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Difference between a tube station, coach station, and train?

Torrance, CA
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Difference between a tube station, coach station, and train?

Please forgive my total ignorance, but as you will see from my question I've obviously never travelled to Europe and I'm trying to figure out what the difference is between the tube, the coach, and the train in London. Could someone be kind enough to explain so I can better figure out how I want to work my travel to and from the airport and other tourist attractions outside London? Thanks!

Toronto ON
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1. Re: Difference between a tube station, coach station, and train?

The "tube" is the local slang for the subway system known formally as the London Underground. Most of the tunnels and many stations have rounded walls, hence the nickname. The London system is vast and covers most of the city. Your hotel is likely to be near one (or more) "tube" stations. The is a "tube" station at the Airport leading into the city.

Train stations serve both the inter city and commuter networks and run above ground (like Amtrak). All train stations connect with the tube system so you can transfer from one service to the other. You can take a fast train from all London airports into London and then transfer onto the tube

Coach stations serve inter city buses (like Greyhound in the States). The is also a coach service connecting Heathrow Airport to a central coach terminal in London. Other coach services at the airport connect passengers directly to their hotels but this can be time consuming as the bus stops for unloading at many hotels.

Finally people take Taxis from Heathrow to the city. Comfortable and direct to your hotel door but expensive.

Loaded with baggage, I take the fast train from Heathrow to Paddington and a taxi from there to my hotel. The "tube" can be awkward if you have to change lines with all your bags. While in London I use the "tube" all the time. Get a 3 or 6 day pass (2 zone) in the States before you depart.

Washington DC...
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2. Re: Difference between a tube station, coach station, and train?

If you tell us more specifics (like which airport, hotel location, etc.) then maybe we could help you out with logistics to make it easier once you arrive. I've always found it better to plan ahead and write things down. Jet lag can make anyone absent-minded once on the ground.

Torrance, CA
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3. Re: Difference between a tube station, coach station, and train?

Thank you Riknpat! It makes sense now! I didn't realize the train system there meets up with the underground (tube) system, and I wasn't sure what a coach was. Living in L.A., and having really no rapid transit system, I am completely ignorant. I have never even been on a subway or metro! My husband is great with directions, so here's hoping we will be able to figure out all the transfers from train to tube etc.! Thanks again for all your help!

New York City, New...
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for New York City
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4. Re: Difference between a tube station, coach station, and train?

As in many cities (like NYC) the "overground" trains go underground once in the city. So both Penn Station and Grand Central Station in NYC, where all the trains come and go also have subway stops. The same is true in London.

You will find the train stations have some good food shops in them and are usually a convenient place for fast food/take away. Marks & Spencer has good sandwiches etc. Cornish Pasties are sort of like hot pockets (only tastier).

S.F.
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5. Re: Difference between a tube station, coach station, and train?

Hey Idsmom, you will amazed at how easy it is to get around such a huge city. I am a big fan of the tube, and this coming from a big hater of San Francisco's joke of a transit system(s)

Sutton, United...
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6. Re: Difference between a tube station, coach station, and train?

Sometimes what looks far away on a tube map is actually a 2 minute walk eg. Charing Cross Station and Leicester Square!

Cherry Valley IL
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7. Re: Difference between a tube station, coach station, and train?

If we are Staying at Rubens at the Palace and Flying into Heathrow whats the best way to get to the hotel?????

Toronto, ON
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8. Re: Difference between a tube station, coach station, and train?

Depends what you mean by "best." If you mean the most convenient, you can take a taxi but it will cost you about 40 pounds each way.

The next most convenient would be to take the Heathrow Express (train) from the airport to Paddington train station and a taxi from the station to the hotel. That will cost you in the vicinity of 20-25 pounds each way.

Next you could take a coach from the Airport to Victoria Coach Station. This is about 10 pounds one way and takes about an hour or so. You could then take a taxi to the hotel - which should cost about 5 pounds or so, or even less expensive, you could walk to the Rubens Hotel if you don't have a lot of luggage. It's about a 10 minute walk.

The cheapest way (under 4 pounds one way) is to take the underground to Victoria Station and walk to the hotel from there (the train station is closer to the hotel than the coach station). You have to change lines though and this is the longest and most inconvenient way - total pain if you have much luggage and not to be reccommended unless you are really economizing.