List of companies operating trains in the United Kingdom

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There are many companies operating trains in the United Kingdom, including the 23 operators of franchised passenger services, officially referred to as "train operating companies" or TOCs, as distinct from "freight operating companies".

Passenger operators in Great Britain[edit]

Franchised passenger operator structure in Great Britain[edit]

Sector of British Rail Franchise Pre-grouping Company Original privatised operator Current operator(s)
InterCity InterCity East Coast Great Northern Railway Great North Eastern Railway Virgin Trains East Coast
InterCity West Coast London & North Western Railway Virgin West Coast Virgin Trains
Great Eastern Great Eastern Railway Anglia Railways Abellio Greater Anglia
Great Western Great Western Railway Great Western Trains First Great Western
Midland Midland Railway Midland Mainline East Midlands Trains
CrossCountry N/A Virgin CrossCountry CrossCountry
Network SouthEast Essex Thameside London, Tilbury & Southend Railway LTS Rail c2c
Chiltern Great Central Railway Chiltern Railways Chiltern Railways
Gatwick Express N/A Gatwick Express Southern
Great Eastern Great Eastern Railway First Great Eastern Abellio Greater Anglia
Thames Great Western Railway Thames Trains First Great Western
Island Line Isle of Wight Railway Island Line Trains South West Trains
North London North London Railway Silverlink London Midland
London Overground Rail Operations
South Eastern South Eastern & Chatham Railway Connex South Eastern Southeastern
South Central London, Brighton & South Coast Railway Connex South Central Southern
South Western London & South Western Railway South West Trains South West Trains
Thameslink N/A Thameslink Thameslink and Great Northern
West Anglia Great Northern West Anglia Great Northern Thameslink and Great Northern (services to King's Cross & Moorgate)
Abellio Greater Anglia (services to Liverpool Street)
Regional Railways North West Predominantly London & North Western Railway North Western Trains Arriva Trains Wales
First TransPennine Express
Northern Rail
North East Northern Spirit
Scotland Caledonian Railway, Glasgow and South Western Railway, Great North of Scotland Railway, Highland Railway & North British Railway ScotRail Abellio ScotRail
South Wales & West Cambrian Railways, Great Western Railway Wales & West Arriva Trains Wales

First Great Western

Valley Lines Barry Railway, Cardiff Railway, Great Western Railway, Rhymney Railway, Taff Vale Railway Valley Lines Arriva Trains Wales
Merseyrail Electrics N/A Merseyrail Electrics Merseyrail
Central Central Trains CrossCountry
London Midland
East Midlands Trains

Current passenger operators[edit]

The following operate the National Rail network.

Operator Type Franchise Parent(s) Passenger satisfaction[1] Start date Expiry date Replaced
Abellio Greater Anglia Franchise Greater Anglia Abellio 79% 2012-02-055 February 2012[2] 2016-10-0015 October 2016[3] National Express East Anglia
Abellio ScotRail Franchise ScotRail Abellio 86% 2015-04-011 April 2015 2022-03-3131 March 2022 First ScotRail
Arriva Trains Wales Franchise Wales & Borders Arriva UK Trains 87% 2003-12-088 December 2003 2018-10-1313 October 2018[4] Wales & Borders
c2c Franchise London, Tilbury & Southend National Express 91% 1996-05-2626 May 1996 2029-11-0010 November 2029[5] Network SouthEast
(London, Tilbury and Southend Division)
Chiltern Railways Franchise Chiltern Railways Arriva UK Trains 90% 1996-07-2121 July 1996 2021-12-2121 December 2021[4] Network SouthEast (Chiltern Division)
CrossCountry Franchise New CrossCountry Arriva UK Trains 84% 2007-11-1111 November 2007 2019-11-099 November 2019[3] Central Trains (Birmingham – Stansted & Cardiff – Nottingham route) &
Virgin Trains (CrossCountry franchise)
East Midlands Trains Franchise East Midlands Stagecoach 88% 2007-11-1111 November 2007 2017-10-1414 October 2017[3] Central Trains (Liverpool – Norwich & East Midlands routes) & Midland Mainline
Eurostar Open access N/A Eurostar International Limited, SNCF & NMBS/SNCB 1994-11-1414 November 1994
First Great Western Franchise Greater Western FirstGroup 82% 2006-04-011 April 2006 2020-09-00March 2019[6] First Great Western, First Great Western Link, Wessex Trains
First Hull Trains Open access N/A FirstGroup 93% 2000-09-2525 September 2000 2016-12-00December 2016
First TransPennine Express[7] Franchise TransPennine FirstGroup & Keolis 87% 2004-02-011 February 2004 2016-02-004 February 2016[3] Arriva Trains Northern &
First North Western
Grand Central[8] Open access N/A Arriva UK Trains 95% 2007-12-1818 December 2007 2026-12-00December 2026[9]
Heathrow Connect Open access N/A Heathrow Airport Holdings
FirstGroup
92% 2005-06-1212 June 2005
Heathrow Express Open access N/A Heathrow Airport Holdings 93% 1998-06-2323 June 1998
London Midland Franchise West Midlands Govia 86% 2007-11-1111 November 2007 2017-06-0031 March 2016[3] Central Trains (Birmingham routes) & Silverlink (Northampton Line)
London Overground TfL concession London Overground MTR Corporation
Arriva UK Trains
85% 2007-11-1111 November 2007 2016-11-1212 November 2016[10] Silverlink (North London Lines)
Merseyrail Merseytravel contract Merseyrail Serco-Abellio 93% 2003-07-2020 July 2003 2028-07-1919 July 2028[4] Arriva Trains Merseyside
Northern Rail Franchise Northern Serco-Abellio 82% 2004-12-1212 December 2004 2016-02-004 February 2016[3] Arriva Trains Northern & First North Western
North Yorkshire Moors Railway Open access N/A Yorkshire Moors Railway Enterprises 2007-04-00April 2007 (additional GrosmontWhitby services)
Southeastern Franchise Integrated Kent Govia 80% 2006-04-011 April 2006 2018-06-2424 June 2018[3] South Eastern Trains
Southern Franchise South Central Thameslink Southern and Great Northern Govia 82% 2001-08-2626 August 2001 2015-07-24March 2021 Connex South Central
South West Trains Franchise South Western Stagecoach 87% 2007-02-044 February 2007 2019-04-0027 April 2019[3] South West Trains & Island Line
Thameslink and Great Northern Franchise Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern Govia N/A 2014-09-1414 September 2014 2021-03-00March 2021

