When it comes to the UK's airports, traveling by train is a popular way of getting to your point of departure. It helps you avoid high airport parking fees and offers a more sustainable choice that provides a more relaxing experience than driving your own car. But which UK airports have dedicated railway stations?
Starting in England, London's airports are all well-served by rail. Heathrow (LHR) has three different stations, serving Terminals 2 & 3 (also known as Heathrow Central), 4, and 5, respectively. These stations are served by Heathrow Express trains to London Paddington and Elizabeth Line services to Central and East London.
London's Gatwick (LGW) and Southend (SEN) airports also have onsite railway stations. The former of these is located approximately midway between London Victoria and Brighton, although services from the station also stretch as far afield as Cambridge. Southend's offering is more limited, but passengers still have direct links to the busy London stations of Liverpool Street and Stratford, among others.
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Looking at the UK capital's more northern airports, Stansted (STN) has a useful three-platform station underneath its terminal building. From here, passengers have direct links to the likes of Birmingham, Cambridge, London, and Norwich. Meanwhile, Luton Airport (LTN) has been in the news this year following the opening of its DART shuttle from the terminal to Luton Airport Parkway station.
Elsewhere in England
Venturing beyond the capital, we can see that several other English airports have their own railway stations. Among the most convenient of these is Southampton Airport Parkway, which is situated a stone's throw from Southampton Airport's (SOU) terminal building. From here, London can be reached in just over an hour.
Moving northwards, Birmingham (BHX) has one of the UK's best-connected airport railway stations. Known as Birmingham International, this facility is linked to the terminal building by cable-driven people movers and serves trains to destinations throughout England, as well as certain routes to neighboring Wales and Scotland.
Manchester Airport (MAN) also has a well-connected railway station. It serves local trains operated by Northern, with Transport for Wales and Transpennine Express linking the airport to Wales and Scotland, respectively. More than two million passengers used the station in 2021/22, vs. a pre-pandemic peak of 5.7 million.
Wales and Scotland
Moving beyond the English border, dedicated airport railway stations are fewer and further between. In Wales, Cardiff Airport (CWL) is served by a small station in the neighboring village of Rhoose, but a shuttle bus is required to connect to the airport. This is also the case at Scotland's Inverness Airport (INV), whose nearby railway station opened relatively recently, in February of this year.
In contrast, Glasgow Prestwick Airport (PIK) is the only airport in Scotland with a fully integrated onsite railway station. This facility opened 29 years ago, in September 1994, and is situated on the ScotRail line from Glasgow to Ayr.
Certain UK airports are worth mentioning despite not having mainline railway stations. For Example, London City (LCY) and Newcastle (NCL) are served by local transit systems in the form of the Docklands Light Railway and the Tyne & Wear Metro. Meanwhile, Edinburgh (EDI) is served by the city's trams, and Glasgow Airport (GLA) is planned to be served by light rail in the future.