please empty your brain below

It is interesting to speculate what will happen to the Heathrow Express once joined up Liz Line happens. It has a 13 minute advantage in reaching Paddington, but that advantage is largely lost in the interchange if you want to reach the West End or further. It certainly isn’t worth the £15 premium.

If HeX did close down, would it enable additional Crossrail journeys or is the central core too constrained? Could we end up with a new cheaper shuttley service to replace it?
Chester to Crewe?
Once upon a time, Epping-Ongar was a four station shuttle. Of course, not in London though.
York to Scarborough is a 4 station shuttle
Le Shuttle
Most trains from Scarborough to York continue across the Pennines. There is a shuttle between Lincoln and Newark Northgate, filling in the gaps between the through services to London.

Back in London, the Greenford shuttle is shortly to become a test-bed for battery powered trains (using a converted former District Line train), thus removing the last diesel-operated service to run entirely within Greater London
I haven’t flown from Heathrow since before the pandemic but a friend recently flew in from LA and said that Heathrow Express ‘staff’ were everywhere trying to sell tickets. He only knew about Crossrail because I told him. Right now, Crossrail and its change at Paddington may seem like a pain for the unadventurous, jet-lag weary arrival but hopefully word will spread through travel guides and forums once it’s all joined up. I understand that the Heathrow Express is now operated by GWR on Heathrow’s behalf with regular Electrostar trains in a silver livery, compared to their previous in-house operated service with trains bespoke for them in the 90s. I get the feeling that Heathrow knew the writing was on the wall and didn’t want to invest in snazzy replacements.
Stourbridge Junction - Stourbridge Town?

dg writes: already in list.
Brockenhurst to Lymington Town/Pier is a three station shuttle.

dg writes: added, thanks.

I feel there’s lots of shuttles in Essex and Suffolk serving all the estuary towns.
Reading to Basingstoke is five stations

dg writes: added, thanks.
My recollection from the late 1960s was that the Central Line was always a shuttle from Woodford to Hainault. There being two or three Central Line train destinations going East : Epping (and then the above-mentioned shuttle to Ongar); Debden or Hainault via Newbury Park (with the split leaving Leytonstone heading to Wanstead station)
Does St Albans Abbey to Watford Junction (6 stops) merit inclusion?

dg writes: no, I've stopped at 5.
Here's an interesting one. The West London Line has at various times in the past 30 years operated as a 2, then 3, then 4, then 5, then 6 station shuttle, as well as a through service.

(At least I think I've got that right.)
Cardiff Queen Street → Cardiff Bay must be the shortest of all services. I have also travelled on three others on this list, however, I am sure that other readers will have been on more.
St Pancras to Paris Nord is a 2 stop shuttle that is at least half in Britain... Reading to Basingstoke adds an extra stop in next few months once Green Park opens. Stansted/Gatwick Express are also in one sense limited station shuttles, though not always 100 completely self contained and obviously not the only trains on the route
Woodford - Hainault 4 cars? I know that's what WTT70 says, but I've always seen 8-car trains!
Crispy. Agreed, they use 8 car trains, which is overkill for the line. And I expect users would prefer shorter 4-cars run at 10min intervals rather than 20min 8-car trains.
When the Jubilee Line Extension first opened, it operated as a four stop shuttle between Stratford and North Greenwich.
15 comments by 8:00, s that a record?

dg writes: no.
Timbo - Not now, since Covid and shortage of train crew. Most are York-Scarborough, with just a few going on to / from Leeds or Manchester
Does the Lowland Caledonian Sleeper count as a shuttle? Euston to Edinburgh Waverley is 4 stops (Watford Junction - Carlisle - Carstairs), while Euston to Glasgow Central is 5 stops with Motherwell added.
St. Ives to St. Erth five stops.

dg writes: already in list.

Liskeard to Looe is 6 stops but 5 stops before or after the reverse.
Heritage and narrow gauge lines don’t appear to be included. Some only have one station.
The Slough-Windsor service always mated up poorly with onward travel to Paddington for me. It was always very much a roll of the dice as to whether Riverside to Waterloo would end up being faster as well as more convenient. It probably mates up better at peak times, but I was only ever out there midday. I did take the walk via Eton once or twice, but aside from the bit near Eton itself it's not particularly pleasant.
Stratford to Meridian Water was used by us for trips to IKEA to stock up on frozen cinnamon rolls, much loved by one of my sons. The off peak trains were always empty. Now - as yesterday - I have to take the Jubilee Line to North Greenwich and get a bus to the IKEA there. I presume that once the new housing opens at Meridian Water it will become a popular stop.
Whilst Bank to Waterloo might be the shuttliest line, before Covid, at least, it was very busy. I recall a statistic from a few years ago, that if measured in passenger journeys, there were more journeys on the W%C than in the whole of Wales!
There was another two station shuttle in London: Harrow and Wealdstone to Belmont.
How about Marlow to Bourne End being considered a three station shuttle? From Maidenhead trains reverse at Bourne End to get to Marlow.

