Which Animals Can You Take On The Tube?

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 15 months ago
Which Animals Can You Take On The Tube?
You lookin' at me? Photo: John Esslinger

We asked you what's the weirdest thing you've ever seen carried on a tube or bus. And your answers didn't disappoint. Animals were particularly prevalent, and among the reports of model camels and inflatable dinosaurs were a surprising number of real animals, including live eels and possibly a sheep.

Since we published the article, even more of you have come forward with stories of commuting animals*: a fox on a lead at a train station, a live python on the Central Line, a man refused entry into Southwark station because he had an alpaca with him.

Which got us thinking — what's the deal with animals on public transport? Which ones are allowed and which ones are unwelcome? On the sliding scale of chihuahua to alpaca, where is the line drawn? And what's the criteria for what's allowed? Size? Species? Cuteness?

According to TfL's Conditions of Carriage (PDF — scroll to page 50), assistance dogs are welcome. Any other "dog or inoffensive animal" may also travel with you, "unless there is a good reason for us to refuse it (such as if the animal seems dangerous)". We're assuming the python and the tarantula went incognito then.

Rules also apply to moving animals around tube stations — unless you have an assistance dog which has been trained to walk on moving escalators, you'll have to carry your furry friend. If Fido's too big for this, you'll have to use the lift or stairs, or if that's not an option, wait for TfL staff to stop the escalator — which understandably could be a few hours in peak times.

National Rail's Conditions of Carriage (PDF - scroll to page 27) are more clear-cut regarding animals. Again, assistance dogs are welcome. Other than that, you can take two dogs or small domestic animals with you. Dogs must be kept on a lead, and all other animals must be transported in pet carriers (maximum 85 x 60 x 60 cm). Under no circumstances are you allowed to bring livestock or a non-domestic animal on a train.

It's worth checking with your individual train or transport operator company before you travel though, as restrictions may vary.

Got a question about London that you've always wanted answered? We'll have a go at answering it. Just let us know what it is in the comments below.

*We have no way of verifying these stories, so we're hoping you're a trustworthy bunch.

Last Updated 29 August 2017