logoUK international railway stations

Last update 15 October 2018

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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

Ashford International

Ebbsfleet International

Kensington Olympia

St Pancras International

Stratford International

Waterloo International

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.

International station operators

Determining which organisation is responsible for international stations is harder than it is for purely domestic stations.  It is not clear why this should be, especially as the international rail regulator is the same body as the domestic regulator, which issues appropriate licences.

In the case of Ashford, St Pancras and Waterloo, operators are easily established (see the main stations pages for details), 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).

Ebbsfleet and Stratford are confused (the latter more so as it has never had an international service!).

  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. A third contender is Network Rail (CTRL), as says HS1.

It could be claimed that NRE made a mistake and added the closest available operator (after all, for many years until corrected it claimed that Prestwick International Airport station was ScotRail's responsibility).  However, the details for St Pancras International are correct.

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.  This would appear to rule out one possibility.

It can be seen that three different sources give the station operator as the infrastructure owner, the main train operator and an outside party respectively.  Is there a definitive answer?  Please let the editor know if you can help.

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 station names | Sponsored signs (sub-pages contain images) | Stations not served by SFO | International stations | Station trivia