Longest possible one-way journey without repeating any segment

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benk1342

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I've been watching Tomohiro's Railway Tour of China on NHK World, where the host is following the longest possible one-way route around China. It occurred to me that it would be fun to figure out a similar journey in the UK. Has someone already figured this out?

I assume it would involve a series of radial journeys into one London terminal and then out another. Any ideas?
 
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EM2

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I did 1343 miles in under 24 hours.
Plymouth - Paddington - Euston - Stockport - Sheffield - St Pancras - King's Cross - Edinburgh - Preston - Birmingham - Tamworth.
It was supposed to end at Rugby, but the Voyager into Brum got delayed and we ended up being diverted.
 

marks87

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So long as by "segment" you mean "between two stations", stopping or otherwise, and not "same piece of track" here's one contender off the top of my head

Penzance-Paddington-St Pancras-Sheffield-Leeds-Carlisle-Kilmarnock-Barassie-Glasgow Central-[Cathcart Circle*]-Cambuslang-Anniesland-Glasgow QS (HL)-Camelon**-Inverness-Aberdeen-Kirkcaldy-[A/C Fife circle]-Edinburgh-Kings Cross-Liverpool St.-Norwich

*I don't think you repeat any segment with that
*Adds a wee bit extra between GLQ and LBT...

There's more than likely other deviations, but I've added a few in already from the "core" route I had but I've got bored now!

I wonder if you'd get away with doing that on a single from Penzance to Norwich :lol:
 

IrishDave

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(Long time lurker, but I think this is actually my first post...)

A while ago I tried answering a very similar question: what was the longest possible journey that could be theoretically undertaken on the British railway network without reversal (imagine, say, an hilariously long railtour). This is the longest I could come up with, which does not duplicate any track (though it does pass through Clapham Junction twice on different lines, and it passes over itself once or twice):

Fenchurch St - Bow Jn - Stratford - Colchester - Ipswich - Ely - Peterborough - Sleaford - Lincoln - Doncaster - Hare Park Jn - Crofton West Jn - Normanton - Woodlesford - Leeds - Micklefield - Colton Jn - York - Northallerton - Hartlepool - Sunderland - King Edward Bridge - Newcastle - Berwick - Edinburgh - Inverkeithing - Kirkcaldy - Cowdenbeath - Dunfermline - Kincardine - Stirling - Croy - Cowlairs West Jn - Springburn - Stepps - Coatbridge Central - Motherwell - Hamilton Central - Newton - Larkfield Jn - Shields Jn - Paisley Gil St - Troon - Newton-on-Ayr - Auchinleck - Dumfries - Carlisle - Whitehaven - Barrow-in-Furness - Carnforth - Preston - Wigan NW - Newton-le-Willows - Earlestown - Warrington BQ - Walton Old Jn - Runcorn East - Chester - Wrexham - Shrewsbury - Craven Arms - Llandrindod - Pontarddulais - Swansea District Line - Port Talbot - Bridgend - Barry - Cardiff Central - Newport - Hereford - Worcester FS - Droitwich Spa - Kidderminster - Galton Jn - Soho North - Perry Barr North - Portobello Jn - Wolverhampton - Stafford - Crewe - Wilmslow - Styal - Manchester Picc - Bolton - Blackburn - Burnley Manc Rd - Hebden Bridge - Bradley Wood Jn - Bradley Jn - Huddersfield - Stalybridge - Guide Bridge - Stockport - Cheadle Hulme - Stoke-on-Trent - Uttoxeter - Derby - Chesterfield - Sheffield - Shireoaks West Jn - Woodend Jn - Mansfield - Lenton N/S - Trent - Loughborough - Syston N/E - Melton Mowbray - Oakham - Corby - Bedford - Brent Curve Jn - Dudding Hill Jn - Acton Wells Jn - South Acton - Old Kew Jn - Hounslow - Feltham - Virginia Water - Chertsey - Weybridge - Wimbledon - Point Pleasant Jn - Clapham Jn (Windsor) - Latchmere Curve - Kensington Olympia - Willesden HL - Camden Road - York Way S Jn - Stratford Intl - Ebbsfleet - Gravesend - Faversham - Margate - Ramsgate - Dover - Ashford - Tonbridge - Sevenoaks - Swanley - Grove Park - Lee Spur - Crayford - Slade Green - Woolwich Arsenal - Lewisham - Nunhead - Wandsworth Road - Pouparts Jn - Clapham Jn (Vic) - Balham - Streatham Hill - Crystal Palace - Norwood Jn - East Croydon - Quarry Lines - Three Bridges - Preston Park - Hove - Worthing - Chichester - Havant - Fareham - Netley - Southampton Ctl - Redbridge - Romsey - Salisbury - Westbury - Trowbridge - Chippenham - Swindon - Didcot - Reading West Curve - Newbury - Westbury avoiding lines - Castle Cary - Yeovil Pen Mill - Yeovil Junction - Exeter Central - Exeter St Davids - Taunton - Weston-super-Mare - Bristol Temple Meads - Avonmouth - St Andrew's Road - Filton West Jn - Bristol Parkway - Westerleigh Jn - Gloucester avoiding lines - Cheltenham Spa - Barnt Green - University - Birmingham New St - Landor St Jn - Water Orton - Nuneaton - Coventry - Leamington Spa - Banbury - Bicester North - High Wycombe - West Ruislip - Marylebone.