First Capital Connect

Virgin Trains West Coast Franchise InterCity West Coast Virgin Group & Stagecoach 90% 1997-03-099 March 1997 2017-04-0031 March 2017[3] InterCity (West Coast Division)
Virgin Trains East Coast Franchise InterCity East Coast Virgin Group & Stagecoach N/A 1997-03-091 March 2015 2017-04-00N/A[3] InterCity (East Coast Division)
West Coast Railway Company Open access N/A 1998 (Fort WilliamMallaig summer "Jacobite" services and charter operations)

There are also a number of heritage railways and light rail systems.

Defunct operating companies[edit]

Operating companies have ceased to exist for various reasons, including withdrawal of the franchise, the term of the franchise has expired, bankruptcy or merger.

Operator Type Franchise Parent(s) Date started Date ceased Replaced by
Anglia Railways Franchise Anglia GB Railways 1997-01-055 January 1997 2004-03-3131 March 2004 one (National Express East Anglia)
Arriva Trains
Merseyside
Franchise Merseytravel contract Arriva UK Trains 2000-02-00February 2000 2003-07-2020 July 2003 Merseyrail
Arriva Trains Northern Franchise Regional Railways North East Arriva UK Trains 2000-02-00February 2000 2004-12-1212 December 2004 Northern Rail & First TransPennine Express
Central Trains Franchise Central National Express 1997-03-022 March 1997 2007-11-1111 November 2007 CrossCountry, East Midlands Trains & London Midland
Connex South Central Franchise South Central Connex 1996-10-1313 October 1996 2001-06-1616 June 2001 Southern
Connex South Eastern Franchise South Eastern Connex 1996-05-2626 May 1996 2003-11-099 November 2003 South Eastern Trains
East Coast Franchise InterCity East Coast Directly Operated Railways 14 November 2009 28 February 2015 Virgin Trains East Coast
First Capital Connect Franchise Thameslink Great Northern FirstGroup 2006-04-011 April 2006 2014-09-1313 September 2014 Thameslink and Great Northern
First Great Eastern Franchise Great Eastern FirstGroup 1997-01-055 January 1997 2004-03-3131 March 2004 one (National Express East Anglia)
First Great
Western Link
Franchise Thames FirstGroup 2004-04-011 April 2004 2006-03-3131 March 2006 First Great Western
First North Western Franchise North West Regional Railways FirstGroup 1997-03-022 March 1997 2004-12-1212 December 2004 Northern Rail, First TransPennine Express & Arriva Trains Wales
First ScotRail Franchise Scotrail FirstGroup 2004-10-1717 October 2004 2015-03-3131 March 2015 Abellio ScotRail
Gatwick Express Franchise Gatwick Express National Express 1996-04-2828 April 1996 2008-06-2222 June 2008 Southern
Great North Eastern Railway Franchise InterCity East Coast Sea Containers 1996-04-2828 April 1996 2007-12-088 December 2007 National Express East Coast
Great Western Trains Franchise Great Western Great Western Holdings 1996-02-044 February 1996 1998-03-00March 1998 First Great Western
Island Line Franchise Island Line Stagecoach 1996-10-1313 October 1996 2007-02-033 February 2007 South West Trains
Merseyrail Electrics Merseytravel contract Merseyrail MTL 1997-01-1919 January 1997 2000-02-00February 2000 Arriva Trains Merseyside
Midland Mainline Franchise Midland Main Line National Express 1996-02-2828 February 1996 2007-11-1111 November 2007 East Midlands Trains
National Express East Anglia Franchise Greater Anglia National Express 2004-04-011 April 2004 2012-02-055 February 2012 Abellio Greater Anglia
National Express East Coast Franchise InterCity East Coast National Express 2007-12-099 December 2007 2009-11-1313 November 2009 East Coast
Northern Spirit Franchise Regional Railways North East MTL 1997-03-022 March 1997 2000-02-00February 2000 Arriva Trains Northern
North Western Trains Franchise North West Regional Railways Great Western Holdings 1997-03-022 March 1997 1998-03-00March 1998 First North Western
