Usually when people think of traveling through Europe, they think of getting around by train – and that’s no different in England. The country is incredibly well-served by rail lines, and especially when (for most visitors) driving would mean learning to drive on the “other” side of the road, it’s comforting to know that you can get almost anywhere you want to go by train.
Unlike in some European countries, there isn’t one national rail company in England that runs all rail services. Instead, the government allows individual companies to bid on regional contracts to provide the services. Companies like National Express and Stagecoach operate multiple regional lines, as well as bus services, so bus and rail transport is often more well-linked.
Train travel in England isn’t as cheap as it is in some other countries, and not every destination has a train station, so depending on your budget and itinerary you may want to consider other modes of transportation. Budget travelers often find that bus travel in England is extremely affordable and efficient, while those looking to get more off the beaten path should consider renting a car in England.
The other thing to know about rail travel in England is that the UK isn’t on the list of countries covered by the Eurail Pass. There’s a separate rail pass that’s just for the UK, which could be a good option if your travels will keep you on the British Isles and you don’t want to rent a car. It’s called a BritRail Pass, and there are several options that cater to different itineraries, depending on whether you want to visit just the area around London, just England, England plus Scotland/Wales, or England + Ireland.
photo by brosner