If anyone can do better (especially if you can keep the no-reversal condition!) I'd be very interested to know. :D

Of course, if you're going to permit reversal you can certainly get as far as, for example, Welsh's Bridge Junction outside Inverness, but to reverse you'll have to duplicate at least some track - so how much do you allow?
 

David

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Troon - Newton-on-Ayr - Auchinleck - Dumfries <snip>
Not valid as you go via Barassie - Troon - Newton-on-Ayr (reverse) - Troon before diverging again at Barassie.

Besides you would have to go to Ayr itself, as there is no reversals possible (that are signalled to passenger standards anyway). ;)

Edit :: Ignore all that, I forgot about the freight only line that diverges :oops:
 
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NSE

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Only way I can add to that is possibly go down the Greenford line from West Ruislip, then head towards the GWML either west to Paddington or head east, to Heathrow, or maybe further onwards to one of the branchlines. I do believe only the Reading avoiding line was used, and not Reading station, so you could terminate there.
 

IrishDave

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Only way I can add to that is possibly go down the Greenford line from West Ruislip, then head towards the GWML either west to Paddington or head east, to Heathrow, or maybe further onwards to one of the branchlines. I do believe only the Reading avoiding line was used, and not Reading station, so you could terminate there.
For some reason that I can't remember, I decided to start and finish in London. That said, I reckon it's about 3 chains longer from Northolt Jn to Marylebone than it is to Paddington via Castle Bar Park (once, that is, you remember that the Paddington "zero" is not at the buffer stops...)
 

pmgarvey

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For some reason that I can't remember, I decided to start and finish in London. That said, I reckon it's about 3 chains longer from Northolt Jn to Marylebone than it is to Paddington via Castle Bar Park (once, that is, you remember that the Paddington "zero" is not at the buffer stops...)
Not to derail, but where is it?
 

Jonny

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For most mileage possible with a ticketing-standard assumption about doubling back (i.e. not passing station A>station B>station A), but allowing the same station/group more than once with different routes, how about this?

Stage 1:
Wick - Inverness - Aberdeen - Dundee - Perth - Edinburgh - York - Hull - Doncaster - Derby - Nottingham - Grantham and/or Sleaford - Peterborough - Norwich - London Liverpool Street

Stage 2:
London Cannon Street*1 - Margate - Ashford - Brighton - Salisbury - Exeter (St Davids) - Bristol TM - Newport (S Wales) - Shrewsbury - Wrexham*2 - Chester - Crewe - Shrewsbury - Birmingham New St. - Leamington Spa - London Marylebone ,LUL central line to London Euston - Manchester (Picc) (via Stoke) - Liverpool Lime St. - Southport - Wigan Wallgate - Atherton - Salford Crescent - Bolton - Blackburn - Preston - Lancaster - Hellifield - Carlisle - Kilmarnock - Troon - Glasgow Central - Motherwell*3 - Greenfaulds - Linlithgow*4 - Glasgow Queen Street - Fort William, Mallaig.

*1 Alternative St. Pancras for HS1 if crossover acceptable.

*2 Additional mileage possible via Ffestiniog railway (if it counts) Shrewsbury - Porthmadog - Blaenau Ffestiniog - Llandudno Jcn - Shotton - Wrexham

*3 additional mileage possible if Glasgow Central - Newton - Motherwell

*4 depending on acceptable route around Falkirk.

Edit: could start from Thurso if Thurso > Georgemas > Wick > Georgemas is acceptable

Extra Edit: for Exeter to Bristol TM, possible Exeter - Westbury - Reading - Swindon - Bath - Bristol TM and several other detours are possible.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
(Long time lurker, but I think this is actually my first post...)

If anyone can do better (especially if you can keep the no-reversal condition!) I'd be very interested to know. :D

Of course, if you're going to permit reversal you can certainly get as far as, for example, Welsh's Bridge Junction outside Inverness, but to reverse you'll have to duplicate at least some track - so how much do you allow?
Have something start from Wick, take the avoiding line at Inverness, then Aberdeen, Stirling, Edinburgh, ECML etc... and run via the Kent Coast and Exeter to Fort William (or vice versa). Mallaig may count if a reversal at Fort William is acceptable.
 