ScotRail Franchise ScotRail National Express 1997-03-3131 March 1997 2004-10-1717 October 2004 First ScotRail
South Eastern Trains Franchise South Eastern Strategic Rail Authority 2003-11-099 November 2003 2006-03-3131 March 2006 Southeastern
Silverlink (previously North
London Railways)
Franchise North London Railways National Express 1997-03-022 March 1997 2007-11-1111 November 2007 London Midland & London Overground
Thames Trains Franchise Thames Go-Ahead Group 1996-10-1313 October 1996 2004-03-3131 March 2004 First Great Western Link
Thameslink Franchise Thameslink Govia 1997-03-022 March 1997 2006-03-3131 March 2006 First Capital Connect
Valley Lines Franchise Valley Lines National Express 1996-10-1313 October 1996 2001-10-1313 October 2001 Wales & Borders
Virgin CrossCountry Franchise CrossCountry Virgin Group
Stagecoach
1997-01-055 January 1997 2007-11-1111 November 2007 CrossCountry, Virgin Trains (West Coast) & First TransPennine Express
West Anglia Great Northern
(West Anglia Main Line and Lea Valley Lines)
Franchise West Anglia Great Northern National Express 1997-01-055 January 1997 2004-03-3131 March 2004 one (National Express East Anglia)
West Anglia Great Northern
(Great Northern and Fenline routes)
Franchise West Anglia Great Northern National Express 1997-01-055 January 1997 2006-03-3131 March 2006 First Capital Connect
Wales & Borders Franchise Wales & Borders National Express 2001-10-1414 October 2001 2003-12-077 December 2003 Arriva Trains Wales
Wales & West Franchise Wales & West Prism Rail 1996-10-1313 October 1996 2001-10-1313 October 2001 Wales & Borders & Wessex Trains
Wessex Trains Franchise Wessex National Express 2001-10-1414 October 2001 2006-03-3131 March 2006 First Great Western
Wrexham & Shropshire Open access Wrexham to London DB Regio
Renaissance Trains
2008-04-2828 April 2008 2011-01-2828 January 2011 Closed due to lack of profitability

Future operators[edit]

Passenger operators in Northern Ireland[edit]

In Northern Ireland passenger trains are government-owned by Translink. The following brands are used:

Railtour operators[edit]

In Northern Ireland

Freight operators[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ National Passenger Survey Autumn 2010 Main Report
  2. ^ "Pre-Qualification Process Document – Greater Anglia Franchise" (PDF). BBC News. 11 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-24. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "DfT Rail franchise schedule" (PDF). Department for Transport. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c [1]
  5. ^ "c2c awarded 15-year Essex Thameside rail franchise". BBC News. 27 June 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  6. ^ http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/passenger/single-view/view/five-year-direct-award-great-western-franchise-proposed.html
  7. ^ FTPE's website
  8. ^ In May 2010 Grand Northern services began, branded Grand Central to allow a single fleet pool to be used.
  9. ^ http://www.grandcentralrail.com/about-us/news-press/10-year-contract-extension/
  10. ^ http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/media/newscentre/27193.aspx
  11. ^ http://londonreconnections.blogspot.com/2008/10/tfl-board-meeting-summary-dlr.html
  12. ^ "Glasgow Trains". Renaissance Trains. Retrieved 15 August 2012. 
  13. ^ "Humber Coast and City Railway". Renaissance Trains. Retrieved 15 August 2012. 
  14. ^ "04/05/12 – Alliance Rail Press Release". Alliance Rail Holdings. Retrieved 15 August 2012. 
  15. ^ "GOCO Train". GOCO. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  16. ^ "Planned highspeed service from London to Amsterdam and Frankfurt". Deutsche Bahn. Retrieved 15 August 2012. 
  17. ^ Odell, Mark (8 December 2011). "Delays hit Deutsche Bahn’s London timetable". Financial Times. Retrieved 15 August 2012.