford Station London.
At Stratford westbound Central Line trains open their
doors on both sides. This view was taken on platform 3a
. The low level concourse. The B90/B92/B2K DLR train is calling at platform 16. Behind it (but not visible in this image) are Jubilee Line platforms 15, 14, 13. In the far distance, about 2/3rds up on the right edge of the image, the flat yellow structure is the roof of the short walkway to the DLR platforms 4a and 4b. .
Stratford Station London. . Stratford Station London.
This will seem amazing, but both these photographs show the same location!
British Railways Class 416 electric multiple units on the Richmond - North Woolwich North London Line calling at the (then) platforms 1 and 2.
The area to the left of the image is now used by the Jubilee Line.
. A DLR train on the Stratford International - Canning Town - Beckton / Woolwich Arsenal service arrives at what is now platform 17.
Stratford Station London. . Stratford Station London.
These views were taken outside Stratford Station's main entrance.
On the left can be seen Jubilee Line train at platform 15 and a Docklands Light Railway train arriving at platform 16.
On the right can be seen the main railway station entrance and the adjacent bus station.

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This page last updated 8th January 2019
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