logoUK international railway stations

Last update 1 February 2019

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The modern British railway system has few truly international railway stations.  Being an island country, most stations associated with international travel were simply part of the national network, from where passengers transfer between rail and other cross-border travel modes; a good example is Birmingham International, the station to serve the airport.  With the advent of the Channel Tunnel in 1994, it is now possible to join a train in Britain and travel seamlessly to continental destinations (and vice versa, of course).  This page is dedicated to such British international railway stations.

Summary list of international stations

Simplified station operator names are shown in parentheses; finer details are shown on the linked station pages.

Ashford International (Eurostar/Mitie)

Ebbsfleet International (Network Rail)

Kensington Olympia (Silverlink/London Overground)

London St Pancras International (Network Rail)

London Waterloo International (Eurostar)

Stratford International (Network Rail)

Kensington Olympia was set up as an international station in case of an emergency rendering Waterloo unavailable.  It is thought that it was only ever used in this way once (around 1996/97).  It is also understood that London Victoria once received a Eurostar from France around 2002/05.  Unfortunately in neither case is a more definitive date known.  Since Eurostar transferred its operation to London St Pancras in 2007, there is no need for any international facility at Kensington Olympia or London Waterloo International.

Stratford has never had an international service.

Note regarding international station operators

In the case of Ashford, St Pancras and Waterloo, operators are easily established, possibly because of close association with the equivalent domestic station and the history of existing much earlier than the high speed London-Channel Tunnel route (HS1).

Information held within the industry is confused regarding which company operates Ebbsfleet and Stratford.

  1. The ORR gives the SFO as Union Railways (North) (which renamed as HS1 Ltd from 1 July 2008)
  2. According to National Rail Enquiries, the SFO is Southeastern (correct at August 2018).
  3. Owner HS1 correctly identifies Network Rail (CTRL) (which renamed as Network Rail (High Speed) Ltd from 18 June 2012) as looking after its stations.

In practice, the same Network Rail management team looks after London St Pancras, Ebbsfleet and Stratford international stations and staff based at one station can cover either of the other two as required.  However, Network Rail's annual report and accounts for 2011 and 2018 (the only two checked) explicitly state that the company has the concession for St Pancras, with no mention made of other stations.

Quite why the international rail regulator (the same body as the domestic regulator) and the railway's unified 'public face' get it wrong is unknown.


Introduction | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | Bilingual names | Sponsored signs | Not served by SFO | International | Trivia | Access rights