On the printed timetable some of the journeys are shown as through trains, but most are shuttles.
Sittingbourne-Sheerness (5); formerly, Elmers End-Addiscombe (3).

dg writes: Sheerness added, thanks.
Exeter to Okehampton (3) intermediate stop at Crediton.

dg writes: added (as 5), thanks.
Stockport-Stalybridge (5), and the least frequent.

dg writes: added, thanks.
A good day for Diamond Geezerisms. Shuttliest, shuttlier, shuttly, platform-cloggingly, severedness.
Liskeard-Looe, mentioned above, is 5 for trains reversing short of Coombe Jc (as nearly all do).
Lancaster to Morecambe feels a bit of a cheat as once a day it gets extended to Heysham Port as a fourth stop
Braintree-Witham (5) runs a single train shuttling back and forth every 30 mins on weekends.
Another former one is the Oxford to Bicester Town/Village shuttle (3 stations), which was a sleepy single track service. Now it's been completely rebuilt and has through trains to Marylebone, and soon along EWR to Bletchley.
Elmers End to Sanderstead had 6 stops (Elmers End, Woodside, Bingham Road, Coombe Road, Selsdon and Sanderstead) but towards the end some services just ran to Selsdon so a possible 5.
Plus another former Underground one is the Chesham shuttle to Chalfont & Latimer (2 stations), before through trains came in with the arrival of the S8 stock.

dg writes: already listed.
The Gatwick Express (3) is just Victoria-Gatwick-Brighton. Very shuttley.
Eurostar must be the king of shuttles.
Of course, the Hainault loop was ALL in Essex in the 1960s... and nowadays the line itself is effectively mostly the boundary. Roding Valley and Grange Hill:
RV buildings and platforms are in Essex, GH in Greater London. Think this dates from 1998. Of the Loop stations, only Chigwell sits snugly in Essex
Grove Park - Bromley North. I'm sure the folk living around Sundridge Park station love it very much.
When it closed in 1985, Lea Bridge was served by a shuttle between Tottenham Hale and Stratford (3).

Drayton Park - Moorgate (5) Northern Line.

Watford Junction - Croxley Green (4, 5 on match days).
If you book far advance enough (and I mean quite far indeed) you can get some extremely good, Elizabeth line-beating deals on the Heathrow Express that are valid all day on the day of travel. I think I've managed £7 return for my trip in January. But otherwise yes, what a total rip off.
Pretty sure, unless I'm mistaken, that Chesham to Chalfont & Latimer at the far west for the Met Line is a shuttle service. Should be a prize for every passenger successfully reaching Chesham, really.

dg writes: not since 2010.
The Linkedin post I read from the transport chief at Heathrow - apparently they're selling Heathrow Express tickets to people when they buy their airline tickets (in partnership with various airlines...)
Captive audience, so probably works quite well for them!
For a brief period in the late eighties, Kettering to Corby was just a shuttle service (2)
Cardiff Bay is set to become a lot less shuttly with the South Wales Metro plans. Shuttle fans take the opportunity while you still can.
If Palace Gates to Seven Sisters was ever run as a shuttle service, that would have filled the mysterious 4-station gap.
The Bromley North “Popper” is S/Eastern’s secret performance enhancer!

Explanation: Every S/Eastern train trip is measured for performance, and no matter how long or short the journey they all have equal value in the “stats”… so, if your main services don’t perform particularly well, (ahem!), you can boost your perceived performance measure by running as many short trips as you can, on a self contained bit of your railway, and run them all on time thus adding in more “on time” trains to your overall performance figure for the day! Voila!

They even send a 2nd driver down there at peak times, as with a driver at each end they can run even more shuttles without having to wait for the driver to walk the length of the train to change cabs! So now you know why a backwater of a line has such an intensive service, with even 2 drivers, but actually few passengers!

Colchester to Colchester Town?
Colchester to Colchester Town is most often combined with trains on the Clacton line, so not entirely shuttly.
Thought: will NR rename the latter "Colchester City", or would it better to revert to St Botolph's?
2 tph exclusively between the two though
Could Truro - Falmouth Docks be a nominee for the 5-station list?

dg writes: that's 6
Colchester - Colchester Town sees hourly shuttles as well as hourly London - Town and Colchester-Frinton services (no Clacton).

Manchester Victoria - Stalybridge is served by an hourly three station shuttle as well as a hourly service from further west.

