London, the capital of the United Kingdom, has approx. 10 million inhabitants in the urban area. The rail network is accordingly gigantic, its backbone is the more than 400 kilometres long famous London Underground. It is usually overcrowded in the centre during the peak times. Two of the many unusual features are the usage of two live rails (one lateral, one centric) to avoid stray-current corrosion and that the lines don't bear any numbers but names (District Line, Metropolitan Line, Piccadilly Line etc.). The Underground is supplemented by numerous suburban railways of different operators and the "Overground". Since 2000 there is also a 28 kilometres long tramway network in the southeast suburbs with operational hub in Croydon. Another self-sufficient rail system is the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) which serves some eastern districts of London and is operated fully automatically. The whole transport system is coordinated by → TfL (Transport for London), a holding organization, wich operates the different means of transport partly by own subsidiaries and partly by private franchisees.
The city of Manchester in the north of England with a population of more than 500,000 has a tram / light rail network of almost 80 kilometres. The trains run partly in the roads and through the pedestrian area, on the outer branches partly on former railway routes. The network called "Metrolink" is part of the passenger transport executive → Transport for Greater Manchester. The RATP, the operator of the Paris Metro, is commisoned with the operation.
Nottingham is located in the east of England and has about 300,000 inhabitants in the city (about 800,000 including the suburbs). The tram of the first generation was already shut down in 1936. The tram was reopened in 2004 with about 14 kilometres of length. Since the opening of the "Phase 2" at the end of 2015 it has a system length of approx. 32 kilometres. The tram is operated under the brand name → Nottingham Express Transit by a company called Nottingham Trams Ltd. Involved in this are well-known companies such as Alstom, Keolis and Vinci.
The city of Sheffield in Middle England has a population of approx. 500,000. The demolition of the tram in 1960 was realized as a serious mistake. Consequently, the second-generation tram in Sheffield was inaugurated in 1994. The vehicles are imported from Germany, they were built by Siemens and Duewag in Düsseldorf. The network has a length of some 30 kilometres and is operated by Stagecoach under the brand name → Supertram. You will not be looking for ticket machines - every train is staffed with a conductor who sells the tickets.
Birmingham is connected with the neighboring town of Wolverhampton by a tram line, which uses a former railway line most of its way. The route is 13 miles long (approx. 21 kilometres) and was inaugurated 1999, extensions are under construction. With the opening of the route, the tram returned to Birmingham after 46 years. The former tram network was abandoned until 1953. It is operated by Midland Metro Ltd. under the brand name → West Midlands Metro.
Blackpool (about 150,000 inhabitants) is a tourist centre on the Irish sea in the north-west of England. Blackpool was the only town in the UK that retained its trams after 1962 and was therefore the only tram in the country for 30 years, primary for tourism purposes. It became a serious mean of transport again by purchasing the Bombardier Flexity Outlook 2 low-floor trams in 2012. Today, these vehicles operate at a 10 to 12-minute headway. The historical vehicles are still operating temporarily as a tourist attraction. The trams as well as the buses are operated by → Blackpool Transport.
The Glasgow Subway is the third-oldest system in the world (after London and Budapest), the ring line was opened in 1896 and has never been expanded since. For the first 26 years, the Subway operated as a cable railway according to the principle of the famous cable cars in San Francisco: The rope was continuously in motion and the carriages were released from the rope during the stops in the stations. The system has some more peculiarities: its track gauge of 4 feet (1,219 millimetres) is extremely rare. Also noticeable is its extremely small tunnel diameter: the trains have a height of only 2.65 metres above rails, resulting in an usable height of less than two metres at 70 centimetres high platforms. Therefore, claustrophobics should better avoid the orange vehicles. The Subway is operated by → Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT).
The city of Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and has about half a million inhabitants. The former tram network was abandoned in 1956. Almost 60 years later, in May 2014, a tram was opened again in Edinburgh. It has a length of approx. 14 kilometres (9 miles) in the first stage of construction and connects the inner city with the western districts and the airport. It is operated by the municipal company → Edinburgh Trams Ltd..
Dublin (Irish/Gaelic: Baile Átha Cliath) is the capital and the also largest town of the Republic of Ireland with more than 500,000 inhabitants. It has the only tramway network of the country which consists of two lines, is almost 40 kilometres long and doesn't need any numbers or letters but is called the red and green line referring to its identification colors. It is a "reborn" system which was opened in 2004 after the old tram was abandoned in 1959, it was already banished from the city centre since 1949. The Dublin tram bears the brand name → Luas, which means "Speed" in Gaelic.