The Department for Transport is the government body responsible for overseeing transport in England. There are many motorways in England, and many other trunk roads, such as the A1 Great North Road, which runs through eastern England from London to Newcastle (much of this section is motorway) and onward to the Scottish border. The longest motorway in England is the M6, from Rugby through the North West up to the Anglo-Scottish border, a distance of 232 miles (373 km). Other major routes include: the M1 from London to Leeds, the M25 which encircles London, the M60 which encircles Manchester, the M4 from London to South Wales, the M62 from Liverpool via Manchester to East Yorkshire, and the M5 from Birmingham to Bristol and the South West.
Bus transport across the country is widespread; major companies include National Express, Arriva and Go-Ahead Group. The red double-decker buses in London have become a symbol of England.
National Cycle Route offers cycling routes nationally. There is a rapid transit network in two English cities: the London Underground; and the Tyne and Wear Metro in Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland. There are several tram networks, such as the Blackpool tramway, Manchester Metrolink, Sheffield Supertram and Midland Metro, and the Tramlink system centred on Croydon in South London.
The Metropolitan Railway, now part of the London Underground was the first underground railway in the world.
Rail transport in England is the oldest in the world: passenger railways originated in England in 1825. Much of Britain’s 10,000 miles (16,000 km) of rail network lies in England, covering the country fairly extensively, although a high proportion of railway lines were closed in the second half of the 20th century. There are plans to reopen lines such as the Varsity Line between Oxford and Cambridge. These lines are mostly standard gauge (single, double or quadruple track) though there are also a few narrow gauge lines. There is rail transport access to France and Belgium through an undersea rail link, the Channel Tunnel, which was completed in 1994.
England has extensive domestic and international aviation links. The largest airport is Heathrow, which is the world’s busiest airport measured by number of international passengers. Other large airports include Manchester Airport, Stansted Airport, Luton Airport and Birmingham Airport.
By sea there is ferry transport, both local and international, including from Liverpool to Ireland and the Isle of Man, and Hull to the Netherlands and Belgium. There are around 4,400 miles (7,100 km) of navigable waterways in England, half of which is owned by the Canal and River Trust, however, water transport is very limited. The Thames is the major waterway in England, with imports and exports focused at the Port of Tilbury in the Thames Estuary, one of the United Kingdom’s three major ports.