Wednesday 23 July 2014

London Train Travel Tips

After travelling for a week in London, I have learnt that their train system is quite different from the train system that I'm used to in Singapore. Here are some tips that may be helpful if you're new to London:

Tips for Travelling by Train in London

1) Arm Yourself with Maps
Print out the Tube Map and National Rail Map for easy reference when deciding which line to take and which station to change at. You are also able to check if a tube station is wheelchair accessible by noting the wheelchair symbol on the Tube Map.

2) Purchase an Oyster Card
It is used like Singapore's Ez-link card and allows you to tap in and out very conveniently.

Oyster card


3) Check the Display Screen on the Train

The display at the front of the train will tell which line it is and which station it is terminating at

Always check the display screens just before you board the tube because certain stations can have more than one line going through the same platform or have the same line stop at both sides of the same platform but have different destinations. Case in point, the District line (green) has two completely different routes at Earl's Court Station. Sometimes the tube would even change its destination suddenly with just an announcement as warning! Hence, always read the screens and listen out for announcements when you're travelling on the tube.

This is very different from Singapore, where most platforms have only one line passing through it and there is usually no changes to the destinations (unless it is a train that is returning to the depot).

National Rail

4) Buy Tickets Early
According to my colleague, the tickets are cheaper if you buy it at least one day prior to your departure. This is for travelling outside of the City of London as the Oyster Card will suffice for rail travel within London.

5) Buy Tickets from Counter Staff and NOT Ticketing Machines
The machines may have a shorter queue but you can end up spending more if you are not familiar with the system, which can be complicated. You may pay more if you are not aware of cheaper alternatives or forget to click the return button (buying 2 one-way tickets can be almost 2 times more expensive than buying 1 return ticket!). Purchasing your ticket from a counter staff ensures that you will get the right ticket (and you can ask them whatever questions that you may have).

There are a lot of ticketing counters at London Bridge Railway Station
so I would advise buying your tickets there if you're in the area

6) Travel Off-Peak
If you're not in a hurry, travel after 9.30am on weekdays as it is a lot cheaper. For example, a ticket to Windsor would have cost us GBP 16 before 9.30am but it cost us GBP 10 as we travelled after 9.30am.

7) Check the Display Board
Check the display board at the station to know which platform that you need to board the train. After you have entered through the gantry, double check the display board at the platform again to be sure that you are boarding the correct train.

Our train to Windsor

I'm definitely not an expert on this so if you have more tips, share them in the comments! =)


Visit MADPSYCHMUM TRAVELS for the rest of my posts on London, UK 
as well as other travel itineraries!

You can also follow my travel adventures on Instagram via the hashtag #madpsychmumtravels! =)
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