Guildford-Farnham is a 5 stop service.

dg writes: Guildford added, thanks.
Brighton to Hove shuttle?
Queen Street to Cardiff Bay (or Bute Street as it used to be) has been intermittently under threat for several years, as the embankment it is on was seen as a barrier between the new docklands developments and the longstanding multicultural community between Bute Street and the line of the former canal. The idea was to replace it with a tramway detached from the main railway system. Whether anything will come of the current "Metro" plans reamins to be seen.
Mackay, it’s the other way round for West Midlands Trains and Stourbridge - Stourbridge Junction. When, all too often, neither Parry Peoplemover is serviceable the resulting day of cancellations play havoc with their performance figures.
I have 2 more for you: one's a 2-stopper; the other a 3. Both run just once a week!

10:23 Marylebone - South Ruislip - West Ealing
11:17 West Ealing - West Ruislip

Wednesdays Only (seems to be ecs other days). Don't think the rules preclude these.
A train that runs once a week on a Wednesday and doesn't run again till the next isn't very shuttly.
Elmers End-Addiscombe, Elmers End-Sanderstead/Selsdon & West Croydon-Wimbledon were shuttle services too
Not quite in London (but Oysterable), but Upminster to Grays, in the 1980s, was a three-station shuttle (no Chafford Hundred then), and then became a five-station shuttle (going on to Tilbury Town and Tilbury Riverside)
Miker: the Bromley north popper is now a 4 car, as the previous 2 cars they would use are not PRM compliant, therefore can only be used coupled to a 4 car that is… so the min change end time is now 5 mins hence the use of 2 dvrs and 4 cars (far in excess of capacity required) to boost the peak service to every 16 mins In pre-covid times,5min journey time and 3 mins between trips, with each driver only driving in one direction, feet up for the other! The covid M-F t/t is x30 mins, but it runs x20 mins on SAT as they never implemented a covid timetable for sats, and it still runs with the pre covid timetable on sats only.

I wonder how a ParryPM would get on with 2 DVRs… no appreciable difference in turn around time I guess as the cab to cab walk time must be measured in seconds?!!

Miker more: oh yes, that one does a LOT a trips a hour doesn’t it! can they not use a “normal” short unit or 1 car if the Parry’s are not available? (Or whatever they used to use before they started with the PPM’s..?)
Princes Risborough to Aylesbury - four stations.
n.b. I've been consulting official Network Rail timetables before including or ignoring your suggestions. Shuttles over shared lines haven't made the cut.
Although only half the stations are in London, the Sutton to Epsom Downs branch (4) was operated as a shuttle for nearly a year in 1981-2, following a fire destroying the branch's signal box. This directly led to the branch being singled when through services were restored.
King's Cross to Ely (Cambridge, Cambridge North, Waterbeach)?
Just recalled another shuttle - although it ceased in 1964. Audley End* to Saffron Walden - operated with what was a bit like a bus that ran on rails.
*on the Liverpool St - Cambridge line
Before all services sere extended to at least Ely, the fast Kings Cross-Cambridge service was a two station shuttle of extraordinary length for such a thing, over fifty miles. With the timings, the same pairs of units would shuttle up and down all day on that, not interacting with the service on the other side of the hour that ran though to kings Lynn- though at the time that always split at Cambridge, with the rear units stuck shuttling.

Now, as ASL notes, all the express services continue beyond Cambridge, and other than peak ones, don't split there.
The Stourbridge shuttle used to use a class 153 single unit. West Midland Trains no longer has any 153s, and nothing else is short enough to fit the platform at Stourbridge Town.
Not sure how you're defining 'shuttle', but there are plenty of services that only call at a handful of stations. Some (but not all) services from KX to Ely, or Lincoln, or Edinburgh, Leeds, York.

But the most obviously shuttly rail service in the UK is Eurotunnel, or as it used to be marketed: 'le Shuttle'.
Greater Anglia plans to turn Witham-Braintree into a shuttle service in the next few years (albeit with some services to London during peak times).

And I must take issue with your derogatory description of Romford-Upminster. Both ends are important local hubs, and the shuttle facilitates various 'lateral' journeys around the edge of London or in south Essex staying on the rail network (most of the rail network in zone 6 is optimised for 'radial' journeys to/from central London).

Once I was cycling from Hornchurch to Brentwood, and my bicycle inner tube burst near Upminster Bridge station. On that occasion, I was very grateful for the existence of the Romford-Upminster shuttle, since I would not have been able to take my bicycle on the bus.

The Romford-Upminster shuttle does not get that much use because it runs only every 30 minutes (a limitation imposed by the 30mph line speed and the single-track layout), meaning that it is lousy for multi-leg rail journeys, because you could be waiting a long time for interchange. As for why it closes so often, that is because it has to close whenever the Great Eastern main line at Romford is closed (which has been quite frequent of late), presumably because the Overground train relies on the GEML to get to a depot or sidings..

If only TfL could make the service every 15 minutes the shuttle would probably get a lot more use... but that would require either an upgrade to the line speed or a passing loop, I suppose.
Northern run a (five stop) Huddersfield - Bradford service calling at Brighouse, Halifax and Low Moor.

I wonder which services stop at the most stations.

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