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benk1342

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To clarify, what I meant was that you're not using any station or segment between two stations more than once, even if it is technically a different pair of rails. In other words you're not passing substantially the same scenery more than once. Crossovers are ok. So it seems to me that you'd have to start at St Ives and and end at Wick, or vice versa, as there would be no way to get back once you were out there. But pulling into St Erth or Littlehampton etc to reverse would be permissible so long as you came in and out via different adjacent stations.

But obviously there's no right or wrong way to do it; I can't wait to trace the ideas so far on the map this weekend!
 
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jopsuk

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You wouldn't go to Wick- go up to Aberdeen, across to inverness, and then back south- or vice-versa- ending up back somewhere in England eventually. Dead ends such as Wick do you no favours.
 

marks87

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Should it not also be restricted to what is possible with current services and any combination of tickets? I noticed a route further up that uses a freight-only curve, which unless you manage to get a charter over it, or there's a diversion, can't be done.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
You wouldn't go to Wick- go up to Aberdeen, across to inverness, and then back south- or vice-versa- ending up back somewhere in England eventually. Dead ends such as Wick do you no favours.
It depends.

You need to start somewhere and the two obvious ones are Wick or Penzance. Which is longer - the Far North Line or the GWML? If it's the former, then you essentially use it has a spur ahead of "starting" and finishing in Inverness (down via Aberdeen, off to wherever then back via the HML, or vice versa).
 

Clip

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Start as far north as Inverness - or maybe further, all the way down into the cross, swap over to St P for the journey on HS1 to Faversham, change for the southeastern round to Ramsgate down to Dover, then all along the southern coast(is this possible, I have no map handy) then as soon as you can jump on a XC or FGW service up to Brum way then all the way up the WCML and on into the far north of Scotland once more.

More like a big loop round the edge of the country
 

Marvin

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Fenchurch St - Bow Jn - Stratford - Colchester - Ipswich - Ely - Peterborough - Sleaford - Lincoln - Doncaster - Hare Park Jn - Crofton West Jn - Normanton - Woodlesford - Leeds - Micklefield - Colton Jn - York - Northallerton - Hartlepool - Sunderland - King Edward Bridge - Newcastle - Berwick - Edinburgh - Inverkeithing - Kirkcaldy - Cowdenbeath - Dunfermline - Kincardine - Stirling - Croy - Cowlairs West Jn - Springburn - Stepps - Coatbridge Central - Motherwell - Hamilton Central - Newton - Larkfield Jn - Shields Jn - Paisley Gil St - Troon - Newton-on-Ayr - Auchinleck - Dumfries - Carlisle - Whitehaven - Barrow-in-Furness - Carnforth - Preston - Wigan NW - Newton-le-Willows - Earlestown - Warrington BQ - Walton Old Jn - Runcorn East - Chester - Wrexham - Shrewsbury - Craven Arms - Llandrindod - Pontarddulais - Swansea District Line - Port Talbot - Bridgend - Barry - Cardiff Central - Newport - Hereford - Worcester FS - Droitwich Spa - Kidderminster - Galton Jn - Soho North - Perry Barr North - Portobello Jn - Wolverhampton - Stafford - Crewe - Wilmslow - Styal - Manchester Picc - Bolton - Blackburn - Burnley Manc Rd - Hebden Bridge - Bradley Wood Jn - Bradley Jn - Huddersfield - Stalybridge - Guide Bridge - Stockport - Cheadle Hulme - Stoke-on-Trent - Uttoxeter - Derby - Chesterfield - Sheffield - Shireoaks West Jn - Woodend Jn - Mansfield - Lenton N/S - Trent - Loughborough - Syston N/E - Melton Mowbray - Oakham - Corby - Bedford - Brent Curve Jn - Dudding Hill Jn - Acton Wells Jn - South Acton - Old Kew Jn - Hounslow - Feltham - Virginia Water - Chertsey - Weybridge - Wimbledon - Point Pleasant Jn - Clapham Jn (Windsor) - Latchmere Curve - Kensington Olympia - Willesden HL - Camden Road - York Way S Jn - Stratford Intl - Ebbsfleet - Gravesend - Faversham - Margate - Ramsgate - Dover - Ashford - Tonbridge - Sevenoaks - Swanley - Grove Park - Lee Spur - Crayford - Slade Green - Woolwich Arsenal - Lewisham - Nunhead - Wandsworth Road - Pouparts Jn - Clapham Jn (Vic) - Balham - Streatham Hill - Crystal Palace - Norwood Jn - East Croydon - Quarry Lines - Three Bridges - Preston Park - Hove - Worthing - Chichester - Havant - Fareham - Netley - Southampton Ctl - Redbridge - Romsey - Salisbury - Westbury - Trowbridge - Chippenham - Swindon - Didcot - Reading West Curve - Newbury - Westbury avoiding lines - Castle Cary - Yeovil Pen Mill - Yeovil Junction - Exeter Central - Exeter St Davids - Taunton - Weston-super-Mare - Bristol Temple Meads - Avonmouth - St Andrew's Road - Filton West Jn - Bristol Parkway - Westerleigh Jn - Gloucester avoiding lines - Cheltenham Spa - Barnt Green - University - Birmingham New St - Landor St Jn - Water Orton - Nuneaton - Coventry - Leamington Spa - Banbury - Bicester North - High Wycombe - West Ruislip - Marylebone.
If that railtour ever runs I am buying a ticket! I don't care how much it costs!
 

