Fascinating Facts about the UK Rail Network

The British railway system has been operating for some two centuries now and you don’t have to be a train spotter to find these rail facts fascinating. Here are some things you ever knew about the British railways:

  • The rail network in the UK is a whopping 9941 miles of railway track to explore
  • This lengthy series of tracks features more than 50,000 tunnels and bridges.
  • The longest platform in England is found at Gloucester train station measuring 1,977 feet.

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  • The longest seat at a train station can be found in Scarborough measuring 456 feet!
  • The longest tunnel, aside from the Channel Tunnel, is the Severn Tunnel that links Wales and England at 4.5 miles in length.
  • Have a go at pronouncing the longest train station name in the UK – Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch can be found on the Isle of Anglesey.
  • The busiest station is Clapham Junction in South London.
  • The station with the biggest number of platforms is London Waterloo.
  • The longest railway bridge is the Tay Bridge in Scotland at 2 miles and 364 yards.
  • The steepest gradient for a train to climb lies between Exeter Central and Exeter St. Davids.
  • The longest non-stop service is between Preston and London Euston. A train must be in top condition to keep running this service. Regular maintenance and checks are essential, as is using the best components. For Silicone Hose Manufacturers, who supply the rail industry, visit goodflexrubber.
  • When the railway was first installed, people were highly suspicious of trains and protests took place against services running on Sundays, organised by the Anti-Sunday Travel Union in 1889.
  • In the early days of train travel, there were three accommodation classes to choose from – luxury, second-class and third-class. Luxury and second-class had indoor seating, but third-class meant travelling in open-top wagons also used for goods. All you got was a wooden bench with drill holes in it to drain away the rain!
  • One of the very first films to be made was by the Lumiere Brothers in 1896. It featured a steam train close-up as it pulled into a train station. As moving pictures were brand new, it is said that the first audience to see the film were scared of the approaching train, screamed and ran to the back of the room.
  • Amazingly, 3.5 million people travel by train every day meaning our network is one of the busiest in Europe.

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  • Around 70% of the train journeys in the UK begin or finish in London, which is why London Waterloo is one of the country’s busiest stations. As many as 100 million passengers travel through it every year. The next busiest stations are London Victoria, Liverpool Street and then Glasgow Station in Scotland.

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