Railways in the United Kingdom

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Railways in the United Kingdom

Mapping the railways of the United Kingdom.

Status started

United Kingdom Railways is a project to map all the mainline railways in the United Kingdom. There are related projects to map the London Underground, United Kingdom trams, and independent and minor Railways.


Most railway lines are in.

Things still work checking and needing doing.

  • Adding details of the number of trackes (tracks=1, track=2) etc or adding multiple parallel tracks
  • Stations layout (platforms, passages, steps etc)
  • Relations for Services
  • Relations for historic lines
  • Relations for Network Rail operating section

Mapping services

Railways are shown on most OpenStreetMap mapping layers alongside other information.


Main article: United Kingdom railway stations

All currently operating UK mainline railway stations have been now mapped as nodes, according to a comparison of the list from Wikipedia. There is currently an effort to map the stations in more details, including the platforms and station buildings.

Train services

Please see Talk:United Kingdom railways for discussion over colour usage

Current operational train services (as distinct from historic services) should all be mapped as relations tagged as type=route and route=train. They should also be tagged as network=national or network=regional depending on things like distance travelled and time between stations. This helps distinguish the more important services and aids sensible display by the OpenStreetBrowser renderer.

Tagged services

Ref Railway service Operator Route Network Assigned colour Notes
Merthyr and Vale Barry Island > Cardiff > Merthyr Tydfil Arriva Trains Wales relation 195448 Tagged as route=light_rail.
VT F Birmingham - Scotland Virgin Trains relation 289295
Wolverhampton Birmingham - Wolverhampton London Midland relation 285296
CR Birmingham Snowhill - Marylebone Chiltern Railways relation 167209
SN 20 Brighton - Ashford express Southern relation 172467
133 (GW) Bristol - Avonmouth - Severn Beach First Great Western relation 167218
SN 60 Brighton-Portsmouth (semi-fast) Southern relation 174147 regional #42816b (operator)
SN 4 Brighton Express (London Victoria - Brighton) Southern relation 167474 national #42816b (operator)
SN 67 Bognor Regis - Littlehampton Southern Railway relation 173244 regional #42816b (operator)
123 (GW) Cardiff - Portsmouth First Great Western relation Route national #32366d (operator) A few stops missing - may need all stops adding from scratch to keep in order.
181 (SN) Caterham-London Victoria Southern relation 172834 regional #42816b (operator)
City City Line Arriva Trains Wales relation 168230 Valleys #f0af11 (route)
XC Cross Country Bristol - Manchester Arriva CrossCountry relation route national
Cross-City Cross City Redditch-Lichfield LMR London Midland relation 167785 regional #ed1c24 (route)
LM Great Malvern - Leamington Spa London Midland relation 168165 regional #22b24c (route??)
LM Great Malvern - Stratford London Midland relation 166314 regional #22b24c (route?)
SN 84 Horsham - London Victoria Southern relation 176443 regional #42816b (operator)
Hope Valley Manchester-Sheffield Hope Valley Line Northern relation Route regional Not sure whether to include node Strines as most trains don't stop there.
- Liverpool-Nottingham-Norwich East Midland Trains relation 237133 national Not finished yet.
- Manchester Airport-Cleethorpes First TransPennine Express relation 237386 national Work in progress
52 (FC): Luton - Sutton Loop Thameslink Luton-Sutton First Capital Connect relation 168327 regional #27abe2 (route)
125 (GW) London Paddington - Bristol Temple Meads First Great Western relation 183757 national #32366d (operator) Paddington now re-instated. Previously someone had deleted the node's station status and didn't move the relation info!
125 (GW) London Paddington - South Wales First Great Western relation 166378 national #32366d (operator) Very incomplete (only 3 stops)
135 (GW) London Paddington - Penzance First Great Western relation 125414 national #32366d (operator) Needs stops adding.
SN 62 London Victoria - Eastbourne Southern relation 174288 national #42816b (operator)
SW 158 London Waterloo - Weymouth South West Trains relation 1826565 national Incomplete and needs stops adding.
VT B Manchester - London Virgin Trains relation 289293 West Coast #eb3f94 (route)
North Staffordshire Line (Derby-Crewe) East Midlands Trains relation 1075201 regional Not completed
SW 81 Portsmouth Harbour - Waterloo (fast) South West Trains relation 173090 national #ec1b30 (operator)
GW 94 Reading-Gatwick Turbo Express First Great Western relation 172989 national #32366d (operator)
167 (IL) Ryde - Shanklin Island Line Trains relation 167489 regional #ec1b30 (operator) Complete
SN 42 "Seaford Flyer": Brighton - Lewes - Seaford Southern relation 172464 regional #42816b (operator)
Chase Walsall - Wolverhampton London Midland relation 285323 regional #00aeef (route)
SN 65 West Worthing - Brighton (all stations) Southern relation 173240 regional #42816b (operator)
VT A Wolverhampton - London Virgin Trains relation 164889 West Coast #945436 (route)


See List of UK railway lines for names of railway lines.

New Lines (Proposed and Under Construction)


The data can come from GPS traces submitted to OpenStreetMap (try searching the traces page for train, railway or rail), or from NPE Maps or landsat imagery. When tracing from NPE/landsat, do not use copyright sources to figure out if the line is still there or not. Instead, either use local knowledge, or other compatible map sources such as the OS Opendata

Surveying by train

Trains known to permit GPS reception

Unless otherwise specified, you'll need your GPS to be by the window on these trains to get a good lock.

  • Turbostars (170/168), Turbos (165/166), Sprinters (15x), Pacers (14x) - used on non-electrified regional routes.
  • Wessex Electrics (442)
  • Slamdoor electric
  • High Speed Train ('InterCity 125', 43)
  • Great Western Adelante (180)
  • Eurostar
  • 'Southern' electric units (377)
  • DLR trains - NaviGPS users need to stand by the door, with the GPS horizontal, just above the bottom of the window
  • Underground trains (tested on sub-surface and tube) - only when they can see the sky though!
  • Caledonian Sleeper and other Mk2/Mk3 hauled stock
  • First Capital Connect
  • One Railway
  • 'InterCity 225', BR Mark 4 carriages
  • Scotrail 'Sprinter' - depending on GPS unit (156/158).

Trains known not to permit GPS reception

  • Virgin Voyager (220/221)
  • MML Meridians (222)
    • derived from Voyagers, similar problems. MML still run HSTs as well, use these.
  • Virgin Pendolino (390) - rumoured that the vestibule windows may be ok
  • South West Trains 'Desiro' (444/450) - seats at some windows are ok (seemingly away from toilets, etc).
  • Eurotunnel enclosed shuttle trains, though freight shuttles may work outside the tunnel.

See also