IrishDave

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To clarify, what I meant was that you're not using any station or segment between two stations more than once, even if it is technically a different pair of rails. In other words you're not passing substantially the same scenery more than once. Crossovers are ok. So it seems to me that you'd have to start at St Ives and and end at Wick, or vice versa, as there would be no way to get back once you were out there. But pulling into St Erth or Littlehampton etc to reverse would be permissible so long as you came in and out via different adjacent stations.
If you did allow using the same station more than once, you could increase the amount of track you can do (without duplicating much, if any). For example, there are six routes into Carlisle; if you're allowed to use Carlisle station itself three times you could do:

Glasgow - Kilmarnock - Carlisle - Lockerbie - Edinburgh - Newcastle - Carlisle - Hellifield - Carnforth - Barrow - Carlisle - Penrith - Preston etc.

No duplicated track (except Carlisle to Gretna Junction, but there are no stations along that and you're going different ways at Gretna Junction) but a lot more than if you can only go through Carlisle once...

Also, are using buses/ferries/non-National Rail trains permissible? If so, you could do lots more of Scotland without duplicating track by doing Wick - Dingwall - Kyle - (bus and ferry) - Mallaig - Glasgow - Perth - Inverness - Aberdeen - Edinburgh etc. Similarly the Ffestiniog and/or Welsh Highland Railways would allow doing a large loop round North Wales.

You need to start somewhere and the two obvious ones are Wick or Penzance. Which is longer - the Far North Line or the GWML? If it's the former, then you essentially use it has a spur ahead of "starting" and finishing in Inverness (down via Aberdeen, off to wherever then back via the HML, or vice versa).
If you start in Penzance and end in Wick (or vice versa) then you can only cross the Scottish border once (since there are only two crossings), and I think the mileage you gain by being able to do Exeter-Penzance or Inverness-Wick is cancelled out by the mileage you lose by only being able to cross the border once. Maybe Clip's idea of starting and finishing in Scotland - maybe Wick to Mallaig via Exeter - would be best (if we're not allowing Kyle-Mallaig by bus/ferry)...?
 

marks87

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If you start in Penzance and end in Wick (or vice versa) then you can only cross the Scottish border once (since there are only two crossings), and I think the mileage you gain by being able to do Exeter-Penzance or Inverness-Wick is cancelled out by the mileage you lose by only being able to cross the border once.
That's not what I meant; I meant starting in either Wick or Penzance, but not finishing at the other. Sorry if that wasn't clear.
 

Jonny

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If you did allow using the same station more than once, you could increase the amount of track you can do (without duplicating much, if any). For example, there are six routes into Carlisle; if you're allowed to use Carlisle station itself three times you could do:

Glasgow - Kilmarnock - Carlisle - Lockerbie - Edinburgh - Newcastle - Carlisle - Hellifield - Carnforth - Barrow - Carlisle - Penrith - Preston etc.

No duplicated track (except Carlisle to Gretna Junction, but there are no stations along that and you're going different ways at Gretna Junction) but a lot more than if you can only go through Carlisle once...

Also, are using buses/ferries/non-National Rail trains permissible? If so, you could do lots more of Scotland without duplicating track by doing Wick - Dingwall - Kyle - (bus and ferry) - Mallaig - Glasgow - Perth - Inverness - Aberdeen - Edinburgh etc. Similarly the Ffestiniog and/or Welsh Highland Railways would allow doing a large loop round North Wales.



If you start in Penzance and end in Wick (or vice versa) then you can only cross the Scottish border once (since there are only two crossings), and I think the mileage you gain by being able to do Exeter-Penzance or Inverness-Wick is cancelled out by the mileage you lose by only being able to cross the border once. Maybe Clip's idea of starting and finishing in Scotland - maybe Wick to Mallaig via Exeter - would be best (if we're not allowing Kyle-Mallaig by bus/ferry)...?
Technically, there are three crossings (ECML, WCML and the Dumfries route) if you associate both of the latter with Carlisle. Why not cross the border twice, once on the ECML and once on one of the other two (or three, depending how junction-to-station track is counted)?
 
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